Sex, Skulls and Aliens: Controversies in Anthropology

INTD 105-01

MF 11:30-12:45

SUNY College at Geneseo

Spring 2015

Instructor: Kristi J. Krumrine                                           
Office: Bailey 147                                                       
Phone: 245.5043 (office)

                        585.281.3821 (cell)


                                               Office hours: MF 1-2:30 pm

                        or by appointment


Course Outline


Description and Objectives

Anthropology is a dynamic social science centering on issues of human culture and biology. Many of these issues evoke controversy and debate within the field and also make their way into mainstream society. This course is organized topically around a selection of controversial topics, most of which are the subjects of current debate. These topics are also representative of the subfields of anthropology, including sociocultural, biological and archaeological anthropology. These topics include: the Mead/Freeman debate concerning the sexual behavior of adolescent Samoans, female circumcision and globalization, the Piltdown fraud and the discovery of early human fossils, the NAGPRA law and the question of ownership of Native American skeletal remains, and the issue of whether extra-terrestrial life-forms were responsible for the cultural achievements of past humans (hence, the title of the course: sex, skulls and aliens). The final topic discussed will be the issue of how science is used in anthropology, which ties together the other topics. The primary goals of this course are for students to develop critical thinking and reading skills and the ability to clearly express their ideas in writing. Course material will be presented through lectures and films, and processed in class discussions and written analyses.


Required Text

Wysocki and Lynch, The DK Handbook. 2nd ed. ISBN: 978-0-205-73076-6

** Additional readings are on mycourses


Student Learning Outcomes

All sections of INTD 105 Writing Seminar share these learning outcomes. Students who have taken INTD 105 will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to read significant texts carefully and critically, recognizing and responding to argumentative positions.
  2. The ability to write sustained, coherent, and persuasive arguments on significant issues that arise from the content at hand.
  3. The ability to write clearly, following the conventions of Standard English.


Class Requirements

There are five formal paper assignments for this course, which are described later in the syllabus. These papers comprise a total of 75% of the course requirements. Papers should be typed, double-spaced, stapled and include a cover page with a title. Papers should follow conventions for writing according to APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines and include in-text citations and a references section. One letter grade will be deducted for each class period that a paper is late. Due dates are outlined below.


The remaining 25% of the course requirements are broken down as such: writing work, including thesis and outline assignments and paper drafts, is worth a total of 10% of the final grade (please note that in order to get credit for writing work you must come to class with a draft); exercises, which are either completed in or outside of class, are worth a total of 5% of the final grade, and class participation, including preparation of readings and class work, participation in class discussions and student-instructor meetings, and library assessment, is worth 10% of the final grade.


Academic Honesty Policy/Notes on Plagiarism and Appropriate Citations

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).


Plagiarism is an unacknowledged borrowing of words and ideas. Use citations when directly quoting or paraphrasing from a source other than your own head.

Direct Quotes  When making a direct quote (using someone else’s words)  use quotation marks around the quote, and cite the author, year of publication and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence after the quotation marks, but before the period.

                        Example:  “One of the world’s most lasting images of this failed uprising was the heroic gesture of Wang Weilin, a 19-year-old Chinese student, who stood in front of a column of tanks, delaying for six minutes their arrival into the square” (Bradshaw and Wallace 1996:1).

Paraphrases  When paraphrasing (rewording someone else’s idea) cite the author and year of publication in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the period.

                        Example: One of the remarkable images of the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989 was that of the young man who stood alone in front of a line of army tanks and temporarily blocked their entry into the square (Bradshaw and Wallace 1996).


Other examples of plagiarism: 

            1) Following a source article sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-  paragraph is plagiarism, even though none of the sentences are exactly like those in the source article or even in the same order. This would be plagiarizing the author’s reasoning style.

            2) Metaphors, which are used either to make an idea clearer or to give the  reader an analogy that touches the senses or emotions better than a plain description of the object or process, are a part of the author’s creative style and must also be cited.

