Anthropology | HUMAN ADAPTATION
B400 | 0443 | Jamison
Frisancho, A.R. 1993 Human Adaptation and Accommodation.
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
Human Adaptation is a seminar designed to provide the participants
with an understanding of the concept of adaptation as it is utilized
within bioanthropology. In addition, we will be examining the variety
of meanings and usages of this concept that are invoked in other aspects
of Anthropology and other disciplines. Once this groundwork has been
established, we will be discussing a number of stresses that humans
encounter and focus on both population and individual responses to these
stresses. Participation in discussion as well as the presentation of
oral reports will be emphasized throughout the course.
Goals and Objectives:
The primary goal of this course is mentioned above, i.e. to foster an
understanding of the concept of adaptation as it applies to humans.
Secondary goals include the development or enhancement of seminar
skills, an appreciation of the methodologies used in bioanthropological
research, an increased ability to read and understand the primary
sources used by bioanthropologists, and an improvement in both oral and
written presentations of research results on a particular topic.
Because this is a seminar, no exams will be given, but a premium will
be placed on participation in class discussions, timely submission of
required materials and oral presentations in class. Class members,
working in teams, will be required to find and abstract 8 articles
during the course of the semester. In addition, a paper will be
required (8-10 pages for undergrads and 12-15 pages for grads). This
paper must synthesize the research literature on a specific topic in
Either one or both meetings of the class in each week will be devoted
to discussing one or more chapters in the text. For these discussions,
prior reading of the text is essential. I will expect you to raise
questions in the discussions, and also respond to questions of other
members of the class. For those weeks in which the symbol (Article)
appears on the schedule, the first class meeting will discuss the text
and the second will be devoted to discussions of articles that you have
selected from the recent research literature. At the first class
meeting in these weeks, each student team will turn in a photocopy of an
original research article on the topic to be discussed that week. The
article should be from the recent (1994-1999) literature, i.e. since the
text was published, if at all possible. The second class each week
will then discuss the original research articles on the topic and each
team will turn in an abstract of their article. Team members should be
prepared to discuss their article, ask questions about it, and/or
explain a particularly informative graph or chart in it. I will bring
in some of the latter on transparencies to facilitate this discussion.
The nature of the abstracts will be described below and the teams will
be set up in class.
During the first part of the semester, you should also be thinking
about a paper topic and begin researching it. I want to discuss your
topic with you before you begin work and I will periodically ask about
Your performance in this seminar will be based upon an accumulation of
points earned through a combination of written assignments, a research
paper, and participation in class discussions. The following point
values will apply:
Abstracts, etc. 80 points
Research Paper 80 "
Participation 40 "
The grading scale will be no more stringent than 90-80-70-60% of the
total points. It may be more lenient than this standard. Because this
is a seminar and the class is upper-division, I anticipate that the
grading scale will be A-B-C with most of the grades being As and Bs.
Late abstracts will be discounted by half their value. Abstracts can be
no longer than two typed, double-spaced pages. Each abstract must
answer the following five questions about the article: (1) What is the
hypothesis or hypotheses? (2) What is the research methodology? (3)
What are the major results? (4) What conclusions are drawn from these
results? (5) Briefly critique the article, i.e. what could/should the
authors have done differently?
Participation (when scored) will be based upon a scale from 0-4
(absence from that class = 0; presence but no participation = 2; asking
questions and/or making contributions = 3-4).
Any written work prepared for this class must be your own work or, in
the case of abstracts, the work of your team. Whenever you include
information, data, ideas or quotes from a literature source they must be
accompanied by a proper citation. Plagiarism is an academic sin
punishable by a failing grade on the assignment or paper. If you have
any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, talk to me about it. When
in doubt, cite a source!