Introduction to Cultural Anthropology: A syllabus

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Exercise ID: 1.02
Class size: Any
Level(s): I
Source: Submitted by HRAF member

Learning Objectives

Does the exercise compare 2 or more cultures? Yes
Subject selection: Student chooses from pre-selected list
Subjects/OCMS, if applicable: 181-186, 221-228, 231-237, 241-249, 251-258, 261-266, 271-278, 281-289, 291-296, 301-306, 321-328, 361-369, 431-439, 511-517, 521-529, 531-537, 5310-5311, 551-558, 561-567, 571-579, 581-589, 591-597, 601-609, 611-619, 621-629, 671-677, 681-689, 721-729, 731-738, 751-759, 761-769, 771-779, 781-789, 791-798, 824-829, 831-839, 841-848, 851-858, 861-869, 881-888, or 890
Region selection: open (student choice)
Region, if applicable:
Culture selection: Student chooses from entire collection
Cultures/OWCs, if applicable:

Classroom Guide

Instructions for navigating eHRAF included? Yes
Assignments for students to complete in groups? No
Assignments for students to complete on their own? Yes
Instructions for Microfiche version? No

Douglas A. Feldman, The College at Brockport, State University of New York

(Including guidelines for writing a paper using eHRAF)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:30 AM- 1 PM or 3-4:30 PM
Fall 2009 ANT 100.01 or 100.02

Course Description

This course covers the basics of cultural anthropology, which seeks to understand the purpose and place of humans in the world. It includes anthropology as a social science, the concept of culture, an introduction to human evolution and to archaeology, ethnographic field methods, the importance of human language, human development, subsistence patterns, global economy, marriage and the family, gender issues, global politics and local political organization, social stratification, medical anthropology, ethnicity, the anthropology of religion, the arts, culture change, and applied anthropology. Culture is that complex whole which includes art, morals, law, politics, and any other capabilities acquired by humans as members of their society.

Required Texts

Serena Nanda and Richard L. Warms (2007). Cultural Anthropology (Ninth Edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. [N&W]

John L. Allen and Audrey C. Shalinsky (eds.) (2004). Student Atlas of Anthropology. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Recommended Reading

It is recommended, but not required, that students read one of the following newspapers at least once a week: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Democrat and Chronicle, or The Buffalo News. Some of these newspapers do have Internet sites where the articles may be downloaded and read online.

Course Topics

Cultural Geography. Anthropology and Human Diversity. Human Evolution. Cultural Evolution. Doing Cultural Anthropology. The Idea of Culture. Anthropological Theory and History. Language. Making a Living. Economics. Marriage, Family, and Domestic Groups. Gender. Political Organization. Social Stratification: Class and Caste. Stratification: “Race” and Ethnicity. Religion. Creative Expression: Anthropology and the Arts. Cultural Change and the Modern World.

Reading Schedule

Notes: Students should use the Student Atlas of Anthropology on an ongoing basis to locate the different cultures discussed in the text. Students should bring the Atlas with them to class on an ongoing basis. You should also bring the primary textbook with you since we will be referring to it on a regular basis, as well. An instructional session will be held in Drake Library on how to use the Human Relations Area Files eHRAF databases on September 17th. Several ethnographic videos will be shown during the semester.

September 1: Introduction and Welcome. Review of syllabus.
September 3: N&W: Chapters 1.
September 8: N&W: Chapter 2.
September 10: Continuing discussion of biological anthropology. No reading.
September 15: Discussion of archaeology. No reading.
September 17: Drake Library training session. In addition, students are encouraged, but not required, to attend the Diversity Conference held that day.
September 22: Quiz. N&W: Chapter 3.
September 24: Video. No reading.
September 29: N&W: Chapter 4.
October 1: N&W: Appendix (Anthropological Theory).
October 6: N&W: Chapter 5.
October 8: Midterm exam.
October 13: Video. No reading.
October 15: Video. No reading.
October 20: No classes.
October 22: N&W: Chapter 6.
October 27: N&W: Chapter 7.
October 29: N&W: Chapter 8.
November 3: Quiz. N&W: Chapter 10.
November 5: N&W: Chapter 11.
November 10: N&W: Chapter 12.
November 12: N&W: Chapter 13.
November 17: N&W: Chapter 14.
November 19: N&W: Chapter 15.
November 24: Quiz. N&W: Chapter 16.
November 26: No classes.
December 1: Video. No reading.
December 3: Video. No reading.
December 8: Selected oral paper presentations.
December 10: Summary and review. All papers due today.
December 14-18: Final exam. (date and time to be announced)

