* a free alternative to expensive Introduction to Cultural Anthropology textbooks
* includes a full textbook and several original videos
* includes 10 "challenges" (assignments)
* a hub of original and found resources for teaching and learning anthropology
* a “connected course” of many faculty around the world sharing instructional materials
* an open course freely available to anyone online
* an emerging producer of original anthropological videos and other digital content
Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics Textbooks and Full Courses
Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics Textbooks and Full Courses Collection Resources (43)
* a free alternative to expensive Introduction to Cultural Anthropology textbooks
This book provides an introduction to the study of meaning in human language, from a linguistic perspective. It covers a fairly broad range of topics, including lexical semantics, compositional semantics, and pragmatics. The chapters are organized into six units: (1) Foundational concepts; (2) Word meanings; (3) Implicature (including indirect speech acts); (4) Compositional semantics; (5) Modals, conditionals, and causation; (6) Tense & aspect.
Anthropology is the study of all humans in all times in all places. But it is so much more than that. “Anthropology requires strength, valor, and courage,” Nancy Scheper-Hughes noted. “Pierre Bourdieu called anthropology a combat sport, an extreme sport as well as a tough and rigorous discipline. … It teaches students not to be afraid of getting one’s hands dirty, to get down in the dirt, and to commit yourself, body and mind. Susan Sontag called anthropology a “heroic” profession.” What is the payoff for this heroic journey? You will find ideas that can carry you across rivers of doubt and over mountains of fear to find the the light and life of places forgotten. Real anthropology cannot be contained in a book. You have to go out and feel the world’s jagged edges, wipe its dust from your brow, and at times, leave your blood in its soil. In this unique book, Dr. Michael Wesch shares many of his own adventures of being an anthropologist and what the science of human beings can tell us about the art of being human. This special first draft edition is a loose framework for more and more complete future chapters and writings. It serves as a companion to anth101.com, a free and open resource for instructors of cultural anthropology.
Becoming Human is a fast-paced, irreverent introduction to evolutionary theory, especially human origins. The book is based on the Open2Study MOOC, 'Becoming Human,' created by Dr. Greg Downey and Open Universities Australia. The book discusses traces of evolution in our bodies, basic evolutionary theory from Darwin to the genomic revolution, sexual selection and reproduction, and how human brain development affects our evolution, including into the future. Copiously illustrated, with some interactive diagrams, videos of Dr. Downey presenting the material are also available through Open2Study.
This course examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. It explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.
Humans are social animals; social demands, both cooperative and competitive, structure our development, our brain and our mind. This course covers social development, social behaviour, social cognition and social neuroscience, in both human and non-human social animals. Topics include altruism, empathy, communication, theory of mind, aggression, power, groups, mating, and morality. Methods include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology and anthropology.
An introduction to the cross-cultural study of bio-medical ethics. Examines moral foundations of the science and practice of western bio-medicine through case studies of abortion, contraception, cloning, organ transplantation and other issues. Evaluates challenges that new medical technologies pose to the practice and availability of medical services around the globe, and to cross-cultural ideas of kinship and personhood. Discusses critiques of the bio-medical tradition from anthropological, feminist, legal, religious, and cross-cultural theorists.
This course examines how medicine is practiced cross-culturally, with particular emphasis on Western biomedicine. Students analyze medical practice as a cultural system, focusing on the human, as opposed to the biological, side of things. Also considered is how people in different cultures think of disease, health, body, and mind.
This course is designed to help students understand the aspects of linguistic principles and processes that underlie oral and written language proficiency, and how this knowledge is relevant K-12 instruction. Emphasis is on a thorough, research-based understanding of phonology, morphology, orthography, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. Students learn ways to use this information to support literacy and oral language development for elementary and secondary school students. Issues of linguistic diversity and second language learning are addressed.
This Open Educational Resource (OER) brings together Open Access content from around the web and enhances it with dynamic video lectures about the core areas of theoretical linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), supplemented with discussion of psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic findings. Essentials of Linguistics is suitable for any beginning learner of linguistics but is primarily aimed at the Canadian learner, focusing on Canadian English for learning phonetic transcription, and discussing the status of Indigenous languages in Canada. Drawing on best practices for instructional design, Essentials of Linguistics is suitable for blended classes, traditional lecture classes, and for self-directed learning. No prior knowledge of linguistics is required.
An introduction to the cross-cultural study of ethnic and national identity. We examine the concept of social identity, and consider the ways in which gendered, linguistic, religious, and ethno-racial identity components interact. We explore the history of nationalism, including the emergence of the idea of the nation-state, as well as ethnic conflict, globalization, identity politics, and human rights.
