SO 204

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

This course introduces students to the methods, findings, and theories of cultural anthropology through lecture, readings, and fieldwork. We ask the question, what does it mean to be human? and explore ethnographic data that will cause us to question our previously held answers to this question. Our goal is to develop an anthropological perspective in order to come to know ourselves, our society, and our species in new ways.

Books required for the course:

Lee: The Dobe Ju/’hoansi                                             John Gatto:  Dumbing Us Down

Robbins: Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach.

Fieldwork packet [to be distributed in class]

Course Calendar:

Jan 15 - 22     Who are the Ju/’hoansi?     Lee pp. 1-37

Jan 24 - 29        Ju/’hoansi ways of life Lee     Ch. 4-6

Jan 31 - Feb 5     Differing views of the Ju/’hoansi     Lee Ch. 7-9

Feb 7 - 12    The Ju/’hoansi and change         Lee FINISH

February 14 EXAM

Feb 19 - 21    Thinking Anthropologically     Robbins Ch. 1

Feb 26 - 28    How did we get this way?          Robbins Ch. 2

note that we are not reading Robbins Ch. 3

Mar 12 - 14   Making Meaning                    Robbins Ch 4

Mar 19 - 26    Thinking Anthropologically about Schools   Gatto all


Mar 28 - April 2        Kinship Revisited Robbins         Robbins   Ch. 5 


note that we are not reading Robbins Ch. 6

April 9 - 11     Power and Inequality                 Robbins Ch. 7

April 16 - 18    Power and Violence                     Robbins Ch. 8

April 23 - 25  Anthropology and the Real World     Robbins Ch. 9

8:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec 11 L-22 EXAM

Course Requirements:

The first requirement is that you do the reading and attend class. There will be five random quizzes on the reading, each worth ten points. These will be given at the beginning of the class period, with no make up quizzes.

Each student will find a setting in which he or she can volunteer service several hours per week and become a participant observer. Assignments and help in finding your service setting will be available in class. There will be four writing assignments on your service, due approximately every two weeks at the beginning of the semester, worth ten points each, and a final paper worth 60 points. Late papers will have points deducted.

There are three exams, worth 100 points each, and an essay, worth 50 points. Attendance is valued as follows: Miss 0-2 classes = +10 points; miss 3-4 classes = +5 points; miss 5-6 classes = 0 points; miss 7-9 classes = -5 points; miss 10 or more = -10 points. The positive points, if earned, are the only available extra credit for the class.

Course Evaluation:

There are a total possible 500 points from quizzes, exams, essay and fieldwork papers.

470 – 500 points A    455 – 469 points A-     440 – 454 points B+    425 – 439 points B

410 – 424 points B-    390 – 409 points C+     370 – 389 points C    350 – 369 points C-

335 – 349 points D+  315 – 334 points D    300 – 314 points D-    Below 300 points F

Instructor Office Hours:

My office is in L-24; office hours are Monday and Wednesday 1:00 2:30 and and Thursday 8:15 - 9:25 and at other times by appointment.. Please do not hesitate to see me if you have questions about the course.  You can also e-mail me at

Academic Policies

Writing Assignments

Gatto Assignment

Supplementary Materials

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