Monthly Archives: October 2011

Unit Six – Communication and Language Use


What to Post for Unit Six

1) Ethnographic Notes – Valentine’s 

Discuss the Valentine’s Day ritual for your audience  by focusing on the communicational aspects of the ritual. Rely on a holistic and non-essentialist perspective. Discuss  communication around you choice of  various historical, gender, generation, economic, socio-economic class, learning, political/power, and global aspects of the ritual. As part of your study of the communicational aspects of romantic love in the US, focus on how people perform to be in love publicly (Performative/Communicative aspects of the ritual).

Remember that there is  NO LOVE  ins in your society (no ideas about love and practices around it), so an introductory note is required to introduce love and its various forms and then focus on romantic love in the US.

Minimum of two pieces of visual data per group member

Helen Fisher – The Brain In Love – A biological anthropological take on love

Helen Fisher – Home Page

Helen Fisher telling the French about love

Valentine’s Day Images – Sociological Images

Puritans and Victorian Beliefs about Procreation, Marriage, and Love

The Food of Love – The Economist

Today is Valen…


2) Ethnographic Notes – Do You Speak American

Choose minimum of one of article per group member from the site titled “Do You Speak American?” and summarize it for your audience.  Add at least one research question per article  if you were to do ethnographic research on a topic discussed in the article.

C) Research Project – Linguistic, Symbolic or Communicative Aspects.
Please do some research and thinking about the linguistic, symbolic or communicative aspects of your topic and post the results with proper citation.


Unit Six Notes

Language is a uniquely human faculty that both permits us to communicate and sets up barriers to communication.

Language is a part of culture that human beings use to encode their experience, structure their understanding of the world and of themselves, and to interact with each other.

There are many ways to communicate our experiences, and there are no absolute standards  favoring one way to communicate over another.

Like in so many other aspects of society, one can point to a dialectic of structure and agency. Individual efforts to create a unique voice are countered by pressures to impose or negotiate a common code within the larger social group.

Formal linguistic analysis is usually subdivided into five specialties: phonology, the study of the sounds of language; morphology, the study of minimal units of meaning in language; syntax, the study of sentence structure; semantics, the study of meaning patterns; and pragmatics, the study of language in context of use.

These formal analyses, however, often more closely resemble formal logic than patterns of everyday language use.

Ethnopragmatics pays attention both to the immediate context of speech and to broader contexts that are shaped by unequal social relationships and rooted in history.

Anthropological linguists study meaning, for instance, in routine practical activities. They look at how people turn grammatical features of language into resources they can make use of in their interactions with others.

Because linguistic meaning is rooted in practical activity, which carries meaning, the activity and the linguistic usage together shape communicative practices.

Different social groups generate different communicative practices.

The linguistic habits that are part of each set of communicative practices constitute discourse genres.

People normally command a range of discourse genres, which means that each person’s linguistic knowledge is characterized by heteroglossia.

Studies of African American English illustrate the historical circumstances that can give rise to creoles, and also provide evidence of the ways in which speech is always embedded in a social world of power differences.

Linguists and anthropologists have described differences in the gender-based communicative practices of women and men.

Language ideologies are (usually unwritten) rules shared by members of a speech community concerning what kinds of language are valued in what circumstances.

Language ideologies develop out of the cultural, social, and political histories of the groups to which they belong.

Knowing the language ideology of a particular community can help listeners make sense of speech that otherwise would seem inappropriate or incomprehensible to them.




Framing, in communication studies, refers to conceptual structures (semantic networks) and communicative processes that produce selective control over production of meanings attributed to events, individuals, groups, words or phrases.

Framing creates schemata of interpretation that enable individuals to perceive, identify, locate and label events, individuals, and groups of people they have encountered directly or indirectly.

Framing defines how an element of rhetoric is packaged so as to allow certain interpretations and rule out others.

In communication, use of words, symbols, and meanings do not occur in isolation from each other. Rather, semantic networks, networks of meanings, or conceptual structures are created in communicative processes by combining various meanings. Framing takes shape through reliance on semantic networks.

Ethnographic  Case Study — Framing of Pigeon Shoots

Pigeon Shoots are considered to be examples of “contested traditions” in America. In this sense they could be  compared with other controversial spectacles of killing animals, such as cockfights and dogfights.

When: During the late twentieth century, mass protests of America’s largest public pigeon shoot occurred in Hegins, Pennsylvania.

The Two Groups:

(a)   animal rights protestors and

(b)   supporters of the shoot

Their conflict and encounters became a moral drama based on a clash of rural and cosmopolitan values in modern America that derives from fundamentally different views of human dominion over the land and its animals.

The interpretation of the event hinges on a semiotic layering that takes into ethnographic consideration the different meanings of symbols for various participants in the event.

Compromise became impossible in controversies over pigeon shoots because the two sides perceived symbols pertaining to the shoots so differently.

For protestors, the shooters represented predatory, phallocentric men who would rape the nature and who promoted violence for its own sake.

For protestors, the process of the ritualized shoot perpetuated cycles of abuse and patriarchy.

For protestors, it acted to regenerate the land, confirming the wholesomeness of agrarianism.

For supporters, they symbolized a pioneer and biblical heritage based on human dominion over the bountiful land.

The pigeons could be symbolized as profane, dirty pests or sacred doves of peace.

The widely publicized controversy and the ritualized shoots and protest events implied larger questions about the role of tradition in modernity.

 The protestors rhetorically represented tradition (of the shoot) as a “problem” in the ethical modernization of society.

Bronner, Simon J.

Contesting Tradition The Deep Play and Protest of Pigeon Shoots.

 Journal of American Folklore. Washington: Fall 2005. Vol. 118, Iss. 470: 409-454.

Discussion Topic/Question

Could you think about another case of a controversial practice in the U.S. where the two sides perceive symbols pertaining to the practice very differently? Try to discuss and analyze the case.


RSA Animate – Language as a Window into Human Nature

Language and Culture


Non-verbal Communication Examples


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Unit Five – Enculturation–Socialization–Learning


What to Do for Unit Five

1) Start Discussing  How and What Kind of critical thinking skills you are applying  to your Research Project (in terms of thinking about your topic and its different aspects, and also in evaluating your research sources). You can post this on Your Research Project Blog.

A Field Guide to Critical Thinking by anthropologist James Lett:

Other sources for Critical Thinking and Critical Thinking Skills:

2) Ethnographic Notes A – Higher Education and Society
By providing examples, discuss how the higher education in the U.S. helps to reproduce the dominant social relations and cultural patterns and ideologies of the society, and, at the same time reforms and changes them.
You can use visual material, if you prefer. Provide one example for each group member.

