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.
Humans have a long history prior to the advent of written language and archaeology provides us with the methods to understand the majority of the human past. In this course we will explore the human past beginning with the emergence of our own species (Homo sapiens sapiens), and then follow our global expansion into a variety of environments. We will document the numerous ways we have lived in different places and at different times. During the course students will be introduced to the methods and theories that archaeologists use to reconstruct past human cultures. We will take a global perspective in examining some of the major transitions in the way of life humans have experienced from the advent of sedentism and agriculture to the emergence of social complexity and urbanism. Highlights in the case studies used may include the building of the Pyramids of Giza in Ancient Egypt, the settlement of Polynesia, the rise of the Classic Maya and an examination of the urban landscape of Cahokia. Finally we will explore the ways in which the distant human past continues to influence our contemporary world.
This course surveys the scope, goals, and major discoveries of physical anthropology, dealing particularly with human biological evolution, the hominin fossil record, and present physical diversity.
This course surveys the scope and goals of archaeology and the techniques used in the investigation of the human past. It also surveys the major stages of human cultural evolution, from earliest hunting and gathering societies to the emergence of complex urban civilizations.
This course provides an overview of indigenous cultures in British Columbia, from earliest occupation of the region to contemporary issues affecting First Nations. Students will learn about the cultural diversity and distinctiveness of cultures throughout the province, including their economies, social organization, political formations, and spiritual beliefs. Particular attention will be given to the traditional cultures prior to colonialism, yet we also address how indigenous peoples have adapted and persisted in their traditions to the present day, despite the challenges faced since the onset of colonialism.
In this course, we will survey the anthropology of religion, involving the study of human beliefs and rituals concerning the supernatural among cultures in the past and present. Students will examine the holistic nature of the anthropological approach towards the diverse belief systems and practices of the world. We will explore the variability of religion through numerous facets, including mythology, sacrifice, ritual, and magic. We also will examine how religious beliefs and ideologies form a central aspect of any human culture, structuring how people relate to other species in their natural environment, to other humans in their society and without in the social environment, and to non-human actors inhabiting this world or other realms of existence. In the process, students will assess how religions help people adapt to their environment, or aid them as they face new events and circumstances, as well as provide a framework of meaning for understanding the nature of the world and their placement within it.
This course is a survey of Indigenous cultures of Canada, past and present, from the Atlantic provinces to the Northwest Coast and the south-central Plains to northern Arctic. Students will learn about the earliest migrations to North America, from both archaeological histories and oral traditions. The main focus concerns traditional lifeways, including economies, social relations, political organizations, spiritual beliefs, arts, and more. Throughout, a focus will be on how indigenous peoples have adapted and persisted in their traditions to the present day, despite the challenges faced since the onset of colonialism.
This course provides a critical introduction to international development studies from an anthropological perspective. Modernization and development programs are examined through ethnographic research with peoples in places on the margins of global politics and economy. Ideological assumptions embedded in different iterations of international development from colonial empires, through the post World-War II Truman Doctrine era, up to contemporary BRICS led development are examined. Development is explored as a heavily contested, deeply political, symbolic, moral and social project.
This course will provide students with global Indigenous experiential learning, through study abroad, field trips, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), or other global Indigenous experiences. Students will have an opportunity to learn about Indigenous peoples from around the globe in a first-person, experiential manner. Students will learn about some of the similarities and differences of global Indigenous cultures and perspectives, both in a historical and contemporary setting. Attention will be paid to the advocacy for rights by Indigenous peoples and social movements demanding self-governance. The focus of the course, thematically and geographically, will vary from one year to another determined by the exact global Indigenous experience to be undertaken.
This course surveys artistic and audio-visual research methods and knowledge sharing practices in anthropology. The production, circulation, and reception of cultural representations are examined with reference to photography, ethnographic films, gallery installations and museum exhibitions. Methodological and ethical issues entailed in creating representations will be explored.
This is a field of course in archaeology, with emphasis on the techniques of archaeological excavation. Additional topics include archaeological theory, techniques of laboratory analysis, and such skills as photography and mapping. To be offered only in the summer.
This is a field course in cultural anthropological research, with emphasis on the techniques of ethnographic research. It will be conducted in conjunction with a partner community. Topics of study include qualitative and quantitative research methods, techniques of data analysis, ethical research, and anthropology and/or history related to the community involved in the field study program.
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.
This course will explore the history of the Indigenous Peoples of North, Central, and South America, with a focus on the knowledge that can be gained from archaeology. Contemporary Indigenous interpretations will be interwoven with the archaeological record to give students an understanding of the great time depth and diversity of Indigenous cultural heritage in the Americas. This course will critically examine archaeology in the Americas. It will include the role archaeology has played in colonialism, the relationships of descendant communities to archaeology, the ethical problems specific to archaeology in the Americas, and the influence of past and present archaeological narratives on Indigenous Peoples and society at large. Examples of some of the topics covered are: the origins and antiquity of people in the Americas, the diversity of lifeways and human-environment relationships, the transition to agriculture and sedentism, the evolution of urban societies, and the emergence of empires. Some of the cultures or geographical areas may include, but are not limited to: Norte Chico, Moche, Inka, Olmec, Teotihuacán, Classic Maya, Aztec (Mexica), Amazonia, Hopewell, Mississippian, and Ancestral Puebloan.
A survey of cultural developments in Africa, Europe and Asia from the hunting-gathering societies of the Upper Palaeolithic 40,000 years ago to the development of Bronze Age states and chiefdoms in these regions beginning 5,500 years ago.
An introductory consideration of medical/healing beliefs and practices cross-culturally, especially in non-Western/non-state societies. This course also considers the healing process itself.
How do people in different cultural and ecological contexts understand the human place in nature? How is socioeconomic inequality created by and expressed in uneven geographical development, degradation of environments and control over natural resources? How do cultural anthropologists attempt to mitigate and critique of impacts of global capitalist resource exploitation upon indigenous peoples? How do global biodiversity conservation goals affect local populations that depend upon the resources of conservation areas? How is environmental change conceptualized and confronted within cultural frameworks of understanding and practice in everyday life? How do non-human others enter into and influence cultural knowledge, practices and behaviours? This course focuses upon the intertwined efforts to understand ecological and cultural diversity and sustainability from the ground up. Anchored in the interdisciplinary field of political ecology with special emphasis the development of political ecological thought within anthropology we will highlight how cultural and socioeconomic difference become expressed in and through resource conflicts. We will examine some of the ideological assumptions embedded in popular media and policy models of sustainable development and how particular local ecological and cultural histories of praxis influence the interpretation of these ideas and models in diverse contexts.
Human sexual expression may begin in biology, but like all things human, culture heavily influences human sexuality. Cultural influence on sexual expression occurs in relation to behaviour, desire and meaning. It is manifest in gender and gender norms. For humans, sexuality ties together body/mind/society. This course is a cross-cultural survey of the forms of human sexual expression, their relation to culture, and their expression in gender.
This course will introduce students to the Anthropology of Music and Ethnomusicology, and more specifically, the study of the relationship between music and culture. The course incorporates both the scholarship of this field and elements of experiential learning. Although students will engage in some experiential learning, no previous musical skills or expertise is required. The course will cover a variety of ethnographic areas, the contexts and processes involved in the creation, performance, and reception of music, and the everyday categories of music that we ‘live by’ such as World Music, Ethnic Music, and others. Students will engage with key theoretical perspectives, such as Feminism, Marxism, and Phenomenology. In addition, students will be trained in the ethnographic method in relation to music, sound, and culture.