Anthropology

Courses in Biological Anthropology (Division 318)

297. Topics in Biological Anthropology. (2). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 201 Biology, Culture, and Human Sexuality.
This course is designed to explore how far the theory of evolution can contribute to an understanding of human sexuality across cultures. The course falls into three sections: an introduction to the modern theory of sexual selection, a review of possible universals of human sexual psychology, and a discussion of how human nature and history come together to generate cultural variation in sexuality. Topics considered include: Why does sex exist at all? How do human mating systems compare to those in other primates? Are there universals of physical attractiveness? How do genes and culture contribute to sexual orientation? The class follows a lecture/ discussion format. Grading is based on three exams and a paper. Cost:2 WL:1 (Jones)

Courses in Cultural Anthropology (Division 319)

Courses are arranged by groups: Introductory Courses, Ethnology-Regional Courses, Ethnology-Theory/Method, Ethnology-Topical Courses, Linguistics, Archaeology, and Museum and Reading and Research Courses.

Introductory Courses

101. Introduction to Anthropology. Primarily for freshmen and sophomores. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 222 or 426. I and II. (4). (SS). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

This course will introduce students to the four major subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In the process, we will focus on how each of these subfields helps to explain the cultural, social, and physical aspects of human diversity. An explicit part of this process is exploring how sociocultural differences like gender, and racial and ethnic identity are constructed, and the roles these differences may play in our lives. The first part of the course is devoted to outlining some basic questions that will be addressed throughout the term: What is 'culture'? Is there a distinctively human nature? What is the basis of human social groupings, such as culture, race, ethnicity, and class? What kinds of evidence are useful in addressing issues involving human diversity? The subsequent parts of the course will approach specific topics within the discipline both as subjects in their own right and as means to getting answers to these questions.

298. Topics in Cultural Anthropology. (2). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 201 Anthropology of Tourism.
Did you know that tourism is Michigan's second biggest industry and is expected to be the nation's largest by the year 2000? This course considers the nature and types of tourism (e.g., recreational, cultural, sexual), the place of tourism within global political and economic patterns, and the effects of tourism upon tourist-receiving societies. The emphasis is on tourism in the Third World (especially the Caribbean and Latin America). Using these specific cases, we examine such topics as the effects of tourism upon art, ethnicity, gender relations, and the environment, plus the prospects for "appropriate" or responsible tourism. The course acquaints students with symbolic and materialist approaches in anthropology while helping students view tourism from a more critical perspective. Grades will be based on participation in the lecture/discussion class, two short (2-3 page) papers, and a final exam. A previous social science course is useful but not required. Cost:2 (Meltzer).

299. Topics in Linguistic Anthropology. (2). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 201 Language, Evolution, and Cognition.
What makes humans so different from other animals? This course will take language to be our defining hallmark, and will review evidence for the way in which the language capacity evolved. We will examine communication in whales, dolphins, monkeys, and apes, discussing the nature of signs, symbols, and language "proper," and scrutinizing the controversial attempts to teach symbolic languages to other primates. We will also explore the structure and function of the human brain as these relate to language, and apply evolutionary theory to linguistic-cognitive mechanisms. Possible dates and selection pressures for language emergence will be considered, drawing on evidence from human fossils and archaeological remains. Finally, the course will explore language as a general symbolic capacity which shapes the possibilities of human thought and experience. This course assumes no prior knowledge of anthropology, and will provide supplementary study-aids, as well as introductory readings and lectures. Cost:1 WL:4 (McIntosh)

Section 202 Human Impact on Environments in Prehistory and History. The accelerating pace of human impact on natural environments has made us acutely aware of the vulnerability of the ecosystems we live in. We are less aware of the long history of dynamic interactions between humans and their environments. This course combines lecture and discussion of assigned readings to (1) introduce students to principles of ecological anthropology and the methods used to examine past environments, and (2) survey the long-term record of human impact through a series of case studies ranging from the end of the last Ice Age to the present. Human impact is both ancient and pervasive in the light of this, we will consider the problems of distinguishing "cultural" and "natural" landscapes, and of planning appropriate preservation or management programs. Grades will be based on several short writing assignments. The course is designed for any student with an interest in ecological issues, and will not assume background in either anthropology or ecology. Cost:1 WL:1 (Fisher)


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