Advanced Cultural Anthropology: Concepts and Practice

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
ANTH 2200
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is an examination of the major theoretical perspectives in anthropology in relation to classic ethnographic sources and the experience of anthropologists in the field.
Course Content

  1. Introduction:              
    • Science and social science;                 
    • The nature of anthropological discourse and the practice of anthropology;
    • Major paradigms and modern problems, an overview.
  2. Earlier Social Theorists and Philosophers:
    • The Enlightenment and the locus of knowledge;
    • The development of the scientific method;
    • Comte and the social sciences;
    • De Coulanges and the Ancient City.
  3. Early Evolutionists and the 19th Century Social Philosophers:
    • Darwin and Social Darwinism
    • The stages of culture
  4. Boas and the Science of Culture:
    • Fieldwork and data collection;
    • Ethnology, ethnography and physical anthropology;
    • The North West Coast
  5. Functionalism and Structuralism:
    • Malinowski’s psychological needs and the Trobriand Islanders;
    • Radcliffe-Brown and the Chicago School;
    • American sociology and Talcott Parsons
  6. Boas’ Students:
    • Culture and personality and first field work;
    • The Mead crisis and the problem with data/theory relationships
  7. Culture and Personality Updated:
    • Psychological anthropology
  8. French Structuralism and Symbolism:
    • The question of the demonstrability of psychic unity;
    • The mediation of binary opposition and nature/culture;
    • “My Brother, the Parrot.”
  9. Ethnoscience and Cognitive Anthropology:
    • The mind as a landscape and the archaeology of thought.
  10. Behavioural Science and the Social Sciences:
    • Anthropology and behavioural science;
    • The possibility of a unified field.
  11. Contemporary Critiques:
    • Feminism and post-modernism;
    • Anthropology as epistemology past and present.
  12. Anthropology as Intellectual Exchange:
    • The relevance of past theory for current situations: what do we do when we have no history?  How do we prophesize without a past?
    • Technological revolutions and the human condition in the past fifty or sixty years.
  13. Concept and Practice:
    • Anthropology as cultural critique;
    • Epistemology and behaviour;
    • The nature of explanations;
    • Belief systems as self-validating.
  14. Review and Conclusions


Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives and will include lecture format, supplemented with seminar discussions and student presentations, as well as selected relevant films/videos.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme might consist of:

Mid-term Exam          25%
Research Essay 30% - 40%
Final Exam           25%
Participation/Presentation 10% - 20%
Total          100%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the major theoretical models in sociocultural anthropology and articulate the relationship between model building and the fieldwork experience in the discipline.
  2. Articulate the “personal equation” in anthropological fieldwork experience and critically evaluate selected ethnographic works in relation to the anthropologist’s personal equation.

Textbook Materials

A number of appropriate textbooks as available, such as:

  • Devita, P.  (1992).  The Naked Anthropologist.  Wadsworth Publishers.
  • Barrett, S.  (1996).  Anthropology.  University of Toronto Press.
  • McGee, R.J. & Warms, R.L.  (1996).  Anthropological Theory:  An Introductory History.  Mayfield Publishing Co.



ANTH 1100 or equivalent


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ANTH 2200
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO ANTH 220 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU ANTH 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ANTH 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU SA 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ANTH 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ANTH 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW ANTH 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ANTH 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ANTH 200 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ANTH 210 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ANTH 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ANTH 200 (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU ANTH 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023