version February 25 this syllabus is tentative, and may change over the semester, please refresh your browser for updates)


Spring 2023 - (Class Nbr 23328)
Mondays & Wednesdays 9:35am to 11am
Room: MS-564
Arnie Schoenberg - Adjunct Professor

Quick Start

What should I do?

Do the reading and homework before class, arrive on time, and ask questions if you don't know what to do. In class, I will tell you what to do for the Participant Observation Field Notes assignment. At home, you'll need to do the Participant Observation Analyses and the Project Updates. The Participant Observation Analyses you'll turn in Wednesdays at the beginning of class. The Project Updates you'll do online through Canvas.

Use the table of contents on this syllabus to get the details for each week's assignments, and general tips.

When do I need to do it?

There are regular weekly due-dates that you will get used to after a few weeks:

Where do I turn it in?

Submit Participant Observation Field Notes and Analysis in class.

Submit Project Updates in the appropriate assignments on Canvas, unless otherwise noted.

What's my grade?

Once you complete all the assignments, you get an "A" in the class. You will receive feedback on individual assignments, and Grades in Canvas has a list of completed assignments, but you need to fill out your own Course Checklists, and keep them up to date, so you can stay on track to get an "A".

More Frequently Asked Questions

Main Resources

How to communicate with me

If you can get regular feedback from me, you're almost guaranteed to succeed in this class. There are several good ways to communicate with me: ask questions in class, grab me after class, online office hours, email, pronto, and Canvas chat.

1. Ask questions in class

This can be a confusing class, and if you don't understand something, half the class probably doesn't also, so just ask.

2. Grab me after class

Before class I might be busy preparing for lecture, but after class on most days I'll have time to answer your questions.

3. Online Office Hours

Log on to Zoom on Wednesday nights from 7-8pm to ask questions. No appointment necessary, just log on and make some noise to let me know you're there. Please let me know if you would like to speak to me privately and I can easily set up a private chat room, otherwise, it will be a group discussion with whomever logs on. Zoom is available by internet or telephone. Join online at:
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    Please let me know if you can't make this time and day, and we can set up an appointment at your convenience.

    Getting real-time feedback from me is the best for almost all situations, especially if you're not sure what your question is, or you feel vaguely dissatisfied.

4. E-mail I will check this daily, and if I don't get back to you within three days, please send another email. You can also send emails through Canvas. This is especially great way to share your written work with me, and get answers to specific questions.

5. Pronto

I will monitor the Pronto chat every few days. Pronto is available through Canvas and as an app for your phone. It's a good place for general questions that other students might be able to answer.

6. Course Chat

If you happen to see me online on Canvas you could try sending me a message.


Your weekly overview:

The Calendar on Canvas gives you due dates, and the syllabus tells you what to do. The Calendar is available in Canvas and can be exported to most calendar apps, click on the "Calendar Feed" option. This is where you find out when things are due, but it just has assignment titles, so you still need to read the detailed description here in the syllabus to find out what to do: check the Weekly Reading Schedule for your Participant Observation Analyses, and the Project Weekly Schedule to find out what to do for your Project Update.

The schedule is TENTATIVE and subject to change. Changes will always be announced early enough to complete assignments.

Administrative Deadlines

First Day of Class 01/30/2023  
Student Add/Drop 02/10/2023 Deadline to add the class, or drop the classes with no "W" recorded, apply for refund
Instructor Drop/Census 02/13/2023 All Instructor drops must be submitted by Noon
Student & Instructor Withdraw 10/28/2022 Last day to withdraw from classes and receive a "W". No drops accepted after this date. Thereafter, a student must receive a letter grade. Deadline for student to select P/NP option
week off


no school this week
Last Day of Class 05/27/2023  
Instructor Grades Due 06/02/2023 Deadline for instructors to submit final grades; available to students within a week.

Table of Contents

Course Summary

Table of Contents

Is this the right class for me?

Course Description

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Objectives

Student Learning Methods




Weekly Schedule

Participant Observation

Field Notes


The Project

Weekly Schedule

Choosing a Project



Organizational Culture

Action Anthropology

Critical Reviews

selecting a resource

Where do I post them?

content of your critical review

Critical Review Worksheets


Critical Review Checklist

Where do I find feedback on my work?


