Spring 2014

Tues/Thurs: 5:30-6:45pm
Newton 201
Instructor: Kathryn Murano
Office hours: By appointment only
Cell phone: 585-739-8987

Our world seems to be shrinking as globalization integrates people and ideas at an unprecedented rate. At
the same time, current events remind us that cultural conflict and discrimination persist. Cultural
anthropology gives us the tools to describe and explain human cultural variation at home and abroad,
creating a productive way to talk about cultural differences and similarities and understand the “other” on
their own terms. This introduction to the field of cultural anthropology explores basic concepts of human
culture and their study over time. By demystifying the exotic and making the familiar strange, we
challenge our assumptions about what’s “normal” and gain a deeper understanding of our own biases.
As a departure from the traditional corpus in cultural anthropology, the two required ethnographies for
this course highlight subcultures within contemporary American society and underscore shifting priorities
in the field. Additional required readings (available on myCourses) showcase the diversity of
sociocultural systems all over the world and highlight some of the classic debates that have influenced the
evolution of anthropological theory over time. This course will also introduce students to the
anthropological method as they complete a brief fieldwork assignment and develop the experience into a

• Students will demonstrate comprehension of basic concepts in anthropology including culture,
socialization, ethnocentrism, and relativism.
• Students will demonstrate familiarity with some of the diversity of human beliefs and practices as
illustrated by course readings.
• Students will demonstrate the ability to recognize and critique several classic theoretical
approaches in anthropology.
• Students will gain practical experience doing anthropological fieldwork.
This course fulfills one course in the social science general education requirements. The guidelines for
social science core courses stress the development of the following characteristics of a responsible
member of society:
• an acquaintance with major empirical, analytical, or theoretical approaches to human behavior,
institutions or culture;
• an acquaintance with social, economic, political, or moral alternatives;
• an acquaintance with major problems, issues, institutions, practices or trends in the social world;
• a capacity to express ideas clearly, coherently and grammatically in written form as one component of
the evaluation process. This written work must total at least 1500 words, at least half of which must
be prepared outside of class.

Bourgois, Philippe
1995 In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in el Barrio. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Magliocco, Sabina
2004 Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press.
*Additional required readings will be distributed electronically via myCourses at least a week in
advance of each class.

Nanda, Serena and Richard Warms
2013 Cultural Anthropology, 11 ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Language.

• 4 quizzes that test your knowledge of the readings and lecture material
• Close reading assignment: In no less than 500 words, you will analyze an ethnographic text and
discuss the author’s use of theory to interpret the data. Complete instructions, and a grading rubric,
will be available on myCourses.
• Mini-Ethnography Project: The mini-ethnography is your opportunity to do participant observation
in an unfamiliar setting. You are required to attend at least 2 meetings of the group of your choice,
take fieldnotes, and use your fieldnotes to develop an ethnographic narrative. In no less than 1500
words, the final paper should highlight your original research and demonstrate your understanding of
the course material. Discuss the data from your research through the lens of one of the theoretical
paradigms we explored during the semester. Complete instructions, and a grading rubric, will be
available on myCourses.
**NOTE: There is a full letter-grade penalty for each day an assignment is late. Late assignments
will only be accepted up to 2 days after the due date.
I reserve the right to alter the syllabus for any reason. Please check MyCourses at least twice a
week to stayed informed of any course updates.
Homework is due in myCourses on the date listed in the Course Schedule whether or not you are in
class that day.

Grades will be computed in the following way:
• Class participation (5%)
• Close reading written assignment (10%)
• 4 quizzes on MyCourses (10% each)
• Mini-ethnography paper (25%)
• Cumulative final exam (20%)
C Complete all assignments satisfactorily and on time and fulfill all course requirements.
B Complete all assignments on time, fulfill all course requirements, and go beyond requirements by
demonstrating particular care and effort in your work.
A Meet criteria for a B; distinguish yourself through particularly effective and/or inventive
approaches to your work as a researcher, writer, and class member.
Students are expected to complete all assignments, do the readings on time, and attend all classes. You
will record your attendance by signing an attendance sheet each class period. If you have to miss class,
please notify me in advance of the absence and reason. Make-up tests and exams are available only under
extraordinary circumstances and will require medical or other documentation. If you need help with the
material or are just interested in discussing the readings or other topics of interest, do not hesitate to call
or email me.

Students are urged to read the policies on Academic Honesty at:

Quiz 1 due (on myCourses): Feb 7
Quiz 2 due (on myCourses): Mar 7
Close reading assignment due (on MyCourses): Mar 14
Quiz 3 due (on myCourses): Apr 11
Mini-Ethnography due (on MyCourses): Apr 25
Quiz 4 due (on myCourses): May 2
Final Exam: Thurs, May 8 6:45-9:45 pm
Class Atmosphere: This class is a place to ask questions; explore new ideas; produce new knowledge;
and voice disagreement. We will have open discussions and debates, and I expect that you will respect the
ideas and opinions of your fellow students. It is essential that while we may not always agree, we always
respect each other. Respectful classroom behavior includes paying attention, active listening, and not
engaging in distracting behavior (such as texting or checking email/Facebook).

