Intro to Cultural Anthropology

  ANT 100-03

   MF 10-11:15

     Fall 2015

          SUNY College at Geneseo


Instructor: Kristi J. Krumrine

Office: Bailey 147


Phone: 585.245.5043 (office)

585.281.3821 (cell)

Office Hrs: MF 1-2:30 pm

or by appointment


TA: Harrison Moses



Course Description

This course is an introduction to the cross-cultural study of human social life and meaning.  It is structured topically around the most basic issues shaping and shaped by human existence: language, family, subsistence, economic exchange, and religious and political organization. By examining the core vocabulary, personalities, research methods and theoretical developments in anthropology, this course is meant to provide a foundation on which students can build to a better understanding of, and greater tolerance for, worldwide diversity, unity, cooperation and conflict. Class will include PowerPoint lecture, films, small group exercises and discussions of readings.


Course Objectives

Students will study of the ways of life of the living peoples of the world, and an overview of the development and practice of cultural anthropology as a primary tool for the accomplishment of that study.


Learning Outcomes

  • Student mastery of the data of the field, particularly in regard to learning about the ways of life of the living peoples of the world, will be tested in examinations and on the required papers.
  • Student proficiency regarding the development of cultural anthropology is demonstrated through exams.
  • Student acquisition of knowledge of the practice of the field of cultural anthropology will demonstrated both on examinations and through the required papers.


Required Reading

  • Nanda.Culture Counts: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 3rd. McGraw-Hill.
  • Mangione. Mount Allegro: A Memoir of Italian American Life. New York Classics Series. Syracuse University Press.
  • Lee. The Dobe Ju/’hoansi. Wadsworth.

Class Requirements

Exams: There will be 3 exams in this course, the first two of which are worth 20% of the final grade. The 3rd exam (non-cumulative final exam) is worth 25% of the final grade. The exam format will include both multiple choice (80%) and essay (20%) questions. The exams will cover lectures, readings and films and will emphasize your conceptual grasp of the course material. All exams must be taken at the scheduled time unless worked out ahead of time with instructor. Due dates are outlined below.


Papers: There will be two short papers assigned in the course: the first is a self-ethnography; the second is in the form of a one page critique of a lecture, film or other event having to do with cultural harmony and diversity. There will be numerous opportunities to attend one of these events during the semester, especially during Cultural Harmony Week (10/18-24). Critiques should be turned in the class after the event. One letter grade will be deducted for each class that papers are late. Papers will be graded on spelling, grammar, organization and content. These papers, combined, are worth 10% of the final grade. Descriptions of both assignments are listed at the back of the syllabus. Periodically, throughout the semester, students will be required to write a “one-minute paper”. These will be written during class and collected immediately. Questions will come from the assigned readings and are meant to foster discussion.  There will be eight opportunities to write these short papers (I’ll actually give you more like 5 minutes) and each is worth 3 points. One point will be given for attempting an answer and 1-2 will be given based on how well the question is answered.


Participation: We will also frequently break up into small assigned teams to work on exercises and discussions. Exercises will be done during class, while discussions are usually completed outside of class time. Students will be informed as to the team assignments- typically if we do not do an in-class exercise, students will be assigned a short discussion post. The participation grade at the end of the course will reflect student attendance and work effort in these small groups.


Poster:The final assignment will be in the form of a poster presentation. This poster will be worth 15% of the final grade and is due on the day of the final exam (a bibliography will be due in November). Due to the large size of the class, students are required to work in pairs- please let me know by mid-semester if you do not have a partner and I will try to pair students. We will have a poster session and contest in which you get to see and vote on your classmate’s posters.  The top three vote getters will get 20 and 15 and 10 points extra credit, respectively, added to their final grades. Both partners are expected to contribute equally to the poster project- please see me ASAP if you feel that your partner is not putting in equal effort. See the last page of the syllabus for a description of the project.


Academic Honesty Policy

Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Please refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin (pgs. 373-375)  regarding SUNY Geneseo policies (available through the college webpage).



Course Requirements and Important Dates

Exam #1                                              10/2                                        100

Exam #2                                              11/9                                        100

Exam #3 (final)                                   12/16                                       125

Ethnography                                       9/18                                          40

Cultural Harmony Event                      Class after event                      10

One-Minute Papers                             In class                                     25

Participation                                        In class                                     25

Poster                                                  12/16                                        75

            Poster Bibliography                 11/23


* The 3rd column above represents points for each assignment out of a total of 500 possible points for the course.


Weekly Schedule and Reading Assignments

The readings below should be completed prior to class each week. Keep current with the reading assignments! Doing so makes class more interesting and makes it easier to study for exams. PowerPoint presentations and outside readings are available on mycourses. I recommend that students print out presentations (handouts- 3 images to a page with note lines) before class so as to eliminate the need for copying each slide during class.


Week 1          8/31-9/4          Intro to Anth

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 1; Troost; Mangione Ch. 1-2

                                                Film: “A Man Called Bee”


Week 2          9/7                   Labor Day- no class

9/11                 Ethnographic Method

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 3; Chagnon; Mangione Ch. 3-4


Week 3          9/14-18           Culture Concept

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 2; Bohannon; Mangione Ch. 5-6               

                        9/18                 Self-ethnography due


Week 4          9/21                 Culture exercise

                                                Read: Mangione Ch. 7-10

9/25                 Language and Communication

Read: Nanda Ch. 4; Mangione Ch. 11-12


Week 5          9/28                 Language and Communication (cont’d)

                                                Read: Mangione Ch. 13-14

                        10/2                 Exam #1


Week 6          10/5-9             Subsistence

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 5; Diamond; Lee Ch. 1

Film: “Pygmies of the Rainforest”



Week 7          10/12               Fall Break!