            3) Public domain information is any idea or solution about which people in    the field accept as general knowledge. However, if an author’s creative idea or solution to a problem is used, the idea or solution must be clearly attributed to the author. If you do not know what is accepted as public domain in a particular field, you should ask a professor in that field.


            (Adapted from Jeff Liles’ “Plagiarism and Style Guide Understanding Form”)


List the bibliographical information of any publications cited in a “References” section at the end of your essay.


Course requirements and important dates:

Final Papers

Paper #1                     10%                2/27

Paper #2                     15%                3/13

Paper #3                     15%                4/10

Paper #4                     15%                4/27

Paper #5                     20%                5/13

Writing Work               10%                see weekly schedule

Exercises                      5%                see weekly schedule

Class Participation       10%               


Weekly Schedule and Reading Assignments

Reading assignments are meant to reinforce and compliment the class lectures, images, and discussions and in no way replace them. Consequently, your regular attendance is essential for understanding class topics.  I will take attendance before class, for my own records, but there isn’t an attendance policy per se; at the end of the course I’ll take attendance into consideration when determining border-line grades. Also, writing work, exercises, and participation components of the course require that students be present for class. Keep current with the reading assignments! Doing so makes class more interesting and makes it easier to write papers on class topics. Readings outside the textbook will be available on mycourses. ** Students are responsible for any changes in the syllabus that are announced in class.


Week 1          1/23                 Course Introduction

                                                Film: “A Man Called Bee”


Week 2          1/26                 Research Methods

                                                Read: Sterk, Anderson

1/30                 Film: “Margaret Mead and Samoa”


Week 3          2/2                   Mead, Freeman and Samoa                                            

                                                Read: Mead; Freeman (active reading)

2/6                   Library demonstration (Milne 104)

                        Read: W&L p. 38-69

Week 4          2/9                   Mead, Freeman and Samoa (cont’d)                

                                                Read: Orans; W&L p. 108-123

                        2/13                 Paper #1 thesis and outline due- writing work

                                                Read: W&L p. 20-23; 96-107; 146-149; 206-218

                        Exercise: Thesis statements, peer reviews


Week 5          2/16                 Globalization and Female Circumcision

Film: “Female Circumcision: Human Rites”

                                                Read: Schweder

                        2/20                 Paper #1 draft due- writing work

                                                Read: W&L p. 408-438

                                                Exercise: In-text citations, reference list


Week 6          2/23                 Globalization and Female Circumcision (cont’d)

                                                Read: Lavie, Oboler               

                        2/27                 Exercise: Avoiding plagiarism, integrating sources                                                                 Read: W&L p. 77; 290-309; 454-455

                                                Paper #1 final due


Week 7          3/2                   Piltdown

                                                Read: Feder; Gould

Film: “Piltdown”

Paper #2 thesis and outline due- writing work 

                        3/6                   Paper #2 draft due- writing work


Week 8          3/9                   Who Dunnit exercise at library

3/13                 Exercise: Paragraphs and topic sentences

Read: W&L p. 230-245

                                                Paper #2 final due


Week 9          3/16-20           Spring Break-- have fun!!


Week 10        3/24                 Who Owns the Past?

Read: Public Law 104 (NAGPRA); Thomas

Film: “Who Owns the Past?”

                        3/28                 Read: Bruning, Deloria


Week 11        3/30                 Who Owns the Past? (cont’d)

                                                Paper #3 thesis and outline due

Class at library (Milne 104)

4/3                   Paper #3 draft due- writing work

                        Read: W&L p. 584-593


Week 12        4/6-10             Prehistoric Aliens

                                                Read: Van Daniken, Feder

                                                Film: “Chariots of the Gods”

                        4/10                 Paper #3 final due


Week 13        4/13-17           Science and Anthropology

                                                Read: Feder; TBA


Week 14        4/20                 Paper #4 thesis and outline due- writing work 

                        4/24                 Paper #4 draft due- writing work 


Week 15        4/27                 Paper #4 final due- writing work

                                                (bring extra copy of paper #4)

                        5/1                   Student-Instructor Meetings (no class)


Week 16        5/4                   Student-Instructor Meetings (no class)         


                        5/13                 Library Assessment, 12 pm (takes a/b 40 min)                                                         Paper #5 due                                              



Writing Assignments

Paper # 1: Explain your view regarding the ethnographic work done in Samoa by Mead, Freeman and others. Your paper should reflect your understanding of the assigned readings and films. You must make a specific argument that you then support with evidence that comes from the assigned class material. You must also select one outside article that supports your view (you will have an opportunity to search for an article during the first library tutorial). Your paper should be 3-4 pages in length. Please include the draft (with comments) with your final copy.


