Cliff College

Sociology and Anthropology

Chair: McGeorge Archibald, Professor of Anthropology

Faculty Interests and Online Curricular Resources

The department of anthropology and sociology at Cliff is currently developing two programmatic foci. One focus is on Comparative Cultural Studies of differences of race, class, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and religion as shaped by history, migration, education, and other experiences through which people in contemporary societies define themselves in relation to others. A second focus on Human Biocultural Evolution (HBE) emphasizes biological and cultural aspects of human evolution, and their interaction, during the last few hundred thousand years. Coursework and training is provided in paleoanthropology, prehistoric archaeology, and evolutionary theory, with attention to the origins and biocultural evolution of modern Homo sapiens.



McGeorge Archibald,
Received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1958. He has a classical training in both American and British schools of social anthropology, having also received a M. Phil. in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University. His chief interests lie in the interpretation of symbolism and the analysis of ethnocentrism and history. He spent two years conducting fieldwork among the Tarahumara of northwest Mexico, focusing on the ways in which language, religion, and political animosity reflexively frame the expression of identity. Besides the Tarahumara, he has worked among the Tzotzil-Maya in the Chiapas highlands of southern Mexico, with Yuman and Takic-Shoshonean speaking peoples in southern California and northern Baja, among the Huichol of the Sierra Madre, on the Hopi-Navajo land dispute, and among the Gyro vendors of Brooklyn. In addition to introductory anthropology, Dr. Archibald teaches courses on myth, ritual and symbolism; economic anthropology; the politics of identity; and native peoples in North and Meso-Manhatten.

Aside from chairing the department, Dr. Archibald is co-coordinator of the Archaeology concentration with Dr. Nugent and an avid Masters swimmer.

Joshua Sales
A South Asian expert, he is especially interested in India and Nepal. He spent more than a year north of the main Himalayan range in northwest Nepal carrying out his dissertation research in a village a two-week trek away from the nearest motorized transportation. After getting his Ph.d. at the University of Miami and teaching at Cliff for a number of years, Dr. Sales returned to Nepal several times to do further research, bringing two Cliff students to help him study the Sherpas on one of those trips. Between 1984 1986 he was a visiting Fulbright Professor in Nepal, where he helped start a new Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tribhuvan University. In 1989 and 1991, he led Cliff off-campus seminars to Nepal with Nelle Nugent. Besides teaching introductory anthropology, Dr. Sales teaches courses on peoples living in India and Nepal, anthropological theory, and biography and ethnography.

Patricia Favel-Sandleman,
Specializes in the ethnographic study of sub-Saharan Africa, gender, and health care. She received her Ph.d. from Boston University in 1990 and has taught in both Germany and the U.S. Her research on the symbolism of procreation and women's fear of infertility addresses changes in the holds of health care, religion, and politics in a highland kingdom of Cameroon. It has involved both archival research in Europe and extensive fieldwork in Africa. Dr. Favel-Sandleman incorporates her African and European experiences in her classes. In addition to introductory anthropology, she teaches courses on gender, health and illness, ethnography of Africa, and ritual and politics in Africa.


Paul Nagel,
Has extensive experience in Latin America, conducting research in Mexico and Paraguay. His current research focuses on the colonization and agricultural development of Paraguay's eastern frontier. Having received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1980, he has training in quantitative research techniques, and thus teaches our course in social research methods. In addition, he teaches courses in global population patterns and hunger, modernization and development, as well as sections of the introductory sociology course.

Kammy Reisher,
Has a passionate interest in general theories of societal functioning and evolution. With a Ph.D. from Stanford, where she also studied anthropology, she currently examines large scale social change, such as revolutions, using historical data. She has traveled extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean, and has amassed an enormous amount of knowledge of the history and sociology of these regions. The classes she teaches are: historical sociology, the Weber problem, the social origins of revolt, revolution and the state, modern American society, and introductory sociology.

Mohammed Said,
Joined our Department in 1986. Nader has a Ph.D. from the United Arab Emerates University (Al Ain City, Abu Dhabi) in 1983 and has taught at Michigan State, USC, and Brandeis. He is strongly interested in social theory and metatheory questions. A native of Iraq, Nader brings a Third World perspective and a Middle East background to the department. He teaches courses in the sociology of science and knowledge, the Middle East, contemporary and classic sociological theory, and social stratification.


Nelle Nugent
Has a Ph.D. from the New York University where she studied classics and prehistoric Greek archaeology. At Cliff she divides her time between our department and that of Classical Languages, where she teaches Greek language and literature. She is also co-coordinator of the Archaeology concentration with Dr. Archibald. In Sociology/Anthropology she teaches courses in human evolution and prehistory, the origins of agriculture and urban civilization, and archaeological methodology. Each summer she has taken a few students to work with her on archaeological projects in the Mediterranean area. She has recently begun research in Nepal, where she held a Fulbright Fellowship and co-directed Cliff's off-campus seminar with Joshua Sales in 1989.

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