ANTH 101-01 SP09 Ari - Heartland Community College

Heartland Community College
Social and Business Sciences
Course Syllabus for Students
Course Prefix and Number: ANTH 101-01 HYBRID Spring 2009
Course Title: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Credit Hours: 3.0 hrs
Days and Times the course meets: Monday 6:00 PM–7:15 PM
Location and Classroom: ICB 2301
This course will furnish a thorough introduction to the principles and processes of
cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology is the study of similarities and differences
among contemporary cultures of the world and development of theories to explain these
relationships. By attempting to make the diverse cultures of the world understandable it
seeks to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. This course places in the field
of general anthropology and describes the methods and research problems which both
connect it to and distinguish it from anthropology’s main research areas while placing
anthropology in the history of Euro-American social thought.
Catalog Description
This course furnishes a thorough introduction to the concepts, approaches, and methods
of Cultural Anthropology, one of the four main sub-disciplines of General Anthropology.
With an emphasis on the holistic and comparative nature of the cultural anthropological
approach, and using contemporary and recent ethnographic examples from around the
world, the course provides an awareness of the wide spectrum of cultural and social
variation, while at the same time stressing those characteristics that are shared by all
human beings. The class includes lectures and discussions, on-line readings and quizzes,
ethnographic films and streamlining movie clips, and student inputs and presentations.
Instructor Information
Instructor’s Name: A. N. Ariyaratne, Ph. D.
Phone number to contact instructor: (309) 268-8595
Instructor’s e-mail address:
Instructor’s office hours: Monday 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM or by appointment
Textbook Required
Relationship to Academic Development Programs and Transfer
This course fulfills 3 of the 9 semester hours of credit in Social Sciences required for the
A.A. or A.S. degree. This course should transfer as part of the General Education Core
Curriculum described in the Illinois Articulation Initiative to other Illinois colleges and
universities participating in the IAI. However, students should consult an academic
advisor for transfer information regarding particular institutions. Refer to the IAI web
page at for more information.
Academic Discipline: Anthropology is the study of human behavior in all its
facets. It is the only contemporary discipline that approaches human questions from
historical, biological, linguistic, and cultural perspectives. Each of these sub-disciplines
imparts invaluable core knowledge about human beings and their cultural and biological
Cultural anthropology, by employing its analytical tool ethnography, explores a
variety of human beliefs and behavior while making sense of the meanings that people
from different societies ascribe to their experience.
Student Learning: Students tend to learn best when presented with a variety of
ways to get to know the material. Since this is an introductory course, there will be a fair
amount of lecture during the weekly class meeting sessions; however, class sessions will
be structured to include more discussion and student engagement in active learning.
Instructor’s Role: The student-centered approach is central to my teaching
philosophy. My teaching experience makes me convince that the “hands-on” course
approach is often more productive than the traditional lecture method of teaching. This
hybrid course of cultural anthropology is designed with the intention of maximizing
student participation in active learning.
Moreover, moving beyond traditionally conceived categories of the subject, in
this introductory course, I will attempt to give a glimpse of the emerging new theoretical
frameworks, methodological transformations, and intellectual currents within the field of
cultural anthropology.
Course Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
At the completion of this course, the students will be able to accomplish the following
By using the type of holistic knowledge which an anthropological
perspective brings, the students will be able to view human questions in a
broader context when comprehending their interconnections and
interdependence. Thus they will be able to see social and cultural relations
in global contexts.
They will be able to integrate into their own world view a broader
understanding of human culture by developing an appreciation for the vast
amount of cultural diversity.
They will be familiar with a pool of key anthropological concepts and be
able to apply them in the process of understanding human condition.
They will possess knowledge of the historical developments and
contemporary intellectual currents of cultural anthropology.
Given the variety of human experiences that the students are exposed to in
this course, they will be able to reflect upon their own interests, talents,
and goals thus better enabling them to choose appropriate specialized
learning environments.
Course Outline
Unit 1: Introduction and Perspective: Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology
Unit 2: Ethnography and Fieldwork
Unit 3: Field Techniques and Ethnographic Project
Unit 4: Concept of Culture
Unit 5: Culture and Communication: Salience of Language
Unit 6: Society and Identity: Kinship, Descent, and Marriage
Unit 7: Society and Identity: Cultural Construction of Identity
Unit 8: Economic Anthropology and Adaptive Strategies
Unit 9: Society and Identity: Cultural Construction of Social Hierarchy
Unit 10: Political Anthropology
Unit 11: Anthropology of Religion
Unit 12: Expressive Culture
Unit 13: World System
Unit 14: Modernity and Globalization
Method of Instruction
Course Outline given here corresponds to the Content Modules or Units given in
Heartland Community College’s Anthropology 101 WebCT Hybrid Course webpage. As
you can see, there are fourteen (14) content modules. The students are required to visit
the webpage regularly throughout the semester to browse the relevant unit(s), do the
required readings, watch the given movie clips, participate in discussion through posting
comments, and complete quizzes and other class assignments.
