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Introduction to Anthropology (daytime) – Online
A famous social anthropologist once described his job as being a sort of cross-cultural private eye, spying into peoples cultures instead of their bedrooms! Anthropologists look at very different societies, often finding different solutions to common human problems, for example the problem of how to obtain food or how to raise children, or how to explain sickness or understand what happens after death. Discovering these differences (or similarities) is fascinating and brings us to the essence of Anthropology - it makes us stand back and question our own assumptions. It shows that almost no piece of human behaviour is either natural or inevitable. On this course we will examine some of the ways people think and act in different cultures, including our own.
Suitability - Who should attend?
The course is for anyone who is interested in finding out what Anthropology is and why it is useful. The only requirement is that you are open-minded, prepared to contribute to discussion and interested in people.
Outcome / Qualification etc.
By the end of the course you should be able to:
- Explain what Anthropology is and what distinguishes it from other social sciences
- Recognise and question culturally determined assertions
- Identify and describe at least two of the key theories in the history of Social Anthropology
- Use an anthropological approach to investigate an aspect of culture
Training Course Content
This is an introductory course and the emphasis is on finding out about the subject by actually doing some Anthropology. That will involve examining the ways people think and act in different cultures, including our own. We will look for answers to key questions. What is Anthropology? what does it include? Why is it interesting? Why is it useful? How do anthropologists work? What problems do they meet? What are some of the major theories in the history of Social Anthropology and how have those ideas influenced our understanding of society and culture?
We will focus on one of the important organising principles in human society - reciprocity- examining what it means and how it works (or doesnt work) in different societies. Then, as anthropologists, will use the concept of reciprocity to investigate the institution of marriage across different cultures. What do we mean by 'marriage'? How widespread is it? How can we use the idea of reciprocity to help us understand the different rules and practices surrounding marriage? How diverse is marriage? Does cross-cultural comparison lead to deeper understanding of our own traditions and taboos?
Course delivery details
The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.
- Full fee: £103
- Concession fee: £36
What this course could lead to
Students can enrol on the next course with Jo; 'Looking at Humour- an anthropological perspective'' starting in January 2020. You may also be interested in the Archaeology courses.
Mary Ward Centre
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