Human Society Major
All human life takes place in community. Individuals do not act, think, or even feel in complete isolation from others, but do so within and in response to social contexts. Because we all live in societies, it is valuable to seek to understand the institutions and components of society (such as culture, government, law, religion, and social structure) and the various ways human beings have lived in societies in different cultures and time periods.
The BA in Human Society uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine people and institutions in the context of societies in order to evaluate individual and collective choices. The disciplines of Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology offer key methodologies for investigating major institutions of human society conceptually, comparatively, and through case studies (both historical and contemporary).
Because it is a cross-disciplinary program, the Human Society major uses multiple lenses to examine the complexity of reality. Different disciplines shed different kinds of light on an issue, so multiple disciplines in dialogue offer the possibility of a more holistic view. In the Human Society major, you will investigate two related questions from the point of view of Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology:
- How can we understand the major institutions and components in human society (such as culture, government, law, religion, and social structure)?
- How can we analyze human choices and their ramifications, especially within the context of societies?
Through exploration of these questions, your classes will help you to deepen your understanding of human society. The Human Society major is a flexible program, that allows you to emphasize Anthropology, History, Political Science, or Sociology, or, if you prefer, to pursue a mix of these disciplines.
The Human Society major will help prepare you to participate in society in professional, civic, and personal capacities. Like other liberal arts majors, this program fosters strong writing, research, and analysis skills. Based on the disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, and sociology, the program can provide grounding for multiple career paths, for example, in government, law, data analysis, high school teaching, museums, social and community services, editing, and international development.
Studying human society can provide useful tools for spiritual development. Reflecting on human choices will help you to cultivate your own ability for personal reflection, an activity that supports spiritual development. Your classes will encourage you to reflect on and determine your own choices as you engage in society.
HEAD OF MAJOR
Dr. Wendy Closterman
Associate Professor of History and Greek
BA Bryn Athyn College
PhD Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Closterman, the head of the Human Society major, teaches ancient history and biblical Greek. Her research focuses on the funerary practices, religion, and social history of ancient Greece. In her teaching, she explores what archaeology as well as textual evidence reveals about the ancient world. Dr. Closterman has led groups of Bryn Athyn students and faculty on summer tours of Greece and Italy. More about faculty