Intro to Anthro 2021

This is the homepage for Introduction to Anthropology 2021. The textbook is Anthropology: What Does it Mean to Be Human? by Robert Lavenda and Emily Schultz. In the words of Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot, this course attempts to “show an underlying faith in the richness and variability of humankind” (Global Transformations 2003, 139). For recorded lectures, see the YouTube Playlist:

Part 1: Evolving

Anthropology explores what it means to be human

  • Chapter 1, “What is anthropology?”

Evolution & Myths

  • Module 1, “Anthropology, Science, Storytelling”

Evolution is Life in Process

  • Chapter 2, “Why is evolution important to anthropologists?”

Primate Flexibility

  • Chapter 3, “What can the study of primates tell us?”
  • Barbara Smuts, “What are Friends For?” Natural History (1987)

Learning to Move

  • Chapter 4 (part 1), “What can the fossil record tell us about humankind?”

Survival of the Generalist

  • Chapter 4 (part 2), “Fossil record”

Part 2: History & Culture

Human variation is more complicated than biological race

  • Chapter 5, “How does the evolutionary study of human variation undermine notions of biological race?”

Archaeology Methods

  • Chapter 6 (part 1), “How do we know about the human past?”
  • Module 2, “Dating Methods in Paleoanthropology & Archaeology”

Gender Archaeology

  • Chapter 6 (part 2), “How do we know about the human past?”
  • “Women’s Art in the Upper Paleolithic”
  • April Nowell and Melanie Chang, “Science, the Media, and Interpretations of Upper Paleolithic Figurines.” American Anthropologist (2014)

Auditioning Domestication

  • Chapter 7 (part 1), “Why did humans settle down?”
  • Jared Diamond, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.” Discover (1987).

Stratified Complexity

  • Chapter 7 (part 2), “Why did humans build cities and establish states?”
  • Michael Wilcox, “Marketing conquest and the vanishing Indian: An Indigenous response to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse.” Journal of Social Archaeology (2010)

Social Life

  • Chapter 8, “Why is the concept of culture important?”
  • Meredith Small, “Our Babies, Ourselves.” Natural History (1997)

Cultivating Reflexivity

  • Module 3, “On Ethnographic Methods”
  • Laura Bohannan, “Shakespeare in the Bush.” Natural History (1966)

Language

  • Chapter 9, “Why is understanding human language important?”
  • Module 4, “Components of Language”

Part 3: Humankind Today

Meaning

  • Chapter 10, “How do we make meaning?”

Economies

  • Chapter 11,“Why do anthropologists study economic relations?”
  • Richard Borshay Lee, “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.” Natural History (1969)

Politics

  • Chapter 12,“How do anthropologists study political relations?”

Sex-Gender-Sexuality

  • Chapter 13, “What about sex, gender, and sexuality?”
  • Alexandra Kralick, “What Our Skeletons Say About the Sex Binary.” Sapiens (2018)

Kinship

  • Chapter 14 (part 1), “Where do our relatives come from?”

Marriage

  • Chapter 14 (part 2), “Why do our relatives matter?”

Inequality

  • Chapter 15, “What about social inequality?”

Medical Anthro

  • Chapter 16, “What is medical anthropology?”

This course concentrated on anthropology’s faith in the “richness and variability of humankind.” It is the most current in the series of Introduction to Anthropology courses. The previous Intro to Anthropology 2020 was based on the textbook Through the Lens of Anthropology. YouTube playlist:


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, follow on Twitter, watch on YouTube, or subscribe to e-mail list.

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