ANTH 100 Lecture Notes - Kottak, Howard Wainer, Ethnography

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3 Feb 2013
University of British Columbia
Department of Anthropology
Winter Term 2012 (T2)
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Instructor: David Geary
“Cultural analysis is intrinsically incomplete.
And, worse than that, the more deeply it goes the less complete it is.”
― Clifford Geertz
Lectures: Neville Scarfe 100
Monday and Wednesday 3:00-3:50 pm
Teaching Assistants:
Gregory Gan; Lorenzo Lane
Rafael Wainer; Clayton Whitt
Course webpage:
Course Description:
This course provides an introduction to cultural anthropology offering broad insights into
its disciplinary origins and the development of its foundational paradigms. Through an
exploration of key aspects of its practice over the past century and in the contemporary
moment, we will cover a wide variety of topics that will not only teach us about other
peoples and cultures different from our own, but will also help us to improve our
understanding of our own society and its customs, values and beliefs; each can shed light
upon the other. Topics to be explored include economics and globalization, family and
kinship systems, religion and magic, culture change and adaptation, language and
communication, and legal and political systems. Throughout the course students are
encouraged to think critically about the discipline’s future and the kind of possibilities
cultural anthropology may offer them, as they become increasingly active members of
society and citizens of the world.
Format: The class consists of two components: Lectures and Discussion Sections lead by
Teaching Assistants. Attendance is mandatory and punctuality expected. Your TA will
provide details as to how their individual sections will be run.
You can find the course syllabus, overheads used in lectures (updated weekly), exam
templates, and other miscellaneous materials related to the course at You
will need a Campus Wide Login (CWD) ID to log on (for more info, visit
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I expect this course will be a fun challenge. It will be a challenge in the sense that it will
suggest to you alternative ways of being and knowing. By the end of the class, students
who have satisfactorily fulfilled the requirements of this course should be able to
understand the following:
Appreciate cultural and social difference, and how human diversity is produced
and shaped by local and global patterns.
Articulate a critical understanding of anthropology and its history, its object of
study, and its various approaches to the study of people, culture, and social
Become critically aware of ethnocentrism, its manifestations, and consequences in
a world that is progressively interconnected.
Use anthropological concepts and ways of asking questions to understand
contemporary social, economic, and political issues.
Identify and critically assess ethical issues that arise in the practice of
anthropology and ethnography.
Office Hours & Contact Information: We invite and strongly encourage you to make use
of your TA’s and Instructor’s office hours. Office visits at other times can be arranged by
appointment. Our offices are located in the Anthropology and Sociology building,
directly across NW Marine Drive from the Rose Garden.
David Geary (ANSO 156) Phone: 604-822-3797
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 4:30 – 5:30 (or by appointment)
Teachings Assistants: TBA
(available at the University Bookstore - please be sure to purchase the correct edition)
Kottak, Conrad Phillip. 2012. Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural
Anthropology. Eighth Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill. [Note: a cheaper
electronic version of this book is available]
Spradley, James and David W. McCurdy (eds.). 2012. Conformity and Conflict:
Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Fourteenth Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Class participation (10%)
2 Short Response Papers (15% x 2 - 30%)
Midterm Quiz (20%)
Final Exam (40%)
Class participation (10%): Your TA will determine how specifically she or he will
evaluate your performance, but you should expect to be assessed in terms of your
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