Paper #2: Explain your view concerning whether or not female circumcision and other forms of genital alteration should be banned.  Include in your introduction or conclusion why this issue is so difficult for anthropologists to grapple with and whether or not your own views on the issue have changed as a result of your study. You must select one outside article that supports your view. Your paper should be 3-4 pages in length. Please include the draft (with comments) with your final copy.


Paper #3: Explain your view concerning whether Native American remains should be scientifically studied. Is the scientific perspective on the past more important than the Native American perspective? You should not simply repeat someone else’s claims but must make a specific argument that you then support with evidence that comes from material assigned for class. You must include two additional sources besides those covered in class (you will have an opportunity to search for articles during the second library tutorial). Your paper should be 4-5 pages in length. Please include the draft (with comments) with your final copy.


Paper #4: Discuss your view regarding issue of science in anthropology from the perspective of three topics covered in class. Each of these topics should support your thesis, although they will do so in different ways. Again, you should use information gathered through class assignments, including readings and films. You must also include three outside sources. Your paper should be 5-6 pages in length. Please include the draft (with comments) with your final copy.

Paper #5: This assignment is a re-write of paper #4. In order to receive a passing grade, revisions must be made to the final copy of paper #4. Please turn in your graded copy of paper #4 with your final copy of paper #5.


Writing Work

These assignments are designed to help guide you through the writing process, including developing, writing and revising your papers. You will have help from me as well as from each other through peer reviewing. ** Note: to get full credit for writing work you must BOTH provide a draft and be present to peer review

1)    Thesis and Outline Assignment: Before writing your papers, you must first prepare a thesis and outline of your analysis. Your thesis must be an interpretation or argument that you develop and support throughout your paper. In addition to your thesis, which should be one to two sentences in length, you must list three specific arguments which support your thesis. You must include full citations for each, including author and page numbers. It must be prepared and typed so that we can work on it during class.

2)    Paper Drafts: We will work in class on a first draft of each of your four    

      papers. You must bring to class a typed, completed first draft on which    

      you will work and turn in. You will benefit most from this if your draft is

      similar to what you would normally turn in as a completed assignment. 


Spring 2015 Avoiding Plagiarism Workshops (extra credit)

Wednesday, February 4, 3:00-3:50    Room:  Milne 104
Thursday, February 5,   6:00-6:50   Room:  Milne 104
Monday, February 9, 7:00-7:50  Room:  Milne 104 
Thursday, February 12,  5:00-5:50   Room:  Milne 104
Tuesday, February 17,  2:30-3:20   Room:  Milne 104
Wednesday, February 18,  6:00-6:50   Room:  Milne 104
Friday, February 27,  2:30-3:20   Room:  Milne 104
Monday, March 2,  7:00-7:50   Room:  Milne 104
Wednesday, March 4,  4:00-4:50   Room:  Milne 104
Tuesday, March 10,   5:00-5:50   Room:  Milne 104
Thursday, March 12,   4:00-4:50   Room:  Milne 104
Wednesday March 26, 4:00-4:50 Room: Milne 104
Wednesday, April 1,  7:00-7:50 Room: Newton 214
Thursday, April 2,  5:00-5:50  Room: Newton 204

Library Research Help

If you need assistance finding information for an assignment, Milne Librarians may be able to help. You can speak with the reference librarian on duty between 10am and closing time most days (ask for help at the service desk) or chat with a librarian online by clicking the "IM a Librarian" button on the library website (