• Welcome to Cultural Anthropology!
    Course Description: This course is an introduction to cultural anthropology.  A basic understanding of culturalanthropology is the study of people who live in different cultures, in otherwords, those who inhabit different realities from your own.


    The course begins with a study of our own culture and asks, “Whatdoes it mean to be an American?” From there we will consider concepts ofcultural relativity and ethnocentrism. We also study cultures that defy our standard racial categories andgender categories.  We will examine therole of symbols and rituals in various cultures and make comparisons with theuse of the same in our culture.


    After certain readings you will find discussionquestions.  Please look at thesequestions before doing the assigned readings and think about them as youread and again afterward.  These andother issues will form the basis for class discussion.  We examine many cultures through video andsome through presentations students create. The class is open to all grades and abilities.




    Course Requirements:

    • There will be two projects over the course of the quarter.  One project will involve you compiling and describing a collection of artifacts identifying what you consider to be key aspects of your own identity.  The second project will involve you creating a visual representation of a specific aspect of another culture, either a culture we study in class or one of your own choosing.


    • There will be homework assigned.  You are expected to come to class prepared.  I will do the same.


    • There will be daily discussions, readings and handouts in class.  You are expected to fully prepare and participate in each class and discussion. 



    Grading Policies:

    This class is a pass/fail class.  To pass, you must thoroughly complete allassigned work.  You must also activelyparticipate in all classroom projects and discussions.  If you do not complete the assigned work orparticipate fully you will not receive credit for the course.



    Materials for this class:

    1. lined paper
    2. 2-pocket folder or 3-ring binder for class readings and handouts
    3. pens & pencils



    Class Topics & Activities

    Thurs Jan 31


    -review syllabus

    -classroom community

    -What is anthropology?

    Mon Feb 4

     What is Anthropology

    Physical antrhopology 


    Cultural Anthropology


    Wed Feb 6

    American Culture 1

    -Fundamentals of culture

    -Self assessment


    Fri Feb 8

    Watch Babies

    -How does culture impact how our opinions of the way different babies were raised?

    -How does culture impact people from the very beginning of their life?

    Wed Feb 13

     (shortened blocks) 

    Watch (finish)  Babies

    -How does culture impact how our opinions of the way different babies were raised?

    -How does culture impact people from the very beginning of their life?

    Tues Feb 19



    -What is Ethnography and why important to anthropologists?

    -Writing Ethnographic descriptions

    Thurs Feb 21 

     (shortened blocks)

    Uncontact Tribes



    Mon Feb 25




    -Values behind stereotype origins

    -Why is understanding own culture important?


     Wed Feb 27

     Non-verbal communication

    -What is metacommunication?

    -How do we communicate without words?

    -What gestures and motions are cultural?

    Friday Mar 1

     Dialects & Sociolinguistics

    -What are the language families and how have they evolved?

    -What is sociolinguistics?

    -What are dialects, code switching, diglossia, etc?  

    NY Times dialect quiz

    Tuesday Mar 5


    Thursday Mar 7


     Food Anthropology 

    -What it is

    -Food around the world (What the World Eats)

    -Food preparation and consumption rituals

    -Strange foods (tacos?) 

    Mon Mar 11


    beliefs on gender in different cultures 


     Wed Mar 13  

     Types of families

    -nuclear v extended

    -matrilineal v patrilineal

    -unusual family norms around the world.... 


     Fri Mar 15

     Coming of Age Rituals

    -American culture, value analysis

    -Other cultures.....

     Tues Mar 19


    -Kinds of religions


     Thurs Mar 21

    Burial Rituals 

     Mon Mar 25  
    Wed Mar 27 ntro to final presentaitons, research question....
    Fri Mar 29  Research and prepare final presentations
    Tues Apr 2 Research and prepare final presentations
    Thurs Apr 4 Present and discuss final presentations 


Last Modified on January 24, 2020