Stephen Kaufman, Ph.D., RVCC Humanities Dept.

Stephen A. Kaufman, Ph.D.

Professor, Anthropology

Humanities, Social Sciences & Education

Office: S-331
Phone: 908-526-1200, Ext. 8356
e-mail: skaufman@raritanval.edu

 "I was not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land."
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Playwright and advisor to Nero, circa 4BC-circa 65AD



Educational Philosophy

Anthropology is a revolutionary discipline. No, I do not mean politically (though some have been inspired that way), but instead in its potential to change the way you look at our culture, different cultures around the world and yourself.

Anthropology asks you to look at other people and the way they live through a prism which divides the universe into different parts such as the physical environment, the social environment, religion, family, politics and more. Anthropology then asks you to look again at the same culture by bringing the parts back together. Anthropology also asks you to examine the ways in which different cultures including our own treat universal aspects of human behavior. The comparative analysis is not for the purposes of passing judgement about which culture is better, but rather to understand better what causes cultures to be similar or for that matter to be different.

Significantly, anthropology asks you to look at our own culture. It is easier to see our own culture after we have made observations and analyses about other cultures. The most difficult person to observe is really the one in the mirror and the same may be said about people understanding and observing their own culture.

It is my hope and expectation that you will no longer see cultures/people in the same way as you previously did. It is also my hope that you will take these new powers of observation and analysis with you in looking at people in our own culture.

Biographical Sketch

Now a little bit about myself. I am a native born New Yorker (that is the city as well as the state) who moved to New Jersey approximately 20 years ago. I graduated from the City College of the City of New York with a BA in Sociology/Anthropology and then went on to UCLA where I earned my Master's degree in anthropology. I returned to New York where I then earned my Ph.D. in anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The degree was awarded on the basis of my archeological fieldwork in Serbia (then a part of Yugoslavia). Before coming to RVCC, I began my college teaching career at Queens and York College in New York with adjunct work at the New School for Social Research. I also taught at the Ethical Culture Society of New York.

Following the completion of my degree I did fieldwork in Mexico and New Jersey. More recently conducted library research on the ancient ball games of the Americas. Some 15 years ago, The College established The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, now the Institute. I served as director of the program and began researching the fate of Blacks in Nazi occupied Europe.

Two colleagues, Kevin Reilly and Angela Bodino, and I developed a course entitled Global Patterns of Racism. The course is offered both in the traditional classroom setting as well as online. The unique global character of the course "forced" us to develop our own book: Racism: A Global Reader which was published in November, 2002 by ME Sharpe.

Along with another colleague I developed a program called Global Visions. The program's goals are to provide opportunities for students to travel internationally and earn college credits through a study program. The program has taken students to Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Mexico.

I have a passion for travel and have visited dozens of countries - not surprising for an anthropologist. I have gone off to places such as Turkey, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru for long weekends. One of my travel highlights was a four month circumnavigation of the world. During that trip I spent most of my time in India and the Far East. In the year 2002, I had the opportunity to revisit Tanzania and successfully climbed Kilimanjaro for the second time.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 101)
  • Human Origins (ANTH 102)
  • Introduction to Archeology (ANTH 120)
  • North American Indians (ANTH 201)
  • Global Patterns of Racism (ANTH 202)
  • Introduction to Physical Geography (GEOG 101)
  • Introduction to Cultural Geography (GEOG 102)
This document maintained by: Stephen Kaufman; last modified 2/28/2013 by HJS