How Culture Works

A young man with wavy hair and a bushy moustache, with burlap draped around his body, kneels on a table.

Franz Boas, one of the founders of American anthropology, posing for a museum diorama, circa 1895. (Negative MNH 8301, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. © Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved. This content is excluded from our Creative Commons license. For more information, see


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Fall 2019



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Course Description

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Course Description

This course introduces diverse meanings and uses of the concept of culture with historical and contemporary examples from scholarship and popular media around the globe. It includes first-hand observations, synthesized histories and ethnographies, quantitative representations, and visual and fictionalized accounts of human experiences. Students conduct empirical research on cultural differences through the systematic observation of human interaction, employ methods of interpretative analysis, and practice convincing others of the accuracy of their findings.

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Xenia Cherkaev. 21A.01 How Culture Works. Fall 2019. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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