This was the homepage for a 2023 course called “People: Discovering Anthropology.” In the past half century, anthropologists have made a series of ground-breaking discoveries about human evolution, archaeology, culture, and language. But many of these discoveries are not widely known, whether because they are contained in academic specialties, debated in jargon-heavy texts, or caricatured by culture-war battles. In this course we explored some of the breakthrough findings, without the jargon.

We also had the opportunity to read parts of Clint Smith’s book How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America.

For Introduction-to-Anthropology 2024 I am using the new textbook The Human Story: An Introduction to Anthropology with this course outline.

People Part 1: Evolution to Art


  • “The fiery end of the dinosaurs kicked off the golden age of mammals” by Riley Black (2022)

Monkey & Ape

  • “Monkey” and “Ape” in Brittanica
  • “Why are there still monkeys?” by William Eric Meikle and Eugenie C. Scott (2010)

Problems of Evolution

  • “The Problems of Evolution as a ‘March of Progress'” by Alexander Werth (2022)

Humanity in one place?

  • “Did Humanity Really Arise in One Place?” by Cecilia Padilla-Iglesias (2023)

Cave Art

  • “Earliest-Known Animal Cave Art” by Aubert et al. (2021)

Neandertal Art?

  • “Did Neanderthals Make Art?” by Bruce Hardy (2022)

Radical New Theory

  • “A Radical New Theory About the Origins of Art” by Derek Hodgson and Paul Pettitt (2018)
  • “Reimagining Rock Art in Southern Africa” by Lewis-Williams et al. (2022)

Part 2: Ice Age to Civilizations

Paleolithic Chefs

  • “The Paleolithic Age Cooked Up Creative Chefs” by Ceren Kabukcu (2023)

Ice Age


  • “The Cultural Origins of Language” by Christine Kenneally (2018)


  • “Did Aliens Build the Pyramids? And Other Racist Theories” by Stephanie Halmhofer (2021)

Women Artisans

  • “Were Women the True Artisans Behind Ancient Greek Ceramics?” by Max G. Levy (2020)
  • “How Men Stole Civilization” by David Wengrow (2018)


  • Wed 10/11: “Do civilisations collapse?” by Guy D Middleton (2017)

How the Word is Passed


  • Clint Smith, How the Word is Passed, “New York City”


  • Smith, “Monticello Plantation”


  • Fri 10/20: Smith, “The Whitney Plantation” (52-84)

People 3: Family, Marriage, Gender, Sexuality


  • “Mothers and Others” by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (2001)


  • “When Kinship is Traced Through Women, Their Health Follows” by Deepa Padmanaban (2021)


  • “Does Love Always Come Before Marriage?” by William Jankowiak & Alex Nelson (2021)

Doing Gender

  • “Doing Gender, Doing Surgery” by Joan Cassell (1997)


  • “What Our Skeletons Say About the Sex Binary” by Alexandra Kralick (2018)


  • “Margaret Mead Imagined Different Futures” by Samuel Collins (2022)


  • “How ‘Wilderness’ Was Invented Without Indigenous Peoples” by Claudia Geib (2022)


  • “How Can Societies Decolonize Conservation?” by John Millhauser and Timothy Earle (2022)

Without Police

  • “The Urgency of Envisioning a World Without Police” by Brendane A. Tynes (2023)

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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