3) Ethnographic Notes B — Class room sessions as ritual-like events.

You can use the internet to choose visual data for this assignment.  Minimum one  piece of visual ethnographic data per group member.
Discuss similarities and differences between a class session and a Sunday church event.

4) Ethnographic Notes C – Digital Nation or Kids Online

View about one hour of either or both of the following PBS Frontline programs and read the related texts on the sites of either or both programs. Discuss the effects of the new digital technologies in the American formal education system for your audience from a non-essentialist and holistic perspective.

Minimum of one piece of visual data per each group member

Search online for the following two PBS pages if the links do not operate properly.

PBS – Digital Nation

PBS – Kids Online

5)  Ethnographic Notes D – Changing Education Paradigms

Watch the RSA Animate – titled Changing Education Paradigms. Review and discuss it for your audience. A form of anthropology is applied or action anthropology.  Propose how to change the educational paradigm of  the American higher education system and for what goals or purposes.


6)     Research Project- Learning, enculturationm or socialization aspects.

Do some research on the enculturation/socialization/learning aspects of your topic, and, with proper reference and citation, share it with others. Also Give feedback (questions, comments, etc.) to another classmate.

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Unit Four – Political Economy and Class Stratification

What to Do for Unit Four

What to Post:

Ethnographic Notes

Remember, your notes are for your audience and done from a holistic and non-essentialist cultural anthropological perspective  

1) Ethnographic Notes A – Capitalist Commodities on American Campuses.

After an introductory note on what capitalism is and what a capitalist commodity is, provide visual material with description about different commodities on American campuses.  

Minimum of one piece of visual material per group member.

2) Ethnographic Notes B – Socio-Economic Class on a Campus.
Read  the content of the webpage page and links of the site titled Social Class on Campus

After an introductory note on what socio-economic class is, particularly socio-economic class during present neoliberal capitalist conditions, offer visual material and description to tell your audience how socio-economic classes are constructed, symbolized, represented, and formed on a campus of your choice.

Minimum of one piece of visual material per group member.

3) Ethnographic Notes C – Sustainability on a Campus

After an introductory note on what sustainability is, or various interpretations of what sustainability is, provide visual material and description about sustainability on a Campus for your audience. 

Minimum of one piece of visual material per group member.

4)     Ethnographic Notes DDiscussion Topics

Choose  one of the following questions/discussion topics per group and discuss it for your audience.  

Minimum of one visual piece of data per group member

Discussion Questions/Topics:

 2a)      It is argued that in the U.S. “favorite objects” are favorite because they connected people to each other, they symbolize important relationships.

Discuss cars as favorite objects in the U.S. How cars express relationships and how people construct their ideas of self via their cars?

2b)      Anthropologists view all human behavior holistically; that is, in an inclusive social and cultural context. Examine the life of a modern simple object in your daily lives. Where did the raw materials come from? What technology was employed to transform the raw materials into the item you see today? How did it come to be part of your life? What mode of modes of production were used in its production? What are the meanings associated with the simple object you are writing about (symbolism of material culture objects)?

2c)      Critically review and discuss the contents of the following site on class in America

Class in America: The Unspoken Divide

2d) Critically review and discuss the contents of the following site on class in America
Class Matters: New York Times Special Issue on Social Class in the United States of America

2e) Critically review and discuss the content of the text titled Culture and Social Class

2f) Critically review and discuss the content of the animation or talk titled Crisis of Capitalism

3)      Research Project – Social Class Aspects. Do some research on the socio-economic class (social class) aspects of your topic and post the results on your project blog with proper citation.

Also Give feedback (questions, comments, etc.) to the posting by another class member.


What to Read and Watch:

Unit Four Notes Political Economy and Stratification

Social Class – by Erik Olin Wright

Social Class on Campus – by Will Barratt

Culture and Social Class

Florida Institute of Technology – Social Psychology Class Reading

Crises of Capitalism  – RSA Animate


Unit Four Notes Political Economy and Class Stratification

Cultures suggest a range of options for making a living, as well as furnish the tools to pursue those options.

Human economic activity is usually divided into three sites or stagesproduction, distribution, and consumption. 

Market exchange is the dominant mode of distribution in capitalist societies.

Formal neoclassical economic theory developed in an attempt to explain how capitalism works. This theory gives its emphasis to market exchange.

Marxian economic theory views production as more important than exchange in determining the patterns of economic life in a society. According to this perspective societies are classified in terms of their modes of production. Each mode of production contains within it the potential for conflict between classes of people who receive differential benefits and losses from the productive process.

Particular consumption preferences that may seem irrational make sense when considered in the context of other consumption preferences and prohibitions in the same culture.

Globalization and Localization
In an era of globalization, the consumption of Western market commodities is often embraced by those whom we might have expected to reject them.

Moreover, this embrace frequently involves making use of market commodities for local purposes, to defend or enrich local culture rather than to replace it.

In a global world in which everyone everywhere increasingly relies on commodities provided by a capitalist market, critical attention needs to be focused on inequalities of access and the negative impact of contemporary economic institutions on most of the world’s population.
Anthropology of Socio-economic Class Stratification
 speaking, there has been a dominant tendency in the U.S. to think of America in classless terms, as a land of economic opportunity equally open to all.

Social class, however, remains a central feature and fault line of the American society.

Anthropologists study the experiences and understandings of class among Americans coming from various class backgrounds.

They are interested in interpreting how class is experienced and thought of in daily lives of people, and how it intersects with other forms of social difference such as race, ethnicity and gender. Their studies of the class construct also treats the construct of culture in one way or another.

Ethnography remains, for the most part, grapples with the social (lived) world. Anthropologists engage theoretical constructs and debates about class as they try to make sense of the world at large and the world-at-small that they find in their field sites. It is important to note that the constructs such as class, gender and ethnicity are not discussed in abstraction but rather in relation to the lived worlds that ethnography seeks to follow (in field work) and to represent/portray (in writing); as such these constructs live in ethnographic work and representation.

Two Interesting Sites on Class in America

Review the content of the following two sites on class and social mobility in America. They also look at class in relation to some other major aspects of life in America.

Class in America: The Unspoken Divide

Class Matters: New York Times Special Issue on Social Class in the United States of America

Question: Critically review the content of the above site. What do you think about how each of these sites have discussed various aspects of class stratification and mobility in America?

The following is from Class and Education part of the NY Times site:

“Many more students from all classes are getting four-year degrees and reaping their benefits. But those broad gains mask the fact that poor and working-class students have nevertheless been falling behind; for them, not having a degree remains the norm.

