New anthropology and archaeology assignments in Teaching eHRAF

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Teaching eHRAF is our open access collection of 57 teaching exercises and sample syllabi for classroom use that include questions and class assignments based on eHRAF World Cultures or eHRAF Archaeology. These activities encourage the exploration of eHRAF and teach students how to navigate and engage with our database materials.

The Teaching eHRAF section of our homepage displays all of the teaching exercises categorized by field and level of difficulty. When browsing this page, you will find that a number of the exercises have been prepared in-house by experts at HRAF, while others have been written by educators from our member institutions who use the exercises as part of their curricula.

The best use of the Teaching eHRAF exercises is to supplement classroom assignments and themes that suit your course or curriculum. Topics range from marriage, sexuality, gender, religion, medical anthropology, and material culture to types of societies such as hunter-gatherers or pastoralists. Many of the teaching exercises in the series include detailed, step-by-step database search examples, and most directly address the methodological process behind cross-cultural research, making them ideal for building critical skills among students.

Presently we are expanding our sample syllabi and classroom exercises in Teaching eHRAF. Specifically, we are focusing our attention on developing teaching materials suitable for introductory courses. These teaching exercises can be helpful for faculty teaching intro-level courses at universities or community colleges, including those participating in the HRAF Community College Initiative.

Our latest additions to Teaching eHRAF come from Matthew Longcore, our member services manager who also teaches Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. This semester Matthew is teaching eHRAF in two UConn courses, ANTH 1000W Other People’s Worlds and ANTH 1500 Great Discoveries in Archaeology. The syllabi and eHRAF assignments for each course are shared here:

ANTH 1000WANTH 1000W Other People’s Worlds

ANTH 1000W is an introductory writing-intensive course in Cultural Anthropology. Cross-cultural comparisons help students understand the differences and similarities among extant societies, as well as providing a perspective for evaluating one’s own society and place within it. The course is considered a first year, or freshman, level course, and has college-level English as a prerequisite.

To meet the writing requirement for the course, students are expected to submit a research paper using eHRAF. The paper should address a specific cultural behavior or topic (e.g. romantic kissing) of their choice and a related research question (e.g. is romantic kissing a cultural universal?). Students will use information from eHRAF World Cultures to answer the question, and must select any three cultures to research their topic.

The assignment provides students with sample topics, tips for selecting a topic, the step-by-step process for the development of the research paper, and guidelines for writing the paper. The completed assignment will be a research paper comprising a minimum of 9 pages, double-spaced, including a title page, and references cited.

ANTH 1500ANTH 1500 Great Discoveries in Archaeology

ANTH 1500 is an introductory course in Archaeology. The course provides a survey of important discoveries in archaeology spanning the whole of human prehistory across the globe. ANTH 1500 is considered a first year, or freshman, level course, and has no prerequisites.

Students are required to make team presentations in PowerPoint on topics from stories featured by National Public Radio (NPR). Presentations should be about 30-45 minutes in length, followed by adequate time for class discussion of the topic. The format for the team presentations can be found here.

Contribute & Collaborate

Teaching eHRAF is made possible with the help and generosity of educators who use eHRAF in their classrooms. Anthropology faculty, independent researchers, and members of the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges (SACC) are all invited to contact HRAF with innovative and practical ideas. We encourage educators to collaborate with us and to share any eHRAF-themed teaching materials that they have produced. If you would like to contribute to Teaching eHRAF, please contact Matthew Longcore at