Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

ANTH 112: *General Anthropology

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  Course Description

Introduction to the study of human physical and cultural evolution. Cross-listed as ANTH 112 and SOCI 112.  Course meets multicultural graduation requirement.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Final



  • Carol Ember, Melvin Ember, and Peter Peregrine. (2015). Human Evolution and Culture: Highlights of Anthropology (8th). Prentice Hall.
    • [ISBN-978-0-205-99932-3]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

This course will introduce you to a broad range of fascinating topics about what it means to be human. It will take you on a journey that will explore both the biological and evolutionary aspects of anthropology as well as the cultural aspects of it. We will explore how humans evolved over the past five to six million years by gaining a basic understanding of genetics, biological evolution, the processes of natural selection and resulting human diversity and variation across the globe. We will explore the possible explanations of how and why we developed uniquely human traits such as upright walking (bipedalism), relatively large brains, tool use, fire use, art, religion, and the development of language. We will also explore whether “race” is a meaningful concept in today’s diverse world. In the second half of the course we will focus on the concept and meaning of culture and explore why and how cultures vary or are similar in the way they organize their societal structure, marriage and kinship , the way they view gender roles and division of labor, organize politically, conduct warfare and resolve conflicts. Each week we will focus on different aspects of physical and cultural anthropology with virtual tours, class discussions and other activities that will help you understand the foundations of anthropology.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • To understand the major concepts, theories and methods in anthropology.
  • To study human physical and cultural evolution and human variation across time and place.
  • To recognize and apply the comparative anthropological perspective to the study of culture, social and political organization, marriage, family and kinship structure, religion and magic, social control, and social change in various cultures.
  • To engage in readings and discussions of specific cultures and cultural practices.
  • To examine personal values and actions in light of the anthropological perspective.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Describe and explain physical and cultural evolutions and human variation.
  • Identify and explain the major concepts, theories, and methods in anthropology.
  • Apply the comparative anthropological perspective to the study of culture, social and political organization, marriage, family and kinship structures, religion and magic, social control and social change in various cultures.
  • Reflect on one’s own personal values and their cultural origins in light of anthropological understandings of culture and action.

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 0 Friday
Discussion 1 25 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 1 25 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 25 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 3 25
Quiz 2 25 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 25 Friday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 1 50 Sunday
Quiz 3 25

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 25 Friday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 2 50 Sunday
Midterm Exam 150

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 25 Friday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 3 50 Sunday
Quiz 4 25

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 25 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 8 25
Quiz 5 25 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 25 Friday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 4 50 Sunday
Quiz 6 25

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 25 Friday/Saturday
Final Exam 250 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview

Text and Website

Readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments or taking quizzes for the week. Please become familiar with the glossary terms listed at the end of each chapter.

Discussion Postings

You are expected to respond to the initial question by Friday and respond to at least two classmates by Sunday in each discussion. You may earn up to 25 points per discussion each week.

Dropbox Assignments

The deadline for these assignments is Sunday of the assigned week, by midnight. Your answers should be 1-2 pages. You will also earn a maximum of 50 points per question.  Please ensure that your submitted document is in Microsoft Word format or rich text format (.doc or .rtf). Replace this text with your 'Section Overview' text.


Quizzes will be worth 25 points each and will be multiple-choice, true/false, and/or short answer. Their purpose is to help you comprehend the text readings, so please use your text and assigned readings as your main source. They will include material covered the week of the quiz and will not be cumulative. Be sure to save your answers as you go. You will have only 30 minutes to complete each quiz, so prepared by having read the assignments prior to taking the quiz.  If you go over the time limit, your score will automatically default to “0” so please watch the clock and the warnings.Replace this text with your 'Section Overview' text.


The midterm and final exams will be multiple-choice, true-false, or short answer.

The midterm
will be worth 150 points. The midterm will NOT be proctored; you will have a time limit of 90 minutes to complete it.

final will be worth 250 points. It will be proctored, so be sure to make appropriate arrangements with an acceptable proctor by the end of the second week of the session. The final exam must be taken between Tuesday and Saturday of Week 8. You will have two hours to complete it. It will NOT be an open book exam. Replace this text with your 'Section Overview' text.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Chapters 1 and 2
Introduction Discussion
Introduction: Please introduce yourself to the class and be sure to include the following: your name, where you live, your major, your profession or what you are aspiring to, something about your family, your hobbies and interests, and anything else you would like to share with us.  Tell us what interested you in taking an anthropology class. Be sure to look at some “cool jobs” in the short videos provided in the course Content area.This is an ungraded discussion.
Discussion 1
Go to the course's Online Activities page for this week and click on the link of the latest news in the field,  from the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M .

Pick an article from the latest news in anthropology that interests you or satisfies your curiosity. Explain why it was interesting to you. Name at least three ways that anthropology is relevant to the current and future concerns of human beings. How is the article you picked relevant? Be sure to use your text and readings to support your answer.
Replace this text with your 'Section' text.
Quiz 1
Covers Chapters 1-2
Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 12 pp 299-302 (“Racism and Inequality”)
Discussion 2
Explain natural selection and describe each of the three principles. Use the English black moth example to demonstrate an example of each. How would you answer someone who says that evolution is “just” a theory?

