Syllabus for Block Program

Anthropology 2
Cultural Anthropology
Lauren Arenson
Office Hours: T-Th
10:30am -noon
(626) 585-7736/ C-320
This course offers a general introduction to the subject of cultural anthropology.
Anthropologists aim to understand the principles of diversity in human beliefs and
behaviors and how such values affect the natural environment. In order to reach
this goal, anthropologists engage in field research, which is intensive, on-site
investigations into various societies around the world. Anthropologists use such
data to explain observed patterns of behavior.
Course Objective:
In this course, we will be reviewing classical anthropological methods of
interpreting and understanding human behavior in a host of societies. This
information may assist with the process of understanding your own culture as
well as the diversity represented in Los Angeles.
Required Course Text:
Arenson & Thayer-Miller, Cultures of the United States , 2nd edition
Additional readings will be posted to the course website
Online Component:
All students are required to check for weekly postings. You will see a discussion
board where you can learn ore about class assignments and post comments to
fellow classmates. At this site you will find your, required readings, details on
assignments, and your personal grade book. The best way to learn to navigate
the program is just by using the system!! Best of all, you can't break it. Details on
the website will be given in class. The web address is
Students will be asked to sign in before each class meeting. After three missed
classes, students may be dropped from the course. Please refer to the PCC
policies of attendance for specific details. If you wish to drop the class, please do
so through the PCC Registration website.
Scholars Block:
Due to the nature of this course, the Instructor is expecting each student to
complete a higher level of independent research. It is the responsibility of each
student to register for the scholars block program. The Instructor will supply
details about the program throughout the semester.
There will be 3 equally weighted exams for this course. No make-up exams will
be given. The final exam will not be cumulative.
Ethnography Paper:
Students will be asked to choose a scholarly journal about a culture other than
their own. A 3-5 page formal cross-cultural analysis will demonstrate the
student’s knowledge and critical understanding of the reading material and class
lectures. APA and MLA format is required. Further details will be given in class.
Final Project:
The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate one’s ability to combine the
concepts from the three combined block courses. Details will be given in class.
Exams: (50 points each)
Ethnography Paper:
Final Project:
150 points
50 points
50 points
Total points:
250 points
Grades are based upon the following percentages:
A = 100-90%
B = 89-80%
C= 79-70%
D= 69-55%
F= 54% and below
Extra Credit assignments may be offered throughout the course. This is at the
discretion of the Instructor.
Academic Dishonesty Policy:
College study is the process of becoming an independent scholar. All students
are expected to do their own work. Students found to be using unauthorized
materials on exams, copying off other student papers, copying other written
materials without proper credit to the original author or any other form of cheating
will have that assignment marked F for failure and may receive a failing grade for
the course, depending upon the seriousness of the violation. Incidents of
academic dishonesty will be reported to the Vice President of Instruction and will
become part of the student's permanent academic record.
This document may require changes during the course of the semester, at the
discretion of the professor. Students will be notified in advance of any changes.
Student Learning Outcomes for Cultural Anthropology:
Students will understand and articulate ethnographic facts and details about a
breadth of cultures, including their beliefs and practices, with special emphasis
on indigenous traditions
Students will approach and analyze these traditions using an objective relativist
framework whereby cultures and their religious beliefs are first understood on
their own terms, as logical responses to the challenges facing all human
Students will explain and evaluate the relationships between various aspects
within individual cultures such as economics, politics, religion, gender, kinship
and others.
Students will conduct library and web-based ethnographic research on selected
cultures across time and space
Students will produce a well-developed, well-written essay effectively discussing
issues covered in the class from a non-ethnocentric standpoint
Weekly Readings in textbook and Lecture Schedule:
(Additional course readings will be announced in class and will be available via
the course website)
Scientific Inquiry
August 31
Introduction to the Scholars Block
September 2
Science of Cultural Anthropology, Chapter 1
September 7
Responsibilities of the Field Researcher, Chapter 2
September 9
Anthropological Research Methods
September 14
Economic Anthropology, Chapter 8
September 16
Methods of Subsistence
September 21
Political Anthropology, Chapter 9
September 23
Rise of the State and Political Empires
September 28
Library Resources for Class Projects
September 30
Exam #1
Feeding Global Populations
October 5
“Inconvenient Truth” / Facts on Hunger
October 7
Religion and the Environment, Chapter 10
October 12
Religion on a Global Perspective
October 14
Medical Anthropology, Chapter 11
October 19
Anthropology in Action (Applied Anthropology), Review
October 21
Family Structures in a Global Society, Chapter 6
Resource Use and Consequences
October 26
What is a Family Today?
October 28
Ethnography Paper due at the beginning of class
Kinship Patterns, Chapter 7
November 2
Kin Obligations & Residence Patterns Influence Resources
November 4
Exam #2
November 9
Race and Ethnicity, Chapter 4
November 11
Holiday: no class
November 16
Unequal Access to Resources
November 18
Language and Culture, Chapter 5
November 23
Advertisements and Cultural Communication
What Does Thanksgiving Mean to an Anthropologist?
November 25
Holiday: no class
November 30
Consumerism and Trash: Non-Recycled Plastic Bags,
Chapter 3
December 2
Responsibilities of an Applied Anthropologist, Chapter 12
December 7
Submission and Review of Final Class Project
December 9
Responsibility to Subjects Over Our Research: Role of AAA
December 13-17
Final Exam Week