Elmer Beal

Elmer Beal
207-801-5702 | ebeal@coa.edu

Elmer Beal

B.A. Bowdoin College, 1965
M.A. Anthropology, University of Texas, 1977

Courses Taught

HS024Contemporary Culture and the Self

This course introduces concepts in anthropology, explores the relationship of the collective aspects of culture to the individual, and examines behavior as a consequence of biology or culture. Half the classes focus on a text (An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 5th ed. by Marvin Harris) which compares aspects of human culture at different times and in different parts of the world. The other classes focus on three novels: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, and The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. These novels are read as sources of cultural information about individuals from different societies. Two autobiographical papers examine students' own enculturation. Evaluation is based on participation in class, the two papers, a mid-term and a final exam. Offered every fall. Level: Introductory. Class limit: 20. *HS*

HS033Cultural Ecology of Population Control Practices

This is a research course focusing on methods of (and attitudes toward) controlling population growth rates in different cultures. Participants are expected to examine a set of hypotheses which relate several variables in the biological and cultural ecosystem, including population growth rates, environmental depletion, technological change and intraspecies violence. Each student then researches the literature on a different society and presents the findings to the group. Evaluation is based on class participation and a paper summarizing the project. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: Contemporary Culture and the Self or signature of instructor. Offered every other year. *HS*

HS322Culture of Maine Woodworkers

This course presents an integrated view of the environment, both cultural and natural, in which Maine men and women working in the timber industry operate and adapt. Topics covered include: the physical environment as a limiting factor, the resources (their nature and abundance), and the cultural mechanisms which mediate the workers' access to and use of the resources (technology, economy, social organization, belief systems). The course makes use of numerous field trips and visitors. Each student is asked to keep detailed notes in a journal of all classes, field trips, and interviews. There is also a mid-term exam. (Note: this course parallels Cultural Ecology of Maine Fishing in method and theoretical outline, but is not redundant.) The objective is to know what people in the industry think, why they think it, and where the industry is going. Level: Intermediate. Offered every other year. Lab fee: $20. *HS*

HS240World Ethnography in Film

This course is intended to give a view of how different peoples of the world live and what their homes, dress, customs, and work are like, the kinds of technologies employed in various environments and the population levels they support. The text is Ethnographic Film by Heider. The class views a sampling of anthropological films made over the last fifty years. Students are expected to view twenty films and write critiques of fifteen. Evaluation is based on participation and the fifteen reviews. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Contemporary Culture and the Self or equivalent. Offered every year. Lab fee $20. *HS*