Course Requirements and Grade

Midterm exam: 20%
Three quizzes: 15%
Final exam: 20%
HRAF research paper: 25%
Class participation and preparedness: 20%

TOTAL = 100%

Class participation includes constructive participation in which the student demonstrates having read the assigned readings and has thought deeply about the content. Students should expect to spend an average of six hours per week preparing for the class. The midterm exam is multiple choice, while the final exam and three quizzes are essays. The final exam is not cumulative. One or more optional extra credit projects may be assigned during the semester. Each extra credit project is worth up to 0.25 added to your final grade; a maximum of 0.50 may be obtained for the semester.

Students will prepare a paper, which should be a minimum of 9 pages of text plus references cited pages, using the eHRAF ethnographic database. See the guidelines below for doing your HRAF paper.

Group discussion activities may be assigned by the professor, as time permits.

Disability Statement

Students with documented disabilities may be entitled to specific accommodations. The College at Brockport, SUNY’s Office for Students with Disabilities makes this determination. Please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities to inquire about obtaining an official letter to the professor. Faculty work as a team with the Office for Students with Disabilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Attendance Policy

Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each session, and it is important that you not be late for class. Students who have five unexcused absences will receive a lowered final grade (e.g., B = B-). Each additional unexcused absence thereafter will receive a further lowered final grade (e.g., with six unexcused absences, B = C+). Excessive unexcused absences will also adversely affect your class participation grade. Absences will only be excused for a) written documented illnesses of the student, b) official representation of the College, c) death of a close relative, d) religious holiday, and e) other circumstances entirely beyond the control of the student as determined by the professor. Attendance is required during the showing of videos. Students who arrive late to class must inform the professor at the end of the session to make sure they are not marked absent that day. Students who must leave early on a particular day need to notify the professor before the class.

Academic Integrity and Student Behavior

Students are expected to maintain the highest level of academic integrity. Academic dishonesty (papers, quizzes, and exams) will not be acceptable. Any student engaging in academic dishonesty during this course will receive a lowered grade for the course depending on the nature of the action, and could possibly be referred to the administration for further disciplinary action.

Students are asked not to carry on unrelated conversations during class. You are expected to pay attention and to be courteous. Major breaches of conduct or impropriety, including rudeness or insulting behavior to the professor or other students, disruptive behavior, or unrelated conversations, will receive a lowered grade. You will receive a lowered grade, possibly an E, for the class participation segment of your final grade. In addition, you will also receive an overall reduction of as much as one whole letter grade subtracted from your final grade.

Cell phones and other electronic devices absolutely must be turned off (or put on vibrate only) while attending class. It is the sole responsibility of the student to ensure that this occurs. Laptops may only be used for the purpose of taking notes during the class. Students may not IM (instant message) or text message others during class time.

Students are encouraged to attend meetings of the Anthropology Club this semester.

Office Location and Hours

Dr. Feldman’s office is located at Room C15 in Cooper Hall. Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 PM, or by appointment Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the professor during office hours, or by appointment.

Guidelines for Doing Your HRAF Paper

1. These guidelines are an addendum to your syllabus, and should be considered an integral part of your syllabus. Failure to follow these guidelines completely will lower the grade for your paper. Your paper will be graded based upon both content and style (format).

2. Papers should have a separate title page with your name, title of the paper, name of the course, course number, date, and name of the professor (Dr. Feldman).

3. Papers must be a minimum of 9 pages, preferably more, not including your title page, and reference cited page(s).

4. Papers must be entirely typed, double-spaced, use Arial font, on 12-point type (do not use smaller or larger point type), either printed one-sided or two-sided, with page numbers, and with one inch margins on all four sides.

5. Papers need to be carefully spell-checked and then read over by you for grammatical errors. (Spell check, for example, will not change “and” when you meant to say “any”).

