Textbook for an Introduction to Anthropology course. Part I covers cultural anthropology and Part II covers biological anthropology.
Movement away from the textbook model has potential to foster equitable access to course materials as well as reduce textbook costs for students. As such, transition to a zero cost/OER classroom included the curation of open access scholarly literature to cover the four-field approach presently taught in introductory anthropology courses.
The following activities use open educational practices to engage students in active and shared learning. The first section discusses a model for creating a more open syllabus, the second section is an assignment where students create a collaborative bulletin board, and the third section is an activity where students first create presentations that are added to an online “video text.” All of these activities are buildable and can be shared with new classes over time, building a larger repository of class materials that are based on students' active participation and authoritative knowledge. While these are intended for an Introductory class in Anthropology, they can be adapted for a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.
* a free alternative to expensive Introduction to Cultural Anthropology textbooks
* includes a full textbook and several original videos
* includes 10 "challenges" (assignments)
* a hub of original and found resources for teaching and learning anthropology
* a “connected course” of many faculty around the world sharing instructional materials
* an open course freely available to anyone online
* an emerging producer of original anthropological videos and other digital content
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology explores fundamental questions about what it means to be human through a comparative study of different cultures. Anthropology seeks to understand how culture both shapes societies, from the smallest island in the South Pacific to the largest Asian metropolis, and affects the way institutions work, from scientific laboratories to Christian mega-churches. It provides a framework for analyzing diverse facets of human experience such as gender, ethnicity, language, politics, economics, and art.
As organisms, humans need to eat to live. As cultural beings, eating and food provide some of the most basic ways in which humans define themselves. One group’s delicacies are another’s taboos, and what defines comfort foods and favorite dishes shifts drastically across cultures and individuals. Eating and food are simultaneously profoundly personal, deeply cultural, inherently economic, and increasingly political. This course is organized around the production, circulation, and consumption of food, and the political and economic effects of those processes. Students will learn to use food as an analytical entry point for thinking about relationships among humans and with non-human beings.
This course engages students in the diversity of American urban life and introduces various modes of analyzing socio-cultural scenes, communities, and urban institutions. In the first part of the course, we will lay the foundations for understanding urban processes and communities. We will examine the racial and ethnic diversity in cities and the ways people understand and cope with being in an environment filled with "strangers". We will develop an understanding of urban political economy and the effects of inequality and economic strain on urban life. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the effects of globalization, post-industrial decline, and post-modernism on cities. In this section, we will focus on the production and consumption of urban spaces. We will look at the ways American cities have developed and changed as well as the competing views and political contestations behind these transformations.
Libguide OER for Prof. Jill Cavanaugh's course: ANTH 3360: Language Loss: Culture, Politics and Self. What does it mean to lose or risk losing your language? What is the value of language, to speakers, to experts like anthropologists, to humanity more broadly? This course explores answers to these questions through thinking about language as a cultural practice and object, a political activity and topic, and something that is deeply entwined with speakers’ senses of self. We will consider case studies from the US immigrant experience as well as cases of language endangerment and loss around the globe. To analyze these issues more immediately, students will do a research project about a language in Brooklyn, which will involve mapping ethnographic research, photographic, interviews, and other evidence to tell a story about a particular language’s current vitality
About Urban Archaeology
Archaeology is undoubtedly most famous for its exploration and discovery of “wonderful things” from the deep past in “exotic” places: Tutankhamun’s tomb! Lost Maya cities! Archaeologists are also keen sift through and ask questions of ancient garbage: What do these tools at Stonehenge suggest about Neolithic and Bronze Age social networks? These discoveries and questions are important for understanding where we came from. However, more and more archaeologists are turning their attention, their theory, and their methods to the recent past and contemporary worlds. This course explores a body of work that advances these efforts in American urban places and considers debates that make the more recent American urban world its object. The course then asks students to assess and evaluate various aspects of American urban life through exposure to a broad range of archaeological case studies.
Welcome to Africana Folklore. This course explores the oral, customary and material folklore of Africans and their descendants in the Americas and the Caribbean. We will use readings and films to examine various ways West African folklore was transmitted to and survived in the New World, and how Africans in the Americas created new oral, customary and material traditions. We will compare and contrast fictional and historical folk characters from Africa, the Northern and Southern American hemispheres, with a special focus on the English, Spanish and French-speaking Caribbean. We will examine some of the customs and practices that continue to exist in those regions and how all have contributed to global culture. In addition to required readings, there will also be weekly writing exercises. This course is designed to help prepare you for further academic study in general, and African, African-American and Caribbean studies, specifically. It will introduce you to the various disciplines that inform the study of people of African descent worldwide.
