Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Upper-Level N&M for SSI: ANTH-B370 Human Variation

If your students are looking for an N&M during Summer Session I, they might consider ANTH-B370 Human Variation, taught by Frederika Kaestle. There are no prerequisites for the course, and Professor Kaestle does not assume any genetic or biology knowledge beyond the high-school level; she is happy to have freshmen enroll.

The course explores the variation within and between human populations in anatomy, genetics, and behavior. Explored are current hypotheses regarding human variation in a multitude of traits, including skin color, body shape, blood type, response to stress, disease resistance, IQ, and sexual orientation. The topics of this course involve profound questions facing society, and revolve around new and constantly evolving science and technology. Major themes for this course include:

o The principles underlying human variation (genetics, evolution)
o Patterns of human variation today
o The causes of these patterns
o Nature vs. nurture
o Genes and behavior
o The ethical dilemmas of this research
o A historical perspective on this research

This summer Prof. Kaestle will continue her tradition of sequencing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from any student who would like to participate, and discussing what insights their sequences provide into their personal genealogical histories.

Student feedback for this course is very positive, and Prof. Kaestle is adept at explaining the material clearly and engaging her students. It's a fun and informative class.

Thank you for helping spread the word!


Kim Hinton
Academic Advisor