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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Application For Course Approval

for General Education Program

Course Number: APG 203
Course Title: Cultural Anthropology
Check the general education core area for this course:*

  • ___ English Communication
  • ___ Fine Arts & Literature
  • ___ Foreign Language/Cross-Cultural Competence
  • ___ Letters
  • ___ Natural Sciences
  • _X_ Social Sciences
  • ___ Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning

*Note: courses can qualify in more than one area but a separate form is required for each request. Students may use a course for general education credit in one area.

Department(s) in which course will be taught: Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty member(s) responsible for course: John Poggie
Office: Chafee 511
Office Phone: 401.874.5666
Will non-tenure track faculty teach this course? Yes

If yes, approximately what percentage of sections will be taught by non tenure-track faculty? 20%

The integrated skills** that this course will focus on are:

  • _X_ Examine human differences
  • ___ Read complex texts
  • ___ Speak effectively
  • ___ Use of artistic activity
  • _X_ Use of qualitative data
  • ___ Use of quantitative data
  • ___ Use of information
  • _X_ Write effectively

*Note: At least three integrated skills are required.

Course description (as would be found in catalog):
Anthropological approaches to the study of peoples and cultures around the world. (Lec. 3)

The purpose of this application is to assure that the proposed course meets explicit goals established for the general education program. These are:

  • The ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority
  • The ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas
  • A commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning
  • An openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership
  • The ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative

Part I

This part consists of six questions designed to highlight fundamental aspects of the general education program. Only answer question 5 if it is relevant to your course.

1. If not stated in your syllabus, please indicate the primary learning objective(s) of your course.

(See the five purposes specified in the attached course syllabus.)

2. How does the proposed course meet the goals established for the general education program?

The written assignments in this course will allow students to critically examine and resolve the ethnographic content in several anthropological films as to what they hear in the narration, what they observe, as well as what they learn from written materials and lectures on the same cultures. This will require a resolution of several sources of information into a coherent analysis by assessing and reaching a judgment on the veracity and authority of this information. Students will have the opportunity to practice making independent informed choices in the resolution of their analyses.

Students will be exposed to lectures, readings, and films on qualitative and quantitative information as well as to several theoretical perspectives that interconnect the core areas of cultural anthropology to its empirical content in different ways.

The cultural anthropological perspective of this course- - involving such concepts as holism, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, and emic-etic viewpoints- - provides a foundation for cross-cultural understanding and learning. This perspective- - once learned- - frequently lays the intellectual groundwork in students for lifetime wide-ranging curiosity about cultural similarities and differences.

Students will be afforded the opportunity and encouraged to show leadership, cooperation, and self-direction in class discussions of ethnographic topics. There will be the opportunity for students to apply descriptive models (e.g. model of human ecology and the cultural evolutionary model) of analysis and comparison to the ethnographic cases studied in the course.

3. How is the course suitable for the general education area you have requested it be classified:? Please refer to the criteria for the relevant division as described in Appendix A as well as to your course materials appended to this form

Anthropology is a holistic discipline that strives to understand humans across time and space in all their varieties. Because change is such a pervasive and distinctive feature of human life on earth, understanding the range of types of human cultures ( bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states) and their origins are essential parts of cultural anthropology. Likewise, because culture is not a static but a dynamic entity, understanding the varieties of cultural solutions and problems humans have created in living on earth is also essential. Hence, this course focuses on an understanding of patterns of human behavior in a theoretical framework that involves individual decision-making, the adaptive strategies of people and societies, and patterns of broad cultural change over time. The course concludes with a description and analysis of the general cultural changes that have brought us to the contemporary pattern of world culture often referred to as globalization.

4. Explain how this course provide opportunities for practice in each of the integrated skills you have listed on the coversheet.

1. In this course students will have several opportunities to examine human differences and similarities. By its very nature cultural anthropology deals with human differences and similarities. Students in the course will examine and gain an understanding of a full range of this variability through readings, lectures and visual and audio materials that are part of the course of study. The textbook contains chapters on a range of cultures from foraging to industrial agricultural ones as well as materials on intercultural variability in all aspects of social organization and ideology such as marriage, kinship, religion, politics, and social control. Practice at examining human differences and similarities will also be provided to students in several ethnographic films and an ethnographic drama concerning the evolution of law.

