Prof. Timothy McCollum
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
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Anthropology is part of the department of Anthropology, History and Political Science in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
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What makes an OBU Anthropology degree special?
Before addressing what makes an OBU anthropology degree special, what in the world is anthropology? Well, anthropology is not the study of dinosaurs; that’s paleontology. And it is not the study of ants; that’s myrmecology. And while archaeology is certainly part of anthropology, anthropology it is not merely the study of ancient ruins. So, what is anthropology? Considered the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities, anthropology has been described as “the universal academic discipline.” Composed of four major subfields –- archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology –- anthropology is holistic in orientation, interdisciplinary in character, sociocultural in focus, and operates beyond the limitations of interest and scope that often define the boundaries of many academic disciplines. With an interest in all of humanity through space and time, the contextual breadth of anthropology includes all human lifeways ranging in scale from small tribal groups to large civilizations, and the contextual depth of anthropology entails all human existence spanning the ancient past to the contemporary present.
This breadth of interest and depth of scope afford anthropology an expansive and unique perspective. To develop and employ this perspective the discipline utilizes the approaches and methods of both the sciences and the humanities to engage issues, produce knowledge, and solve problems related to the human condition. With an applied focus on learning to clearly view, critically understand, and effectively attend to that condition, anthropology is well positioned to address shifting global contexts in meaningful and practical ways.While OBU anthropology students are challenged to explore theories, methods, and answers both in and outside of the classroom, an emphasis is placed on cultivating values, connections, and questions for life beyond Bison Hill. This pursuit is situated within a program of study designed to integrate Christian faith and learning in preparation for global service and professional practice. So, whether pursued as a declared program of study or as elective supplemental coursework, studying anthropology at OBU assists students in becoming more attentive global citizens and responsible agents of positive change. The unique perspective of the discipline, coupled with its adaptive character, transferable knowledge, portable skills, serves to prepare graduates who will be increasingly called upon in their professional lives to engage a diverse, complex, and globalizing world.
What are OBU grads doing with their Anthropology degrees?
Recent anthropology graduates have found professional employment or paid service positions and internships in a variety of arenas, including World Vision (Washington D.C.), Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (St. Louis), U.S. Peace Corps, Dallas Museum of Art, SBC Journeyman Program, English Language Institute of China, as well as in diverse mission contexts situated around the globe. A number of anthropology graduates have pursued additional academic study and professional training, for example, at Tulane University, Indiana University, University of North Texas, University of Tulsa, Purdue University, and the University of Oklahoma, among others. Some who have completed further study now hold positions at academic institutions. Ultimately, the diverse contexts in which graduates serve illustrate the variety of interests and commitments that OBU anthropology students embody. Just as each student is unique, so too is the way in which each graduate employs anthropology in the world.
What courses can I take?
Anthropology affords students an opportunity to enroll in a wide range of interesting courses, from surveys of Cultural Anthropology, World Cultures, World Music, and World Religions, to seminars in Human Rights in the World Community; Race and Ethnicity in Global Perspective; Kinship and Family in Global Perspective; and Language, Culture, and Communication. Students also have the option of choosing from a series of courses with regional concentrations, including the Middle East, East Asia, Modern Russia, Latin America, and Native America. In addition to those regularly scheduled, students can take advantage of courses offered on the basis of expressed student interest, a recent example being Political Economy, Culture, and Globalization. Based on respective intellectual interests and professional aspirations, anthropology students are encouraged to supplement traditional coursework with appropriate field experiences, internships, research and thesis projects, and independent study options.
What do OBU Anthropology faculty specialize in?
Prof. Timothy McCollum serves as the anthropology program director. With a disciplinary concentration in cultural anthropology and a regional focus on North America, Prof. McCollum harbors specializations in historical anthropology, folklore, education, human ecology, and indigenous studies. There are a number of other faculty members, however, who also serve the anthropology program. For example, Professor Lucrecia Litherland (languages) teaches Linguistics, Prof. Kristen Todd (music) teaches World Music, and Prof. Glenn Sanders (history), Prof. John Powell (history), and Prof. Sherri Raney (history and political science) teach seminars on the culture, history, and politics of the Middle East, East Asia, and Modern Russia, respectively. In addition, Prof. Nicole Warehime (sociology) and Prof. McCollum co-teach Social and Cultural Research as well as Senior Seminar: Critical Issues for students in anthropology and sociology. The diversity of OBU faculty who serve the anthropology program reflects the interdisciplinary character of the discipline itself.
OBU anthropology students explore. Students in anthropology are encouraged to explore co-curricular travel and study abroad options. Among the most globally-minded and well traveled students on campus, recent anthropology students have traveled and/or studied in China, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Uganda, Israel, England, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma), Guatemala, Vietnam, Kenya, and elsewhere around the globe.
OBU anthropology students serve. The International Mission Board’s innovative Hands-On Program is designed to afford bachelor-level students opportunities to earn concurrent academic credit while spending a semester or two abroad serving alongside missionaries. In partnership with the IMB, and in collaboration with OBU’s Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, OBU anthropology and cross-cultural ministry students who harbor interests in global missions are encouraged to pursue this unique option.
OBU anthropology students lead. In addition to traveling, studying, and serving abroad, OBU anthropology students actively participate in and often lead a variety of campus organizations, including, but not limited to, the Student Government Association (SGA), Anthropos Society (anthropology/sociology student organization), Pi Gamma Mu - International Honor Society in Social Sciences, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA), and Justice Mission, the campus chapter of International Justice Mission.
OBU anthropology students engage. Students interested in museum studies may enroll in ANTH 2803 Introduction to Museum Studies by arranged and then pursue directed internships in public education, exhibition and curatorial practice, and collections management at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art on the campus of St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee. There are also opportunities for placement at other museums, archives, and centers.
OBU anthropology students achieve. There are a number of opportunities available for anthropology students to earn special academic recognition and distinction. Students may be selected for induction into Pi Gamma Mu -- International Honor Society in Social Sciences, involving an induction ceremony where inductees are awarded honor cords to be worn at commencement. Students may be nominated and selected for the Duncan-Hart Award for Distinction in Anthropology by the anthropology program, for the Pi Gamma Mu Scholarship Medal by the local chapter, or for Outstanding Senior in the Behavioral and Social Sciences by the faculty of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Students may also select to pursue an honors thesis project which, upon completion, qualifies the student to participate in a recognition banquet and hooding ceremony as well as to graduate with the academic distinction of Honors in Anthropology.