Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Course Description

Through the comparative study of different cultures, anthropology explores fundamental questions about what it means to be human. It seeks to understand how culture both shapes societies, from the smallest island in the South Pacific to the largest Asian metropolis, and affects the way institutions work, from scientific laboratories to Christian mega-churches. This course will provide a framework for analyzing diverse facets of human experience such as gender, ethnicity, language, politics, economics, and art.

Attendance and Participation

  • Students are expected to attend all lectures and recitations. If you must be absent, alert us in advance. Any unexcused absences will affect your final grade.
  • Use of laptops, cell phones or other devices unrelated to the class is strictly forbidden.
  • Come prepared to discuss and answer questions about all readings. This means you must bring copies of all readings to lecture and recitation.
  • Your grade for class participation is not calculated based on how much you speak, but rather how you contribute to a lively, useful, and sustained conversation both inside and out of class.


Attendance and Participation 15%
Commentary papers (6 x 5% each) 30%
Research papers (2 x 15% each) 30%
Midterm exam 10%
Final exam 15%

Required Texts

Ahearn, Laura M. Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal. University of Michigan Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780472067848. [Preview with Google Books]

Downey, Greg. Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780195176971.

Reference Material

Oxford Reference: Dictionary of Social Science