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Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural

ANTHR 2 SYLLABUS

  
"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit."

-- Wade Davis

 

Spring 2010: ANTHR2 Section 64994   MW 12:40-2:00PM   Room 508

Contact Info & Office Hours

ANTHR2 (Catalog Description): Presents a cross-cultural, comparative study of contemporary human behavior with emphasis on the effects of globalization on contemporary cultures. Topics investigated include cultural patterns, language, subsistence, economics, religion, kinship, values and norms, sex and gender, marriage, cultural change, and migration. 

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Course Objectives

Like Cabrillo College itself, this course seeks to honor the core values of “academic freedom, critical and independent thinking, and respect for all people and cultures.” This class provides opportunities to develop and practice skills in all of Cabrillo’s “Core Four” competencies:

Communication - reading, writing, listening, speaking and/or conversing


Critical Thinking and Information Competency - analysis, computation, research, problem solving


Global Awareness - an appreciation of scientific processes, global systems and civics, and artistic variety


Personal Responsibility and Professional Development - self-management and self-awareness, social and physical wellness, workplace skills

By completing this course, you should have the skills and understanding to:

    1. Critically assess culture as the distinguishing phenomenon of human life and evaluate the relationship between culture and human behavior.
    2. Synthesize the dynamics of culture change with regard to kinship, language, subsistence patterns, economics, and religion and analyze the affect of globalization on contemporary cultures.
    3.  Compare and contrast specific cultures' gender roles, social organization, or ideology.
    4.  Write essays and papers that demonstrate an understanding of cultural dynamics, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism.

        ...my Aunt Rebeca asks, 'Rutie, pero dime, what is anthropology?'  While I hesitate, she confidently exclaims, 'The study of people?  And their customs, right?'

         Right.  People and their customs.  Exactly.  Así de fácil.  Can't refute that.  Somehow, out of that legacy, born of the European colonial impulse to know others in order to lambast them, better manage them, or exalt them, anthropologists have made a vast intellectual cornucopia.  At the anthropological table, to which another leaf is always being added, there is room for studies of Greek death laments, the fate of socialist ideals in Hungary and Nicaragua, Haitian voodoo in Brooklyn, the market for Balinese art, the abortion debate among women in West Fargo, North Dakota, the reading groups of Mayan intellectuals, the proverbs of a Hindi guru, the Bedouin sense of honor, the jokes Native Americans tell about the white man, the plight of Chicana cannery workers, the utopia of Walt Disney, and even, I hope, the story of my family's car accident on the Belt Parkway shortly after our arrival in the United States from Cuba...

         Anthropology, to give my Aunt Rebeca a grandiose reply, is the most fascinating, bizarre, disturbing, and necessary form of witnessing left to us at the end of the twentieth century...

Ruth Behar, 1996.  The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart (pg. 4-5)

 

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STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

Class Participation and Attendance

I expect student participation in class discussions, and I encourage everyone to freely ask questions, provide feedback, and otherwise contribute to our in-class coursework.  I also expect students to attend all lectures on time, having completed required readings before coming to class.  Attendance, effort, and participation will account for a substantial portion of your grade.  More than 1 absence will result in point loss, as will excessive and recurrent tardiness.  I will hold you responsible for all course material, including course videos (most of which are not in the library, and must be viewed in class)--so get good notes from other students (NOT me) if you miss class!

Using Website and Blackboard for Homework

This is a demanding course, with a lot of reading and writing. Students are expected to work more than 2 hours outside of class for every hour in class, so you can expect to spend at least 6 hours per week on homework for this class.  You will write 4,000 – 12,000 words for the class, as this meets your "writing intensive" requirement. I will gladly provide referrals to the Writing Center for free tutoring to help you develop your skills as a writer, or I'm happy to work with you one-on-one to help you improve your writing (contact me).

