Section Information for Fall 2022
This course is a survey of key topics in cultural anthropology—the study of the variety of human practices and beliefs that appear throughout the world. It provides a sense of the general approach that anthropologists take when studying cultures. The course focuses on how to ask intelligent questions and aims to lead you to “think like an anthropologist” as you reflect on other cultures as well as your own. Cultural anthropology endeavors to promote learning about the world’s diverse cultures in a contextual, comparative, and holistic perspective. Through lectures, readings, films, writing exercises, and discussions, this course will cover a range of intriguing topics with cross-cultural examples. In order to understand cultural diversity, we must begin by interrogating our own cultural assumptions and how these shape our everyday lives and ways of thinking. These include assumptions that we may not even recognize as cultural, but may take for granted as a natural part of our common sense. We will start by considering the following questions: What is anthropology? What is culture? What research methods do cultural anthropologists use? What ethical issues do anthropologists face? Afterward, we will delve into the history and development of cultural theories and then into a range of themes that anthropologists study, including kinship, the family, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, health, religion, and the body, looking at case studies from places around the globe. Importantly, in a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world, anthropology concerns issues of public policy, international development, technology, the media, and globalization. We will end by carefully considering how anthropological knowledge can apply to an understanding of these contemporary issues and discussing some of the future directions of the discipline. This course is part of the Mason Core.
ANTH 114 DL4 is a distance education section.
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