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ANTH150 – Identity and Difference: Introduction to Anthropology

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Aaron Denham
Contact via aaron.denham@mq.edu.au
W6A, Room 616
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
The fundamental goals of anthropology are to explore and understand human diversity and the variety of perspectives on what it means to be human. This unit introduces students to the field of sociocultural anthropology and the cultural diversity present throughout the world. This course will emphasise how to study, think about, and represent culture through examining topics such economic systems; kinship; reproduction; magic and rituals; race, ethnicity and inequality; illness and healing; globalisation; and sex and gender. The unit will also offer perspectives on community and international development and demonstrate the relevance of applying anthropological thinking to your career and personal lives. We will closely examine how anthropologists conduct ethnographic research (fieldwork) and consider what makes anthropology unique and effective for looking at humanity from a holistic perspective. Ultimately, though the exploration of other cultures we will learn more about our own culture and begin to see and understand others and ourselves from a different perspective.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  2. Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  3. Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  4. Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  5. Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  6. Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Three Mini-Essays 45% Various
Midterm Online Exam 20% 13-15 September
Final Online Exam 20% 16-18 Nov
Weekly Reading Quizzes 15% Weekly

Three Mini-Essays

Due: Various
Weighting: 45%

Mini-Essays are brief writing assignments that are designed to provoke a connection between the unit material (readings, lecture, and supplementary material) and your own experiences and thoughts.  There are no strict word minimums; however, most essays are around 500 words. The maximum length is 750 words. You will complete three mini-essays this semester. You will submit these through Turnitin before the deadline. The Turnitin link is in the corresponding essay folder in iLearn. The due dates and topics are described below. The specific essay prompt, additional details, and other resources will be available in iLearn. 

It is imperative that your written expression is free of grammatical and spelling errors.  Papers with significant spelling and grammatical errors will be heavily penalized. Essays exceeding the 750-word limit by more than 10 words (not including bibliography) will receive a deduction (1% for every 10 words). You must provide a word count near your title when you submit your work. There is no minimum word length. Essays must connect to the concepts in the readings and lectures. High quality essays will offer a clear thesis and argument, seamlessly integrate unit material (readings and/or lecture), relevant external material, observations concerning the issue at hand, and demonstrate the effective use of anthropological “tools” and ways of “thinking.” Creativity is encouraged. You are permitted to use the first person (“I observed...”, “I attended...”) in your essays.  Unlike many of the sciences, anthropologists often write in the first person (because our research is strongly influenced by our presence and it is important to account for that). 

Cite all material you use (beyond your own thoughts, observations, and opinions). The citations style you use is up to you. I recommend Harvard: http://libguides.mq.edu.au/content.php?pid=459099&sid=3759396

Whichever style you use, all in-text citations must be consistent and include the authors’ last name, year of publication and, if you are using a direct quote, the page number. Lectures and lecture slides can be cited as “(Denham, date)”. Direct quotations from other material are highly discouraged. I am interested in your ability to gather, synthesize, and apply information, not repeating it verbatim. Space is limited. Show me what you know, not what others have directly said.

The essay topics and proposed due dates follow. Details and additional resources are available in iLearn:

1. Thinking Relativistically (Due Friday, 1 Sept by 23:59):  You will examine a cultural practice (familiar or distant) using the tools of cultural relativism.   

2. Fieldwork Observation (Due Friday, 20 October by 23:59): You will observe a social setting, record what you see, and offer an analysis of the location, context, event, interactions, and activities.

3. Applying Anthropology (Due Friday, 10 November by 23:59pm): Over the semester, you have learned a number of different ways of thinking about humanity. In this essay, you will select a social issue or problem you would like to change. You will describe that issue from an anthropological perspective and describe how you would apply anthropological principals to understand and possibly facilitate change.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Midterm Online Exam

Due: 13-15 September
Weighting: 20%

At the end of week seven, you will take an iLearn exam. The exam will be based on material from weeks 1-6. It will draw upon both the lecture material and your readings. The exam will consist of a selection of objective questions (such as multiple choice) and short answer or short essay questions. Further information will be provided during the lecture and tutorials.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Final Online Exam

