ANTH 102: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

This course begins with a look at how cultural anthropologists study cultural settings around the world, and considers the questions of what culture is (as well as what culture is not) and why language is so important. The course also includes an examination of the role of political systems and forms of exchange in cultural variation; a review of how different people are grouped according to social status, including race, gender, class, and age; a look at how religion and ideology play an important role in the conceptualization of culture and our place in the world; and an exploration of the many manifestations of marriage and family across cultures. The final section of the course looks at contemporary manifestations of research in cultural anthropology, including the study of urban culture, applied anthropology, and understanding situations of world conflict. By the end of this course, students will have a greater appreciation for the wonderful variety of human life on Earth, and for everything that we call “human.”

Required Texts:

  • Saitoti, The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior (1988), ISBN 978-0520063259
  • Spradley and McCurdy, eds., Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 14th edition (2012), ISBN 978-0205176014

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at with any questions or for more information.

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