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Anthropology/Physics - AN 209/PC 122: Cosmology and Place in the American Southwest

Blocks 1 and 2: Esteban Gomez and Richard Hilt

The two-block course fulfills the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement and two of the following three: Global Cultures, Social Inequality, and Scientific Investigation of the Natural World (Laboratory or Field).

Description: Anthropology/Physics

This FYE Seminar introduces students to the foundations of Anthropology and Cultural Astronomy by exploring how groups in the American Southwest imbued the landscape and sky with memories, meanings, and other lived experiences. Students will explore how the Ancient peoples of this region developed complex societies, constructed monumental buildings, and positioned structures and features to engage with the natural world. This course is a combination of PC122, Cultural Astronomy, and AN209, Archaeology of the American Southwest, redesigned for first year students.  Professors Gomez and Hilt will both be in the classroom or out in the field with the students in both blocks, thus allowing the integration of Archaeology and Astronomy in their approach to understanding cultures of the Southwest. This course is an excellent introduction to Colorado College and will allow students to see that the questions we ask and the answers we accept blend the methods of science and social science. 

A set of linked, one-block courses, team-taught by two instructors; the two courses must be taken together, and a single grade will be assigned for each block.

Requirements Fulfilled:

Taken together, AN209 and PC122 are capable of fulfilling up to three Critical Perspectives requirements for graduation: the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and two of the following three: Social Inequality, Global Cultures, and Scientific Investigation (Laboratory or Field). AN209 fulfills either the Global Cultures or the Social Inequality requirement. PC122 fulfills the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and either the Global Cultures or Scientific Investigation (Laboratory or Field) requirement.  

Students are advised to examine their options to ensure optimal distribution of Critical Perspectives requirements. Those seeking credit for both Social Inequality and Global Cultures can select Social Inequality in Block I and Global Cultures in Block II. Students who elect to fulfill the Scientific Investigation requirement in Block II may select either Social Inequality or Global Cultures in Block I. 


  • This course is a gateway to the Anthropology Major. Both blocks, taken together, count as one block toward the AN major.
  • There will be diurnal and nocturnal observation projects. The course will have afternoon laboratory assignments.
  • Prerequisites and/or suggested preparation: None
  • Field trips: In Block I, we will spend one week on the road visiting sites in the Four Corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.  We will camp, and cook our own food. In Block II, we will spend five days at the Baca Campus, where we will sleep in beds and eat restaurant food. Both field trips will keep students away from the main CC campus for about a week.