Ryan Schram's Anthrocyclopaedia

Anthropology presentations and learning resources

User Tools

Site Tools


The goal of this class

The goal of this class is to learn how to think like an anthropologist. We do not want you to simply to accept what we say. Rather, your job in this class is to learn how to use anthropologists' ideas to answer questions for yourself, and to make an argument for your answers by using the research of anthropologists. To help you develop this ability, we have created many different ways for you to participate, to discuss your own ideas, and to reflect on your perspective and reasoning.

In ANTH 1001, Ryan and Jadran want to argue that people are incomplete without the input from their social environment. One's social environment determines how one sees oneself and other people, what one thinks is right and wrong, and what one believes is the purpose of one's life. This argument leads us to two important points. First, there is no one single way to be human because humans are products of their particular cultures. Second, no person is an island; every person is part of a community of other people, and this community is held together and made into a system through the worldview that people in this community share, and which they transmit to the next generation. Human beings are defined by their diversity, but that diversity shows us that there are universals, specifically the capacity to acquire cultural patterns of thought and action, and the capacity to participate in a culture as a system.

While one goal of the class is to introduce you to the study of human diversity and the dynamics of human societies, another important purpose of this class is learning to think for yourselves in a disciplined way. We want you to discover new knowledge and new ideas for yourself. There are no right answers in anthropology, or in this class. This class is designed to help you to figure out your own perspective on the big, unresolved questions about how human societies work and how different people's cultures can be.

1001/2020/the_goal_of_this_class.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/01 21:08 by