This course provides a broad conceptual and historical introduction to scientific theories of evolution and their place in the wider culture. It embraces historical, scientific and anthropological/cultural perspectives grounded in relevant developments in the biological sciences since 1800 that are largely responsible for the development of the modern theory of evolution by natural selection. Students read key texts, analyze key debates (e.g. Darwinian debates in the 19th century, and the creation controversies in the 20th century) and give class presentations.
When the first edition of Folklife and Fieldwork was published in 1979 there were only a handful of professional state folklorists. Today nearly every state has a program for documenting and presenting its own folk cultural heritage. Folklife fieldwork has gone beyond its early missions of preservation and scholarship to serve new uses, such as providing information to economists, environmentalists, and community planners. New technologies for preserving and presenting traditional cultural expression have been developed. A new generation of professionally trained folklorists have emerged from university programs, and many now work in state and local organizations to sponsor concerts, Web site presentations, exhibits, and other cultural heritage programs. But regardless of the number of folklorists available for professional projects or the sophistication of the technology, there is still a need for the participation of all citizens in the process of documenting our diverse traditional culture. First Edition Prepared 1979 by Peter Bartis; Revised 2002.
Explores connections between what we eat and who we are through cross-cultural study of how personal identities and social groups are formed via food production, preparation, and consumption. Organized around critical discussion of what makes "good" food good (healthy, authentic, ethical, etc.). Uses anthropological and literary classics as well as recent writing and films on the politics of food and agriculture.
" An historical examination and analysis of the evolution and development of games and game mechanics. Topics include a large breadth of genres and types of games, including sports, game shows, games of chance, schoolyard games, board games, roleplaying games, and digital games. Students submit essays documenting research and analysis of a variety of traditional and eclectic games. Project teams required to design, develop, and thoroughly test their original games."
" This course explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of life, in both medicine and biology. After grounding our conversation in accounts of natural history and medicine that predate the rise of biology as a discipline, we explore modes of theorizing historical and contemporary bioscience. Drawing on the work of historian William Coleman, we examine the forms, functions, and transformations of biological and medical objects of study. Along the way we treat the history of heredity, molecular biology, race, medicine in the colonies and the metropole, and bioeconomic exchange. We read anthropological literature on old and new forms of biopower, at scales from the molecular to the organismic to the global. The course includes readings from the HASTS Common Exam List. The aim of this seminar is to train students to be participants in scholarly debates in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences about the nature of life, the body, and biomedicine."
Where did we come from? What were our ancestors like? Why do we differ from other animals? How do scientists trace and construct our evolutionary history? The History of Our Tribe: Hominini provides answers to these questions and more. The book explores the field of paleoanthropology past and present. Beginning over 65 million years ago, Welker traces the evolution of our species, the environments and selective forces that shaped our ancestors, their physical and cultural adaptations, and the people and places involved with their discovery and study. It is designed as a textbook for a course on Human Evolution but can also serve as an introductory text for relevant sections of courses in Biological or General Anthropology or general interest. It is both a comprehensive technical reference for relevant terms, theories, methods, and species and an overview of the people, places, and discoveries that have imbued paleoanthropology with such fascination, romance, and mystery.
This course introduces diverse meanings and uses of the concept of culture with historical and contemporary examples from scholarship and popular media around the globe. It includes first-hand observations, synthesized histories and ethnographies, and visual and narrated representations of human experiences. Students conduct empirical research on cultural differences through the systematic observation of human interaction, employ methods of interpretative analysis, and practice convincing others of the accuracy of their findings.
Students studying linguistics and other language sciences for the first time often have misconceptions about what they are about and what they can offer them. They may think that linguists are authorities on what is correct and what is incorrect in a given language. But linguistics is the science of language; it treats language and the ways people use it as phenomena to be studied much as a geologist treats the earth. Linguists want to figure out how language works. They are no more in the business of making value judgments about people's language than geologists are in the business of making value judgments about the behavior of the earth. But language is a cultural phenomenon and we all have deep-seated, cultural ideas about what it is and how we ought to use it, so knowing where to begin in studying it scientifically is not a trivial matter at all. Issues arise that would not if we were geologists figuring out how to study earthquakes or the structure of the earth's crust. For this reason, before we dive into the study of language, we will need to examine some of the biases that we all have concerning language and to set some ground rules for how we are going to proceed. Because there is more than one way to begin, it will also be useful to establish a basic stance to guide us. Finally, because human language is an enormously complex subject, the book will focus on a narrow range of topics and themes; there will be no pretense of covering the field in anything like a complete fashion. This first chapter is designed to deal with these preliminary issues. But first, you will need to know about the various conventions that I will be using in the book.