6. Do not use contractions (e.g., use “do not” instead of “don’t”).

7. Do not use Internet or chat line spellings or grammar (e.g., “u r gr8”).

8. Except for an anthropology encyclopedia (see below), your paper must use only eHRAF World
Cultures database by Human Relations Area Files (Brockport Library website – go to Online Resources). Select any one topic of your choice from the following Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM) Subject Categories: 181-186, 221-228, 231-237, 241-249, 251-258, 261-266, 271-278, 281-289, 291-296, 301-306, 321-328, 361-369, 431-439, 511-517, 521-529, 531-537, 5310-5311, 551-558, 561-567, 571-579, 581-589, 591-597, 601-609, 611-619, 621-629, 671-677, 681-689, 721-729, 731-738, 751-759, 761-769, 771-779, 781-789, 791-798, 824-829, 831-839, 841-848, 851-858, 861-869, 881-888, or 890.

Then, in eHRAF World Cultures in Browse Cultures select any three cultures to research on your topic. Make sure that the three cultures have enough information available for you to write about. You must also use (and cite in the references cited page) information from the Culture Summary (also found in the Browse Cultures menu of eHRAF) for each of the three cultures that you select, and include that information in your introduction. Additionally, you must also use (and cite in your references cited page) information about your topic from an anthropology encyclopedia, such as the Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. Do not use a general encyclopedia, such as the World Book Encyclopedia. If there is no information directly about your topic, cite information from a closely related topic.

9. If relevant, your paper may state your opinion. But carefully indicate that it is your opinion, and give evidence to support your opinion. Also, review what the opposing opinion is, and why you believe it is not valid.

10. Your paper must be entirely your own work. If you are quoting more than three lines of your text from HRAF, you must use quotes and cite your source, otherwise it will be considered plagiarized. However, you should not be extensively quoting the text. Use lengthy quotes sparingly.

11. Use only HRAF as source references. Your reference cited page(s) must be keyed to your text. Only cite references that are stated in your text. Exclude all references that you read, but you are not citing in your text. Additionally, your text must cite references and they must be keyed to your reference cited page. Make sure that all the references cited in your text are properly listed in your references cited page(s). Use HRAF online to find the correct citation. DO NOT SIMPLY STATE “HRAF.” Your citations in your text should indicate the last name of your author and the year of publication (e.g., Smith 1998, or Jones, Freeman, Sills, and Wu 2001). Offset the name or the name and date in parentheses as appropriate. Do not list the page number in your text, unless you are quoting from the text (e.g., Smith (1998) says that the Navaho are matrilineal; Smith (1998:347) says, “The Navaho are matrilineal.”).

12. You must have at least ten references cited, preferably more, in your references page(s), and these must be keyed into your text. Three will be for the cultural summaries, one will be for the anthropology encyclopedia, and at least two will be from HRAF for each of the three cultures.

13. The references in the Reference Cited page(s) should be listed in alphabetical order by first author’s last name. It should include the year in parentheses, and should appear as follows:

An article in a journal: Jaspers, William E. (2002) “Everything you wanted to know about nothing: but did not want to ask,” Journal of Total Irrelevance. 4(3):254-9.

A book:Jaspers, William E. and Sylvia Sidelman (2003) The Complete Book about Nothing. New York: Irrelevant University Press.

An article in a book with many authors: Jaspers, William E., Rosenguard, Amy, Vilmers, Steven, Stevens, Willy, and John Johnston (2001) “Absolutely everything about nothing: what more can we say?,” IN: Essays on Nothingness (eds: Neitherhere, Mary and Jack Northere), pp. 126-142. Palo Alto, CA: Obfuscating Press.

Note, that if there are many authors, you may use “et al.” (meaning: and others) in your written text (e.g. Jaspers, et al. 2001), but cite all the authors in your references cited page as indicated above.

The style is unique, found mostly in anthropology journals and texts. It is neither the MLA nor the University of Chicago style. If in doubt, see the text citations and references cited in our primary textbook for examples.

14. The paper is due on December 10.

15. There will be a session during class hours on September 17 on how to use HRAF scheduled at Drake Library. All students will be required to attend.

16. About six volunteers will be asked to discuss their papers in front of the class near the end of the semester. Extra credit will be given.