Anthropology & Cultural Studies

Anthropology & Cultural Studies

Study Humankind

Imagine sharing the basic story of the study of humankind from its beginnings millions of years ago all the way up to the present day. The great story that tells us who we are, how we came to be, and where we may go in the future.

At Kirkwood, we can prepare you to further tell and develop the story of humankind by helping you explore and discover the path of anthropology that most interests you.

Our Anthropology and Cultural Studies interest area focuses on a wide range of regions and people, including Latin America, Japan, China, the Mideast, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Courses are structured around all areas within the anthropology field, including history, geography, economics, sociology, politics, culture, and more.

As a Liberal Arts student, you will be able to meet history/culture core requirements while choosing from many electives in anthropology and cultural studies. Kirkwood has special transfer agreements with all three state universities and many other four-year institutions.

How to Apply Request More Info

Each year, many students successfully transfer their Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees from Kirkwood to four-year institutions in Iowa and across the country. If you are planning to transfer to a four-year program, you will work very closely with advisors in our Advising and Transfer Center. They will make sure you have everything completed for a seamless transfer.

Our advisors help take the guesswork and confusion out of the process, ensuring you meet Kirkwood’s graduation requirements, as well as the admission requirements and transferability of courses to your transfer school. By meeting with our advisors early and often, you’ll be better prepared for the next steps in continuing your education after Kirkwood.

Don't Miss!

Kirkwood Community College has a special transfer agreement with the University of Iowa for anthropology students:

University of Iowa 2+2 in Anthropology


Kirkwood is the affordable option! We have more than $3 million in scholarships available every year — and it's just one easy application.

The opportunities are endless for a rewarding career in anthropology. Having a background in anthropology prepares you for excellent jobs, including traditional careers in teaching or research, or applied careers like research or administration.

Further study in graduate or professional school is also a common path for students with an interest in anthropology. Kirkwood can help you explore your career options – and provide exciting experiences in and out of the classroom to help find the best path for you.

Sample Coursework

The Anthropology and Cultural Studies interest area at Kirkwood is part of our Liberal Arts program. You will work closely with the Advising and Transfer Center and anthropology and cultural studies faculty when deciding on which classes to take. 

For questions regarding classes ANT-105, CLS-192, and CLS-159 please contact Arts & Humanities. For questions regarding classes CLS-151, CLS-165, and CLS-167 please contact Social Sciences.

Explores what it means to be human. A comparative, holistic study of group life in various cultures is undertaken. Selected aspects of physical and cultural anthropology perspectives provide the basis for these cross-cultural examinations.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Examines human spatial and cultural behavior in Latin America by exploring political, economic, religious, and social institutions. Theoretical readings are balanced with case studies to enable students to explore theoretical perspectives in a cross-cultural context.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Begins with a survey of Japanese history and culture to the Meijl Restoration of 1868. Emphasis is on the borrowing and blending of Chinese culture with Japanese culture, dating back to the Tang dynasty in China. Students focus on the Japanese adaptation to the challenges of modernization, with emphasis on accommodating industry and modern systems of government within a traditional Japanese cultural system. Issues include the relationship with China, World War II, and the economic expansion of Japan from 1945 to the present.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, a period of confusion, violence, and chaos, during which China has undergone a dramatic revolution. Compares how ancient China struggled to adopt the most useful practices of the western enlightenment while keeping its unique identity. Explores this struggle by examining geography, philosophy of Confucianism, and religious and political practices.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Examines the implications and impacts of various communication media, especially modern ones, on human culture and society. Using tools of historical and cultural studies, as well as the interpretive methods of the humanities, students will explore, for example, how new communications media affect interpersonal relations, self concept, democracy, experiences of space/time, and human creativity.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Explores the ethnographic, political, economic, and historical contexts of contemporary indigenous life in Central America, with particular emphasis on the indigenous people of Guatemala and Mexico. While contemporary culture is the main focus of the course, students also explore the themes of continuity and change from pre-Hispanic times to the present.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Meet the Faculty

Bill Stephens
Title: Associate Professor, Anthropology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5341
Office: Arts & Humanities
2092 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A.; University of Texas-Austin
M.A. and Ph.D.; University of Oregon
Bio: Bill teaches Cultural Anthropology, Indigenous Central America, and Working in America. He has conducted long-term anthropological research in a highland Mayan community in Chiapas, Mexico, where he worked primarily with indigenous healers who were dealing with the problems of hope, suffering, and well-being in an increasingly “global” age. Bill received his B.A. from the University of Texas-Austin, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.


Dr. Laura Yost
Title: Associate Professor, Cultural Studies
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5984
Office: Social Sciences
2092 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A. and M.A.; Iowa State University
Ph.D.; University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Bio: Laura teaches cultures courses on Latin America, Modern China, and Modern Japan, as well as history classes on modern world military history and the Holocaust and genocide. Her particular areas of interest are comparative economic development, microcredit, and the Guatemalan Civil War. She received her Ph.D. in 19th- and 20th-century military history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, having earned her B.A. and M.A. in history from Iowa State University.


Arts & Humanities
2092 Cedar Hall

Social Sciences
2092 Cedar Hall