That loss of ground is all the more significant because a college education matters much more now than it once did. A bachelor’s degree, not a year or two of courses, tends to determine a person’s place in today’s globalized, computerized economy. College graduates have received steady pay increases over the past two decades, while the pay of everyone else has risen little more than the rate of inflation.

As a result, despite one of the great education explosions in modern history, economic mobility – moving from one income group to another over the course of a lifetime – has stopped rising, researchers say. Some recent studies suggest that it has declined over the last generation

Put another way, children seem to be following the paths of their parents more than they once did. Grades and test scores, rather than privilege, determine success today, but that success is largely being passed down from one generation to the next. A nation that believes that everyone should have a fair shake finds itself with a kind of inherited meritocracy.

In this system, the students at the best colleges may be diverse – male and female and of various colors, religions and hometowns – but they tend to share an upper-middle-class upbringing. An old joke that Harvard’s idea of diversity is putting a rich kid from California in the same room as a rich kid from New York is truer today than ever; Harvard has more students from California than it did in years past and just as big a share of upper-income students.”

Social Class
Erik Olin Wright
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Culture and Social Class

Florida Institute of Technology – Social Psychology Class Reading

Social Class on Campus 

Will Barratt – Indiana State University


Taxes, the Rich and the Poor –  Sociological Imagination


Book: New Landscapes of Inequality

Introduction to the book, available online as a pdf file:


Crises of Capitalism

RSA Animate


Wealth Inequality in America


Occupy Wall Street – Democracy Now

“Occupy Wall Street Emerges as “First Populist Movement” on the Left Since the 1930s.” Dorian Warren of Columbia University

Occupy Wall Street – Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University professor.


Zizek at the Occupy Wall Street Protest

Ad Busters – Occupy Wall Street

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Unit Three – Religion, the Religious, and the Religious-like

What to Do for Unit Three

 What to Post

1) Ethnographic Notes  A- A US Religious Affiliation
Visit the PEW’s Site titled U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, choose a Religious Affiliation (or religious group, as designated by the Survey),  review the various types of data presented for your chosen group, share what you have learned about your chosen group with your audience. Also, state what you would like to know more about your chosen religious group.

PEW’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

2) Ethnographic Notes B – Shopping Malls as Sacred Sites
After reading and discussing Jon Pahl’s articles on shopping malls with your group members, observe and gather visual data from a shopping mall in the U.S.  and people’s behavior inside the mall, and present it in the form of visual ethnographic notes for your audience in your society.   In your place people do not have religion as a social or group phenomenon. They do not have private property, or the market, or capitalism, and, of course, they do not have shopping malls. And, you think that a major “religious orientation” in this society is commodity fetishism. 

Focus on writing about the mall as a religious or religious-like site. Describe the material cultural aspects of your visual data (architectural and other material aspects like commodities, …) and the way people act and think in relation to the material cultural items you visualize. Make sure that overall your notes are holistic and non-essentialist. Post at least 1 piece of visual  date per group member. 

Mention the site you observed and the time of your observation and the places in the site you observed. You could also find images on the internet, if you prefer, and mix them with your own observations and visual material, but give specific date about the visual material.

Malls as Sites of Religious Violence

Pilgrimage to the Mall of America

3)    Ethnographic Notes C –  Answer or discuss any of the following questions or discussion topics for your audience.

C1)      What are some of the similarities between sports and religion in contemporary America?

C2)      How are the characteristics of Pentecostal Christianity similar and/or different from other spiritual experiences with which you are familiar with (within or outside Christianity)? Try to discuss similarities and differences  by putting them in their cultural contexts.

C3)      Discuss one American television series that communicates moral messages (of how Americans are supposed to behave, what are they supposed to value, what happens to them if they refuse to adhere to these ways of acting and valuing, how they can return to a righteous path after they have strayed, etc.).

C4)      Search for the results of the most recent Pan American Games or Olympic Games. Analyze the way the media texts and images cover the games and try to discuss what phrases were used to describe the reasons for success or failure of American athletes.

C5)      Visit the site titled This Far by Faith
Choose a historical period, read about the period and some of the people discussed in the site from that period and share the results.

C6)        Visit the following website on Religion and the Founding of the American Republic by the Library of Congress
Critically review some of the contents of the site (text and images) and its organization from the “politics of memory” point of view. Try to answer or discuss the following questions:
What does “Founding of America” or the “Founding of the American Republic” mean? Which groups, populations, religious beliefs, or practices, during the founding period of the America are not presented in the site?

C7)  Religions around the world share several characteristics. In what ways going to college in America is like learning and experiencing a religion?

C8) Choose an American film and review and describe its religious aspects.

D)      Research Project Progress – Historical Background and Religious/Ideological Aspects

Please do some research and thinking about the Historical Background and Religious/ Ideological Aspects of your research project topic and post the results with proper citation on your research project’s blog.


What to Read (Links and Notes below)

Document titled: Unit 3 Notes Religion

Document titled: Religion and the Founding of the US

Document titled: Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity

The PDF files by Jon Pahl on the Malls as (Semi-)Sacred Places about commodity fetishism

Commodity Fetishism – Perdue University


Fundamentalism- Encyclopedia of Religion and Society


Unit 3  Notes 

Religion   Anthropology of American Life and Culture


The following notes on religion and worldview is based on Chapter of Eight of

Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition, Seventh Edition, by Emily A. Schultz and Robert H. Lavenda (Oxford University Press, 2008).

“People attempting to account for their experiences make use of shared cultural assumptions about how the world works. The encompassing pictures of reality that result are called worldviews.

Metaphors are valuable tools for constructing worldviews by directing attention to certain aspects of experience and downplaying or ignoring others.

Differences in worldview derive from differences in experience that people try to explain by means of metaphor.

American society includes a variety of people who subscribe to different worldviews.

Knowledge, like power, is not evenly distributed throughout a society.

More powerful individuals and groups often promote ideologies, imposing their preferred worldview on the rest of society.

Those without power can resist this imposition by creating their own contrasting metaphors and constructing alternative worldviews.

Anthropological studies of religion tend to focus on the social institutions and meaningful practices and processes with which are associated with religion.

Religious specialists – Maintaining contact with cosmic forces is very complex, and societies have complex social practices designed to ensure that this is done properly (like priests and shamans).

Many anthropologists have displayed the tapestries of symbols, rituals, and everyday practices that make up particular worldviews and religions, and to demonstrate the degree to which worldviews vary from one another.

