201 Newton Hall
SPRING 2013 Course Syllabus
—Office: T18 Frnzier
Office Hours: MF 2:30-3:0
Contact Information: 585-742-3185 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org email
Description and Objectives
The field of anthropology broadly encompasses four sub-disciplines: bioarchaeology (also known as physical anthropology), archaeology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. The 102 course is focuses on cultural anthropology and linguistics. Cultural anthropology is based on broad comparative approach to the study of cultural diversity and includes many specialized subfields some of which include ethnicity, gender, social hierarchy, heritage, cultural identity, violence, racism, poverty, and a multitude of others. All of these share fundamental theoretical principles developed for understanding diversity and change and the incredible cultural expressions of human relationships. This course includes a field observation, lectures, films, and classroom discussion groups to introduce students to the complexities of cultural constructions and the variety of social expressions throughout the world.
Required Reading: Cultural Anthropology by Barbara Miller
There may be additional readings not listed herein.
Social Science Core
It is expected that by the end of the semester the student will have a clear understanding of the core concepts of cultural anthropology, including theoretical, empirical and methodological ,approaches. Furthermore the student will be aware of key areas research, current issues, multi- viewpoints, and conflicts in philosophy, politics, and beliefs.
(1) Students will participate in group discussions in class concerning major empirical, analytical, and theoretical approaches to the study of cultural/social systems, economy, political organizations, and religions.
(2) Students will demonstrate knowledge of key areas of research by preparing five short essays.
(3) Students will demonstrate their comprehension of some major issues involving participant observation..
(4) Students will demonstrate knowledge of a particular current by developing and presenting a power point to the class.
1. Essays — 30% The student will write three short essays (500 words) about a current issue that will be discussed and investigated in class and will include the student's own observations. The topic may be discussed from any point of view, and may either support findings or refute them by drawing on sources outside anthropology such as histories, news articles, the web etc.
These essays are designed to introduce you to the most basic research methods used by anthropologists in examining social groups and cultural constructions including observation and interviewing. Anthropologists observe social groups in many settings, describe what they, question the meaning of behaviors, interactions, social ideals etc. They try to synthesize data in order to explain the rules of social interaction, how people create identities, maintain them, alter them, and negotiate power, oppression, dominance and other relationships.
Essays should be sent to me through MyCourses. List of Essay Topics:
1. Who am I?
In this essay you will identify someone with whom you are having a conversation about yourself. The goal of this exercise is for you to think about how a person decides what to share about his or herself. In a narrative form, write down what you tell this person about yourself and explain why you chose those aspects and not others. Define yourself in terms of the social-relationships you have: family, friends; colleagues; groups you belong to. Describe those relationships in terms of their importance to you. Why is it important for you to belong to some groups and not another?
2. Observing Language.
You are to observe an interaction between a group of people —fictional or real, live, in print or in film. The event can be any form of social medium such as a television program, a news article, the interaction of children, etc. Explain the setting, the actors/participants, the type of language used to affect social relations of power, dominance, influence, persuasion. How are the spoken interactions structures, are the actors (people involved) equal or ranked in any way and does their selection of words and phrases reflect that rank. Language is reflects and used in many ways to display dominance, threaten, persuade, etc. Please use quotes when citing specific phrases and explain how the language affects the interaction of the players.
3. Rights of Access and Ownership.
Increasingly people are being denied rights to things that used to be considered free and basic in most societies. For example, drinking water is being drained from 'open bodies of water and sold to the people living in the area. Seeds have been genetically patented so that it is illegal to propagate seed. Select one of these topics or another similar in nature and explain how it is that companies control what was once free. How are they justified? Is it right to deny people access to these things? Where will that trend end?
2. Exams — 50% There will be a midterm and a final exam. The midterm exam will cover the first half of the course, while the final will cover the second half of the course. The final will not be cumulative but as it will have an essay component you may be asked to incorporate
aspects of earlier materials in your answer.
3. Field Observation Exercise — 20% Students will go and observe a religious ceremony and prepare a 1500 word essay based on the data collected. The religious ceremony selected is the Catholic mass performed on Good Friday, March 29th, known as the "Commemoration of Our Lord's Passion". You are not expected to participate but instead to act as an anthropologist and observe the setting, the trappings, the actors and the audience, what is scared space, what is secular space, the rules of behavior. There are many Catholic churches throughout the area including in Geneseo. It is up to you to choose a church and find out the times of the mass. You may go in groups of up to 3 people and prepare a single essay. Keep in mind everyone on the team will share the same grade. It is your choice to do this exercise alone or with others.
4. Films — There will be a number of films shown throughout the semester. Although there is no grade given for watching the films you should be aware that the midterm and final will have questions pertaining to them.
5. Textbook — The textbook is a reference guide. Sections will be assigned relating to the lectures.
A 94 and above B-82 - 80 D+ 69 — 67
A-93 — 90 C+ 79 - 77 D 66 — 63
B+ 89 - 87 C 76 — 73 D-62 — 60
B 86 - 83 C-72 — 70 F 59 or lower
Spring Break March 18-22
Field Observation Day March 29
Last of class May 7
Final Exam May 13, 3:30-6:30 PM
Attendance, Lateness, Withdrawal
You are required to attend all classes, to arrive and leave on time. Attendance is important. Class lectures are used to expand on topics covered in the text, to introduce additional important information, and to clarify course material and assignments. Except for serious illness (doctor's note), religious beliefs or death (obituary), the student is expected to be in class.
Students are responsible for all material covered in class, whether they are absent or not.
The class is designed to facilitate learning. Please be courteous to fellow students. Cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices should be turned off during class. Classroom activities should focus on material relating to anthropology, however -- not to any other aspect of the student's daily life. Failure to respect fellow students will be treated the same as lateness.
-------,effeatitig;-plagiarisur or any other'form Of academic dishonesty will'resaitin, ' failing grade.
SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional or learning disabilities. Students should contact the Director in the Office of Disability Services (105D Erwin) and their faculty to discuss needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.
SUNY Geneseo allows students to be absent due to religious obligations.
If the College is closed due to inclement weather or some other emergency, Rochester area radio and television stations will be notified no later than 5:30 a.m. In addition, the Geneseo College homepage on will display a message indicating the College is closed.
Class cancellation information is available daily on the web or through the telephone.