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Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields Anthropology

Update July 2013: Revisited and updated this 2012 Introduction to Anthropology syllabus effort, tracking the links below and now please also see Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields 2013.


Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus Four FieldsAfter posting my four fields Introduction to Anthropology syllabus to the American Anthropological Association Teaching Materials Exchange, I’ve updated my Four Fields Textbook Review concentrating on the themes of human nature, race, and evolution.

I returned to the Teaching Materials exchange in search of the best Introduction to Anthropology syllabus for a comprehensive four fields course, and also scoured the internet to find a syllabus to go with each of the textbooks I reviewed. As of 2012 there was only one other four fields Introduction to Anthropology syllabus at the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange, by Angela Kristin VandenBroek, author of the very helpful How to be an Anthropologist blog. [See Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields 2013 for more.]

VandenBroek uses the condensed Kottak, which I had not previously reviewed, but here is an updated review of Window on Humanity, 5th Edition. For some great reflections on teaching Introduction to Anthropology, see VandenBroek’s Ugh. Textbooks.

Please consider posting an Introduction to Anthropology syllabus at the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange. After some initial fill-in-the-blank text boxes, you can upload the syllabus as a pdf or Word document.

I post results below, concentrating on courses that are updated and publicly available. Thank you to all these instructors for their teaching and posting materials online. Please let me know what I’m missing.

Introduction to Anthropology, Jonathan S. Tomhave
This course attempts to survey and explain some of the variety found in the human condition around the world. It is both a scientific and a humanistic endeavor to explain differences and similarities in appearance, language, culture, and perspectives. It incorporates basic biology and physiology, history, geography, sociology, evolution, and sometimes a suspended value judgment, in order to understand why people are who they are, and why they do what they do.
Textbook: Anthropology (Ember, Ember, Peregrine)
University of North Texas, Spring 2012

General Anthropology, Angela Kristin VandenBroek
This course introduces the physical, archaeological, linguistic, and ethnological fields of anthropology. Topics include human origins, genetic variations, archaeology, linguistics, primatology, and contemporary cultures. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the four major fields of anthropology.
Textbook: Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology (Kottak)
AAA Teaching Materials Exchange, Fall 2012

Introduction to Anthropology: Online Course, Jason Miller
This course provides a holistic and comparative study of the human condition through a survey of the four subfields of anthropology: biological anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics, and cultural anthropology.
Textbook: Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? (Lavenda and Schultz)
University of South Florida, Spring 2012

Introduction to Anthropology, Beth O’Leary
This course is a general introduction to Anthropology. The objective is to think about what it means to be human. The course will cover the subdisciplines of biological/physical, cultural, archaeological and linguistic anthropology. We will explore the origins of humans, evolutionary theories, the biological diversity of peoples in the past and the present. We will look at what culture is and compare different cultures in the world.
Textbook: Anthropology: The Human Challenge (Haviland, Prins, Walrath, McBride)
New Mexico State University, Fall 2012

Introduction to Anthropology, Genesis Snyder
This course is a general survey of anthropology as an academic discipline. Anthropology can be defined in many ways, but broadly defined it is the study of culture and the human condition in the past, present, and future. During the semester, we will examine each of anthropology’s four subfields: physical (the study of human genetic and cultural evolution and diversity), archaeology (the study of past human material culture), linguistics (the study of human language, communication, and writing systems), and cultural (the study of human society and culture). In addition, we will examine various issues and questions that set the scope for contemporary anthropological thought. A primary goal of the course is to help students develop skills that will encourage them to better understand and respond to the diversity of human possibilities via anthropological approaches aimed at understanding the human condition and the relationships/intersections/connections between culture, biology, and environmental influences.
Textbook: Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity (Kottak)
West Virginia University, Spring 2013

Introduction to Anthropology, Roger Lohmann [Syllabus no longer available]
This is an introductory survey of general anthropology, the study of all aspects of humankind in all places and times. It presents and synthesizes approaches and findings of anthropology’s four subfields to present a holistic account of humanity. Biological anthropology concentrates on the physical and evolutionary characteristics of humans as members of the animal kingdom. Archaeological anthropology studies the human past through material remains and the context in which they are found. Cultural anthropology documents and compares customs and traditions among contemporary peoples. Linguistic anthropology focuses on the characteristics, development, and use of languages.
Textbook: Introducing Anthropology: An Integrated Approach (Park)
Trent University, 2012-2013 FW


Update July 2013: Revisited and updated this 2012 Introduction to Anthropology syllabus effort, tracking the links below and now please also see Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields 2013.

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