They have also studied the ways in which drastic changes in peoples’ experiences lead them to create new meanings to explain the changes and to cope with them.

This can be accomplished through elaboration of the old system to fit changing times, conversion to a new worldview, syncretism, revitalization, or resistance.

Some anthropologists have begun to study the relationship between religion and secularism as these developed following the European Enlightenment.

Earlier generations of anthropologists took secularism for granted as the expected outcome of cultural evolution.

Contemporary resistance to secular institutions by religious groups in Western and non-Western countries, however, has prompted a reconsideration of secularism.

An important issue is the extent to which life in a liberal secular state is likely to be difficult for those whose religious practices do not recognize any domain of life in which religious considerations do not hold sway.”

Because of the diversity among religions, scholars now talk about elements that appear in varying degrees in the different spiritual paths.

These elements include:

A Belief System,

A Community of Believers,

Central stories called Myths,

Ceremonies or Rituals,

Material Expressions,

Ethical Guidelines,

Characteristic Emotions or Experiences that occur, and

A Sense of the Sacred.

Conceptions of the sacred are very diverse. Examples are a transcendent personal God, an immanent pantheistic power, and polytheism, or multiple gods. Other paths embrace atheism, agnosticism, or nontheism.

Use of symbolic images and actions conveys religious truth or ideas in a powerful way and may suggest a sort of universal language spoken by religions.

The comparative study of religion also has proposed three patterns of similarity and difference among religions.

1)      The first pattern concerns beliefs and practices in orientation toward the sacred. It identifies the sacramental, the prophetic, and the mystical orientation.

2)      The second pattern deals with views of the world and life, such as the nature of the sacred itself, the nature of the universe and humanity’s place in it, conceptions of time, human purpose, the role of words and scriptures, and notions of inclusiveness and exclusiveness.

3)      The third pattern addresses views of male and female according to both prescribed social roles and conceptions of deity.

These three patterns provide useful reference points for comparison and contrast between religions.

Religious studies as a discipline has grown in complexity and sophistication in over two hundred years of development. It draws on many disciplines because religion has influenced so many areas of life.

Today the study of religion offers many insights and pleasures.

It assists us in understanding the experiences of others and helps us to better interpret the complexity of the world and our place in it.

Anthropology of religion is both holistic and comparative. From the holistic perspective, it involves the study of religious institutions, practices, and belief systems (or systems of religious knowledge) in a larger context or whole–that is, in relation to other social institutions and aspects of the larger society and its history. As a comparativediscipline, it attempts to compare religious beliefs and practices across societies or cultures.


Shopping Malls as Sacred Places
Jon Pahl
Professor of the History of Christianity in North America
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia



The following notes is based on the following article:

Joel Robbins. The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. 2004. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol.33 pg. 117-144.

Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity (P/c), is the form of Christianity in which believers receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have ecstatic experiences–such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophesying.
This form of Christianity is considered to be one of the great success stories of cultural globalization.

Its origin can be traced to early twentieth-century developments within Christianity in the West, particularly in North America.

Despite its origins in the West, just a hundred years after its birth, it is estimated that  two thirds of P/c’s estimated half a billion adherents live outside the West– in areas such as Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania.

P/c culture has the characteristic of preserving its distinctness from the cultures into which it comes into contact and engaging those cultures on their own terms at the same time. 

P/c’s success as a globalizing movement has spread throughout the world in urban and rural areas. Its adherents of from the emerging middle classes and, most spectacularly, from the poor.


There is little standardization in social scientific usages of terms such as Pentecostal and charismatic, and several scholars have worried that these terms have become so broad as to be meaningless.

First, all of the terms social scientists use as analytic categories (Pentecostalism, charismatic Christianity, fundamentalism, evangelicalism, etc.) are also “folk”terms that have a wide range of meanings.

Pentecostalism’s roots lie in the Protestant evangelical tradition that grew out of the eighteenth-century,  Anglo-American revival movement known as the Great Awakening.

Evangelical Christianity, which includes such denominations as Methodists and Baptists, is distinguished by its emphasis on conversion.

People are not born into the evangelical faith but must “voluntarily” choose it on the basis of powerful conversion experiences (often glossed as being “born again“).

Because evangelicals believe this experience is available to everyone, they strongly emphasize the importance of evangelistic efforts to convert others.

They also hold the Bible in high regard as a text possessed of the highest religious authority and often endeavor to read it in what they take to be literal terms.

During the nineteenth century, Methodism was the most important evangelical denomination in North America.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, a largely Methodist Holiness movement arose around groups that experimented with different understandings of the nature and number of post conversion experiences that affected a person’s salvation.

Holiness followers emphasized a commitment to millenarianism faith healing.

Pentecostalism was born from the Holiness efforts to work out a stable form of openly supernatural and experiential Christianity based on the notion of the second blessing of the Spirit.
Its primary innovation was to see speaking in tongues as the necessary “initial physical evidence” of Spirit baptism.

This pattern of enthusiastic worship, relatively unscripted and egalitarian in offering the floor to all those who the Spirit calls, is the one observers would find all over the world by the end of the twentieth century.

Aside from its emphasis on tongues, Pentecostal doctrine bears much in common with that of the Holiness tradition from which it developed. Sometimes described as the fourfold, foursquare, or “full gospel” pattern of Pentecostal theology, it stresses that Jesus (a) offers salvation; (b) heals; (c) baptizes with the Holy Spirit; and (d) is coming again. strict moralism, these are the four core Pentecostal doctrines. They are the elements of the religion that have proved immensely portable, seemingly able to enter various cultural contexts without losing their basic form.

As broad a category as P/c is, it should be distinguished from Christian fundamentalism.

Pentecostalism and fundamentalism both are elements of the broader evangelical movement and both emerged in the early twentieth century.

As such, they share general evangelical features such as conversionism, respect for the Bible, and ascetic tendencies.

These similarities sometimes lead some scholars to view Pentecostalism as a branch of fundamentalism. P/c and Christian Fundamentalism together could be looked at as brands of conservative Christianity, but they are not necessarily the same.

Fundamentalists, based on the doctrine that the gifts of the Spirit ceased to be available to people after they were given to the Apostles during the original Pentecost, from the outset firmly rejected Pentecostalism. Fundamentalists today adhere to this rejection.

Pentecostals are less concerned with boundary maintenance.

Watch the following Pentecostal ritual on Youtube

Question: How would you interpret the text of the song and its performance?

