Sex, Skulls and Aliens: Controversies in Anthropology
SUNY College at Geneseo
Instructor: Kristi J. Krumrine
Office: Fraser 118
Phone: 245.5043 (office)
Office hours: MF 12:45-2:15 pm
or by appointment
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 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.
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.
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 student-instructor meetings, and library assessment, is worth 10% of the final grade.
Notes on Plagiarism and Appropriate Citations
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:
Paper #1 10% 3/4
Paper #2 15% 4/5
Paper #3 15% 4/22
Paper #4 15% 5/6
Paper #5 20% 5/10
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 1/25 Course Introduction/Research Methods
Film: “A Man Called Bee”
Week 2 1/28 Research Methods
Read: Sterk, Anderson
2/1 Exercise: Critical reading
Read: Benedict; W&L p. 108-123
Film: “Margaret Mead and Samoa”
Week 3 2/4 Mead, Freeman and Samoa
Read: Mead; Freeman
2/8 Library demonstration
Read: W&L p. 38-69
Week 4 2/11 Mead, Freeman and Samoa, con’t
Read: Orans; W&L p. 96-107
Exercise: Thesis statements
2/15 Paper #1 thesis and outline due- writing work
Read: W&L p. 146-149; 170-183
Exercise: Writing paragraphs
Week 5 2/18 Globalization and Female Circumcision
Film: “Female Circumcision: Human Rites”
2/22 Paper #1 draft due- writing work
Read: Hacker p. 18-23; 204-218
Exercise: Peer reviews
Week 6 2/25 Globalization and Female Circumcision
Read: Lavie, Oboler
3/1 Exercise: Avoiding plagiarism
Read: Hacker p. 290-328
Week 7 3/4 Piltdown
Paper #1 final due
3/8 Read: Feder; Gould
Week 8 3/11 Paper #2 thesis and outline due- writing work
Read: W&L p. 192
Exercise: Reverse outlining (bring copy of Mead paper)
3/15 Who Dunnit exercise at library
Week 9 3/18-22 Spring Break-- have fun!!
Week 10 3/25 Who Owns the Past?
Read: Public Law 104 (NAGPRA); Preston
3/29 Paper #2 draft due- writing work
Read: Hacker p. 408-438
Exercise: Avoiding plagiarism
Week 11 4/1 Who Owns the Past? (con’t)
Read: Thomas, Deloria
4/5 Paper #2 final due
Film: “Who Owns the Past?”
Week 12 4/8 Class at library
4/12 Film: “Chariots of the Gods”
Week 13 4/15 Paper #3 draft due- writing work
Read: W&L p. 450-475
Exercise: Editing and proofreading
4/19 Prehistoric Aliens
Read: Van Daniken, Feder
Week 14 4/22-26 Science and Anthropology
Read: Feder, Kenyon
4/22 Paper #3 final due
Week 15 4/29 Paper #4 draft due- writing work
Week 16 5/6 Paper #4 final due- writing work
(bring copy of paper #4)
Week 17 5/10 Library Assessment, 12 pm (takes a/b 40 min)
Paper #5 due
Paper # 1: Explain your understanding of 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 about 3 pages in length.
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 about 3 pages in length.
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 an article during the second library tutorial). Your paper should be 4 pages in length.
Paper #4: Discuss the 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 turn in both a paper copy and an electronic copy via email attachment. Your file should be saved in the following format: your last name.doc (ex. Krumrine.docx). I will forward the electronic copies to the INTD committee for assessment purposes.
Paper #5: This assignment is a re-write of paper #4. Please turn in both a paper copy and an electronic copy via email attachment (see above).
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: For your first two 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.