ANTHROPOLOGY    E105     Spring 2007   SECTION 7592



12:20P-01:10P   TR     CH 122


Instructor's Office: 242 Student Building, Phone 855- 3901

Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30-5:00 PM or by appointment

Instructor's Email address: WILKR

Class Website:

Associate Instructors: Evelyn Dean, Nicky Belle, and Abby Drwecki


Click here for the course lecture, reading, and assignment schedule



Anthropology asks the questions "What is human nature? Where did we come from? How did we get where we are today? Why are we different from each other? How can we better understand people who are different from us? Unlike other social sciences, anthropology does not single out one aspect of human life as the most important or essential (like economics, or psychology, for example). Instead anthropologists seek to understand human beings and the human experience in all their complexity, combining the best of different disciplines, of the sciences and humanities.


Anthropology is a thriving, complex discipline that studies almost everything in human culture and history. Anthropology provides a different point of view in understanding the human experience. This course provides a basic introduction to two of the four sub-fields of Anthropology: anthropological linguistics and socio-cultural anthropology. Our other introductory course, A105, covers the other two.


The course has three major goals. First, it presents the state of knowledge in the discipline today and shows how anthropology has changed and grown through discovery, research and self-criticism. Second, it will show you some of the variety of human cultures on this planet, emphasizing their diversity and richness, as well as the common threads that tie all human societies together. Finally, the course will show you that anthropology is much more than an "ivory tower" academic discipline. Anthropologists apply what they know, working in real-world settings as diverse as hospital operating rooms and the World Bank. Anthropology offers many career options.

Required Texts:    

Lavenda & Schultz, Core Concepts in Cultural Anthropology, 2006, McGraw Hill.

Joan Abelove,  Go and Come Back, 2001, Puffin Books.


Both are available in bookstores on and off campus, and on the internet.


Robert Borofsky, Yanomami: The Fierce Controversy and What We Can Learn From It. 2005. University of California Press.

To buy, login to

Course Format:


The course has two major parts, the lecture meeting and the discussion sections. The lectures present basic course material, including definitions of necessary vocabulary, which you will be tested on in midterm and final exams. The discussion section expands on the themes presented in the lectures, going into more depth and allowing you to ask questions and work with each other towards better understanding. But the main purpose of the discussion sections is to work through practical exercises and examples which will teach you how anthropology works as a practical tool for understanding the world around you. Your AI is a professional anthropologist with experience in other cultures, who can help you in all aspects of the course.


There will be two 50-minute lecture/discussions each week, on the attached schedule. The lectures coordinate with the readings in the Lavenda and Schulz text. Lectures will not just repeat the readings, they will build on those readings. In order to get the maximum from lectures, you must keep up with the reading schedule and come to each class prepared. We will often take attendance at lectures, and coming regularly is a course requirement. I strive to make the lectures interesting and to make sure you are understanding the key points, but if I am falling short in any way, I would like to hear from you as quickly as possible, either in person, through a note, or by email with the ONCOURSE system.


During the last three weeks of the semester the class will be participating in a public anthropology action project called “YANOMAMI: The Fierce Controversy and What We Can Learn From It.” Along with introductory anthropology students at other universities around the USA, you will take part in a discussion of central ethical issues which anthropology faces today. In order to register for this section of the course you will go to this website, where you will be required to pay $9 for the textbook we will be using during this part of the semester:

It is very important that if you have an Apple MAC, you need to use either SAFARI by Apple or FIREFOX by Mozilla as your Web Browser. If you have a PC YOU SHOULD NOT USE MS INTERNET EXPLORER. Details on how to download Mozilla’s FIREFOX are listed at:, and you can also download it from IUware Online.

Questions about Lectures:


I try to be clear in lectures and to go along at a moderate pace - not too fast or too slow. But there will be times when I go too quickly, or don't explain something clearly. There are four things you can do to get something cleared up, to ask a question, or to let me know I got something confused or mixed up.


Write a note. Put your question or comment on a piece of paper and leave it on the desk in front of the class or give it to me before the next lecture. I will make every effort to respond at the beginning of the class.


Send an Email message. If you don't think the whole class needs to hear an answer to your question, send Email to me or your AI (address at the top of this syllabus) and she will respond ASAP.


Wait and ask your AI during the discussion section. This will allow you to discuss the issue at more length, but you may also find that your AI does not agree completely with the professor (yes, there is room for disagreement and controversy in anthropology).


Raise your hand!



Discussion Sections:


By the second week of the semester you must choose a discussion section and stick ­with it through the whole semester. If you want to attend a section different ­from the one you registered for you must get the approval of the AI in the­ section you want to add, but this is rarely a problem.


7597          02:30P-03:20P   T      FR C147B 

7593          11:15A-12:05P   W    SY 200

7594          03:35P-04:25P   W     SE 010

7595          10:10A-11:00A   R    GG 101B

7596          03:35P-04:25P   R      FR C147B

7598          11:15A-12:05P   F      SB 140     


The discussion section is your place to think about, and take issue with­ the ideas and information presented in the text and lectures. Draw­ on your AI’s knowledge and experience to get the most out of the course. Make sure you learn your AI’s name within a week or two!


Your AI will assign you regular readings and writing assignments. These are a ­basic part of the course. Regular attendance at discussion sections is a­ requirement of the course, not an option. You can miss two discussions during the semester, but after that you will have points taken off your final­ grade for every discussion section which you miss, unless you have a valid, written medical excuse. Your discussion section AI will be responsible for your grading­ in the course, and will keep track of your point total, which will always be available to you through ONCOURSE.