The Holy Ghost People is the famous 53-minute documentary by Peter Adair. It was made is a 1967. It is about the service of a Pentecostal community in West Virginia.
The church service includes curing of diseasessnake handlingspeaking in tongues and singing.
This documentary has entered the public domain and is available at the Internet Archive.

It is also available on Youtube in segments.

Question: How would you interpret and analyze the service shown in the documentary in its historical and social context?


Digital History – 1920s – Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism


Metakinesis: How God Becomes Intimate in Contemporary U.S. Christianity

TANYA M. LUHRMANN – American Anthropologist


This Far By Faith

PBS- Religion and African Americans in History


How Buddhism Came to the West
PBS-The Buddha


U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

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Unit Two – History, Memory, Myth, and Ritual

Unit Two

What to Do for Unit Two 

1) Choose One  American Indian Group.

Do some research on their history, society, and culture.

Choose one of their rituals.

Do research on your chosen ritual and its history during contact with Europeans. 

Share the results of your research and your bibliography.

You can do this assignment in groups, if you want to.

Make sure you use reliable or academic sources for your assignment.

My suggestion is to use our library’s “chat with a librarian 24/7” service available via our library’s site:

2) Read about critical thinking skills and their application in the social sciences (particularly anthropology).

Below are some links (from Unite Five)

Start reading about critical thinking skills and how you are going to apply your critical thinking skills in this class, particularly doing your research project. Later you will asked to expand your notes and post in on your Research Project Blog.

3) Ethnographic Notes – Write your visual ethnographic notes for your audience on the Thanksgiving ritual in the US by representing it in its historical, gender, socio-economic class, generation, family, religious, ethnic, national, socialization/enculturation and global aspects.

Minimum of three pieces of visual data per group member.

Make sure that you perspective is holistic and non-essentialist. Minimum of

You can also search on the internet for images of Thanksgiving to use.

4) Choose a Topic for your Research Proposal.

You can do this in small groups.



What is Myth?

M. Magoulick


American Myths

G. Smith


History and Memory
Bridging World History



The following notes are partly based on the chapter 7 of

Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition, Seventh Edition, by Emily A. Schultz and Robert H. Lavenda (Oxford University Press, 2008).




Openness is an important aspect of human culture and language.

Openness refers to the ability to think and talk about the same thing in different ways and different things in the same way.

Play refers to thinking about, talking about, and doing the same thing in different ways and different things in the same way.

Play involves “a framing, or (re)orienting of context, that is
(1) consciously adopted by the players,
(2) somehow pleasurable, and
(3) systemically related to what is non-play, by alluding to the non-lay world, and by transforming the objects, roles, actions, and relations of ends and means characteristic of the no-play world.” (Schultz and Lavenda 2005:143).

Play as a rehearsal of the real world. Play’s role in socialization and enculturation– as a way of learning the appropriate gender and generation roles and values associated with them.

Make-believe Play as a venue for creativity, innovation and agency – since play let overcome limitations of age, etc.

Anthropologist Elizabeth Chin, has studied African American girls play with their dolls in a working class and poor neighborhood of Connecticut. The “ethnically correct” dolls are available, but they cost too much. The children studied had white dolls, but transformed their look by giving them hairstyles like their own.

“In some sense, by doing this, the girls bring their dolls into their own worlds, and whiteness here is not absolutely defined by skin and hair, but by style and way of life.” (Chin 1999:315, quoted in Schultz and Lavenda 2005: 147). Their play does not make the realities of poverty, and racial discrimination disappear, but, “in making their while dolls live in black worlds, they …reconfigure the boundaries of race and …challenge the social construction not only of their own blackness, but of race itself as well” (Chin 1999:318, quoted in Schultz and Lavenda 2005: 147).


Sport is a ritual-like practice.  It include a various degrees of play, work, and leisure or entertainment.

Play is one aspect, element or component of sport. Sport is play, but it is also embedded in the dominant social order and cultural configuration.

Sports represent and reconstruct the main values of the cultural setting in which they are practiced.

Institutionalized sports, the way we know them today, are modern phenomena. They are also closely related to the formation and working of nation-states.



Myths are narratives whose truth are presented as self-evident. They do this by integrating personal experiences with a wider set of assumptions about the way society and the world in general, should operate.

In complex and multi-cultural societies, like the U.S., various cultural groups with their own mythic “traditions” co-exist. But does this mean the U.S. is without it own unique cultural myths?

The U.S. Declaration of Independence assertion that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is presented as self evident and has mythic dimension.

Myths are socially and culturally central because they tell people about the past, about where they have come from, and about the future, about where they are heading to, and, consequently, how they should live in the present and views the present.

Myths are studied by anthropologists as charters or justifications for social action and social arrangements, and conceptual tools to tell about the world as it is and as it might be.

Myths and agency – Manipulating the way myths are told or interpreted in order to make an effect, to make or prove a point, or to reinforce a particular perspective. Making and structuring meaning by retelling of myths could be done by ordinary people as well as the elite of the society.

So, myths are charters for the dominant social arrangements and cultural ideas, as well as vehicles for contesting the dominant arrangements and ideas.



Ritual is usually a repetitive social practice—but there are also once-acted ritual-like practices, such as once-acted rebellions.

Rituals is composed of a sequence of symbolic activities (gestures, speech, song, dance, manipulation of certain objects, …)

Rituals are differentiated from the routine of everyday life. They are extra-ordinary practices as opposed to ordinary daily activities.

Rituals adhere to a culturally and socially specifically defined ritual schema.

Ritual practices are closely associated with specific cultural ideas that are usually encoded in myths.

Rituals are practice in set time/spaces (e.g., Sunday/church).

Rituals are hyper-communicative – a variety of means and media o communication are relied upon to communicate during the ritual events (in contrast to routine interactions).

Rituals are hyper-performative – Performance could be said to be a characteristic of all social interaction, rituals are particularly performative.

Rituals represent the structure of the society, but they could also reconstruct and transform the dominant structures of the society (e.g., rituals of the American civil rights movement).

Rituals are vital to the creation and renewal of cultural meanings and rules for social interaction.

In the American society, many rituals are rooted in “tradition” yet are rapidly changing in a hyper-modern, globalized and commodified society (e.g., Christmas).

In the modern societies we have the participatory rituals (e.g., Thanksgiving) as well as the  mass-media rituals (e.g., the Oscars).

Examples of American annual rituals – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, Memorial Day.

Rites of passage are rituals that mark the movement and transformation of an individual or a group of individuals from one social position to another. Examples of rites of passage are weddings and graduation ceremonies.


Chin, Elizabeth. 1999. Ethnically Correct Dolls: Toying with the race industry. American Anthropologist 101(2):305-21.

