Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ATH 207
Course Title:
Cultural Anthropology: Culture Concepts
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Examines different schools of anthropological thought and the concept of culture from a historical perspective. Emphasis placed upon the importance of culture in explaining similarities and differences in our evolving world system. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course will examine anthropological theories such as cultural evolution, historical anthropology, culture and personality, cultural ecology and interpretive anthropology. Students should be able to read and write at the college level.

Intended Outcomes for the course

1. Trace the history and development of anthropological thought and theory.

2. Master more advanced concepts in cultural anathropology.

3. Critically analyze the roles ideology, social organization, technology and ecnomics  play in c ultural desvelopment and change at the local or global level.

4. Reflect on how culture shapes personal and social values at the local and global level.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

*exams (take home or in class)

* quizzes

* student presentations

* term papers

* short papers or reports 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • culture as a concept
  • the development of different anthropological theories


  • history of anthropology
  • effect of enculturation and acculturation


  • cultural evolution
  • cultural relativism
  • cultural ecology
  • culture and personality


  • read and write at the college level
  • participate in class discussion and group work
  • discuss various anthropological theories
  • understand the concept of culture

Instructional Goals and Objectives:
The instructor will teach in accordance with the goals and objectives listed in this Course Content Guide. The Course Content Guides are developed by college-wide subject area faculty and are approved by the administration.
Instructional Goal:
The study of culture as a historical concept in anthropology gives students an opportunity to understand how the discipline developed as a science and the various debates that have occurred or are still occurring among scholars. This process challenges students to develop their critical reasoning and problem solving skills by evaluating the merits and pitfalls of various theories.
1. Define and understand the concept of culture from a historical perspective.
2. Compare and contrast several anthropological theories:
    unilineal evolution
    historical particularism
    culture and personality
    functionalism and structural functionalism
    cultural ecology
    symbolic and interpretive anthropology
3. Develop critical reasoning skills in students through discussion and debate.
Text: The text being used in 1994 is HIGH POINTS IN ANTHROPOLOGY. by Paul Bohannan and Mark Glazer. 2nd edition. 1988. It provides a selection of original articles written by a variety of important anthropologists and includes biographical data on each person.