Curriculum Guideline

Introduction to Social & Cultural Anthropology

Effective Date:
Course Code
ANTH 1100
Introduction to Social & Cultural Anthropology
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 4 hours/week


Hybrid: 2 hours/week in class; 2 hours/week online


Fully online

Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some or all of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Small group discussion
  • Large class discussion
  • Case study analysis
  • Films or videos


Course Description
A survey and introduction to the foundations of study in Social and Cultural Anthropology: the study of human cultures both past and present. Students will be exposed to the holistic anthropological perspective and methods employed by anthropologists to study the diverse cultures of the world.
Course Content
  • Holism in anthropology
  • Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism
  • Historical development of the concept of culture
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Ethics in research involving human subjects
  • The importance of language in human perception and communication
  • Kinship
  • Economy
  • Modes of production
  • Modes of exchange
  • Sex, gender, and sexual expression
  • Reproduction
  • Critiques of biological and cultural determinism
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationalism
  • Violence
  • Environment, ecology, and culture

Additional themes such as language endangerment and revival or race and racism may be undertaken by individual instructors.



Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to:

  1. Outline the major subfields of anthropology and the importance of social and cultural anthropology within the broader perspective on humanity offered by the discipline;
  2. Define key terms and concepts in social and cultural anthropology and claim experience in applying them to discussions of historical and contemporary research in the discipline;
  3. Discuss the core methods in social and cultural anthropology;
  4. Identify and reflect upon the ethical obligations of pursuing research involving human subjects both living and deceased and;
  5. Develop and deepen an appreciation for human diversity.
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline containing specific criteria during the first week of classes. 

An example of a possible assessment scheme:

Reflection/Response Papers     30% (3x10%)

Research Paper                       25%

Midterm                                 20%

Final                                      25%

Total                                     100%

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class.  Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving human subjects.

Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically.  Typical examples are:

Bodley, John H. 2016. Tribes, States and the Global System. (Most recent edition).  New York: AltaMira Press.

Eller, Jack David. 2009.  Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives.  Routledge: New York.

Kenny, Michael G. and Smillie, Kirsten. 2015. Stories of Culture and Place: An Introduction to Anthropology.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Robbins, Richard H., Cummings, Maggie and McGarry, Karen. 2016. Sociocultural Anthropology: A Problem Based Approach.  Toronto: Nelson Education.

Stern, Pamela. 2015.  Reading Cultural Anthropology: An Ethnographic Introduction.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Which Prerequisite