Opportunities for independent research are built into many of the courses in the anthropology curriculum, and several courses are designed to develop specific research skills. For example, the Ethnographer’s Craft (Anth 245) provides students with practical and methodological preparation for field research in cultural anthropology, and Archaeological Field Methods (Anth 231) provides students with experience excavating at local sites. The most recent site to be excavated by students in Archaeological Field Methods is Springside, the home of Matthew Vassar. Opportunities for laboratory research, which is also critical to anthropological inquiry, are available in our archaeology, biological anthropology, sound analysis and digital media labs.
The department also offers research opportunities with on-going faculty research projects, as research assistants and as URSI (Undergraduate Research Summer Institute) and Ford Scholars.
The Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) supports collaborative student-faculty research for 10 weeks during the summer. URSI students working with Professor L. Lewis Johnson have worked at archaeological sites in Alaska, and URSI students working Professor Anne Pike-Tay have analyzed materials from Paleolithic sites in France, Spain, and New Zealand.
The Ford Scholars Program at Vassar provides special opportunities for students in the humanities and social sciences to engage in collaborative scholarship with faculty. Ford Scholars working with Professor Colleen Ballerino Cohen have done ethnographic research in the Eastern Caribbean, and have worked production and post-production on ethnographic video; Ford Scholars working with Professor Tom Porcello have set up a digital audio lab and developed exercises for the lab; Ford Scholars working with Professor Martha Kaplan and Professor Yu Zhou (Geography) helped to design two new courses: Imagining Asia and Asian Diasporas.