While this is a traditional “lecture” class, we will be using web resources and Blackboard (some call this “blended learning” or a "web enhanced" class). There are four main goals motivating this requirement: 1. to allow you to develop and practice your skills online (as a crucial aspect of professional development for most jobs requiring a college degree), 2. to provide a venue for sharing learning experiences with classmates outside of the limited time of lectures, 3. to maximize the learning experience during lectures, by providing more time for face-to-face interaction with the instructor and your classmates and 4. to minimize printing and copying on paper, saving money for the college and the students, and reducing Cabrillo College's carbon footprint. (Trust me, Blackboard does not save me a whole lot of time as an instructor – it’s definitely not for my benefit.) Review the student tutorials available on your “My Blackboard” page (in the bookmark list to the right). Please be patient if there are glitches – just let me know right away if you encounter problems once you are logged onto the Blackboard site.

You can access Blackboard from the Cabrillo homepage or here Link to Blackboard. I may continue to use my standard website for posting some non-interactive materials – be sure to check here also.

Common Courtesy and Common Sense

Students frequently discover that not everyone shares their personal beliefs, experiences, and convictions.  Respect for many points of view is required in this class.  Disagreements are healthy and help us to learn, but students must maintain a respectful attitude and courteous conversation at all times.  My goal as an instructor is not to convince you to hold a particular opinion on controversial issues, but to encourage you to think critically and with an open mind about the facts, evidence, ideas and theories presented in class. -- see our agreed "Ground Rules for Class Conversations"

I enforce certain behavioral guidelines to optimize the learning experience for you and your classmates. Your participation grade will largely be based on your adherence to these guidelines.

Classroom etiquette regarding portable electronic devices is not unlike takeoff and landing on an airplane – they should be turned off and stowed away.  Cell phones and pagers should be OFF at all times (an exception may be made for caretakers who can keep their phones/pagers on vibrate for emergency situations, provided the instructor is notified ahead of time) - "smart phones" may be used during discussions to look up information, but it is not appropriate to compose, send or receive text messages in class.  You should have nothing in your ears other than hearing aid devices if needed. 

You may use a recorder for lectures, as long as it is unobtrusive (though in my experience, paying attention and taking notes during lecture is more useful).  Calculators, PDAs, and laptop computers are permitted most of the time, provided they aren’t making much noise.

Other behavioral norms are expected to minimize classroom disruptions and avoid disturbing your fellow students: 

  • Arrive on time for class. 
  • Do not begin packing your things and preparing to leave until the instructor has indicated class is actually finished. 
  • Do not interrupt the instructor or your classmates while they are speaking, but by all means DO raise your hand when you have a question or comment. 

Basically, use a little common sense, try to imagine what is likely to annoy your instructor, and then avoid doing those things if you wish to remain in class.

Special Accommodations

Many of you may need special accommodations, whether due to disabilities, language difficulties, or other conditions.  I am very willing to work with you in order to help create a more positive learning experience.  However, I do need some advance notice in order to accommodate students with special needs; if you have special needs, please inform me of your situation within the first three days of class.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to exercise academic honesty and integrity.  All sources used must be properly documented. Cheating or plagiarism will result in point loss and disciplinary action, possibly including a failing grade for the class and/or recommendation for dismissal.  To learn about what plagiarism means and how to avoid it, please see the description at: http://www.cabrillo.edu/~sholt/MITPlagiarism.pdf or http://www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html and review the links provided by the Cabrillo College Library at http://libwww.cabrillo.edu/depts/libraryinstruction.html

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Required Texts:

Fadiman, A. (1997).  The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.  New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

Monaghan, J. & Just, P. (2000).  Social & Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thomas, E. M. (2006).  The Old Way: A Story of the First People. New York: Sarah Chrichton Books.

Additional required readings will be available as PDFs on the password-protected portion of the website.

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Grading & Assignments

Letter Grade or P/NP (students must request P/NP option in writing or via email by March 13th).

