This online course is ideal preparation for students thinking of studying anthropology, archaeology, psychology, and related subjects at university, exploring a range of academic theory and practical methods.
Anthropology studies the elements that unite us a species, as well as the diversity apparent in our bodies and behaviour. It has traditionally explored institutions found across cultures such as religion, economy, polity, and family, but the discipline has evolved along with the modern world so that it now looks at phenomena as diverse as corporate structures, scientific organisations, film, social media and so on.
This course introduces students to this exciting discipline, and particularly at the place of cultural anthropology within the wider field of anthropology. Students will explore the key questions that cultural anthropology aims to answer, the main methodologies employed by modern anthropologists, and ethical considerations that must be taken into account. The course also looks back in time at the history of anthropology, putting modern anthropology in context by establishing its origins and tracing its development over the years.
In short, the course aims to give students an appreciation for the diversity of human experience, and the critical tools necessary for researching the social and cultural aspects of it.
During the course, students will…
By the end of the course, students will be able to…
The first tutorial focuses on defining the field of anthropology in general, and establishes the place of cultural anthropology within this broader field. It will provide students with an understanding of the concept of culture and how the term has been treated by various generations of academics. The tutorial also provides students with an idea of the various career prospects an anthropology degree offers.
This tutorial focuses on what sets cultural anthropology apart from other social sciences. It will introduce students to the concept of fieldwork, participant observation, and the distinction between emic and etic research. The material will also cover general methods for data collection such as interviews and case studies, and will encourage students to consider the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative versus quantitative research.
The third tutorial will present students with two key concepts in cultural anthropology: social structure and social construction. Students begin with a look at the concept of social structure and how it is used to organise and categorise the human experience, before moving on to the concept of social construction – the idea that we actively create our reality, and that our experience of the world is coloured by our subjective positions within it.
The final tutorial takes a closer look at some of the major figures who have contributed to the development of modern cultural anthropology. It offers a historical romp through the schools of thought in anthropology, presenting important figures such as Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, Margaret Mead and Levi-Strauss through to the contemporary trends of post-modernism and post-structuralism. This will give students an understanding of the evolution of the field, and the internal process of critique in the discipline.
|Course Pre-requisites||Advanced level of EnglishAn interest and enthusiasm for learning about other culturesThis course would suit students studying towards Sociology or equivalent, and in particular those interested in university study of Anthropology.|
|Course Level||For students applying to university to study Sociology, Anthropology, Languages or related subjects|
|Prior Knowledge||No prior knowledge is required to take this course, just enthusiasm for the subject.|
|Workload||4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)|