Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology helps college and university students become more culturally aware global citizens. This learning resource presents the nuances of intercultural and intra-cultural dynamics, challenging and engaging learners to both recognize their own cultural frameworks and to look beyond them.

This course includes narrative scenarios, interactive exercises, games, videos, real world case studies, and other engaging content.. A series of “reflection” self-analysis tasks give students the opportunity to consider their own cultural practices and develop reasoned thinking and writing skills.

MindEdge’s Introduction to Cultural Anthropology content enhances skills in identifying the core principles of what constitutes culture, understanding the importance of cultural relativism in fieldwork, recognizing the interplay of language, art, religion, family, kinship, and politics, in cultural constructions, considering the role of the individual within cultural frameworks, and analyzing the impact of globalization on cultures.

Module 1: Introduction to Anthropology

  • Define anthropology
  • Identify the subfields of anthropology (cultural, linguistic, archaeology, biological, applied)
  • Recognize the benefits of studying anthropology
  • Define the key concepts of anthropology
  • Explain different anthropological perspectives (holistic, comparative, relativistic)
  • Summarize the concept of cultural relativity
  • Outline key contemporary issues in cultural anthropology
  • Identify major anthropological theories (scientific and humanistic)
  • Recognize the concept of anthropological fieldwork and its history
  • Use the key methods of investigation (ethnographic and comparative)
  • Recognize the role of ethnography in fieldwork
  • Apply anthropological techniques (participant observation, interviews, mapping, etc.)
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative research
  • Illustrate the challenges raised by feminism, postmodernism, and growing political awareness to anthropological fieldwork
  • Outline the key ethical issues in anthropological fieldwork

Module 2: What is Culture?

  • Define culture (shared and learned patterns, etc.)
  • Recognize the origins and purpose of culture
  • Relate the key characteristics of culture (norms, values, symbols, worldviews, etc.)
  • Summarize the process of enculturation
  • Analyze the connections between behavior and culture
  • Analyze the connections between biology and culture
  • Illustrate how culture is changed
  • Recognize how human culture is unique

Module 3: Language and the Arts

  • Explain the importance of language to culture
  • Recognize the structure and properties of language
  • Illustrate the channels of communication, including nonverbal communication and social context
  • Identify how languages change (lingua francas, loanwords, etc.)
  • Relate art to its role in culture
  • Analyze the role of cultural symbols
  • Relate art to identity

Module 4: Economies and Making a Living

  • Identify the foundations of economic anthropology
  • Recognize human subsistence strategies
  • Categorize the factors involved in foraging
  • Categorize the factors involved in pastoralism
  • Categorize the factors involved in horticulture
  • Categorize the factors involved in agriculture
  • Outline the challenges presented by industrialization and globalization to the global environment
  • Identify the concept of economic systems
  • Relate the role of economic systems in allocating resources
  • Recognize the concept of exchange (reciprocity, redistribution, market)
  • Relate the impact of reciprocity on social relationships
  • Illustrate the connection between redistribution and political organizations
  • Recognize the workings of a market economy (capitalism)
  • Identify the function of currency
  • Outline the historical significance and impacts of colonialism and industrialism

Module 5: Marriage, Family, and Kinship

  • Define marriage and family
  • Explain the different forms of family (nuclear, composite, extended, etc.)
  • Summarize marriage rules (incest taboo, exogamy, endogamy, cousin marriages, number of spouses)
  • Analyze the forms of marriage (arranged, polygamy, polyandry, same-sex)
  • Explain marriage as a form of economic exchange (dowry, bridewealth, etc.), alliance, rite of passage
  • Compare post-marital residence patterns
  • Analyze societal attitudes toward widowhood and divorce
  • Define kinship and classification of kin
  • Recognize kinship systems (bilateral and unilineal descent)
  • Recognize matrilineal and patrilineal systems and their prevalence
  • Identify kinship terminology systems (Eskimos, Hawaiian, Sudanese, Native American)
  • Analyze how kinship systems change
  • Relate kinship systems and descent to economic and political systems

Module 6: Political Systems and Religion

  • Define political systems
  • Identify the forms of political systems (tribes, bands, chiefdoms, confederacies, states)
  • Illustrate the allocation of power and authority within political systems
  • Explain the role of social control in a society
  • Explain the role of legal systems
  • Compare the characteristics of centralized political systems (nation states, etc.)
  • Analyze how political change happens
  • Define religion
  • Identify theories about religion
  • Illustrate belief in the supernatural
  • Outline the types of religious organizations
  • Compare the varieties of religious practice
  • Analyze religion as a force for change

Module 7: Globalization and Cultural Change

  • Define globalization
  • Recognize the development of global trade
  • Explain the global economy and the impact of technology
  • Illustrate the impact of globalization and its role in social and cultural change
  • Relate migration to a global economy
  • Analyze the challenge for cultural minorities posed by globalization

Module 8: Cultural Self-Reflection

  • Relate cultural anthropology concepts to self-analysis