Descriptor Details

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Not Identified
  • 120
  • Not Identified
  • 3.0
  • Not Identified
  • Uploaded: 10/12/2017 04:44:06 PM PDT

This course explores how anthropologists study and compare human culture. Cultural anthropologists seek to understand the broad arc of human experience focusing on a set of central issues: how people around the world make their living (subsistence patterns); how they organize themselves socially, politically and economically; how they communicate; how they relate to each other through family and kinship ties; what they believe about the world (belief systems); how they express themselves creatively (expressive culture); how they make distinctions among themselves such as through applying gender, racial and ethnic identity labels; how they have shaped and been shaped by social inequalities such as colonialism; and how they navigate culture change and processes of globalization that affect us all.  Ethnographic case studies highlight these similarities and differences, and introduce students to how anthropologists do their work, employ professional anthropological research ethics and apply their perspectives and skills to understand humans around the globe.


Eligibility for or completion of C-ID ENGL 100: College Composition

  1. Anthropological theories, methods and perspectives
  2. Anthropological study of human cultures in comparative perspective
  3. Subsistence patterns
  4. Social, political and economic organizations
  5. Language and communication
  6. Family and kinship
  7. Belief systems
  8. Art and expressive culture
  9. Ethnicity and race
  10. Gender and sexuality
  11. Social inequality and colonialism
  12. Globalization and culture change
  13. Professional ethics
  14. Applied anthropology


At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Define the scope of anthropology and discuss the role of cultural anthropology within the discipline.
  2. Recognize the methods, theories and perspectives used to study and understand human cultures.
  3. Explain the importance of the ethnographic method in the study of culture.
  4. Employ the relativist perspective while discussing cultural variation.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of anthropological concepts including ethnicity, gender, political organization, economic systems, kinship, rituals and belief systems.
  6. Explain the interconnectedness of the economic, political and sociocultural forces of globalization amongst diverse cultural groups.
  7. Analyze and evaluate the ethical issues anthropologists encounter, and professional ethical obligations that must be met in the study of and application in cultural groups different from their own.

Multiple measures may include, but are not limited to: 

  1. In-class discussions and exercises
  2. Individual/group writing projects
  3. Written and oral quizzes
  4. Field activities
  5. Journal reviews
  6. Other written assignments
  7. Exams

Bailey, Garick and James Peoples.  Essentials of Cultural Anthropology. Wadsworth.

Bodley, John.  Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States and Global Systems.  AltaMira.

Ember, Carol and Melvin Ember.  Human Culture: Highlights of Cultural Anthropology.  Pearson Publishing.

Ferraro, Gary and Susan Andreatta.  Cultural Anthropology:  An Applied Perspective.  Wadsworth.

Haviland, William, Harald E. L. Prins, Bunny McBride and Dana Walrath.  Cultural Anthropology:  The Human Challenge.  Wadsworth Publishing.

Kottak, Conrad.  Mirror for Humanity.  McGraw-Hill.

Lenkeit, Roberta. Introducing Cultural Anthropology.  McGraw-Hill.

Miller, Barbara.  Cultural Anthropology in a Globalizing World.  Prentice Hall.

Nanda, Serena and Richard Warms.   Culture Counts: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.  Wadsworth/Cengage Publishing.

Peoples, James and Garick Bailey.  Humanity:  An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.  Wadsworth.

Supplemental readings (note that classic ethnographies may have publication dates older than 5 years):

Angeloni, Elvio (editor).  Annual Editions: Anthropology. McGraw-Hill.

Knauft, Bruce.  The Gebusi: Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World.  McGraw-Hill.

Peters-Golden, Holly.  Culture Sketches:  Case Studies in Anthropology.  McGraw-Hill.

Shostak, Marjorie.  Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman.  Harvard University Press.

Spradley, James and David McCurdy.  Conformity and Conflict.  Prentice Hall.

Or equivalent Open Educational Resource

  • No
  • Not Identified

  • Not Identified

  • Cultural anthropology is one of the core subfields of anthropology.

  • Not Identified

  • Not Identified