You will be responsible for:

500 total points

A brief overview of the assignments is provided below.  Further details about these assignments will be provided in class and online.

First Midterm Essay Assignment (details) Link to Blackboard

  • Nacirema: Describe a routine or common event from your everyday life that would seem extraordinary to someone from a different culture or subculture.

Visual Investigations of Culture: Kin Diagram or Mapping Project (details)

·      Create a kin diagram of your family  (see tutorial at http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/arts/anthropology/tutor/fundamentals/fund1.html) and answer questions in writing.  OR

·      Create a map of your community with drawings or photos, labeling key features according to instructions.

 Second Midterm Essay Assignment (details) Link to Blackboard

Final Project Assignment (details) Link to Blackboard    Anthro2 Library Research Page

  • Propose an in-depth research project on a specific culture (other than the Ju/wasi !Kung Bushmen or Hmong) or one of the topical themes from the course.  Write a paper about your topic based on independent library research, with at least four outside references.  Give a brief presentation related to your research project in class.

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Anthropology 2 Reading and Major Assignment Schedule:
Spring 2010

This schedule is subject to change. Changes will be announced in class and posted online. There will be homework assignments (usually short essay questions) on Blackboard Link to Blackboard nearly every week.

Date

Topic

Reading/Assignments Due

2/8

WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY?

Syllabus (this document)

2/10

ANTHROPOLOGY  AND ETHNOGRAPHY

Monaghan & Just: Intro. & Ch 1

2/15

PRESIDENT'S DAY

2/17

ETHNOGRAPHY AND CULTURE

Monaghan & Just: Ch  2
Doing Fieldwork among the Yanomamo” (pdf)

2/22

CULTURE AND THE “OTHER”

Thomas: Ch 1&2
Body Ritual Among the Nacirema(pdf/website) and/or “The Mysterious Fall of the Nacirema(pdf)

2/24

CULTURE AND SOCIETY

Monaghan & Just: Ch 3

3/1

FINDING YOUR PLACE

Thomas: Ch 3 - 6

3/3

NOT JUST LIP SERVICE

Fighting For Our Lives(pdf)

3/8

SYMBOLS AND MEANING FIRST MIDTERM ESSAY DUE (Nacirema)

3/10

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT?

Monaghan & Just: Ch 6
Understanding Eskimo Science” (pdf)

3/15

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT?

Thomas: Ch 7-11

3/17

KITH AND KIN, PARENTHOOD

POTLUCK WITH BRIEF STORY TO TELL
Monaghan & Just: Ch. 4

How Many Fathers Are Best for a Child?” (pdf)

3/22 RESEARCH SKILLS Go directly to Library Classroom at 12:40 for special presentation by Topsy Smalley.

3/24

MEN, WOMEN, AND OTHER OPTIONS

Monaghan & Just: Ch 8
The Berdache Tradition” (pdf)

3/29-4/4 SPRING BREAK  

4/5

WOMEN'S WORK? GENDER AND THE DIVISION OF LABOR

Thomas: Ch 12
A World Full of Women(pdf) Societies Table

4/7

GROWING PAINS AND LIFE HISTORIES

"The Initiation of a Maasai Warrior"(pdf) and “What about Female Genital Mutilation?” (pdf)

4/12

GROWING PAINS AND LIFE HISTORIES

FINAL PROJECT TOPIC PROPOSALS DUE
Thomas: Ch 13

"Where Fat is a Mark of Beauty" (pdf)

4/14

EXCHANGE SYSTEMS

Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples...” (pdf)

4/19

ECONOMICS, POLITICS, AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION

Thomas: Chapters 14-16

4/21

ECONOMICS, POLITICS, AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION

VISUAL INVESTIGATIONS OF CULTURE DUE
Fadiman: Ch 1-4

4/26

CULTURE CHANGE, COLONIALISM, AND GLOBALIZATION

Fadiman: Ch 5-7
The Price of Progress” (pdf)