Archaeology reconstructs ancient human activities and their environmental contexts. Drawing on case studies in contrasting environmental settings from the Near East and Mesoamerica, considers these activities and the forces that shaped them. In laboratory sessions students encounter various classes of archaeological data and analyze archaeological artifacts made from materials such as stone, bone, ceramics, glass, and metal. These analyses help reconstruct the past. This class introduces the multidisciplinary nature of archaeology, both in theory and practice. Lectures provide a comparative examination of the origins of agriculture and the rise of early civilizations in the ancient Near East and Mesoamerica. The laboratory sessions provide practical experience in aspects of archaeological field methods and analytical techniques including the examination of stone, ceramic, and metal artifacts and bone materials. Lab sessions have occasional problem sets which are completed outside of class.
This course explores how identities, whether of individuals or groups, are produced, maintained, and transformed. Students will be introduced to various theoretical perspectives that deal with identity formation, including constructions of "the normal." We will explore the utility of these perspectives for understanding identity components such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, language, social class, and bodily difference. By semester's end students will understand better how an individual can be at once cause and consequence of society, a unique agent of social action as well as a social product.
Through the comparative study of different cultures, anthropology explores fundamental questions about what it means to be human. It seeks to understand how culture both shapes societies, from the smallest island in the South Pacific to the largest Asian metropolis, and affects the way institutions work, from scientific laboratories to Christian mega-churches. This course will provide a framework for analyzing diverse facets of human experience such as gender, ethnicity, language, politics, economics, and art.
This class provides a space for medical students and MD/PhD students, as well as HASTS (History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society) PhD students to discuss social and ethical issues in the biosciences and biotechnologies as they are being developed. Discussions are with course faculty and with leading figures in developing technologies such as George Daley or George Church in stem cell or genomics research, Bruce Walker or Pardis Sabeti in setting up laboratories in Africa, Paul Farmer and Partners in Health colleagues in building local support systems and first world quality care in Haiti, Peru, and Rwanda, and Amy Farber in building patient-centered therapeutic-outcome research for critical but orphan" diseases. Goals include stimulating students to think about applying their learning in Boston to countries around the world, including using the experiences they have had in their home countries or research experience abroad. Goals also include a mix of patient-doctor care perspectives from medical anthropology, and moving upstream in the research chain to questions of how to move discoveries from basic research through the pipelines into clinical and bedside care. "
This course studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related. Context for these and similar questions is provided by basic examination of internal organization of sentences, words, and sound systems. No prior training in linguistics is assumed.
Introduction to Paleoanthropology covers the various species and subspecies that gave rise to human beings. Paleoanthropology is a subdiscipline of physical anthropology that focuses on the fossil record of humans and non-human primates.
This course explores the nature of meaning and truth, and their bearing on the use of language in communication. No knowledge of logic or linguistics is presupposed.
Introduction to the current research questions in phonological theory. Topics include: metrical and prosodic structure; features and their phonetic basis in speech; acquisition and parsing; phonological domains; morphology; and language change and reconstruction. Activities include problem solving, squibs, and data collection. The year-long Introduction to Phonology reviews at the graduate level fundamental notions of phonological analysis and introduces students to current debates, research and analytical techniques. The Fall term reviews issues pertaining to the nature of markedness and phonological representations - features, prosodies, syllables and stress - while the second term deals with the relation between the phonological component and the lexicon, morphology and syntax. The second term course will also treat in more detail certain phonological phenomena.
A unique perspective on the confluence of the three basic conceptual frameworks in human experience. Contains several studies, with data, of remarkable world views of disparate cultures based on their specific cultures language. The premise is that how people experience the world, then think about it, then create a language around it, alters their perception of the world in very fundamental ways. The radical notion is that thought and language, creates the circumstances of, and contribute to significantly different realities for different peoples.
The internalization and realization of this concept is significant and can possibly radically alter and change how different cultures assess their ability to, at the most basic levels, understand other cultures realities.
24.901 is designed to give you a preliminary understanding of how the sound systems of different languages are structured, how and why they may differ from each other. The course also aims to provide you with analytical tools in phonology, enough to allow you to sketch the analysis of an entire phonological system by the end of the term. On a non-linguistic level, the course aims to teach you by example the virtues of formulating precise and explicit descriptive statements; and to develop your skills in making and evaluating arguments.
