ANTH&206/Cultural Anthropology

Instructor: Mohammad al-Madani

Office: BE4116A.
Hours:  11:00am. MTWT or by appointment 

206 934 2039

Time:   11:20-12:50 am MTWT Room BE4138    

Course Description: This course provides an evolutionary, global, and comparative perspective for understanding the origin, causes, and dynamics of culture change. Emphasis will be placed on the comparison of various non-Western and Western life-ways in relation to kinship, marriage and family systems, economic and political structures, religious and philosophical systems, and gender and sexuality. Students will be introduced to basic theories, methods, and vocabulary used in the field. Additionally, this course explores the causes and consequences of contemporary issues such as alienation, inequality and the concentration of wealth, racism, ageism, heterosexism and sexism.

Course Objectives: 
1. Introduce the discipline of anthropology in terms of its history, goals, theories, and methodology.
2. Introduce evolutionary, comparative, and interdisciplinary description and analysis of human biological and sociocultural evolution.
3. Provide knowledge of the economic, ecological, social, and political factors shaping human sociocultural systems
4. Develop skills of critical thinking, effective communication, and collaboration
5. Develop skills of Integrative Learning
6. Provide understanding of personal and social responsibility in a democratic society and the importance of life-long learning.
7. Provide the context for understanding and respecting the multi-faceted dimensions of diversity and transculturation as manifested in various cultural expressions.

Student Outcomes:
1. Demonstrate ability to critically utilize anthropological analysis as a means of linking distant events with their contemporary effects.
2. Demonstrate ability to connect individual experiences to institutional patterns in relation to race & ethnicity, gender & sexuality, class & caste, religion & worldviews.
3. Articulate a basic understanding of the economic, ecological, social, and political factors shaping human sociocultural systems
4. Demonstrate basic knowledge of human biological and sociocultural evolution.
5. Demonstrate ability to communicate effectively in oral, written and/or visual media.
6. Demonstrate ability to collaborate effectively in a context of diversity 
7. Demonstrate understanding of individual and social responsibility through identifying and envisioning alternatives to contemporary global social structures.
8. Demonstrate ability to integrate information from multiple venues of information such as readings, viewings, lectures, and guest speaker

Grade Requirements:  Click here to view assignments' instructions and descriptions

 Weekly Quizzes (6 assignments)


On Mondays starting Monday 7/3/2017

In-class Assignments


Throughout the quarter

Final Grade Calculation


Due no later than 8/14/2017

Readings: (Recommended)

Marvin Harris

         Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Riddles of Culture. London: Hutchinson & Co. 1975. ISBN 0-09-122750-X. Reissued in 1991 by Vintage, New York.

         Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Cultures. New York: Vintage. 1977. ISBN 0-394-40765-2.

         Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1981. ISBN 0-671-63577-8. (Previously titled America Now: The Anthropology of a Changing Culture)

         Our Kind: who we are, where we came from, where we are going. New York: HarperCollins/Harper Perennial. 1990. ISBN 0-06-091990-6.

         Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture. Illinois: Waveland Press. 1998. ISBN 1-57766-015-3. (Previously published 1985 by Simon & Schuster. Previously titled The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig)

Internet Web Site (Required)

Medina, John: Brain Rules (web site)

Course Schedule:



Brain Rules


Introduction. Assumptions. Academe
Anthropology, Science, and Storytelling
SCCstudent code of conduct (Policy and Procedures)



Archaeology. Human Biological Evolution
Language. Universal Grammar


Short Term Memory


Categorization: Race & Ethnicity.
Sociocultural Systems:
(Modes of Production and Reproduction)

Long Term Memory



Sociocultural Systems:
: The Domestic Economy (Gender. Marriage. Sexuality, Family and Kinship)



Sociocultural Systems:
: The Political Economy (Economic & Political Organization)

Sensory Integration


Sociocultural Systems:
: The Political Economy (Economic & Political Organization)



Sociocultural Systems:
: Secular & Religious Ideologies (Religions & Worldviews)



Making a Difference: Hope and the Responsibility of the Individual in a Democratic Society














Course Policies:

Attendance/Participation: Attendance by every student member is imperative. Likewise, participation is important. These are not only requirements but also responsibilities, for an absence or failure to complete an assignment may result in delaying everyone's progress. You are expected to read all the assigned material before class meetings, participate in class discussions, and express your opinion and understanding. Group discussions are an integral component of this course. Come to class with notes that reflect what it is in the reading that you agree and disagree with most strongly. Additionally, we will watch relevant films and listen to guest-speakers. You are encouraged to cooperate, rather than compete, with your classmates. Your attendance is very important. Late assignments will not be accepted unless 1) prior arrangements are made with instructor or 2) verifiable proof of emergency is presented.

SCCstudent code of conduct (Policy and Procedures)

Syllabus Changes:
Changes to the syllabus and schedule will be announced in class. However, it is your responsibility to check with instructor and classmates.

If you need course adaptations or accommodation because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with your instructor, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with your instructor as soon as possible.