This course examines the nature of culture by studying the forms of conventional behavior (language, ideology, social organization, and technology) and their material manifestations. It also seeks to explain the variation in cultures of representative ethnic groups and societies of present and recent past in terms of ecological adaptation and cultural evolution.
ANTH 1020 Intro to Anthropology: Physical Anthropology, Archaeology & Prehistory
Goal Areas: 03,10
Course Outline 1020 (PDF)
This course studies the relationship of prehistoric physical and cultural origins and development of humankind to the establishment of the first civilizations of the Old and New worlds. It examines the archaeological evidence for the theory of bio-cultural evolution, which helps to explain both the prehistoric developments and much of the cultural variation that is in the world today. The course does include a lab-like experience.
Anthropology is concerned with the many ways that humans have adapted to their physical and social environments, including the systems of meaning and social organization that they use, as well as the historical development of those adaptions. There are a number of subfields within Anthropology in America: (Archaeology, Physical Anthropology, Linguistics, and applied Anthropology), and this course focuses on the remote past of Europe before the advent of writing (history), as revealed through archaeological research. We will focus primarily on Termperate Europe (north of the Alps), but to do so we will repeatedly run into the sophisticated cultures of the Mediterranean Basin. Evidence will be considered starting with the first people in Europe, through millennia of hunting and gathering, and then then the broad changes that occurred with the advent of agriculture and metal use, and the increasing societal complexity, ending with the coming of the Romans who brought civilization to their northern neighbors.
This course involves the study and comparison of religious institutions from a wide variety of cultures. We will consider the wonderful array of beliefs and practices of humanity. We will consider religion, magic, and witchcraft, and how these cultural constructions shed light on the societies in which they were created. Through seminar-style discussions of a variety of essays on religion and some videos, students will engage with the material on a deeper level than they normally would in a lecture format. Throughout the course, students will learn about the development of a wide variety of religious group identities, and their changing meanings across a wide range of cultures, and periods of history. They will learn about the dynamics of social stratification that religious groups experience today. Students will study the diversity of religion, and the racism and bigotry that often plagues peoples ideas and behavior towards other religious groups. This material will bring to light the institutional exclusion and discrimination that certain groups have endured. Through the consideration and discussion of numerous religious groups of America and beyond, students will learn the role(s) that these groups have played in our culture, and contributions they have made. Through presenting their two research projects to the class, students will exercise communication skills that involve great tact in discussing religious practices in a neutral and objective manner. We will practice those skills every class, in our seminar discussions of the reading. These discussions will get directly at the disparate explanatory systems offered by world religions, compare them, and critique the various views. In these ways, students will be using the method and data that anthropologists employ in the investigation of religion.
This course will provide flexibility in offering an in-depth review of topics of immediate importance and topical interest. These topics will go beyond the introductory courses in examining specific aspects of the subject matter.