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Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields 2013

Carol Stack - All Our KinWith the 2013 fall semester on the way, people have been visiting the 2012 Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields. I’ve re-visited that post and updated the links. The material there is still valuable, and although I’ve been unable to do a more complete scouring of the web, I noted there are more materials at the American Anthropological Association Teaching Materials Exchange. Please find links below for additional four-fields anthropology syllabi available there. I’ve also added syllabus suggestions from introductory courses that do not use a full textbook, which is often difficult to do for a four-fields introduction.

For updated materials on teaching race and racism in Introduction to Anthropology, see Teaching Race Anthropologically. Given how many people seem confused that “White Hispanic” has been a US census category since the 1970s, it may be something of a civic duty to discuss what the US Census form looks like: see White-Race Problems: White Hispanic, White Black, Geraldo Rivera. I would also consider using the recent statement by American Anthropological Association President Leith Mullings, Trayvon Martin, Race and Anthropology. As Kerim Friedman writes on Savage Minds, this is a must-read.

Please let me know if you have seen a good four-fields Introduction to Anthropology syllabus, and please keep uploading materials to the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange.

Introduction to Anthropology, Kristina Killgrove (Spring 2013)
Whenever you take a trip, do you people-watch and wonder about these interesting humans that surround you? Why they look the way they do? How they know how to behave in different situations? Why they eat really weird foods? Anthropology–the study of human evolution and culture–answers these questions using a holistic, bio-cultural framework. This semester, we will explore the relationship between human bodies and human culture, using the four fields of anthropological inquiry. How and why did our physiques evolve into the form we see today? What cultural and environmental influences affect human variation throughout the world? What effects do religion, law, and society have on the way people think about, discuss, and use their bodies today?
Textbook: Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity (Kottak)
Note: Professor Killgrove used Kottak’s 14th edition for spring 2013. The link above is to the newer 15th edition.

Introduction to Anthropology, Dillon Carr (Fall 2012)
The biological, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological study of humans. Human relationship to other species, living and dead, will be examined, as well as the nature and diffusion of culture. Comparisons between current and pre-industrial cultures will be emphasized.
Textbook #1: Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology (Kottak)
Textbook #2: Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide for Students.

Introduction to Anthropology, Elise Berman (Fall 2012)
What does it mean to be human? This course is an exploration of human nature and human variation across time and space. The many questions that we will discuss include: how did humans evolve? How have societies changed over time? What is culture? How is language different from non-human communication? What are the connections between language, culture, and thought? What is race? How do different societies differentially understand gender and age? Is morality relative to cultural context? What is the influence of globalization on people and culture? This class is designed to pique your interest in the study of humans as cultural beings and show the importance of anthropology to everyday life while also introducing the four fields of anthropology: biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology. We will focus not on thinking of these subfields as four disparate disciplines but rather as four perspectives that, when combined, provide a holistic understanding of human life.
Reader: Applying Anthropology: An Introductory Reader. Podolefsky, Brown, Lacy (editors).

Introductory Anthropology (Four Fields), Tony Waters
As something of a mental exercise, this sociologist tried to imagine the books he would use in an Introductory Anthropology (Four Fields) course. Fair warning: I avoid textbooks. In my view, anthropology is best understood through real books. Real books, in which 19 years olds are asked to read the whole thing. Not textbooks, and not books with chapters, but books in which one (or maybe two) authors flesh out an important intellectual idea. Anyway, here are the books I would use in my Intro to Anthropology (Four Fields) course.

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