Schultz, Emily  and Robert Lavenda. 2008. Cultural Anthropology. Oxford University Press.


Ritual and Ritualization

 Catherine Bell

Bell, Catherine. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice.

Oxford University Press, 1992

Ritualization is associated with the work of the religious studies scholar Catherine Bell. Bell, drawing on the Practice Theory of Pierre Bourdieu, has taken a less functional view of ritual with her elaboration of ritualization.

In recent years the notion of ritual has emerged as an important focus for new forms of cultural analysis.

Arguing that the concept of ritual is overdue for critical rethinking, Bell here offers a close theoretical analysis of the recent developments in ritual studies, concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and history of religions.

She begins by showing how discourse on ritual has served to generate and legitimate a limited and ultimately closed form of cultural analysis.

She then proposes that so-called ritual activities be removed from their isolated position as special, paradigmatic acts and restored to the context of “social activity” in general.

Using the term “ritualization” to describe ritual thus contextualized, she defines it as a culturally strategic way of acting. She goes on to show how this definition can serve to illuminate such classic issues in traditional ritual studies as belief, ideology, legitimation, and power.

With the advancement of ritual studies, defining the actual concept of ritual has, in recent years, proved somewhat problematic.4 In her important summary to classify the term ritual, Catherine Bell opts for the expression ritualization in preference to ritual. Bell offers the following useful definition:

Ritualization is a way of acting that is designed and orchestrated to distinguish and privilege what is being done in comparison to other, usually more quotidian, activities. As such, ritualization is a matter of various culturally specific strategies for setting some activities off from others, for creating and privileging a qualitative distinction between the “sacred” and the “profane,” and for ascribing such distinctions to realities thought to transcend the powers of human actors.5


The first theoretical perspective is concerned with the origins and essential nature of ritual and religion; the second is more concerned with the role of ritual in the social organization and dynamics of human societies; the third perspective focuses on ritual as a form of cultural communication that transmits the cognitive categories and dispositions that provide people with important aspects of their sense of reality.


The Great American Football Ritual:

Reproducing Race, Class, and Gender Inequality


History and Memory

Exploring  U.S. History

Religion, Race, and Gender in Revolutionary America

American Cultural History


American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection

UW Digital Collections

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Unit One – Studying Culture and Society

What to Do for Unit One

Please make sure that you save everything before you post.

Recommended to do this assignment in small groups, create a blog, and post your visual and written material.

1) You are a group of visual anthropologists/ethnographers coming from a society/planet where there is no institution of formal education (no formal schooling, no schools, no teachers/students, no grading, no diplomas, …). You are studying higher education in the U.S.  You are doing your ethnographic fieldwork on the BC campus (or any other campus of your choice, or a variety of campuses, what is referred to as multi-sited ethnography). And you are representing the cultural aspects of higher education (on the campus) to your audience in your society. By doing cultural  research, you are focusing on the ways people think, the ways people act, and their material culture, and how these three aspects are interrelated. 

Your perspective is holistic and non-essentialist.

Holistic: You are studying and representing the campus in the larger context (larger whole) of other U.S. colleges and the U.S system of formal education, and/or in the larger context of construction of socio-economic class relations, and/or gender relations, and/or ethnic relations, and/or generations, …..

Non-essentialist: You are studying and representing your topic as not having a fixed and uniform (monolithic) essence. You are looking at it as a something that is changing, you are dealing with a process that is itself part of a larger process of change. And, you are looking and representing diversity internal to your topic of study (BC campus, higher education, formal education).

And you are representing your topic to your audience in your society in the form of visual ethnography (focus is on the visual material/data, but you also include a couple of short paragraphs or more for each picture or short video.

Post your ethnographic posts (visual and written) presenting the cultural on the campus. Include at least 3 pictures (or short video clips) per group member. Include information on the visual material (where, when, etc.) and describe it briefly.

2) Choose one of the episodes of the “Reality TV” show called “Meet the Natives: USA” (You can do this assignment either individually or in small groups). You can use Canvas to post, if you wish, for this assignment, but my suggestion is to do it on your blog. 

Indicate the episode you watch, describe how the “natives” and the “Americans” were represented in the video you watched


Unit One Notes

1) Review a companion website for an anthropology or cultural anthropology  introductory course Learn about what is anthropology, what anthropologists mean by culture, what is an anthropological perspective, and what are the methods cultural anthropologists use.


2) Read the following about the Nacirema


Roman Bathrooms 

Roman Bathrooms


Bunuel – The Dinner Scene


Toilets and Ideology
Slavoj Zizek

3) Read and review the following on studying the USA as an anthropologist

Toward an Anthropology of America: Dangers, Challenges, and Opportunities


RSA Animate – Changing the Educational Paradigm 



Unit One – Culture

On Culture

NOTES on the concept of Culture

Culture is the central concept of cultural anthropology.

The culture concept emerged in anthropology in the early decades of the 20th century to offset the racism and ethnocentrism of most of the 19th century Western social thought.

Approximately during the first half of the 20th century (gradually):

Cultural differences came to be viewed as differences in social learning not biology. Biological makeup and culture were viewed as independent phenomena.

Cultures were viewed as coherent sets of shared customs, values and ways of thinking belonging to distinct societies.
Recent Criticisms and Debates: In RECENT YEARS (approximately last two decades) many anthropologist have questioned the validity of viewing a complex society as a single “culture.”

The concept of Culture has been criticized for being overly reifying, making a fixed “thing” out of a culture.

Related Criticism: “The concept of culture fetishizes cultural differences.”

Human Agency? Agency refers to individuals reflecting on their “taken-for-granted” cultural practices and taking alternative practices and goals. Agency refers to being active agents in making one’s life conditions.

Shapers or Bearers?
The concept of culture diminishes the individual subjects or social actors to mere bearers of their culture rather than its shapers.

History? -“Loses its dynamism and is reduced to the recapitulation of the same or very similar structures of thought.”

CriticismMonolithic? Uniform? No community of human beings could be characterized by a singly coherent set of norms, values, beliefs, and attitudes.

Rather than looking at cultures as homeostatic communities with fixed social structures, more and more cultural anthropologists look at cultures in process, or rather cultures as processes, and emphasize internal multivocality (existance of various voices in any society), diverse discourses, interpretations and subjectivities internal to each of the communities they study.

Cultures as Bounded? Anthropologist have become increasingly aware of the conceptual, methodological and political issues of drawing boundaries around a culture.