4/28

CULTURE CHANGE, COLONIALISM, AND GLOBALIZATION

Thomas: Chapter 18-20
Why Can’t People Feed Themselves?” (pdf)

5/3

BELIEF SYSTEMS, RITUAL, MAGIC, AND RELIGION

Monaghan & Just: Ch. 7
Baseball Magic” (pdf)

5/5

BELIEF SYSTEMS, RITUAL, MAGIC, AND RELIGION

SECOND MIDTERM ESSAY DUE (Economics or Linguistics)
Thomas: Chapter 17

The Adaptive Value of Religious Ritual” (pdf)

5/10

BELIEF SYSTEMS, RITUAL, MAGIC, AND RELIGION              

Fadiman: Ch 8-12

5/12

BELIEF SYSTEMS, RITUAL, MAGIC, AND RELIGION

Fadiman: Ch 13-15

5/17

RACE AND ETHNICITY

Monaghan & Just: Ch. 5, Afterword
Understanding Race” website (http://www.understandingrace.org)
"Mixed Blood" (pdf)

5/19

RACE AND ETHNICITY

Fadiman: Ch 16-19
FINAL PROJECT ESSAYS DUE

5/24

CLASS PRESENTATIONS

5/26

CLASS PRESENTATIONS

 

6/4

CLASS PRESENTATIONS

  Finals Week: FRIDAY June 4th 10:00am-12:50pm

 

Link to Blackboard

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Sustainability Considerations in this Class

I am personally very concerned about sustainability, and Cabrillo College is increasing its efforts to operate sustainably (particularly in those ways that also save the college money for operations, thereby making more money available for offering classes). I have instituted several policies to make this class more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective:

  • minimal handouts: most materials are available online and/or will be displayed onscreen during class, to reduce paper use/waste and copying costs; I will double-side any materials I do need to distribute
  • most homework submitted online: no need to print your work to hand it in (except possibly for the Visual project), no need to double-space writing (since I'll be responding electronically, I don't need room to write)

Please do the following to help Cabrillo College meet our sustainability goals (and save the college money so that we can direct it to classes and student services!):

  • minimize printing: Don't print unless you really need a hard copy. If you are the only one using it, consider printing on the blank backs of paper that has already been used once (good for checking drafts, or if you need hard copies of readings). If you are printing something to hand in (very little for this class), you may use small margins and double-side (this can save many pages for longer documents - ask your other instructors if this will be acceptible in their class).
  • recycle properly: Almost all Cabrillo classrooms have three waste bins:
    • bottle/can recycling - most glass, plastic and juice boxes can go in here
    • paper recycling - any clean/dry paper or cardboard (NOT coffee cups or food plates)
    • waste - this is the stuff that actually goes to the landfill (remember that Cabrillo has to pay for this, but not for the recycling, so only put it in here if you have to)
  • save energy: If you notice that the door is open and the heat is running, please close the door (let the instructor know if it gets too warm - we can contact M&O if the classroom is consistantly too warm). If you are the last person to leave the room, please turn off all lights and close the door.
  • reduce your commute impact: Bike, bus, or see if you can find classmates for carpooling. (I bike or bus nearly every day, and if I can do it, almost anyone can.) Over half of Cabrillo College's carbon footprint in 2008 was due to commuting, mostly solo trips in cars. Plus, the fewer cars coming to campus, the less we need to build, maintain and monitor parking. Learn more at GoGreen!
 
  Note:  Thanks and acknowledgement are due to Heather Claussen, Allan Lönnberg and Kristin Wilson for providing segments of this syllabus or assignment descriptions, plus help and encouragement in preparing for the course.  

 

Cultural Anthropology bookmarks on del.icio.us

Anthropology bookmarks on del.icio.us

evolution | genetics | primates | biodiversity | taxonomy | paleontology | deep time | fossils | paleoanthropology | hominins | culture

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Last modified 02-Mar-2010