Due: 16-18 Nov
Weighting: 20%

The final exam will cover material from week 8-13 and some general material will be used throughout the entire semester (10-15%). The exam will consist of a selection of objective questions (such as multiple choice) and short answer/short essay questions. Further information will be provided during lecture and tutorials. 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Weekly Reading Quizzes

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 15%

Each week before your tutorial you will complete a short multiple choice reading quiz on iLearn consisting of anywhere between two and five questions. You are permitted to use notes and refer to the readings while completing the quiz. The time limit will be generous. The quiz must be completed each week before your tutorial. Only 10 quiz marks will be counted. Since there are 11 weeks of readings, I will drop your one lowest marks at the end of the semester.

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Delivery and Resources

All required readings will be available electronically on iLearn.  There is no book or reader available for purchase. The iLearn system will be used in this unit: http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/

For lecture and tutorial times and classrooms please consult the MQ Timetable website: http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au.  This website will display up-to-date information on your classes and classroom locations.  Tutorial locations sometimes change in the days before class. Be sure to check. Tutorials start on week two. Have a bad tutorial time? See iLearn for a tutorial swap forum.

The lectures will be one of your primary sources of material for this unit. I bring together a range of concepts from a variety of sources, present the central theories and ideas, model anthropological thinking, adapt the material to your background, integrate contemporary events, and provide a framework to help make sense of the readings. It is unlikely that you will pass this class if you focus on the readings and tutorials alone.

Physical attendance is not required in lecture. While the ECHO system records most lectures, I strongly encourage everyone to attend the lectures in person. ECHO has been known to fail and I have a tenuous (at best) relationship with the system. The recordings are also often difficult to hear at times and you might miss valuable information. I will not offer notes or repeat lectures due to a system failure. The best approach is to attend lecture in person. Use the ECHO system only when unavoidable circumstances arise. I attempt to make lectures as dynamic as possible and interact with students. You will also have the opportunity to share experiences and ask questions during and after the lecture. Attending in person is a unique and engaging experience. Moreover, honestly, the lectures are much more engaging for everyone if people are actually present. 

Unit Schedule

Week

Date

Lecture

Assessment

1

2 Aug

Introduction: What is Anthropology

 

2

9 Aug

Thinking Anthropologically

 

3

16 Aug

Economic Systems

 

4

23 Aug

Kinship: Marriage and the Family

 

5

30 Aug

Reproduction, Childhood, and Child Development

Mini Essay: Thinking Relativistically  (1 Sept)

6

6 Sept

Race, Ethnicity, and Social Stratification

 

7

13 Sept

No lecture or tutorial. On-line exam.

Midterm Exam (on-line) 13-15 Sept

Semester Break: 19 September- 2 October

8

4 Oct

Language and Culture

 

9

11 Oct

Magic, Witchcraft, and Ritual

Mini Essay: Fieldwork Observation (20 Oct)

10

18 Oct

Medical Anthropology: Illness and Healing

 

11

25 Oct

Sex and Gender

 

12

1 Nov

Globalization and the World System

 

13

8 Nov

Doing Anthropology: International Development

Mini Essay: Applying Anthropology (10 Nov)

 

 

Exam Week

Final Exam (on-line) 16-18Nov

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam
  • Weekly Reading Quizzes

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Final Online Exam

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam
  • Weekly Reading Quizzes

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam
  • Weekly Reading Quizzes

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the central concepts and themes in cultural anthropology; particularly, the characteristics of culture, the techniques involved in ethnographic research, the processes and consequences of globalization, and the importance culturally relativistic thinking.
  • Establish a framework for describing and understanding the complexities of the world through the concepts of culture, power, and identity and their various manifestations.
  • Develop the ability to provide a holistic and relativistic description of ‘familiar’ and ‘distant’ cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate our assumptions (whether personal or from the media) about other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Midterm Online Exam
  • Final Online Exam
  • Weekly Reading Quizzes

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Apply ethnographic and anthropological perspectives and knowledge to issues in your own academic, professional, and personal lives.

Assessment tasks

  • Three Mini-Essays
  • Final Online Exam