PART ONE – Anthropology and Culture
WEEK 1: Jan 21 and 23
Course Introduction; Introduction to Anthropology
Key concepts: definition and branches of anthropology; holism; cross-cultural comparison; reasons for
studying anthropology; ethnocentrism; cultural relativism
Review syllabus
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 1
*Short biography on Franz Boas:
Suggested readings:
*Stocking. “Guardians of the Sacred Bundle.”
*Boas. “The Methods of Anthropology”
WEEK 2: Jan 28 and 30
Anthropological Method

Key concepts: fieldwork and ethnography; anthropology at home; ethical considerations; fieldwork
dilemmas; bias; emic and etic perspectives; data vs. theory
Magliocco. Introduction
Bourgois. Introduction
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 2: pgs. 30-45
Suggested Readings:
*Chapters from Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes
WEEK 3: Feb 4 and 6
Key concepts: concept of culture and community; functions of culture; culture is learned, adaptive and
shared; systems of meaning, norms, and values; cultural change
Magliocco. Chapter 2
Bourgois. Chapter 2
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 3
First Quiz on MyCourses due by 11:55PM on Feb 7
Suggested Readings:
*Stocking. “Franz Boas and the Culture Concept in Historical Perspective”
WEEK 4: Feb 11 and 13
Anthropological Theory – 1840s – 1950s
Key concepts: Marxism; classic evolutionary theory; American cultural anthropology; biocultural
functionalism (Malinowski); structural-functionalism (Radcliffe-Brown)
Bourgois. Chapter 1
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 2: 28-30
*Nanda and Warms. Appendix: pgs. 360-363.
WEEK 5: Feb 18 and 20
Anthropological Theory – 1960s - 2000
Key concepts: French structural anthropology; symbolic and interpretive anthropology; political
economy; postmodernism
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 2: 36-43
*Nanda and Warms. Appendix: pgs. 364-365.
Magliocco. Chapter 1
WEEK 6: Feb 25 and 27
Cultural Patterning and Socialization
Key concepts: cultural influence on perception and cognition; socialization; construction of gender and
sexual behavior; rites of passage; formal education
Magliocco. Chapter 3
Bourgois. Chapter 5
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 9
Suggested Readings:
Bourgois. Chapter 6
WEEK 7: Mar 4 and 6; March 10 is end of half semester
Forms of Communication
Key concepts: acquiring language; structural variation; socio-linguistics; ethnography of communication;
nonverbal communication
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 4
Second quiz on MyCourses due by 11:55 PM on Mar 7
PART TWO – Sociocultural Adaptations
WEEK 8: Mar 11 and 13
Culture and the Environment
Key concepts: cultural ecology; subsistence strategies; cultivation strategies
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 5
*Chagnon. Chapter 2
Close reading assignment due Mar 14 on myCourses by 11:55 PM
WEEK 9: Mar 18 and 20 No class – Spring Break
WEEK 10: Mar 25 and 27
Key concepts: economic systems; systems of exchange
Bourgois. Chapter 3, 4
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 6
WEEK 11: Apr 1 and 3
Family Structure, Marriage, and Kinship
Key concepts: marriage rules; family structures; classification systems; kinship terminologies; groups
based on age and sex
Bourgois. Chapters 7 and 8
*Nanda and Warms. Chapters 7 and 8
WEEK 12: Apr 8: GREAT Day – No CLASS; Apr 10
Social Structures and Political Organization
Key concepts: types of societies; types of political organization; social control; conflict resolution; social
stratification; inequality
Magliocco. Chapter 6
*Nanda and Warms. Chapters 10 and 11
Third Quiz on myCourses due by 11:55PM on April 11
WEEK 13: Apr 15 and 17
Belief, Religion, and Rituals
Key concepts: functions of religion; symbolism; structure and anti-structure; kinds of beliefs; practices
and rituals, organization of religion; magic and witchcraft; revitalization
Magliocco. Chapters 4 and 5
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 12
Suggested Readings:
*Wallace. “Revitalization Movements”
WEEK 14: Apr 22 and 24
Expressive and Material Culture
Key concepts: perspectives on art, music, dance, sports, and folklore; material culture; museums
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 13
Mini-ethnography due on myCourses by 11:55PM on Apr 25
WEEK 15: Apr 29 and May 1
Anthropology and the Contemporary World
Key concepts: modernization; world systems theory; globalization; tourism; urbanization
Magliocco. Chapter 7
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 15
Fourth quiz due on myCourses by 11:55PM on May 2
Suggested Readings:
*Nanda and Warms. Chapter 14
WEEK 16: May 6; May 6 is last regular class
Applied Anthropology
Key concepts: medical anthropology; public anthropology; development anthropology; mediation; user
Bourgois. Chapter 9
*Sanday. Introduction
* Nanda and Warms. Chapter 2: 45-47
Final Exam: Thurs, May 8 6:45-9:45 pm
May 17: Official end of semester