Anthropology | Human Diversity across Space and Time
E210 | 26419 | Greene


What are the grounds for talking about human difference? In what ways
are humans universally alike and in what ways are they universally
different? And how have debates about human difference and sameness
developed over the last century or more. In this course we seek to
address these broad questions and in doing so orient ourselves to the
way in which the field of anthropology has played a crucial role in
posing and attempting to answer such questions from multiple different
perspectives including: on the basis of human biology, linguistic
analysis, archeaological findings, and in-depth ethnographic study of
human societies.

To focus our discussion we will concentrate on four primary categories
of anthropological analysis: race, culture, gender, and language. Each
one of these categories - at different historical moments and in
varying geographic contexts – plays a key role in how we currently
understand human differences and human sameness. Throughout the course
we will attempt to gain insight into how such categories explain what
it means to be human, how humans themselves have appropriated such
categories to describe themselves, how such categories have been
historically misused to describe and even dominate others, and what
such categories tell us about today’s era. We will do so with close
attention to the way the definitions of these categories have
themselves changed over time and take on different meanings in
different contexts.