Introduction to Anthropology

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Trevathan
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 09:25
End: 10:40
Field Work: Day 3 - Cape Town - Saturday, October 26 | South Africa
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Anthropology is a broad comparative approach to studying humankind that focuses on contemporary cultures and societies throughout the world.  It provides a way of understanding both similarities and differences across cultures based on research and observations made by anthropologists who immerse themselves in another culture, a method known as “participant observation.”  Concepts we will cover include ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, race and ethnicity, and globalization.  Topics examined include kinship, belief systems, gender, marketing and economic systems, political systems and ways of making a living.  Although we will immerse ourselves in another culture for only a few days, we will use the anthropological lens to try to appreciate and understand people who live lives very different from our own.  For example, we will explore the concepts of race and ethnicity in South Africa, gender in Morocco, religion in Spain, colonialism in Ghana, human rights in Argentina, and kinship in the Amazon.  We will learn about and see examples of pastoralism in Morocco, rainforest agriculture in the Amazon, and hunting and gathering in South Africa.   At the end of the course and the voyage we should have a greater appreciation for the ways that culture shapes people’s lives and for the increasing effects of globalization and rapid cultural change on traditional societies.  We will also have a greater understanding of the ways in which our own culture(s) shapes our view of “the other” and we will be challenged to acknowledge and assess what we have learned about cultures other than our own.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 3 - Cape Town - Saturday, October 26

We will visit the !Kwha ttu San cultural and Education Center, which is an organization set up to showcase the lives of the descendents of the earliest indigenous peoples of southern Africa.  The San themselves will tell us about their history, traditional knowledge, skills, languages, customs and current concerns.  Included in the tour will be a visit to a replica of a traditional San village.  This tour will provide a window onto the ways that our ancestors lived for more than 99 percent of human history. Academic Objectives: 1.    See examples of the ways human ancestors lived for more than 99 percent of human history. 2.   Hear the distinctive click language of the San people, one of the rarest languages in the world.

3.  Understand the pride of the San people as they demonstrate to us their ways of living in a harsh land.