The University of Rhode Island offers a multitude of interesting classes, one being an Anthropology topics class, Sex and Reproduction in our Species.
According to the course syllabus, it addresses questions like “what is similar and what is different about human reproduction and that of other organisms and do all humans reproduce the same way, using same biologies and behaviors?” The course attempts to answer those questions, and others, by taking a look at the biological and behavioral aspects of human sex and reproduction, which includes mating and parenting as well as biological principles behind making, growing and raising offspring.
Students like senior Emma Pereira, who is an Anthropology major with a concentration in biological anthropology, and a psychology minor, Â and senior Sophie Weaver, a double major in Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology also with a concentration on biological anthropology, both say they are taking the class to further their knowledge and understanding of sexual behavior through that evolutionary perspective.
“Looking at life through an evolutionary perspective can open your eyes to many things that just seem ‘normal’ or just happen,” Pereira said.
“Sex and reproduction are so central to humanity, we wouldn’t exist without it,” said Weaver. “But we fail to talk about it and fail to even try to understand it. I’m looking forward to learning new things and having fun doing so.”
Both seniors also said that professor Holly Dunsworth PhD. had a major impact on their choice to take the class.
“As soon as I heard Dr. Dunsworth was running this class again I was ecstatic,” said Pereira. “I have always been a huge fan of Dr. Dunsworth, her passion to teach, educate and be actively involved in research within Biological Anthropology and evolutionary biology is hard to ignore.”
“I’m taking this class because Dr. Dunsworth is my favorite professor here at URI,” Weaver said. “Every class I have taken with her has been life changing and I believe that she is one of the most incredibly passionate educators. She is so passionate, knowledgeable and funny that just being around her inspires me. I can easily say that having her as a teacher has given me my passion for anthropology.”
Dunsworth said she chose to teach this course because part of her research involves the evolution of reproduction.
“If you’re interested in evolution, you’re interested in reproduction,” Dunsworth stated. “Evolution ends if reproduction does.”
Dunsworth explained that anthropology, broadly, is simply about people. The oldest question in that discipline over the last 150 years was started about kinship and to explain how people are related, especially to their parents and siblings.
“It’ a wonderful topic in general,” Dunsworth said. “One semester is way too short for all of it.”
Though the class is currently offered as a topics class, after this semester it will be made a permanent class offered as Anthropology 399. Any URI student can take the course as long as they fulfilled the prerequisite of Anthropology 201, Beginning of Evolution.