Note starting with Week 2, there are assignments due Before Class, During Class, and
After Class. Typically, a brief quiz must be completed on Wednesday following the
Tuesday night class meeting. You will also have to complete a discussion assignment by
Sunday of the following week. The discussion column is an interactive forum. This
means, the weekly discussion postings should include one original posting and a
response to someone else’s discussion posting of the same week.
Note also, most of the given links lead you to live web links, movie clips, or live hyper
links to quizzes or assignments within WebCT. This hybrid course is designed following
the above format, known as the B-D-A Format.
There will be a fair amount of reviewing of before class materials assigned for the week,
in addition to during class presentations during the weekly class meetings. The students
are required to complete all of the before class assignments for the given week, prior to
attending the class session. Efforts will be made to encourage students to raise relevant
questions and to initiate class discussion. Discussion will be interspersed throughout
sessions rather than, as it is typically done in traditional classes, merely at the end of a
session. The students are also required to complete, as mentioned earlier, after class
assignments every week after the given class meeting session.
Method of Evaluation (Tests/Exams, Grading System)
You will be evaluated using the following method:
Quizzes or Multiple-choice Questions: 2 points x 14 units = 28
Discussion Postings or Activities of the Units: 1 point x 14 units = 14
Mid-term Examination: 24 points
Final Examination: 24 points
Ethnographic Project: 10 points
When referring to letter grades, definitions, and grade point equivalent, this course
follows the guidelines of HCC official grading system given under the HCC Academic
Policies of the 2009 HCC Catalog.
1. Regular attendance and class participation are vital to ensure a good grade, and it
is your responsibility to be here in both body and mind.
2. You are responsible for all materials presented and discussed in class even if
you are absent.
Incompletes are allowed only under the most extreme situations. Students wishing to earn
an incomplete grade should see the instructor.
Extra Credit
Extra credits are allowed only under the most extreme situations.
Make-up tests and assignments
Students may make up exams ONLY under the following conditions:
1. The student informs the instructor that s/he will miss an exam BEFORE exam
day begins.
2. The instructor decides if the reason/excuse WARRENTS a make up exam.
There are no make-ups for work done before, during and after class.
Student Evaluations
In the last 2-3 weeks of class, all students are expected to complete a course evaluation
form online, at More information about evaluations
will be provided in class.
Student Conduct/Class Rules
1. Turn off all cell phones and pagers before class starts.
2. Do not interrupt other students while they are making a point or asking a
3. Do not attempt to carry on a conversation with another student while in class.
4. Be on time for class and stay the whole period. If you need to come late or
leave early please let the instructor know ahead of time.
Syllabi disclaimer
The instructor reserves the right to make alterations to this syllabus as necessary.
Course Calendar (Class Meeting Sessions)
Week 1 (January 12)
Unit 1: Introduction and Perspectives
January 19 – MLK Holiday – College Closed
Week 2 (January 26)
Unit 2: Ethnography and Fieldwork
Week 3 (February 2)
Unit 3: Fieldwork Techniques
Week 4 (February 9)
Unit 4: Concept of Culture
Week 5 (February 16)
Unit 5: Culture and Communication
Week 6 (February 23)
Unit 6: Society and Identity: Kinship, Marriage, and Family
Week 7 (March 2)
Mid-term Examination – (in-class)
Week 8 - March 9 – 14 – Spring Break –No Classes
Week 9 (March 16)
Unit 7: Cultural Construction of Identity
Week 10 (March 23)
Unit 8: Economic Anthropology and Adaptive Strategies
Week 11 (March 30)
Unit 9: Society and Identity: Cultural Construction of Social Hierarchy
Week 12 (April 6)
Unit 10: Political Anthropology
Week 13 (April 13)
Unit 12: Anthropology of Religion
Week 14 (April 20)
Unit 13: Expressive Culture
Week 15 (April 27)
World System
Week 16 (May 4)
Modernity and Globalization
Ethnographic Project due
May 11- Final Examination (in class)