Introduction to Cultural Anthropology


FORMAT: Online class; meets 24hrs/7days week

CONTACT INFORMATION: Prior to the commencement of the online class, you may contact me using my Rio Hondo e-mail address Once the class begins, however, you must only contact me using the WebCT email provided in class.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The emphasis of this general education course is the investigation of human culture and society. By learning about the diversity of cultural practices around the world, students will be able to evaluate their identities within their own societies. In addition to discovering the theoretical background and methodological techniques of cultural anthropology, the course will include an extensive examination of cross-cultural diversity. Students will learn about how people in different cultures obtain their food, exchange goods and services between one another, organize themselves in groups, engage in politics, raise their children, and worship supernatural beings. Also addressed will be the issue of how cultural anthropology can contribute to addressing problems important in the modern world such as world hunger, overpopulation, and the destruction of the environment.

This course has prerequisite advisories: ENGL 035; READ 023

This course transfers to UC, CSU

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, students will have an understanding of:

1. The discipline of anthropology (applied and research-based), the four-field approach, and anthropology’s utility and contribution to global problem-solving.

2. The concept of culture, its principles, rules, and universals.

3. Their personal and cultural epistemologies and Western science’s place within various global epistemological systems.

4. Cultural anthropology’s theoretical development.

5. Cultural anthropology’s methodology.

6. Anthropological ethics.

7. How language, familial, economic, political, social, religious, and artistic systems/endeavors have varied over time and continue to vary between groups of people today.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK: Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology by James Peoples and Garrick Bailey. 7th edition, Wadsworth Publishing. It is available in the college bookstore and in online bookstores for your purchase. Notice: This textbook has an Online Learning Center for students at

COURSE CONTENT/SCHEDULE: This schedule serves as a guide for the course. It is not the final syllabus, which will be made available when the course begins on the course website.


UNIT 1: Course and Instructor Introductions

What is Anthropology?

The Culture Concept

Applied vs. Academic Anthropology

Epistemology (Personal; Western Civ’s; Is Science a Cultural Construct?)

UNIT 2: Anthropological Theories: Past and Present

Anthropological Field Methods: Past and Present

Anthropological Ethics

UNIT 3: Language

Spirituality and the Supernatural

Art and Aesthetic

UNIT 4: Marriage and Family

Kinship Systems

Gender, Sex, Race, and Ethnicity

UNIT 5: Subsistence Systems

Economic Systems

Political Systems

Social Stratification and Inequalities

UNIT 6: Anthropology in the Global Community

Ethnic Conflict

World Problems and Anthropological Studies and Solutions


In addition to completing the reading for each unit, you will be expected to complete a short quiz for each unit (6 quizzes). The quizzes will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions. You will also be required to complete two discussion board posts and response per unit (12 posts/responses, minimum). During the course, at least two, and possibly three, short writing assignments (approx. 3-5 pages in length) will be given, as well. Additional detail regarding assignments, exams, and grading will be provided on the final syllabus at the start of the online class.

EXTRA CREDIT: Extra credit will be made available. A total of 30-50 points of extra credit can be earned by completing voluntary additional assignments, both within, and outside the parameters of, the class. Additional detail regarding extra credit will be provided on the final syllabus at the start of the online class.

QUESTIONS?: If you would like additional information about the course content or format, please contact me at