May 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Course Catalog 
2022-2023 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANT 105 - Cultural Anthropology

Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 3
Lab Hours: 0
Practicum Hours: 0
Work Experience: 0
Course Type: Core
Introduction to the cross-cultural study of human cultural diversity through anthropological theory, fundamental concepts, and ethnographic case studies. The course explores cultural change on a local-global continuum by examining integrated aspects of past and current human lifeways. Students will develop an understanding of anthropological perspectives and learn to apply them to interpret diverse human experiences and societies.    

  1. Discuss basic concepts of anthropology as a scientific approach to studying human phenomena.  
    1. Define the four subfields of anthropology and how they provide an integrated approach.
    2. Show the differences and overlaps between applied and academic modes of doing anthropological work.
    3. Demonstrate the significance of holism in ethnographic work and comparativism in ethnological study.
    4. Through an ethnography, apply anthropological principles to the analysis of ethnographic material.  
  2. Examine the concept of culture as a key operating principle of anthropology.  
    1. Compare two or more definitions of culture and their implications. 
    2. Identify major milestones in the history of anthropological theory: Diffusionism, Unilineal Evolution/Social Darwinism, American Historical Particularism, British Functionalism, Structuralism, Feminist Anthropology, and Symbolic/Interpretive Anthropology.
    3. Define strong and tempered forms of cultural relativism and ethnocentrism.
    4. Understand the role of emic and etic perspectives in culturally specific “Thick Description.”
    5. Analyze the global-local continuum as part of human adaptation strategies.
  3. Identify the processes and methods of ethnographic field work, data analysis, and ethical considerations.
    1. Demonstrate the colonial beginnings and postcolonial legacies of anthropology. 
    2. Explain the purpose and proper application of participant observation, interviews, recordings, surveys, mapping, and different varieties of fieldwork. 
    3. Outline the principles of ethical research practices, IRBs, informed consent, data sharing with research participants, and collaborative research design.
  4. Examine the basic concepts of ethnicity, race, and social identity. 
    1. Explain why race is a biological myth and, at the same time, a social reality. 
    2. Demonstrate how race has been historically used for the exploitation of human populations.
    3. Analyze the concepts of racial stratification, racial profiling, ethnic cleansing and genocide, as defined by the United Nations, and their implications for a multicultural society.
  5. Discuss the differences between the concepts of sex and gender.
    1. Describe basic anthropological perspectives on gender, gender division of labor, and gender stratification across cultures. 
    2. Examine basic principles of biological sex. 
    3. Explain the difference between intersexuality and transgender identity from a non-binary perspective.
  6. Explain kinship as a cultural meaning of relatedness. 
    1. Define categories of kin as consanguine, affinal and fictive. 
    2. Explain forms of descent, unilineal and bilateral descent systems and their implications for post-marital locality, household membership, and descent group membership.
    3. Define marriage in an inclusive way including monogamy, polygamy, polygyny, and polyandry. 
    4. Explain the significance of recognizing cross- and parallel cousins in a unilineal descent system. 
    5. Demonstrate the use of kinship charting basics and kinship diagrams.
  7. Formulate an anthropological definition of religion, religious belief, and spirituality as a meaningful part of a holistic approach to culture.  
    1. Explain the four basic forms of religious belief: animism, animatism, polytheism, and monotheism. 
    2. Examine the concept and role of shamanism as an integrated form of religious practice in small-scale societies. 
    3. Explain the three phases and socially transformative effects of the rite of passage. 
    4. Interpret the anthropological perspective of magic, sorcery and witchcraft through ethnographic examples.
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of anthropological approaches to communication and language. 
    1. Define language as a culture-specific system of verbal and non-verbal communication.  
    2. Demonstrate the importance of linguistic relativity to understanding culturally symbolic meaning.
    3. Define the building-blocks of language and linguistic analysis. 
    4. Describe how languages change over time, specialized uses of language, linguistic diversity, and language revitalization.  
  9. Analyze the correlations between social organization and modes of subsistence. 
    1. Compare the four main modes of subsistence and their characteristics: foraging, pastoralism, horticulture, and agriculture. 
    2. Compare the four main types of political organization and their characteristics: band, tribe, chiefdom and state. 
    3. Examine the significance of adaptive stategy in terms of the carrying capacity of the land and social organization. 
    4. Demonstrate the cultural relevance of different approaches to power, authority, social control, and social hierarchy as a continuum. 
    5. Explain the three modes of exchange and the three types of reciprocity. 
    6. Understand the concept of reciprocity as a mechanism for generating social obligations and connections.

Competencies Revised Date: 2019

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