Grading:  Your final grade will be based on your semester total; an A grade requires a­ minimum of 900 points out of a total of more than 1160 possible points. There will be two­ exams, a midterm worth 350 and a final worth 350. The final exam is cumulative - ­it will concentrate on the second half of the course, but will also include material from the readings and the most important material from the first half of the semester. The exams are­ multiple-choice, true-false, and computer graded, given to the entire class at once. These are not easy exams, and the average grade is about a 79%, which means that most people will get a D or lower if they only do the tests.


12 short assignments will be handed out by your AIs in discussion sections. They­ will be worth 25 to 50 points each, for a total possible score of 400 points from the­ assignments alone. You do not have to do these assignments, but you can do­ all 12 if you want; they will all count towards your grade.


Assignments will generally be short, asking you to review a film, read articles ­and think about them, or do some actual research of your own. They will be graded ­simply – Full points, ¾ points, half points, or no points. All assignments will come with a due date attached, and they can only ­be handed in, in person, during your discussion section. Do not bother turning in­ late assignments, since they will not be counted.  This means that you cannot­ leave all of your assignments for the end of the semester; they must be turned in­ as they become due. Assignments should all be typed or word processed. Handwritten assignments automatically get a 10 ­point deduction. Illegible or extremely messy writing and work that shows little effort will get no credit at all. In general, attendance at discussion sections is very important if you are going to get full points on these assignments.


There will also be 12 class lecture response cards worth 5 points each. You must have a supply of 3x5 cards at every class in order to fill these in. During the day’s lecture, I will ask you to answer a question, or ask a question, based on what you have heard. These cards also serve to monitor your attendance at lectures. You will lose 50 points from your total semester score if you miss four or more of these lecture responses.


You will lose 15 points from your total semester score for every discussion section you miss after the first two absences.  If you have a valid medical excuse you must present it to your AI within a week of the absence.


Finally, your AI can choose to award an extra 20 points towards your final grade if you have made outstanding and sustained contributions to discussion, have done additional work, or have brought useful resources into discussion. These points are made entirely at the discretion of the AI - you are not eligible for them if you have more than two unexcused absences from the section.


Final grades will be based on the following point totals:


970 -1000= A+           870 - 899 = B+      770 - 799 = C+         670 - 699 = D+           0 - 600 = F

930 - 969 = A           830 - 869 = B           730 - 769 = C          630 - 669 = D

900 - 929 = A-         800 - 829 = B-         700 - 729 = C-         600 - 629 = D-


Notice that you can get a B in this course if you get perfect scores on the ­exams (700) and a full score on just two assignments worth 50 points, if you have no deductions.  Or you could get Ds on both exams­ (say 450 out of 700 points) and still get an A in the course. You could go­ into the final exam with more than 800 points - knowing that all you need is­ another 100 points to get an A. The choice is up to you; what are your best­ skills? How much work are you willing to put into the class? Would you rather study hard for exams and not worry about assignments all the time? Or do all the assignments and study less for exams?


Problems and Rules


Anything concerned with the class can be discussed privately with the AI or with ­Professor Wilk during office hours or by appointment. If you are having trouble ­with course content or assignments, don't wait until the very end of the semester­ to go see your AI. While it is usually best to talk with an AI first, any problem­ or issue can be discussed with Dr. Wilk directly. Email is a good way to start. The important thing is to make your concerns known early in the semester while we can do something about it!


Our obligations to each other:


Nobody has forced me to become an anthropology teacher; and nobody has forced you ­to become an anthropology student either.  These facts form the basis of our obligations to each other in the classroom situation. I consider it my obligation ­to listen carefully to your questions and answer them as well as possible given the need to finish the lecture. I also feel obligated to present ­material in an interesting and understandable way: if you don't understand what I­ am saying speak up! I will try again. Finally, I am obligated to be fair and­ explicit about grades, and about what to expect on exams.


The other side of the story is your obligation as a student to me and to the ­other students in the class. The most important is not to disrupt the class by­ your behavior; try to get there on time, and make a quiet entrance if you are ­late. Getting up and leaving in the middle of a lecture is also disruptive. Don't­ distract other students by talking during the lecture or films. You are also ­obligated to think ahead about grades and exams: if you are going to miss an­ exam, you must come and arrange a makeup at least two weeks before the exam date. You are also obligated to attend lectures regularly; showing up and listening is a basic form of respect for the content of the education you are paying for!


Make-ups and Incompletes:


Makeup exams must be arranged two weeks in advance of the scheduled exam date. Makeup exams will only be ­given if you have a very strong excuse backed up with documentation. The makeup ­exam will be more difficult than the regular one, and will combine essays, short­ answers and definitions. Incompletes will only be given with a medical excuse or in cases of documented family­ emergencies. You must speak with an AI in advance of the final about getting an incomplete.  Late work for assignment, response cards, or other class work is not accepted, even with a medical excuse. We expect you to make up the work with other assignments.


Honesty Policy:


All cases of cheating will be handled according to the rules stated in the­ University Bulletin. In particular, in this course you must provide original work­ on all assignments - you are not allowed to work together with other students in ­writing the assignment, unless you are expressly asked to do so. All written work­ must be your own, and should not be copied or paraphrased from other sources. If you quote someone you must tell the source of the quote. Copying material from web pages or wikipedia is plagiarism unless you credit the specific sources for each quotation. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, ask your AI. You ­are required to attend discussion sections and lectures, even if there is no­ attendance taken. Because of past problems we monitor the exams very closely. Be­ aware that it is not permitted either to copy another student's work or to knowingly allow your own work to be copied. Violation of these rules can get you thrown out of the University !!!