Intro to Anthropology 2018

This was the homepage for Introduction to Anthropology 2018 using the 4th edition of Anthropology: What Does it Mean to Be Human? In 2021, I used the updated 5th edition and was able to record the lectures in a YouTube Playlist:

Part 1: Humans Evolving

1. What is Anthropology?

Chapter 1, “What is Anthropology?”

2. Anthropology, Science, Storytelling

Module 1, “Anthropology, Science, and Storytelling”
“The Evolutionary Enigma of the Human Eyebrow” by Penny Spikins on Sapiens (2018)

3. Why is Evolution Important to Anthropologists?

Chapter 2, “Why is Evolution Important to Anthropologists?”
“Human niche, human behaviour, human nature” by Agustin Fuentes in Interface Focus (2017).

4. Primates

Chapter 3, “What Can the Study of Primates Tell Us?”
“Bonobos Spied Sharing a Feast” by Nicola Jones on Sapiens (April 2018)

5. Mobility

Chapter 4 (part 1 of 2), “What Can the Fossil Record Tell Us?”
“What moves us? How mobility and movement are at the center of human evolution” by Kuhn, Raichlen, and Clark in Evolutionary Anthropology (May/June 2016).

6. Homo sapiens

Chapter 4 (part 2 of 2), “What Can the Fossil Record Tell Us?
“Humanity’s Story Has No End of Surprising Twists” by Michelle Langley on Sapiens (March 2018)

7. Human Variation

Chapter 5, “What about Human Variation?”
“How race becomes biology: embodiment of social inequality” by Clarence Gravlee in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2009).

Part 2: History & Culture

8. Chapter 6, “How Do We Know about the Human Past?” (169-199)
“Science, the Media, and Interpretations of Upper Paleolithic Figurines” by April Nowell and Melanie Chang in American Anthropologist (2014)

9. Chapter 7 (pt 1 of 2), “Why Did Humans Settle Down, Build Cities?” (201-218)
“The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” by Jared Diamond in Discover (1987)

10. Chapter 7 (part 2 of 2), “Why Did Humans Establish States?” (218-235)
“Marketing conquest and the vanishing Indian: An Indigenous response to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse” by Michael Wilcox in Journal of Social Archaeology (2010)

11. Chapter 8 (part 1 of 2), “How Does the Concept of Culture Help Us?” (237-246)
“Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith Small in Natural History (1997)

12. Chapter 8 (pt 2 of 2), “Does the Idea of Cultural Relativism Help Us?” (246-256)
“The campaign against Female Genital Cutting: empowering women or reinforcing global inequity?” by Susie Latham in Ethics and Social Welfare (2016).

13. Module 3, “On Ethnographic Methods” (257-271)
“Shakespeare in the Bush” by Laura Bohannan in Natural History (1966)

14. Chapter 9, “Why Is Understanding Human Language Important?” (273-297)
“How Language Shapes Thought” by Lera Boroditsky in Scientific American (2011)
Chapter 10, “How Do We Make Meaning?” (303-335)

Part 3: Understanding Our World

15. Chapter 11, “Why Do Anthropologists Study Economic Relations?” (337-361)
“Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by Richard Borshay Lee in Natural History (1969)

16. Chapter 12, “How Do Anthropologists Study Political Relations?” (363-391)
“Tribal Politics in Washington” by Jack Weatherford in PoLAR – Political and Legal Anthropology Review (1993)
Film: Ongka’s Big Moka

17. Chapter 13, “What about Sex, Gender, and Sexuality?” (393-419)

18. Chapter 14 (part 1 of 2), “Where Do Our Relatives Come From?” (421-441)
“Friends” by Helga Vierich on the International Cognition and Culture Institute blog (January 2018)

19. Chapter 14 (part 2 of 2), “Where Do Our Relatives Come From?” (441-467)
“When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense” by Alice Dreger in The Atlantic (February 2013)
Film: Masai Women

20. Chapter 15, “What about Social Inequality?”
“What Our Skeletons Say About the Sex Binary” by Alexandra Kralick in Sapiens (November 2018)
Film: Race: The Story We Tell & Race: The House We Live In (Episodes 2 & 3 of “Race: The Power of an Illusion”)

This course is part of a series of Intro-to-Anthropology courses online. In 2024 I am using the new textbook The Human Story: An Introduction to Anthropology with this course outline. There were three other courses that used the textbook Anthropology: What Does it Mean to Be Human? (2021, 2017, and 2016). There was one attempt in spring 2022 as a textbook-free article-only version: Human Problems & Human Potential. I also attempted in fall 2023 to introduce anthropological insights as a first-year seminar titled People: Discovering Anthropology.

There were two courses using the textbook Through the Lens of Anthropology, in 2020 and Intro to Anthro 2022. For a full recorded lecture series from fall 2022, see:

Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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