Anthropology | Invention and Technology
P302 | 0432 | Garniewicz


Humans do not simply adapt to the environment but actively change
it through invention and technology.  This course is designed to interest
all students and to provide a new perspective on modern life by investigating
things we now take for granted.  This course will introduce students to a
wide range of ancient technologies and behaviors; however, it will not be
a simple chronological narrative of discoveries.  We will also examine the
processes behind inventions and learn how these innovations have shaped
human society.

We will explore the development of technology across the world
from the earliest use of tools through the onset of the industrial
revolution.  Topics will range from what I consider to be pivotal
discoveries such as the manufacture of stone tools and the control of fire
to somewhat more frivolous items such as forks and phonographs.  In
addition to material based technologies we will also look at behavioral
technologies such as subsistence systems based on hunting or farming, as
well as the development of surgery and use of drugs.  So many diverse
topics will be covered it is impossible to list them all.

Unlike many of the lecture courses you may take, this course will
have a significant hands-on component -- it is difficult to understand the
difficulty of starting a fire from scratch or manufacturing stone tools
without this type of practical experience.  But I think you will rapidly
develop an appreciation of the skill and inventiveness of our prehistoric
ancestors.

This course is designed to be informative and fun -- but not easy.
You will be expected to do a fair amount of reading and writing as well as
some labor-intensive hands-on work.  You will also be forced to think on
your own, not to just repeat facts and summarize other peoples ideas.