Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology



Cultural Anthropology

Transferrable Credits

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Cultural Anthropology $79
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Total $ 178
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About this course.



Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology provides a thoughtful introduction to exploring human diversity across multiple spectrums: economic, political, social and cultural. This online course presents the basic information pertinent to the field, like kinship and descent, anthropological theories, religion and belief systems, among other important aspects.

ACE Approved 2021


After completing this course students will be able to:

Examine the scope and evolution of anthropology through its subfields and transition through modernism and postmodernism.

Evaluate the different approaches to anthropology and apply the concept of ethics to the gathering and analysis of data.

Illustrate how ethnocentricism and contemporary ideas have influenced culture in anthropology.

Assess the growth, development, and effects of communication and language on culture and thought.

Elaborate on the different dimensions of social organization and relate the concepts of tolerance, accommodation, and conflict to ethnicity.

Examine the subsistence strategies and the economics, methods, and principles that govern distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services.

Understand the connection between power, authority, and politics and relate them to social control, nationalism, and external relations.

Assess the reasons for the development of belief systems and analyze the changes that occurred over time.

Differentiate between various types of descent groups and review the debate of kinship over biology.

Examine the rules and forms of marriages and relate the evolution of the family to social and economic changes.

Measure the impact of gender on the roles of men and women, and examine the different perspectives on human sexual behavior.

Analyze the formation and impact of economic and social classes during industrialization and evaluate the world-system perspective.

Assess the impact of colonialism on societies around the world.

Examine the effects of contact and globalization on culture in various societies.



Introduction to Anthropology

  • What is Anthropology?
  • Subfields in Anthropology
  • Discipline of Anthropology: Science or Humanities?
  • Examine the scope of the subject of anthropology.
  • Recognize the various subfields of anthropology and their interrelationships.
  • Assess anthropology as a science and its transition through modernism and postmodernism.



  • Evolution of Culture
  • Ethnocentricism and Cultural Relativism
  • Culture in the Subfields of Anthropology
  • Challenges to the Culture Concept and Contemporary Ideas
  • Illustrate the evolution of culture over time.
  • Elaborate on the concepts of ethnocentricism and cultural relativism.
  • Relate culture and its analysis to the different subfields of anthropology.
  • Assess the challenges to the concept of culture and analyze contemporary ideas.


Theoretical Framework

  • Approaches to Anthropology
  • Ethics
  • Gathering and Analyzing Data
  • Reading Ethnography
  • Evaluate the changing approaches to anthropology from the nineteenth century through the contemporary age.
  • Apply the concept of ethics in the fieldwork involved in anthropology.
  • Examine methods of gathering data and the challenges of fieldwork, including culture shock.
  • Examine an ethnography and use techniques to effectively understand the information.


Language, Communication, and Art

  • Growth and Structure of Language
  • Nonverbal and Symbolic Communication
  • Language, Thought, and Culture
  • Sociolinguistics and Historical Linguistics
  • Review the typical growth and development of language in human societies.
  • Compare and contrast verbal and nonverbal forms of communication.
  • Relate the evolution of language to the changes in thought and culture.
  • Assess the effects of language using sociolinguistics and historical linguistics.


Economic Anthropology

  • Subsistence Strategies
  • Economic Systems
  • Distribution, Exchange, and Consumption
  • Examine the means and strategies of subsistence.
  • Compare and contrast cultivation and pastoralism as subsistence strategies.
  • Appraise the different economic systems and relate them to other aspects of culture.
  • Examine the methods and principles that govern distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services.
  • Compare and contrast the four subsistence strategies.


Political Systems

  • Power and Authority
  • Political Organization and Leadership
  • Disorder and Social Control
  • Nationalism and External Relations
  • Demonstrate the connection between power, authority, and politics.
  • Compare and contrast the different forms of political organization and leadership.
  • Assess causes of disorder and social control, and recommend solutions.
  • Describe various aspects of nationalism, hegemony, and external relations.


Kinship and Descent

  • Kinship Versus Biology
  • Descent Groups
  • Kinship Terminologies
  • Compare the concepts of kinship and biological descent.
  • Differentiate between various types of descent groups.
  • Review the use of kinship terminologies in defining and perpetuating relationships in groups.


Marriage and Family

  • Marriage Rules and Their Functions
  • The Various Forms of Marriage
  • Mate Choice and Finances
  • Family
  • Examine the various forms of marriage in various societies.
  • Relate mate choice and finances to the functions of marriage.
  • Relate the evolution of the family to social and economic changes.
  • Examine the rules that govern marriages, and the corresponding functions of marriages in various societies.


Gender and Sexuality

  • Gender Patterns
  • Factors Affecting Gender Roles
  • Human Sexual Behavior
  • Understand behaviors and activities determined by gender in various societies.
  • Measure the impact of gender on the roles played by men and women.
  • Examine the different perspectives on human sexual behavior.


Race, Caste, and Ethnicity

  • Social Organization
  • Ethnicity
  • Ethnic Tolerance, Accommodation, and Conflict
  • Review the different dimensions of social organization.
  • Elaborate on the construction of race and caste in society.
  • Trace the ethnicity and culture of different ethnic groups.
  • Explore the concepts of tolerance, accommodation, and conflict to ethnicity.


Religion and Belief Systems

  • Development of Belief Systems
  • Expressions of Religion and Beliefs
  • Religion and Change
  • Review the reasons for the development of belief systems.
  • Categorize different religious beliefs and their expressions.
  • Explore how and why religious beliefs have changed over time.


Effects of Industrialization

  • Emergence of the World System and Industrialization
  • Stratification
  • The World System Today
  • Examine cultural changes that emerged as a result of industrialization.
  • Analyze the formation of economic and social classes during industrialization.
  • Evaluate the world-system perspective that stresses global culture.


Colonialism and Cultural Change

  • Cultural Legacy of Colonialism
  • Sociocultural Change in the Postcolonial World
  • Development Anthropology and Strategies for Innovation
  • Assess the impact of colonialism on societies around the world.
  • Review and explain social and cultural changes in the postcolonial world.
  • Explain the concept of development anthropology and compare the different strategies for innovation.


Cultural Exchange and Globalization

  • Cultural Effects of Contact
  • Making and Remaking Culture
  • Globalization
  • Comment on the cultural effects of contact among societies.
  • Elaborate on the processes involved in making and remaking culture.
  • Examine the effects of globalization on culture in various societies.

There are no prerequisites to take Cultural Anthropology.

Kottak, Conrad Phillip. Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 13th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2023, ISBN: 9781260729207

The required eTextbook for this course is included with your course purchase at no additional cost.

Prefer the hard copy? Simply purchase from your favorite textbook retailer; you will still get the eTextbook for free.

StraighterLine provides a percentage score and letter grade for each course. A passing percentage is 70% or higher.

If you have chosen a Partner College to award credit for this course, your final grade will be based upon that college's grading scale. Only passing scores will be considered by Partner Colleges for an award of credit. There are a total of 1000 points in the course:

Topic Assessment Points
4 Graded Exam #1 125
8 Graded Exam #2 125
8 Cumulative Graded Midterm Exam 200
11 Graded Exam #3 125
14 Graded Exam #4 125
15 Cumulative Graded Final Exam 300
Total 1000

Final Proctored Exam

The final exam is developed to assess the knowledge you learned taking this course. All students are required to take an online proctored final exam in order complete the course and be eligible for transfer credit.

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