Washington University in St. Louis (WUStL) is a private university in St. Louis, Missouri founded in 1853.  It currently enrolls 7,381 undergraduate and 6,682 graduate students.


Biology Courses
Anthropology Courses

Evolution of the Human Diet (Anthropology 3151)
Through a comparative evolutionary and anthropological approach we will examine the diets of extinct hominins, our extant primate relatives, ethnohistoric and contemporary foraging peoples, and even our own dietary habits. We will strive to answer key questions about diets in prehistory and their implications for living people today: How do we know what our ancestors ate? How have dietary hypotheses been used to explain processes in human evolution? When and how did the gendered division of labor come about in human dietary evolution? How bad is agriculture for global health? What role did certain foods play in shaping our modern physiology? Are we maladapted to our contemporary diets? What does it mean to eat “Paleo”?

Food, Culture, and People (Anthropology 3215)
What should I eat today? This seemingly simple question transects the fields of health, environmental studies, economics, history, anthropology, religion, and many others. The foods we eat, the way we get them, the way we produce them, and the way in which we eat them speak volumes about our beliefs, our technology, our understanding of how the world works, and our ability to function within it. That is, food is an excellent way to explore culture. No actions are more deserving of critical attention than those that we do regularly, without much critical thought, and most of eat at least two or three times a day. In this class we’ll explore how this food came to be here, why we like it, and what that says about us.

Medicinal Botany (Anthropology 3262 / Biology 3262, 3 credits)
This class examines the use of plants in medical applications. This class provides an interface between botany, traditional medicinal plant use, and Western medicine. Provides an introduction to plant taxonomy and ethnobotanical research methods.

Tobacco: History, Science, Culture, and Policy(Anthropology 4135, 3 credits)
This course examines the role of tobacco in shaping the modern world over the past five centuries, as well as introduces students to public health approaches to disease prevention and healthy lifestyle promotion.

Paleoethnobotany and Ethnobotany (Anthropology 4211, 3 credits)
This course studies the interrelationships between plants and people, especially in past societies. This course aims to analyze plant remains from archaeological sites; interpret subsistence and vegetation changes; medicinal, ritual, and technological uses of plants; and plant domestication and agricultural intensification.

Advanced Methods in Ethnobotany (Anthropology 4212, 3 credits)
This course studies advanced analytical techniques for the study of archaeological plant remains and their relevance in society.

Plants and American People: Past and Present(Anthropology 4213, 3 credits)
This interdisciplinary course examines the relationship between plants and the American people. Topics include the natural diversity of plants used by Native Americans for food, fiber, and medicine; the significance of plants in the “Columbian Exchange” for the history of the United States and the economies of the Old World; Native-American and Euro-American farming practices; modern agribusiness including transgenic crops; and the modern conservation movement in the U.S.


Memory Elvin-Lewis (Biology Department); elvin@wustl.edu
Walter Lewis (Biology Department); lewis@biology.wustl.edu