Welcome to Cultural Anthropology! I would like to congratulate you for choosing this course, because you will find it one of the most educational and interesting courses you have ever taken. You will be taking this course with an instructor who has a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from UCLA. That's me; but I will not take space for myself further as there is a brief description on me on the course syllabus.
Please Note: There are three required tests that are administered on campus. With this course, the catalyst website for ANTH 2 gives you a weekly schedule of reading and video viewing.
Although we will not be meeting on a regular basis, I will be in contact with you through e-mail and by telephone. In addition, you are welcome to drop by my office during the office hours.
In this course we will travel throughout the world by means of the videos and our readings. We will be studying the way of life (culture) of many people ranging from technologically simplest hunters-gatherers to the most complex western industrial societies. This will be a very educational journey as you will begin to appreciate the richness and diversity that exists in the way
of life of human beings. You will realize that our way of life is not the only way to live on this planet. Do you know that there are cultures where people never experience a traffic jam; cultures where there are no policemen, jails, and courtrooms; and yet peace and order is maintained? How do they do it, and what can we learn from them?
This course will be an eye-opener for you in several ways: First, it will enable you to understand your own culture--its strengths and weaknesses--better, by way of comparing it with what you learn from other cultures. Second, you will find it a very enriching experience for you as a human
Over 100,000 years ago our species began to spread out all over the world. We have lost contact with our fellow human
beings for so long that now we find them so very different from us that it even seems that we can never be like them. But every
time you see an Australian aborigine, or a "strange-looking" Amazonian aborigine, remember that if you were born and raised
there, this is exactly how you would look like and how you would feel, and behave exactly like that person. So personalize the
course, and when you are reading about "others", remember you are just looking in a mirror and seeing another version of
yourself. This course is about the many faces of humanity, about you and me, and all the potentialities and weaknesses that we
have as reflected in others.
The third reason why this course is very important to take is because human culture which is a means to help humanity
survive on this planet, has taken a very destructive course. All over the world, particularly in western industrial societies, we are
polluting the air, and the water upon which all life depends. We are destroying the habitat and the living creatures in it for material gain. We are even busy killing one another. At this moment that you read this, there are more than 170 wars going on around the world. We need this course to begin to understand why human culture has taken such a destructive course, and what can be done to ensure that our grandchildren will have the same chance as we did to live on this planet.
Since education is more important than just grades, I have provided you with many opportunities to get extra credit points in this course by doing additional short readings on fascinating subjects. It is up to you how many extra-credit assignments you want to do. So you will have no problems in passing the course, or getting an A if you so choose. For more details on course requirements, please check the course syllabus. Once again, welcome to Cultural Anthropology!
Be prepared to spend a minimum of 12 hours per week using and studying the course materials.