Anthropology 203.1: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Fall 2011


Final exam: Tues. Dec. 13, 5:00-6:50
A study guide for the final exam
is posted under Handouts
Late deadline for Interview with an Immigrant paper:
Monday, Dec. 12

What's posted here?

So why come to lectures?

Email and submitting assignments

Assignments are submitted as files attached to emails. Contact me and submit assignments by emailing to

I will usually reply within 24 hours, often less. If you don't hear back in 48 hours, assume that I did not get your message or attachment, and try again. If you are not using your own computer, be sure to include your email address in the message so I can reply.

Schedule of readings, notes, slides, tests, and due dates

This schedule will change, so don't rely on a printed copy. Read the assignments before the class session. Scroll down for more. Most items are PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files and should open in a new window to view, save, or print. Move it aside or close it to see this one again. If the PDF files do not open, install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader or a less standard but faster alternative, the free PDF-XChange Viewer.

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The slides are the Powerpoint presentations you see in class. They do not include all the information in the notes or readings. They should open in a new window. Navigate with PageUp/Down, Arrow Left/Right, Space/Backspace, Mouse clicks and scroll wheel, and Home/End to jump to the start or end of the presentation. Esc or close the window to quit. If your browser downloads the file, just double-click the file to open it. If your computer does not have Powerpoint, install the free Powerpoint viewer for Windows or Impress, part of the free OpenOffice for Macintosh.

User ID and Password: Due to copyright restrictions, many items require the class user ID and password. These are different from your Peoplesoft ID and password. If you can't recall them, email me.

Please be patient: Some files are large and may take a while to load.

  1. Thursday, Aug. 25: Introduction to the course
  2. Tuesday, Aug. 30: What is anthropology?
  3. Thursday, Sept. 1: The concept of culture
  4. Tuesday, Sept. 6: Culture shock and culture as meaning
  5. Thursday, Sept. 8: Race and ethnicity
  6. Tuesday, Sept. 13: Understanding and judging others
  7. Thursday, Sept. 15: Anthropological methods: Ethnography, part I
  8. Tuesday, Sept. 20: Anthropological methods: Ethnography, part II
  9. Thursday, Sept. 22: Explaining culture: adaptation, meaning, system, function
  1. Tuesday, Sept. 27: Explaining culture: cultural materialism and culture as text
  2. Thursday, Sept. 29: Making a living: foraging
    • NotesSlides shown Oct. 6 and 11
    • Lee Chapter 4, Foraging for a living: pp. 37-58 (22 pgs)
    • Fernea Chapter 9: pp. 105-115 (11 pgs)
    • What we actually covered in this class: Rest of Ethnography, part II; Explanations of culture as adaptation and as meaning.

  3. Tuesday, Oct. 4: Making a living: agriculture and pastoralism
  4. Thursday, Oct. 6: Reciprocity and socially embedded economic relations
  5. Tuesday, Oct. 11: Social and economic hierarchies
    • NotesSlides shown Oct. 27 and Nov. 1
    • Lee Chapter 8, Conflict, Politics, and Exchange: pp. 109-123 (15 pgs)
    • Fernea Chapter 14: pp. 161-170 (10 pgs)
    • What we actually covered in this class: Finished foraging; agriculture; started pastoralism.

  6. Thursday, Oct. 13: Catch-up lecture
    • Fernea Chapters 11-13: pp. 126-160 (35 pgs)
    • What we actually covered in this class: Finished pastoralism, agriculture, kinds of societies associated with different subsistence systems, and why agropastoralism has replaced foraging.

  7. Tuesday, Oct. 18: Midterm exam
    • No additional reading

  8. Thursday, Oct. 20: An "exploitative" theory of social inequality: the Marxian model
  9. Tuesday, Oct. 25: Naturalizing inequality: social race, gender, and egalitarian societies
  10. Thursday, Oct. 27: Constructing identity: self, group, rites of passage
  11. Tuesday, Nov. 1: Constructing identity: gender
  12. Thursday, Nov. 3: Family, kinship, and descent
  13. Tuesday, Nov. 8: Forms of marriage, residence, and how they make sense
  14. Thursday, Nov. 10: Catch-up
    • No new notes or slides... by this time we will probably need a class period to make up for falling behind
    • Fernea Chapters 18-20: pp. 216-266 (49 pgs)
    • What we actually covered in this class: Finished marked vs. unmarked categories, Friedl, Hutterites
  1. Tuesday, Nov. 15: Language
  2. Thursday, Nov. 17: Language and thought
  1. Tuesday, Nov. 22: Sociolinguistics
  1. Tuesday, Nov. 29: Religion, witchcraft, and magic
  2. Thursday, Dec. 1: Religion, ritual, and creating and maintaining belief
  1. Tuesday, Dec. 6: Globalization
  2. Thursday, Dec. 8: Problems of globalization, catchup, last-minute business

Final exam week:


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Links to sites related to this course

Interesting, often illustrated, from easy to challenging... check these out. Many of these make excellent study aids for preparing for tests. All are optional. If you have been here before, press your browser's "reload" button to see the latest additions.

...News, discoveries, and controversies

...Specific subjects covered in class

...Ethics in anthropology

...Useful stuff for assignments

...University policies

...Annoyed by lack of classes, fee increases, etc.?

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology by Bruce Owen
Anthropology 203.1, Sonoma State University, Fall 2011
Copyright (c) 2011, Bruce Owen. All rights reserved.
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Revised: 7 December 2011