Anthropologist now question, rather than assume, what any particular set of cultural boundaries mean. They look at how cultural identities and boundaries are constructed, imposed, resisted, negotiated, and reconstructed. They study various interpretations of a set of cultural boundaries and their power and gender aspects.

Too Generalizing? How Representative? Anthropologists have become more aware of problems and challenges of taking the view of one subgroup of a larger society as representative of the “culture “ of that society as a whole.

It has been recognized that a concept of culture as a unified and integrated whole could provide support for inequality (e.g., when a subgroup within a larger society insists on its version or interpretation of the tradition as the only correct version or interpretation).


Culture is LEARNED, but the “kind of culture” and “the way it is learned” is shaped or informed by power relations.

CULTURE as GENDERED--A related emphasis in recent decades has been on the gendered aspects of cultural practices and ways of thinking.

Even within relatively small, homogeneous societies members may disagree with one another about what “their culture” actually is.




Culture is always in the making, under construction. It is a process, always changing. Even when culture is constructed as “tradition” or “heritage,” it is today’s reconstruction of the “tradition.”

THE GLOBAL and THE LOCAL: “Global” power relations and cultural forms have been increasingly present at the local communities and cultures.

At the level of local communities and cultures, global cultural forms are actively reconstructed, indigenized or localized in multiple ways–resisting, subverting, and reconstructing the global, homogenizing, and “Western” cultural forms and values.

Counter-Criticism: Cultural Voluntarism?

Culture for the critics of the concept culture has become an epiphenomenal, a dependent variable, a mere instrument in economic and political struggle, rather than the ideational framework in which these struggles find their significance.


PERSPECTIVES – Theoretical Approaches

Social Construction of Reality; Cultural Construction of Reality; Socio-Cultural Construction of Reality
The above phrases basically mean the same thing: as members of particular cultures and societies, we live in historically- and culturally-specific “realities.” This perspective is also referred to as constructionism.


Different socio-cultural constructions of Whaling

Constructions of Whaling among the Makah compared to the “American” popular culture (Moby Dick) around 1900

Constructions Whaling among the Makah compared the “American” popular culture (Free Willy) around 2000

Other Examples: different socio-constructions of Veiling, Possession, Depression, ….

A classic work is by Berger and Luckmann on Constructionism:

Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1966).

It is a work influenced by the philosophical school of phenomenology (social phenomenology).

They looked at the reality of everyday life, the way it is experienced, coordinated and organized.
Their emphasis is that everyday world is an inter-subjective world (constructed among subjects or individuals that are members of a socio-cultural community). Everyday world is based on a commonsense knowledge that is culturally constructed and taken for granted. There is a temporality to consciousness.
Contemporary Constructionism has largely abandoned the social phenomenology and social structural analysis of its former years. Contemporary constructionism draws primary from recent media, communication, and ideology studies, post-structural literary theory, cultural studies and social studies of science.




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American Life and Culture Class Syllabus  

ANTH 180 / CES 180

Either ANTH 180 or CES 180 may be taken for credit, not both.

The course has its own site (blog):

Manouchehr Shiva, PhD

Office Hours: By appointment.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to a cultural understanding of contemporary American society. We discuss major theoretical and conceptual principles and perspectives of present-day cultural anthropology and cultural studies, and the way they could be applied to studying the life-ways of various American communities. We explore how the perspectives and methods offered by anthropology can assist us in understanding the United States.

This is an inter-active or a seminar-like class. Class participation, questioning, and critical thinking are highly encouraged.

This is also a research-oriented class. You will actively participate in a variety of research-oriented assignments.

You will take an active part in your learning process. You are asked to participate in the class discussions prepared, work on research projects, share and actively participate in the class’s learning process, and critically reflect on what you read and discuss.

All readings and audio-visual material are online and free.
See each unit’s What to Do section to see the list of materials to be covered for that unit.

Grading — Total of 1000 points

You will all know your quiz grades in the class. The quizzes are open-book, multiple choice, and they will be discussed and graded in the class as part of your learning process.

For your unit assignments, you get a B grade if you turn them. You get an A grade if you meet the requirements. You all have the chance of revising your assignments to get the best grade possible. Review other teams’ blogs to see examples of those that have done a better job. This is a seminar-like class, it is based on sharing and commenting on each other’s work.  

Class Discussion, Participation, and Ethnographic Note Assignments: 25 points for each unit –  total of 250 points – 25% of total grade.

Quizzes:  — 5 quizzes (one quiz per two units) – 50 points each –  Total of 250 points – 25% of total grade

 Total of 250 points –

25% of total grade

Quizzes are open book and could be done in groups.

 Final Exam: 250 points — 25% of total grade. Covers all units.

The final exam is open book

Final Project Report: 250  points   — 25% of total grade.

 It is suggested that the Assignments and the Research Project Report be  presented as blogs posts. 

Due Dates 

Unit 1 and Unit 2 Assignments  and Quiz One Are Due by April  15

Unit 3 and 4 Assignments and Quiz Two Are Due by April 29

Unit 5 and Unit 6 Assignments  and Quiz Three Are Due by  May 13

 Unit 7 and Unit 8 Assignments and Quiz Four Are Due by May 27

 Unit 9 and Unit 10 Assignments and Quiz Five Are Due by  June 10

Final Exam and Research Project Reports Are Due by June 14


Research Project
The focus of the research project is an outline of a study of a contemporary American social or cultural phenomenon, event, institution or process from an anthropological perspective. It is recommended that the topic is about an American art/creative form (visual, musical, literary …)

Students choose the focus of their research project by the second unit of the quarter.

Research Projects are done in small groups (2-4). 

Research Project Report– It is recommended that the research project report is done in a blog format online.   The report  is a re-writing of your postings about your research topic during the quarter, based on the feedbacks you have received and your own further research.

Use Proper citation and add bibliography

Research Projects should include the first, the last and at least 6 other aspects or contexts of your research topic from the following list (Each week on a different aspect). You can suggest other aspects of your topic too, if you would like to:

1)      Historical context

2)      Ideological, religious, worldview-related

3)     Ritual

4)      Socio-economic class

5)      Socialization/enculturation or learning

6)      Communicative, symbolic or linguistic

7)      Gender

8)      Family

9)      Kinship

10)     Generation

11)    Art

12)   Communal identity (racial, ethnic, national, ethno-religious, …communal) aspects

13)     Power-related or political aspects

14)     Material Culture

15)     Embodied

16)    Global or globalization-related aspects

Research Project Report is a rewriting of what you have done throughout the quarter about your research project (different aspects) based on the feedback you have received and your own further research.