2. and 3. Opportunities to use qualitative data and to practice writing effectively will be specifically provided by the ethnographic analysis and writing assignments in the course. Each student will prepare written summaries of four key ethnographic case studies, the information on which will be provided in films, lectures, and readings during the semester. Written summaries will follow specific guidelines provided by the instructor in lectures and help sessions, as needed. Students' summaries will be critiqued for content and writing and will be returned to students, as necessary, for rewriting. Work on the four summaries will count for a potential maximum of 100 points towards the total earnable 400 points in the course. The midterm exam will count 100 and the final exam will count 200 towards the total.

5. Will your course sometimes be taught to groups of students larger than 60? If so, please explain what you will do to insure that each of the integrative skills will be achieved. Please explain how each integrative skill will be achieved.

No < 60

6. If other instructors (including per course faculty or teaching assistants) teach the course, what will be done to ensure that the proposed content and skills will be maintained across sections and instructors?(To be completed by department chair.)

The chairperson will review the content and the integrated skills requirements with per-course instructors before preparation of their syllabi. Once prepared, the syllabi will be reviewed by the chairperson in order to ensure that course content and integrated skills are appropriate for the general education program.

Part II

Please provide documentation of the means by which your course attempts to reach the goals of the general education program courses described above. Please attach a syllabus (mandatory) and all relevant course materials (e.g., exams, homework and laboratory assignments, classroom exercises) that will demonstrate how your course does this. In addition, please feel free to include any explanation(s) necessary showing how the course materials are linked to both the goals of general education program and specifically to the integrated skills.

(See syllabus attached below)

Cultural Anthropology Spring, 2003

J. Poggie

Text: Daniel Bates and Elliot Fratkin, CULTRUAL ANTRHOPOLOGY, 3rd ed., 2003 (B & F).

Purpose of thise Course:

  1. To examine the scope, methods and interests of the field of cultural anthropology.
  2. To introduce some of the theoretical frames of reference that anthropologists use to describe and to explain the varieties of human thinking and behavior (this includes building up your vocabulary of anthropological terms).
  3. To view human cultures in a combination of decision making, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives.
  4. To develop a fuller understanding of humanity through acquaintance with the various responses humans have made to the conditions of living in different physical and social environments.
  5. To develop interest in, and appreciation for, research in the application of anthropology to contemporary and future problems of human adaptation.

Outline of Topics:

Reading Assignments:

1. The Anthropological Perspective, Theory, Humans as a Product of Biological and Cultural Adaptation and Evolution (B & F) 1-118
2. Evolution of Human Adaptations (B & F) 119-269
3. Kinship, Marriage, and Household (B & F) 271-304
4. Gender, Ethnicity, and Nation (B & F) 307-337
5. Economic Systems (B & F) 339-365
6. Politics and Social Control (B & F) 367-398
7. Religion and Ritual (B & F) 401-429
8. Globalism, and the Future of Humanity (B & F) 431-463


A mid-term examination will be given to help both students and instructor to assess students' progress in understanding of course materials. There will also be a final exam. The mid-term exam will count 100 points and the final will count 200 towards the course grade. The summaries discussed below will count a total of 100 points (25 each) towards the earnable 400 points in this course.

Films and Summaries:

A number of anthropological films will be shown throughout the course. They will be discussed during class and should be considered part of the corpus of data covered in the course. Students should take notes during the presentation of films. As a way to help learn qualitative ethnographic analysis, students will prepare written summaries of four selected cultures for which films will be the main data source. Guidance for doing the analysis and summaries will be provided by the instructor. Students' summaries will be critiqued for content and clarity and returned for revision as needed.

Class Lectures:

Lectures will contain considerable material that is not found in the textbook. Information as well as instruction as to how anthropological information may be applied will be presented.

Class Attendance:

Class attendance is mandatory.

Student Study Time:

In order to master the materials in this course, students should spend adequate time each week studying the textbook materials and integrating these with lecture information. Experience has shown that students who take an active stance in this course tend to do best in learning the materials and in test performance.


Students with documented learning disabilities should consult with the instructor early in the semester regarding accommodations.