Anthropology | Primate Genetics
B400 | 25362 | Kaestle
Course Texts: Readings can be downloaded in PDF format from the
OnCourse Website (http://oncourse.iu.edu). These can be viewed with
the free software, Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is installed on most
campus computers, and can be downloaded for almost any platform at:
General Course Info:
This course will explore the current literature on primate genetics.
In addition, relevant literature on non-primate genetics will be
included. Genetic methods will be covered as needed. Topics will
include phylogenetics and species identification, conservation,
detection of kinship and paternity, genetic tests of sociobiological
hypotheses (dominance and reproductive success, dispersal, kin
selection), identification of dietary components, medical
implications, implications for human uniqueness (or lack thereof),
behavioral genetics, and developmental genetics, among others.
Emphasis will be placed on a critical examination of the evidence, and
anthropological implications of these studies.
The exact topics to be covered will be determined by class consensus
on our first meeting. B200 is a prerequisite for enrollment in this
course, and a basic understanding of biological anthropology and
genetics will be assumed.
Grades are based on discussion participation (100 points), written
critical commentaries on 5 selected readings (20 points each for a
total of 100 points) and a research paper (100 points). Thus, each
component contributes 1/3 of your grade.
Discussion participation grades will depend on many factors.
Obviously, it is important to attend class. However, simple
attendance is not sufficient. One must arrive having read the material
for that week, and thought about the assigned readings – what are the
main points? Were any hypotheses tested? What were the results? Did
you have any problems understanding any part of the readings? Were
you able to sort these out with further reading or web research? Were
there any problems with the analyses done? Problems with
interpretation of the results? How do the readings relate to each
other and to previous assigned reading? Do they relate to any other
work you’re doing in other courses? What about anything in the news
lately? Come prepared to discuss all of the above – you must actually
PARTICIPATE in the discussion. In addition, you must learn to LISTEN
to other students’ thoughts and opinions on the readings. Discussion
involves not only your own preparation, but also the ability to listen
and respond respectfully to other peoples’ opinions, rather than
simply presenting a monologue on your own thoughts. A mid-term
assessment of discussion participation will be available on oncourse.
Five written critical commentaries are due on papers of your choice
throughout the semester. These commentaries are due at the beginning
of class on the day for which the paper was read. At least two of
these commentaries must be submitted by the midterm. These
commentaries must be on original research papers (‘primary
literature’) and will help you prepare to assess literature for your
final research paper. A standard format, including specific
questions, is available for download from Oncourse. Also, please use
the correct citation format in these papers (citation guideline is
available on Oncourse).
A final research paper, on a topic of your choice, is due at the end
of the semester. This paper should be 7-10 pages long for
undergraduates, 15-20 for graduate students. It is meant to allow you
to explore a topic of interest in greater depth than was allowed in
the course. Additional information on the final research paper will
be available on Oncourse. Research paper topics must be approved by me
ahead of time.