Unit 1 Culture

Understanding the Other and the Self
Culture and Cultural Anthropological Perspectives
Cultural Studies
Anthropological Fieldwork and Research Methods
Comparative Approach
Cultural Relativism and Ethnocentrism
Holistic Approach
Culture and Power
Culture and History
Culture and Globalization,
Culture and Gender
Culture and Generation
Culture and Class,
Culture and Ethnicity/Nationalism

Unit 2  Ritual, Power, History and Myth

Culture and Ritual
Ritual and Ritualization
Ritual and Construction of Class, Gender, Generation, Ethnic and National Identities
Ritual and Power
History, Myth, and Ritual


Unit 3  Religion

Religion in America
Anthropological Perspective in Studying Religious Beliefs and Practices
Public and Private Dimensions of Religion in American Lives
Religions and American Politics

Unit 4   Political Economy and Socio-Economic Stratification

Political Economy and Class in the U.S.
Production, Distribution, and Consumption Patterns in the U.S.
Culture and Class
The Meaningful and the Material
Constructions of Class in America

Unit 5 Socialization / Enculturation

Enculturation and Socialization
Aspects of American Childhood and Adolescence
Anthropology of American Education
Anthropology of American Higher Education
Socialization/Enculturation and Sub-cultures
Media and Enculturation/Socialization

Unit 6  Language, Society, Worldview and Culture

Language, Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in America
Language and Power
Language and Worldview
Language, Culture and Subcultures
American Media and Language
American English and Globalization

Unit 7  Gender, Generation and Family in the U.S.

Gender in America
Youth and American Culture
Representations of the Youth in the Media
The Elderly in America
American Family Patterns

Unit 8 Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism

Race and Racism in America
Constructing Ethnicity in America
Nation and Nationalism in America
Trans-Nationalism in America

Unit 9  Power, Politics and The State

Culture of American Politics
Power and Politics
Concepts in Political Anthropology
The State
Class, Power and the State
Power and Ideology
Political Rituals

Unit 10  Case Studies

Based on the interest of the instructor and the students a few topics are chosen to study and apply cultural anthropological and cultural studies approaches.

American Media and American Life
Sports in America
Violence in America
American Politics Abroad


Taking an online course requires basic computer literacy and a little more. You must be proficient in navigating the World Wide Web (the Web) and may have to be able to download and install plug-ins. An online course often requires accessing the Web on a regular basis. You need a reliable ISP that seldom responds to your call with a busy signal. You need to be able to write English on a word processor, save documents and organize the resulting files, copy documents into your clipboard and paste them into another application, and attach documents to e-mail and retrieve them.”



All humans learn and all humans teach. Humans learn and teach in communities, and communities embody more knowledge than any one individual possesses. These characteristics have been fundamental first to human biological evolution, and then to the origin and evolution of cultures. Formal education takes place in a special community — the learning community. The more cohesive the learning community and the more focused it is on shared goals, the more intense is the learning experience.

In the best of learning communities, both “instructor” and “students” are learners. The instructor takes responsibility for the overall goals and direction of the course, the materials, pacing, lessons, and assessment. But students must take responsibility for their own learning. They must bring questions to the table, and act critically upon the materials of the course. Learning cannot be passive; it’s hard work. Certainly it’s useful and rewarding, but like long distance running, it hurts a lot while you are doing it and feels great when you stop.

Online courses are in many ways more focused and intensive learning communities than those encountered in the classroom (“on the ground”). You will be reading a lot and writing a lot, and communicating intensively with your fellow class members.

It’s assumed that we are all there to learn some anthropology, to develop and exercise critical thinking skills, and to stretch ourselves creatively in the exploration of ideas. But above all we are all there to discover ways the tools of anthropology can illuminate our daily lives and current problems of the human condition in the U.S.



STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:  If you have medical information to share with me in the event of an emergency, please contact me via email or come to see me during office hours. Emergency preparedness is important! If you need course modifications, adaptations, or accommodations because of a disability, I can refer you to our Disability Resource Center (DRC).  If you prefer, you may contact them directly by going to B132 or by calling 425.564.2498 or TTY 425.564.4110.  Information is also available on their website at


EXPLORE THE LMC! The Library Media Center is at your fingertips!  I strongly encourage you to visit the LMC at least this quarter, but you can also access it via the web.  Talk to a Reference Librarian at the Library (D-126), by calling (425) 564-6161, or by email:

For all of your written work:  Submit proofread work only.  Work not proofread will be returned once for a rewrite, expected to be handed in within 48 hours.  If you need help with your writing, please make use of the following student support services:

Preventing Plagiarism:  Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty occurring when students use information or material from outside sources and do not properly cites those sources.  This is grounds for disciplinary action.  It is your responsibility to understand plagiarism and its consequences.  Plagiarism occurs if:

a.      You do not cite quotations and/or attribute borrowed ideas.

b.      You fail to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks.

c.      You do not write summaries and paraphrases in his/her own words and/or doesn’t document his/her source.

d.      You turn in work created by another person.

e.      You submit or use your own prior work for a current or past course, or work from one current course in another course without express permission from your professors.  This may also be considered academic dishonesty.

f.       Consequences: If it is determined that you have plagiarized or engaged in other forms of academic dishonesty, you will likely fail the assignment and possibly the course, despite points earned through other work. Acts of academic dishonesty are reviewed for disciplinary action.


There is a general introductory class (Survey of Anthropology) which highlights all four sub-disciplines of anthropology.  BC offers in-depth courses in Anthropology which I encourage you to take: archaeology (Great Discoveries in Archaeology; Archaeology; Ancient North America; Incas & Their Ancestors; Aztecs, Mayas, & Their Ancestors), biological anthropology (Biological Anthropology; Bioanthropology with Lab; Cross-cultural Medicine; Forensic Anthropology), cultural anthropology (Food, Drink, & Culture; American Life & Culture; Cultural Anthropology; Sex, Gender, & Culture; Environment & Culture; REEL Culture; Religion & Culture) and linguistics (Language, Culture, & Society).  Check BC’s Course Catalogue for a full description of each course.  We will also be offering several special topics courses spanning the discipline. Topics may include Primatology, Experimental Archaeology, Anthropology of Immigration and Scandinavian Culture.  There are no prerequisites for any of these courses and they fulfill degree requirements.  Different formats (on campus, on-line, hybrid) are offered.  Stop by and visit the Social Science Advisor, Deanne Eschbach, in Room D110, for free professional planning and advising, or contact Anthropology Prof. Tony Tessandori ( to learn more about majoring in anthropology.


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