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Great Basin College Profile

Laurie Walsh, PhD
Anthropology Professor


"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." — Sydney J. Harris


Anthropology is the study of humankind, in all places and in all time periods. When I was a kid, I became fascinated by archaeology. I'm not sure how or why this happened, but it was probably from watching National Geographic! As a first-generation college student, getting my BA in Anthropology was challenging. While my family supported me, they could not offer much advice in negotiating the landscape of higher education. My goal in teaching at Great Basin College is not only to impart an understanding of anthropology in all its breadth, but also to help students navigate the doing of college, and to see the possibilities in higher education.

I hold three degrees in anthropology. After earning my Bachelor of Arts degree, I worked in the field of archaeology doing excavations and walking across Nevada to locate archaeological sites. After several years of this, I braved the world of graduate education. My research for a Master's degree centered on a small prehistoric summer camping location at Lake Tahoe. This work along with my professional position led to my interest in ethnography and archaeology. I wanted to learn from people who had lived as hunter-gatherers what the places, tools, and foods they used meant to them. This led to my pursuit of a PhD program in anthropology. After several years of course work and grant writing, I traveled to Australia's Western Desert to work with Mantjiltjarra people; these Aboriginal people had lived fully traditional lives up to the 1950s through 1984. From their memories I was able to understand the social meaning of the places and objects they had used in their traditional lives, before they settled down into modern communities.

What all this means is that I had come to value archaeology and living peoples in a new way. As a professor in anthropology, I strive to impart an appreciation of past and living peoples in my courses. I hope that students come to understand that the past and present lives of others matter, and that as our world shrinks with globalization it is imperative that we seek to preserve and understand these diverse ways of life.


Contact Information

Office Location: DCIT 125, Elko Campus
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  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2003
  • Master of Arts in Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno, 1995
  • Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Washington State University, 1982


Anthropology graphic.


  • Great Basin Anthropological Association
  • Nevada Archaeological Association
  • Southwest Anthropological Association
Honors and Awards
  • McCandless Prize for Meritorious Thesis/Dissertation 2003. Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Improvement Grant, 2000
  • Graduate Student Association Merit Award, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Frazier Fund Research Award for Hunter-Gatherer Architecture: House Forms in Transition. Frazier Research Fund, Depart


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ANTH 101
Title:Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Catalog Description: Study of human cultures across the globe through examination of the basic principles underlying the organization of societies and the ways anthropologists analyze various parts of culture. Students will become familiar with the glue that holds all groups of people together, and how that glue can divide groups of people in profound ways.
ANTH 102
Title:Physical Anthropology
Catalog Description: Introduction to the study of how humans, Homo sapiens, have emerged as a species and come to dominate the planet by examining processes of human biological and cultural evolution. Topics include inheritance, the emergence of primates, fossil hominids, the development of technology, and biological variability among modern humans. Satisfies general education science.
Title:Indians of North America
Catalog Description: Ethnographic survey of the wide variety of societies found in native North America, including regions such as the Plains, the Arctic, the Southwest, and the Southeast, among others. Course provides an overview of social institutions (i.e., religion, food getting and settlement, kinship, etc.) and changes resultant of European contact and colonization. Satisfies the diversity requirement at UNR.
Title:Indians of the Great Basin
Catalog Description: Study of indigenous cultures of the intermountain region of Western North America including such groups as the Washoe, the Western Shoshone, the Northern Paiute, and the Ute. Course provides an overview of social institutions (i.e., religion, food getting and settlement, kinship, etc.) and changes resultant of European contact and colonization. Satisfies diversity requirement at UNR.
ANTH 406
Title:Art in Small-Scale Societies
Catalog Description: This course focuses on the 'traditional' production and meaning of art in small-scale societies as well as the changes that occur with colonization and globalization among select groups from locations such as Africa, New Guinea, Australia, North and South America, and the Pacific Islands.
ANTH 458
Title:Origins of Inequality: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Catalog Description: This course explores the nature of social inequality in multiple cultural contexts including how inequality emerged in human history across time and space, and how it is expressed in different contemporary cultural contexts.
GEOG 106
Title:Introduction to Cultural Geography
Catalog Description: Analyze the culture regions of the world including physical settings and cultural patterns including language, settlements, socioeconomic patterns, and historical patterns.
INT 301
Title:Integrative Research Methodology
Catalog Description: An interdisciplinary integration of research methods in the natural sciences, social sciences, and history. The course is writing intensive and includes an introduction to portfolio development.
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