Cultural Anthropology for Beginners
This online course introduces us to the concepts, theory and practice of cultural and social anthropology. From definitions of cultural identity to the complexities of gender, race, religion and kinship, we explore key issues in the study of human societies and behaviour to nurture a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity.
Drawing from a range of fieldwork case studies, we adopt a comparative cross-cultural perspective that challenges cultural assumptions, and helps us to understand contemporary issues like war and conflict, and the interaction between global world systems and indigenous communities.
We will develop our understanding of the nature of human society by introducing the key concepts, theories and applications of cultural anthropology. We’ll also discover how anthropological theory underlies and informs related disciplines such as archaeology, and how anthropologists use research methods like ethnography to study human behaviour, relationships and cultural practices.
In this course we will explore the following topics:
- What is anthropology? Essential concepts and ideas
- Applied anthropology: key research methods
- Social and cultural organisation
- Marriage, family and kinship
- Belief systems: ritual and religion
- Economic organisation
- Sex, gender and sexuality
- Political organisation and social control
- Language and communication
- Art and symbolism
Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:
- Discuss key anthropological terms, concepts and practices;
- Analyse a range of themes and concepts in social and cultural organisation;
- Compare religious ideas and ritual practices among different cultural groups;
- Examine ethnographic case studies through the lens of a cultural anthropologist.
Dr. Mark Anderson holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology, and completed a doctorate in African archaeology at the University of Cape Town. He specialises in the anthropology of ritual and religion, the formation of complex societies, and the archaeology and cultures of Africa.
Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.