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CCOG for ATH 207 archive revision 201904

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Effective Term:
Fall 2019 through Summer 2020
Course Number:
ATH 207
Course Title:
Anthropological Theories, Methods, and Fieldwork
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines different schools of anthropological thought from a historical perspective. Covers the work of pioneering anthropologists and their contributions to the discipline. Analyzes and describes theories and methods of anthropological fieldwork used by contemporary anthropologists. Covers concepts of culture and the process of cultural marginalization. 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 also 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

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Use an understanding of anthropology to describe how systems or issues of power, race, gender, class, and sexuality impact anthropological fieldwork experience and theory.
  2. Describe anthropological theories and methods and relate them to fieldwork situations
  3. Critically compare the roles ideology, social organization, power structures, technology, and economics  play in cultural development and social change from an anthropological and cross-cultural perspective.
  4. Discuss how culture shapes personal identity and social values.

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

Course Activities and Design

  Course activities may include any of 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 any of the following:

  • exams
  • quizzes
  • student presentations
  • short papers
  • term papers
  • research projects
  • guest speakers
  • class discussions

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
  • engage in brief field experiences