This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts, theories and methods of Cultural Anthropology – an academic discipline that studies human societies in all their diversity. Cultural anthropologists have traditionally focused their research in remote locales and stressed the importance of learning the languages and lifestyles of the people with whom they work. Nevertheless, today’s anthropology is largely about understanding the increasingly global nature of our own society. Culture and Society is a portal into more advanced anthropology courses. The overall purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad perspective on the types of research that anthropologists undertake, and to engage in a critical dialogue on how the work of anthropologists contributes to the understanding of the human condition. Anthropological research is more than a theoretical endeavor; it is used to shape solutions to real world social, political, economic and environmental problems. A significant focus of this course is therefore focused on the applied dimensions of Anthropology. Students who take this class will obtain a broad overview of Cultural Anthropology and a better appreciation for the cultural diversity that they encounter in everyday life.

Threshold Concepts 1100

  • Students should know that categories are socially constructed and be able to critically assess divides such as: urban v. rural, center v. periphery, modern v. traditional, race v ethnicity. 
  • Students should have a basic understanding of the methods and aims of ethnographic writing.
  • Students should be able to take Intersectional approaches to understanding how oppression works on multiple levels at once depending on your position in society.
  • Students will come to understand, and hopefully use the Anthropological Perspective. This perspective privileges ideas around holism, the comparative approach and cultural relativism as a way to think through and reflect on ethnocentrism.
  • Students will understand how categories are socially constructed. Especially with regards to: Race, Gender and Class.
  • Students will be able to recognize orientalism as it functions in popular media.
  • Students will be able to understand how hegemony works to encourage people to adopt dominant culture, even as it goes against their interests. Hegemony is the internalization of our own subordination, but it is never complete.

Rights Info

Unless otherwise noted, this ANTH 1100 Open Educational Resource (OER) was curated by Professor Meghan Ference for Brooklyn College in 2020 and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. [Detailed license and acknowledgement]