                        10/16               Subsistence (cont’d)

                        Read: Lee Ch. 2-3


Week 8          10/19-23         Economic Systems

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 6; Nietschmann; Lee Ch. 4

                        Film: “A Poor Man Shames Us All”



Week 9          10/26-30         Sex and Marriage

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 9; Small; Lee Ch. 6

                                                Film: “Strange Relations”


Week 10        11/2-6             Kinship and Descent

                                                 Read: Wolf; Lee Ch. 5

                                                 Kinship exercise


Week 11        11/9                 Exam #2

11/13               Political Organization

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 7; Lee Ch. 7-8


Week 12        11/16-20         Religion

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 11; Gmelch; Lee Ch. 9

                                                Film: “Blood of Kings”


Week 13        11/23               Film: “The Women’s Bank of Bangladesh”

                                                Poster bibliography due

                        11/27               Happy Thanksgiving!


Week 14        11/30- 12/4     Race , Ethnicity and Conflict

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 8; Lee Ch. 10


Week 15        12/7-11           Globalization and Cultural Change

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 14; Lappe & Collins; Lee Ch. 11-12


Week 16        12/14               Poster Work Day

                                                Read: Nanda Ch. 13; Lee Ch. 13-14


*** Final exam and poster contest will be held on Wednesday, December 16th, 3:30—6:30 pm




Writing Assignments


1.  Self Ethnography

Write a 980-1000 word essay (use your ‘review’ menu to keep track of word count) describing yourself from the following three perspectives: (about 1 page for each perspective)

1. From the view point of someone who has never seen you before. This observer can only see you- not speak to you or ask you or anyone around you any questions.

            2. From the viewpoint of your best friend, who knows and loves you.

            3. From your own personal viewpoint.


As you’re writing your paper, think about similarities and differences between these perspectives…how do you account for these? Are they valid views or are there things about you that others don’t know? Oh, and DON’T ask your best friend what he or she thinks about you until AFTER you write your paper- I want YOUR perspective on how that person sees you.


2.  Cultural Harmony Critique

You are required to attend a cultural harmony event or another event that addresses issues surrounding cultural diversity (be sure to clear the event with me if it falls outside of cultural harmony week) and write a 300-350 word paper critique. This critique should include a brief description of the speaker and the topic addressed as well as your assessment as to whether the speaker was successful in communicating his or her thesis. What did you think about the event and what did you learn? Students must have a signature showing that they attended the event and must attach to assignment.


Poster Presentation

The poster project is comprised of two main components:

1)    You are required to conduct an interview of someone from a different culture (either non-American born or of a significantly different subculture). This person is your informant. The goal of the interview is to have your informant define his/her own culture. You should make a list of questions prior to your interview, beginning your interview by asking, “What cultural tradition do you define as your own?” Be sure to include background information on your informant, including his/her name, how long he/she has resided in America and why he/she came to America.  A good question with which to end the interview is, “What is the most striking difference and similarity between your culture and mainstream American culture?” Be sure to ask about their experiences as visitors or immigrants to this country. It is very important that BOTH team members attend the interview.

2)    Once you choose your informant and BEFORE you conduct your interview, you are required to conduct background research on that culture and/or country. This will allow you to ask more informed questions during the interview. You may want to follow up with additional research after the interview to clarify issues brought up during the interview. Your goal for creating the poster is to inform creatively an audience of your peers about your interviewee’s experience and culture.


The poster has a size minimum of 30 by 40 inches and should be placed on sturdy, self supporting poster board (you can purchase poster boards in the anthro dept for $5). 

Written sections should be used to provide key information (both from the interview and background research), transitions and captions for images.  All images and cited text must have bibliographic citations (i.e., Johnson 1992:32) on the front of the poster. Complete references are to be pasted on the back of the poster (this includes complete website references so that typing in this address would bring up the page or image). A minimum of 3 sources is required, of which only 1 can be from the internet (the textbook doesn’t count!).  


Your poster will be graded on the following six categories:

1)    Format = 15 points

-       required size and sturdiness of poster board

-       all images and cited text have shorthand references associated with them that tie into bibliography

-       complete bibliography on back of poster

-       your name and the name of your informant are on the front of poster

-       all font is typed

2)    Theme/Focus  = 5 points

-       appropriate for the course (i.e. related to our topics and concepts)

-       expressed consistently throughout the poster through your text, sub-sections, and captions

-       narrow topic (not too broad), that allows you to communicate a specific topic to the audience in the space allowed

3)    Information/Background Research = 30 points

-       includes informative text which summarizes/explains your topic

-       sub-sections have appropriate transitions and communicate your topic

-       evidence of research effort is present

-       bibliography turned in for review

-       minimum # of references are used

4)    Images = 10 points

-       images must be sharp with good contrast

-       the images fit together stylistically to communicate/teach about your topic

-       images have explanatory captions

5)    Presentation/Layout = 10 points

-       well designed thoughtful poster

-       colors well coordinated, attractive and catches the eye

-       background is appropriate, ties together poster

6)    Clarity = 5 points

-       your written sections are clear and concise

-       your text is easily readable and grammatically correct

-       text and images are clearly related


Together, these six categories create a rubric which sums to 75 points.