The African presence in Latin America has received a disproportionately low level of popular and scholarly attention. By the end of the Atlantic slave trade, an estimated 5.7 million Africans had arrived in Spanish and Portuguese territories as compared to 560,000 in the United States (Klein1999). Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Afro-Caribbean laborers circulated throughout and settled in Latin American countries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This course syllabus, by Anthropology Prof. Ryan Mann-Hamilton, adopts an interdisciplinary approach in examining processes of identity formation, cultural transformation, and social activism among Afro-Latin@ Americans across national boundaries.
This OER (open educational resource) is to act as an ongoing resource for those full and part-time faculty teaching Brooklyn College’s Anthropology Course, ANTH 3135 — The US Urban Experience: Anthropological Perspectives. This is a living document, which came out of discussions among instructors teaching this course and will continue to grow as we continue to meet each semester to discuss the course.
The assignment helps students individually build a usable, expanding vocabulary of terms and concepts, enabling each to further contribute to the ongoing, evolving written, oral, and visual conversations centered on the use of and thought about animals for food, clothing, work, entertainment, experimentation, imagery, and companionship.
This presentation offers an overview of the developing concept of The Anthropocene -- a term coined to describe our current geological epoch, in which human impact on the planet will leave a permanent trace.
Seminar focuses on core issues and approaches in anthropological theory and method. Studies theoretical frameworks for the analysis and integration of material from other subjects in cultural anthropology. Subject provides instruction and practice in writing and revision whereby students produce one paper that is appropriate for publication or as a proposal for funding. This course introduces students to some of the major social theories and debates that inspire and inform anthropological analysis. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate a range of theoretical propositions concerning such topics as agency, structure, subjectivity, history, social change, power, culture, and the politics of representation. Ultimately, all theories can be read as statements about human beings and the worlds they create and inhabit. We will approach each theoretical perspective or proposition on three levels: (1) in terms of its analytical or explanatory power for understanding human behavior and the social world; (2) in the context of the social and historical circumstances in which they were produced; and (3) as contributions to ongoing dialogues and debate.
This course aims to teach students about the evolutionary history, ecology, and behavior of humans and other primates, while also providing information on a range of topics including the history of evolutionary thought, natural selection, basic genetics, and elementary skeletal anatomy. No prior courses in anthropology or evolutionary biology are required.
This class examines how anthropology and speculative fiction (SF) each explore ideas about culture and society, technology, morality, and life in "other" worlds. We investigate this convergence of interest through analysis of SF in print, film, and other media. Concepts include traditional and contemporary anthropological topics, including first contact; gift exchange; gender, marriage, and kinship; law, morality, and cultural relativism; religion; race and embodiment; politics, violence, and war; medicine, healing, and consciousness; technology and environment. Thematic questions addressed in the class include: what is an alien? What is "the human"? Could SF be possible without anthropology?
" This course explores a range of contemporary scholarship oriented to the study of 'cybercultures,' with a focus on research inspired by ethnographic and more broadly anthropological perspectives. Taking anthropology as a resource for cultural critique, the course will be organized through a set of readings chosen to illustrate central topics concerning the cultural and material practices that comprise digital technologies. We'll examine social histories of automata and automation; the trope of the 'cyber' and its origins in the emergence of cybernetics during the last century; cybergeographies and politics; robots, agents and humanlike machines; bioinformatics and artificial life; online sociality and the cyborg imaginary; ubiquitous and mobile computing; ethnographies of research and development; and geeks, gamers and hacktivists. We'll close by considering the implications for all of these topics of emerging reconceptualizations of sociomaterial relations, informed by feminist science and technology studies."
This class examines the ways humans experience the realm of sound and how perceptions and technologies of sound emerge from cultural, economic, and historical worlds. In addition to learning about how environmental, linguistic, and musical sounds are construed cross-culturally, students learn about the rise of telephony, architectural acoustics, and sound recording, as well as about the globalized travel of these technologies. Questions of ownership, property, authorship, and copyright in the age of digital file sharing are also addressed. A major concern will be with how the sound/noise boundary has been imagined, created, and modeled across diverse sociocultural and scientific contexts. Auditory examples--sound art, environmental recordings, music--will be provided and invited throughout the term.
