Anthropology 100 (Section 03):  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Department of Anthropology, SUNY Geneseo

Spring 2016


Instructor: Candie Kington


Class Meeting: Wednesdays & Fridays 8:30 am - 9:45 am

Office: Bailey 107

Office hours: By appointment or by email


Course Description

This course is an introduction to the field of cultural anthropology, which is the study of human diversity and the application of that knowledge. We will be looking not only at what anthropologists do, but how they do it with a focus on acquiring ethnographic skills.  We will explore a broad range of topics including language, race, gender, kinship, social structure, politics, religion and health.  This course will also examine the processes of cultural transmission and change, including colonization and globalization, and the issues that arise with these changes, such as social inequity and global health disparities.


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 terms paper, and confirmed in a Final Examination.


- Student proficiency regarding the development of Cultural Anthropology is demonstrated on exams.


- Students acquisition of knowledge of the practice of the field of Cultural Anthropology will be demonstrated both on examinations and by means of a five page term paper.



SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional or learning disabilities. Students should consult with the Director in the Office of Disability Services (Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, 105D Erwin, and their individual faculty regarding any needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.


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).


Required Textbook (available at the bookstore):

-  Kenneth J. Guest. Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age. WW. Norton & Company, Inc.

-  Additional Reading Assignments will be posted to myCourses




Readings (complete prior to the beginning of each class)

The assigned readings listed below are mandatory.  Students should be prepared to discuss these assignments in class and in exams and quizzes.



Participation will include not only class attendance, but discussion of reading assignments and participation in in-class activities.  These activities may include small-group discussions, debates, and other exercises.  


Exam #1 (02/17)

This exam will be a mixture of multiple choice and short response.  It will cover the material from weeks 1 through 4.


Ethnography Assignment (03/11)

The assignment will be due by the beginning of class.  Students will be asked to perform a critical analysis of an ethnographic work.  List of accepted ethnographies and assignment requirements will be distributed on February 5th.


Exam #2 (04/01)

This exam will be a mixture of multiple choice and short response.  It will cover the material from weeks 5 through 11.


Final Exam (05/06)

This exam will be a mixture of multiple choice and short response.  It will cover the material from weeks 12 through 15.


Course Requirements

Participation                                      10%

Exam 1                                              25%

Exam 2                                              25%

Ethnography Assignment                  15%

Final Exam                                        25%



Course Outline


Week 1   

01/20 - Course Goals & Texts

What is Anthropology?


01/22 - Four Fields & Globalization

Reading: Chapter 01 “Anthropology in a Global Age”, pp 4-29


Week 2  

01/27 - Defining “Culture”

Reading: Chapter 02 “Culture”, pp 30-61


01/29 - Creation and Transformation of Culture


Week 3

02/03 - What is Fieldwork?

Reading: Chapter 3 “Fieldwork and Ethnography”, pp 62-91


02/05 - What is Ethnography?

Ethnography Assignment handed out


Week 4

02/10 - Language and Linguistics

Reading: Chapter 4 “Language”, pp 92-117


02/12 - Language Variation

Exam Review


Week 5

02/17 - Exam #1


02/19 - The Construction of Race and Racism

Reading: Chapter 5 “Race and Racism”, pp 120-151


Week 6

02/24 - Ethnicity as Identity

Reading: Chapter 6 “Ethnicity and Nationalism”, pp 152-175


02/26 - Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Imagined Communities

Week 7

03/02 - Gender and Sex

Reading: Chapter 7 “Gender”, pp 176-203


03/04 - Gender and Power



Week 8

03/09 - Construction of Sexuality

Reading: Chapter 8 “Sexuality”, pp 204-233


03/11 - Sex and Power

Assignment: Ethnography Assignment Due


Week 9  

03/16 & 03/18 - No Class (Spring Break)


Week 10

03/23 - Kinship and Family

Reading: Chapter 9 “Kinship, Family and Marriage”, pp 234-262


03/25 - Class, Inequality, and Poverty

Reading: Chapter 10 “Class and Inequality”, pp 262-293


Week 11

03/30 - Exam Review


04/01 - Exam #2


Week 12

04/06 - What is Economy?

Reading: Chapter 11 “The Global Economy”, pp 296-331


04/08 - Economy and Migration


Week 13

04/13 - What is the State?

Reading: Chapter 12 “Politics and Power”, pp 332-359


04/15 - War and Migration


Week 14

04/20 - What is Religion?

Reading: Chapter 13 “Religion”, pp 360-391


04/22 - Religious Migration and New Religions


Week 15 (04/27 & 04/29)

04/27 - Culture and Medicine

Reading: Chapter 14 “Health & Illness”, pp 392-419


04/29 - Exam Review


Final Exam - May 6th, 8-10:30 am