This course studies the development of bilingualism in human history (from Australopithecus to present day). It focuses on linguistic aspects of bilingualism; models of bilingualism and language acquisition; competence versus performance; effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition; brain imaging studies; early versus late bilingualism; opportunities to observe and conduct original research; and implications for educational policies among others. The course is taught in English.
The primary goals of this text are to acquaint prospective teachers of English with certain aspects of the history, structure, and use of the English Language. Through considering the nature of the English language; how language and culture are interconnected as well as how it is acquired and how and why it changes, readers will come to a fuller understanding of sociolinguistics. This text discusses the nature of language, as well as how it is acquired; how and why languages change, and how the English language in particular has changed (and continues to change); why different varieties of English have developed, and why they continue to be used; how linguists have attempted to account for the (ir)regularities of English; how language and culture are related; and how linguistics can be used as a tool in the classroom. This text presents important topics for English teachers to know: the relationship between “standard” and “nonstandard” dialects, how and why language varies, how we can make informed decisions about what is “right” and “wrong” in language use, and generally how a sound knowledge of how language works can inform and benefit the pedagogical strategies needed to develop as a teacher. Ultimately, I want readers to think about language in ways not thought of before: objectively, passionately, critically, analytically, and logically. This allows readers to move beyond memorization of facts to original thought (which is sort of like the difference between knowing how to add and subtract, and being able to balance a checkbook).
In this course we will cover central aspects of modern formal logic, beginning with an explanation of what constitutes good reasoning. Topics will include validity and soundness of arguments, formal derivations, truth-functions, translations to and from a formal language, and truth-tables. We will thoroughly cover sentential calculus and predicate logic, including soundness and completeness results.
Native Peoples of North America is intended to be an introductory text about the Native peoples of North America (primarily the United States and Canada) presented from an anthropological perspective. As such, the text is organized around anthropological concepts such as language, kinship, marriage and family life, political and economic organization, food getting, spiritual and religious practices, and the arts. Prehistoric, historic and contemporary information is presented. Each chapter begins with an example from the oral tradition that reflects the theme of the chapter. The text includes suggested readings, videos, and classroom activities.
This class provides a historical survey of the ways that people have interacted with their closest animal relatives, for example: hunting, domestication of livestock, exploitation of animal labor, scientific study of animals, display of exotic and performing animals, and pet keeping. Themes include changing ideas about animal agency and intelligence, our moral obligations to animals, and the limits imposed on the use of animals.
The first peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses. Produced by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and available free of charge for use in any setting.
This course is the third and final part of our graduate introduction to semantics. The other two classes are 24.970 Introduction to Semantics and 24.973 Advanced Semantics. The semester will be divided into somewhat independent units. One unit will be devoted to conversational implicatures (mainly scalar implicatures) and another to presupposition. In each unit, we will discuss basic concepts and technical tools and then devote some time to recent work which illustrates their application.
The course has two goals. First, to give you a sense of what philosophers think about and why. Here we look at a number of perennial philosophical problems, including some or all of: how knowledge differs from "mere opinion," the objectivity (or not) of moral judgment, logical paradoxes, mind/body relations, the nature and possibility of free will, and how a person remains the same over time, as their bodily and psychological traits change. The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical and argumentative skills more generally. Readings will be from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.
This course covers major theorists and theoretical schools since the late 19th century. Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Bourdieu, Levi-Strauss, Geertz, Foucault, Gramsci, and others.
Is marriage a patriarchal institution? Much feminist scholarship has characterized it that way, but now in the context of the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, the meaning of marriage itself demands serious re-examination. This course will discuss history, literature, film, and legal scholarship, making use of cross-cultural, sociological, anthropological, and many other theoretical approaches to the marriage question from 1630 to the present. As it turns out, sex, marriage, and the family have never been stable institutions; to the contrary, they have continued to function as flash points for the very social and cultural questions that are central to gender studies scholarship.
Anthropologists attempt to answer the question of what it means to be human. In a sense, we all do anthropology because it is rooted in a universal human characteristic, curiosity. We are curious about ourselves and other people_ including the living and the dead. This course provides an introduction to the anthropological approach to the study of humans. It is a survey course that introduces anthropology as a four-field discipline, encompassing biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. Aspiring to a holistic understanding of what it means to be human, anthropology is at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences, the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences.The course begins with a basis in evolutionary theory and human variation. With this foundation, we will explore primate behavior and the fossil record to develop a better understanding of human evolution. We will discuss the archaeological record of early civilizations, the origins and use of language, and the concept of culture in the development of human societies, both extinct and extant. This class will also highlight the epistemological development of the field of anthropology and how religion, culture, and the scientific process pertains to the discipline of anthropology.