Issues of war and peace from an anthropological perspective. Topics include: the warlike nature of humans, if humans are by nature warlike, the evolution of war in cross-cultural perspective, the socialization of warriors and the construction of enemies, and the recent emergence of anti-war movements. Readings focus on sociobiological and other theories of war; anthropologists' claims to have studied societies that do not have war; ethnic hatred and civil war in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland; military culture in the U.S. and elsewhere; peace movements; and studies of military conversion.
Anthropology is the study of all humans in all times in all places. But it is so much more than that. “Anthropology requires strength, valor, and courage,” Nancy Scheper-Hughes noted. “Pierre Bourdieu called anthropology a combat sport, an extreme sport as well as a tough and rigorous discipline. … It teaches students not to be afraid of getting one’s hands dirty, to get down in the dirt, and to commit yourself, body and mind. Susan Sontag called anthropology a “heroic” profession.” What is the payoff for this heroic journey? You will find ideas that can carry you across rivers of doubt and over mountains of fear to find the the light and life of places forgotten. Real anthropology cannot be contained in a book. You have to go out and feel the world’s jagged edges, wipe its dust from your brow, and at times, leave your blood in its soil. In this unique book, Dr. Michael Wesch shares many of his own adventures of being an anthropologist and what the science of human beings can tell us about the art of being human. This special first draft edition is a loose framework for more and more complete future chapters and writings. It serves as a companion to anth101.com, a free and open resource for instructors of cultural anthropology.
Becoming Human is a fast-paced, irreverent introduction to evolutionary theory, especially human origins. The book is based on the Open2Study MOOC, 'Becoming Human,' created by Dr. Greg Downey and Open Universities Australia. The book discusses traces of evolution in our bodies, basic evolutionary theory from Darwin to the genomic revolution, sexual selection and reproduction, and how human brain development affects our evolution, including into the future. Copiously illustrated, with some interactive diagrams, videos of Dr. Downey presenting the material are also available through Open2Study.
For the purposes of peer review and stronger scholarship, the authors of Beyond Populism present these manuscripts on Manifold. This book is under contract with West Virginia University Press.
A study of what "culture" is; how we see it based on several factors, how it influences the choices and decision we make; how to deal positively with conflicts that inevitably arise in working /living situations with people of diverse cultures. This is a course structured to raise multicultural awareness and fortify students' social skills in dealing with cultural differences. It includes ethnographic study of cultural groups in the U.S.A and responses to shared values, observations or experiences based on student's ancestry, heritage, travels. Students will learn about culture "do and donts" around the world and provide the class with their own culture shock experience and how they overcame them. Through the study of cultural concepts, this course develops skills in critical thinking, writing and scholarly documentation. This is an OER course.
This course will be a thematic exploration of culture and transformation in two distinct non-US and non-European areas. We will discuss the meanings of culture and ways cultures are studied and portrayed. We will explore the major drivers for cultural change in the modern world such as colonization, modernization, development, and globalization. We will use two case studies to examine important themes related to cultural transformation such as gender, race and ethnic relations, religion, nationalism, power relations, cultural encounter, and constructions of tradition and modernity.
In this course the conquest and colonization of the Americas is considered, with special attention to the struggles of native peoples in Guatemala, Canada, Brazil, Panama, and colonial New England. In two segments of the course-one devoted to the Jesuit missionization of the Huron in the 1630s, the other to struggles between the government of Panama and the Kuna between 1900 and 1925-students examine primary documents such as letters, reports, and court records, to draw their own conclusions. Attention focuses on how we know about and represent past eras and other peoples, as well as on the history of struggles between native Americans and Europeans.
The role of the family in human evolution, and as a symbol in our own social and political lives. Topics include: sex, marriage, and parenting; the labor market; class, race, and ethnicity; and the family's probable future. We begin by considering briefly the evolution of the family, its cross-cultural variability, and its history in the West. We next examine how the family is currently defined in the U.S., discussing different views about what families should look like. Class and ethnic variability and the effects of changing gender roles are discussed in this section. We next look at sexuality, traditional and non-traditional marriage, parenting, divorce, family violence, family economics, poverty, and family policy. Controversial issues dealt with include day care, welfare policy, and the "Family Values" debate.
Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses will provide an historical and cross-cultural analysis of the politics of sensory experience. The subject will address western philosophical debates about mind, brain, emotion, and the body and the historical value placed upon sight, reason, and rationality, versus smell, taste, and touch as acceptable modes of knowing and knowledge production. We will assess cultural traditions that challenge scientific interpretations of experience arising from western philosophical and physiological models. The class will examine how sensory experience lies beyond the realm of individual physiological or psychological responses and occurs within a culturally elaborated field of social relations. Finally, we will debate how discourse about the senses is a product of particular modes of knowledge production that are themselves contested fields of power relations.
This course examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. It explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.
Humans are social animals; social demands, both cooperative and competitive, structure our development, our brain and our mind. This course covers social development, social behaviour, social cognition and social neuroscience, in both human and non-human social animals. Topics include altruism, empathy, communication, theory of mind, aggression, power, groups, mating, and morality. Methods include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology and anthropology.
Digital Anthropology is a Spring 2003 applied social science and media arts seminar, surveying the blossoming arena of digital-artifact enabled experimental sociology/anthropology.ĺĘWe will emphasize onĺĘboth (a) Technology Testbeds -- systematically deploying research lab prototypes and corporate pre-production products in a sample human organizational population and carefully observing the social consequences, and (b) Sociometrics -- using digital artifacts to better observe and measure the complex social reality of interesting human systems.
An introduction to the cross-cultural study of bio-medical ethics. Examines moral foundations of the science and practice of western bio-medicine through case studies of abortion, contraception, cloning, organ transplantation and other issues. Evaluates challenges that new medical technologies pose to the practice and availability of medical services around the globe, and to cross-cultural ideas of kinship and personhood. Discusses critiques of the bio-medical tradition from anthropological, feminist, legal, religious, and cross-cultural theorists.
This course examines how medicine is practiced cross-culturally, with particular emphasis on Western biomedicine. Students analyze medical practice as a cultural system, focusing on the human, as opposed to the biological, side of things. Also considered is how people in different cultures think of disease, health, body, and mind.
How and why do people seek to capture everyday life on film? What can we learn from such films? This course challenges distinctions commonly made between documentary and ethnographic films to consider how human cultural life is portrayed in both. It considers the interests, which motivate such filmmakers ranging from curiosity about "exotic" people to a concern with capturing "real life" to a desire for advocacy. Students will view documentaries about people both in the U.S. and abroad and will consider such issues as the relationship between film images and "reality," the tensions between art and observation, and the ethical relationship between filmmakers and those they film.
This class examines the relationship between a number of mind-altering substances and cultural processes. We look at the relationship between drugs and such phenomena as poverty, religion, technology, inter-generational conflict, colonialism, and global capitalism. We read about the physiological and psychological effects of these substances -- ranging from alcohol to LSD, cocaine and ecstasy -- and ask why different societies prohibit and sanction different drugs. We examine the use of mind-altering substances in a number of "traditional" societies, and follow the development of a global trade in such substances as sugar, coffee, tea, nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana concurrent with the evolution of global capitalism. We look at the use of LSD as a mind-control substance by the CIA and as a mind-altering substance in the 1960's counter-culture, and we look at the rise of Prozacĺ¨ and Viagraĺ¨ as popular, if controversial, pharmaceutical products in recent years. Finally, we evaluate America's current drug laws.
Examines theories and practice of environmental justice, concerns about race, poverty, and the environment in both domestic and international contexts, exploring and critically analyzing philosophies, frameworks, and strategies underlying environmental justice movements. Examines case studies of environmental injustices, including: distribution of environmental quality and health, unequal enforcement of regulations, unequal access to resources to respond to environmental problems, and the broader political economy of decision-making around environmental issues. Explores how environmental justice movements relate to broader sustainable development goals and strategies. This class explores the foundations of the environmental justice movement, current and emerging issues, and the application of environmental justice analysis to environmental policy and planning. It examines claims made by diverse groups along with the policy and civil society responses that address perceived inequity and injustice. While focused mainly on the United States, international issues and perspectives are also considered.
This is a syllabus designed to work as a "frame" that you can use and populate together with students. The goal is to provide a perspective from environmental psychology.