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CCOG for ATH 207 archive revision 201704

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Effective Term:
Fall 2017 through Summer 2019
Course Number:
ATH 207
Course Title:
Cultural Anthropology: Culture Concepts
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

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. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course examines the lives, field work experiences and anthropological theories of pioneering anthropologists such as William Baldwin Spencer, Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Julian Steward, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Marvin Harris, Victor Turner and Clifford Geertz, and additional works by more recent anthropologists, feminists and philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Susan Gal, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, or Sherry Ortner. In addition, the work of indigenous anthropologists such as Edward Dozier or Alphonso Ortiz or the indigenous critiques of writers such as Vine Deloria Jr, or Linda Tuhiwai Smith may be covered.  Theories covered may include classical theories such as cultural evolution, historical anthropology, culture and personality, cultural ecology, and interpretive anthropology, as well as emerging ones, such as hegemony, counter-hegemony, deconstruction, reconstruction, post-modernism and globalization. To be successful in the class, 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.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

Aspirational Goals

  • Prepare students for upper division course work in anthropology
  • Increase cultural awareness and appreciation of other societies
  • Contribute to internationalization efforts across the curriculum
  • use an understanding of anthropology to analyze how issues such as power, race, gender, class and sexuality impact fieldwork experience and theoretical ideas

Course Activities and Design

This course is taught online as well in a traditional classroom setting.  Course activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • small group discussions or exercises
  • lectures
  • speed culturing or other events
  • online discussion forums
  • participant-observation exercises
  • collection of life histories
  • ethnographic film viewing and analysis

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include  but are not limited to any of the following:

  • exams
  • quizzes
  • student presentations
  • short papers
  • term papers
  • research projects

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • culture as a concept that changes over time
  • the history and development of different anthropological theories
  • highlight the lives and ethnographic research of pioneering anthropologists
  • examine the lives and ethnographic research of contemporary anthropologists and the continuing development of anthropological theory


  • ongoing controversies within anthropology
  • effect of enculturation on personality development
  • analysis of different anthropological methods
  • ethical issues in ethnography
  • cultural differences in political power and the impact of colonialism
  • influence of race, class, gender and sexuality on fieldwork experience and theory development


  • 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.  It also highlights 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 and concepts such as:
    19th century evolution, multilinear evolution, eugenics,
    historical anthropology, determinism
    diffusion, cultural relativism, hegemony, counter-hegemony
    culture and personality, feminism, post-colonialism
    functionalism, structural functionalism, deconstruction, reconstruction
    cultural ecology, post-modernism, globalization
    symbolic and interpretive anthropology, colonial critique

3. Develop critical reasoning skills and cultural awareness in students.

Text::  Anthropological Theory 5th edition by McGee and Warms or another comparable text which may include a collection of original articles written by a variety of important anthropologists and or biographical and other background data. Original fieldwork data, current online articles or other readings or resource materials may also be included.