New Classes

  • The faculty in the departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences often design new classes to help meet the developing needs of IUP’s students. Here is a selection of some of the newest classes in CHSS:

    New in 2015–16:

    The Archaeology of Early China (ANTH and ASIA)

    terra cotta soldierThis class offers an overview of the history, practice, and achievements of archaeology in China, with a focus on early China (up to the Han dynasty). A portion of the course is devoted to those discoveries which have shed light on important developments in China, including its early stone age occupation, the growth of agriculture, and the emergence of civilization, as well as the construction of impressive structures (such as the Great Wall and the first emperor’s terracotta army). The course also discusses the ways in which Chinese and western archaeology differ, as well as the role which nationalism and regionalism have played in archaeological research and interpretation in China.

    Taught by Dr. Francis Allard.

    The Anthropology of Human Rights (ANTH 352)

    Human rights abusesThis class engages the concept of human rights as applied to situations in the contemporary world. It will take an interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on anthropology to examine the following principal questions: 

    1. What are competing ideas and theories about what constitute human rights?
    2. What are the historical origins of contemporary ideas about human rights?
    3. What are some of the foremost human rights situations in the world today?
    4.  What are the political, economic, and cultural contexts in which human rights abuses occur?
    5. How are individual rights understood cross-culturally
    6. What are the practical solutions to human rights abuses?
    7. What is the role of the committed (i.e., activist) anthropologist?

    A theme of this course will be the interplay between the abuse of human rights, power, and culturally constructed difference, such as ethnicity and gender. Our goal will be to extend contemporary interpretations to existing social and political problems around the world to seek ways in which anthropologists can have a positive role to play in finding solutions to those problems. Taught by Dr. Abigail Adams.

    Voyages of Discovery (ANTH 310)

    Voyages Humans have been expanding across the globe for nearly 100,000 years. This long period of divergence led to the wide array of cultures and people populating the world, and was then followed by a shorter period of convergence that brought those people back into contact with their distant relatives. Through these voyages of discovery, this class addresses the diffusion of ideas, the migration of peoples, technological development and its roll in culture change, and the historical and cultural circumstances involved in geographic expansion. Students are asked to actively develop their critical thinking skills by thinking about culture contact from the perspective of both the contactor and the contactee. Taught by Dr. Ben Ford

    Economic and Social Human Rights (ECON 281)

    UN Human rightsEconomic and social human rights include, for example, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to work, the right to basic income guarantees for those unable to work, and the right to clean air and water for present and future generations. These rights are grounded in international law—particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. From an interdisciplinary perspective, this class will explore the conceptual bases, measurement, and policy applications of economic and social human rights.

    Taught by Dr. Christopher Jeffords (

    Global Poverty and LocalPerspectives (ECON 481)

    American poorGlobal Poverty and Local Perspectives examines what poverty is: its meaning, causes, and the economic realities of the poor. Focus is placed both on economic methods and stories of people who have lived in poverty or who provide services for the poor. Introduction to poverty measurement and methods used to evaluate the effects of poverty-reduction programs (e.g., microfinance and cash payments). The course will include a research component studying the economic lives of the poor in our region.

    Taught by Dr. Brandon Vick (

    Bandits and Poets: The Cultural and Social History of Early Modern China (HIST 433)

    BanditThe social and cultural history of post-Mongol China as seen in literature and popular culture. Rebellions, eunuchs, poets and opera, as well as scholars, hermits and salt smugglers. This is one of the periods of rapid economic and social change that helped to create the modern world. Taught by Dr. Alan Baumler.

    Jihad and the Post-Imperial Middle East (HIST 481)

    ISIS FlagGroups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS use the term “jihad” and claim to be returning to the “origins” of Islam. In the press, these groups are often described as “medieval” in an attempt to help us view them as an aberration, a throwback to a more barbarous time. Frequently, these jihadists are complicit in these accusations of medievalism; they often present themselves as returning to the roots of their faith and decry the majority of Muslims who they view as mired in “tradtion” and “culture.”

    In this class, students will discuss the concept of “jihad” in Islamic history: its origins, development, and historical deployment by groups within the Muslim community. We will then analyze the history and origins of groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS and consider whether these groups are “medieval” or actually hyper-modern products of globalization. Taught by Dr. Christine D. Baker.

    Hindu Goddesses (RLST 485)
    Hindu goddess

    In this course, students will learn about a lot of goddesses; identify festivals and practices related to them; and look at contemporary representations of goddesses in films, television shows, and comic books.

    Taught by Dr. Nicole Goulet (