Use your text and “Five Major Misconceptions...” website to support your answer.
Discussion 3
Review the American Anthropology Association Statement on Race. Summarize the current position of professional anthropologists on the concept and meaning of race. According to your text and website, what are the arguments against race being a biological construct? Now visit the AAA's Global Census site. How does this site support that race is a social construct?
Quiz 2
Covers Chapters 3-4, and the selection from Chapter 12.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Chapters 5 and 6
Discussion 4
Describe the physical and behavioral traits that make us distinctly human and different from other apes. Are we as different as we used to think? Why? Support your answer.
Dropbox Assignment 1
Choose one of the two questions below to answer. Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and submit it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.

Identify and briefly discuss the theories that seek to account for the emergence of bipedalism in early hominid evolution. What were the costs? What were the advantages? Explain and support.

Look at the spread of Homo erectus populations in the dynamic map at found in the course Content. How did Homo erectus culture differ from the culture of the earlier hominids such as Australopithecus? How could these developments have enabled Homo erectus to live and spread so widely to so many parts of the Old World? List all possible factors that may have contributed to their survival
Quiz 3
Covers Chapters 5-6
Chapters 7 and 8

Johanson, D. “Origins of Modern Humans: Multiregional or Out of Africa?” ActionBioscience.org. American Institute of Biological Sciences. May 2001. Web.

Discussion 5
Explain the theories about Neanderthal's extinction. Which one is best supported? How, or by what mechanisms could Homo sapiens have been able to replace Neanderthals? (include both cultural and physical mechanisms).
Dropbox Assignment 2

Choose one of the two questions below to answer. Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and submit it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.
  1.  Explain the single origin or “Out of Africa” theory, the multi-regional theory and the intermediate theory. Be sure to include the archeological evidence that supports each theory. Which theory do you think best explains how modern humans evolved? Support your answer. Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and upload it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.
Explain what domestication of plants and animals means in anthropology. Summarize the theories for why domestication occurred within only a few thousand years.

Midterm Exam
The midterm exam will be available from Friday through Sunday of Week 4. This test is not proctored. You may use your text. You will have 90 minutes to complete it, so be sure to be prepared by having read and studied all the assigned chapters prior to opening the exam.
Chapters 9 and 10

Online Readings

Fluehr-Lobban, C. Anthropologists, Cultural Relativism, and Universal Rights. The Chronicle of Higher Education. June 9, 1995.

Savage-Rumbaugh’s, Susan.  The real-life culture of bonobos.  TED Talks. Web.

Discussion 6
Using your text and reading Carolyn Fluehr-Lobbon’s position paper, explain the differences between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. How does the concept of cultural relativism promote international understanding and at the same time may hinder attempts to have international agreement on acceptable behavior such as human rights? Explain the dilemma. How can we arrive at an international agreement on acceptable behaviors addressing basic human rights?
Dropbox Assignment 3
Choose one of the two questions below to answer. Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and upload it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.

1. How does language learned by apes compare to human language? Why might natural selection have favored the development of true language in humans but not in apes? Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and upload it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.

2. What processes result in linguistic divergence? What processes might cause different languages to become more similar? Would the world be better off with many different languages spoken or just one universal language? Why do you think so?
Quiz 4
Covers Chapters 9-10
Chapters 12 and 13

Discussion 7
Define social stratification and summarize what Lenski, Sahlins and others say about how stratification possibly developed. To what extent is the United States class system open?  To what extent is one’s social position in the United States changeable? Think about how your own socio-economic position/status compares to that of your parents (or children).  Are you better off, worse off or the same as your parents and/or children?
Discussion 8
What best predicts higher status for women in many areas of life? Do you think the U.S is close to having a female head of state? What would have to change? Explain.
Quiz 5
Covers Chapters 12-13
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Chapter 14 (pp 333-351 only) and Chapter 16
Online Resources (available in the course Content area)
Review marriage and divorce rates from of the American Community Survey.
View a brief narrated slide show about the emergence of Fundamentalism.
Discussion 9
Define marriage. According to your text, what theory best explains why marriage is universal? What do our statistics tell us about trends in marriage in the U.S.? (e.g. average age, rates). Based on your findings, will it remain customary in our society to marry?
Dropbox Assignment 4
Choose one of the two questions below to answer. Write a 1-2 page paper in response to this question and submit it to the Dropbox by midnight Sunday.

1.  What is fundamentalism? What are the common elements across religions? What do anthropologists think gives rise to fundamentalism? Do you think this applies to our society today? Explain how. What would you predict about the direction that religion might take in the U.S.? Please support your answer.

In what societies are people likely to believe in monotheism? How does Swanson explain this? In what kinds of societies are gods likely to intervene to punish people and what kinds of societies do the gods have little or nothing to do with human morality?
Quiz 6
Covers Chapters 14 (selected readings) and 16
Chapter 18
Discussion 10
Select one of the social problems discussed in this chapter and summarize some solutions that your text offers. What do you think could be done to reduce or eliminate it? What particular advantages do anthropologist have in trying to solve practical problems?
Final Exam
The Final Exam will be proctored. You will not be able to use your text. You must take the exam between Tuesday and Saturday of Week 8. You will have two hours to take the exam. Please note if you go over the time limit your score will automatically default to “0” so please watch the clock and the automated time warnings.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

All assignments must be completed within the period of time specified in the syllabus. Exams can be taken early, with prior arrangements with the instructor. If you have an unavoidable situation, such as illness or death in the family, please communicate with me immediately and make prior arrangements with me to make up the exam or assignment. If I don’t hear from you before the assignment is due you will not be able to make up the missed work.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.