Anthropological Imagination

Academic English

Extra Credit

Continuing the Discussion

Critical Thinking Questions

Library Tour

additional Critical Reviews


Cultural Event Write-ups (Micro-ethnographies)

Museum or Lecture Write-up

Anthropological Critiques of Video

Find an Editor

additional Project

Honor's Contract

Group Work


Academic Accommodations

Student Success


Student Responsibilities


Course Checklist

Annual Anthropology Calendar

Diversity and Equity Resources

Legal Disclaimers

More Course Information


You should have already passed ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better, or equivalent, or Assessment Skill Levels R6/W6. If you don't read and write well in English, this will be a difficult class. You must be able to understand the assigned texts, and write at a college level. If you don't feel comfortable with academic English, please consider taking more English classes before taking this class, and if you decide to stay in the class, adjust your schedule this semester so you can devote extra time to reading, writing, attending my office hours, using the tutors at the English Center, the one-on-one sessions with librarians to help with research, and a wide variety of other programs and people ready to help you. If you take advantage of all the help that's out there, you will succeed. Doing well in this class is not really about your previous skill, it really comes down to just having enough time to get the work done.

The class may seem hard because it counts for a UC class.

This class includes online components. If you are reading this, you probably have enough computer skills for this class,

Basically, if you have time to come to class, come to Office Hours, and do some extra work, I'll make sure you pass.

Course Description

This course is a survey of cultural anthropology using a comparative, cross-cultural approach. Emphasis is placed on the study of how various peoples around the world have adapted to their environments and developed behaviors to meet their biological, economic, psychological, social and political needs. This course is intended for anthropology majors and all students interested in life and/or behavioral sciences. Associate Degree Credit & transfer to CSU. CSU General Education. IGETC. UC Transfer Course List.

The course maintains distance education standards through regular and effective contact between students with multiple weekly assignments and feedback from the professor. Original and cumulative student work ensures authenticity. Universal design and flexible accommodations promote accessibility.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course will be able to:

  1. Student will be able to define and distinguish between cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical (biological) anthropology, and explain the applied aspects of each.
  2. Student will be able to think critically through data analysis, written reports, and classroom discussion.
  3. Student will be able to appreciate the diversity in human lifeways.
  4. Students will be able to develop the ability to recognize broad based themes of behavior through comparative studies of culture.

Student Learning Objectives

After completing this class you should be able to apply the basic interests, terms, concepts, history, debates, methods and theories important to contemporary anthropology to contemporary issues. You will learn by critically reading the textbook, by finding and critically reviewing articles and other media related to cultural anthropology, through a research project, and through online discussions about the concepts of cultural anthropology with your peers, mediated by the professor. You will be encouraged to develop an "anthropological imagination" that situates your own cultural background within a broad view of world culture, in an attempt to objectively view your own biases and to develop an awareness and sensitivity towards members of other cultures. Satisfactory completion of this course will provide you with the foundation necessary to successfully conduct upper division work in cultural anthropology at a four-year university as well as help you participate in a global society, and a multi-cultural San Diego.

Student Learning Methods

All the knowledge in this course is readily available on the internet, so why not just google it instead of taking this class? What I'm trying to teach are field and research methods, how to find the best information efficiently, how to ask the right questions, how to process the information into products that make a difference to you, and the world. These skills are worth mastering in addition to the knowledge of anthropology you'll learn.

I think the best way to learn about science is to just do it. Doing regular participant observation, and a semester long Project gets you some practice with scientific research and academic techniques. You will synthesize multiple texts into your own work. You will read and write. You will learn by sharing information with your fellow students.


There's no big final exam at the end of class, instead you will be working a little bit every week. This class is divided into week-long topics that are numbered from 1-16. Each week in this class has three requirements: Participant Observation Field Notes and Analyses, and the Project. field notes on Monday, Analysis due Wednesday, and Project Update due Saturday. You are expected to satisfactorily complete the assignments before the deadlines. If your assignment is unsatisfactory, you may redo it until it is satisfactory, but it will be considered late. You can turn in late assignments, but you also have to do Extra Credit to make up for them being late. Late or unsatisfactory assignments means you do the regular work anyway AND do Extra Credit to make-up for it being late. Some late work will require an entirely different make-up assignment in addition to the Extra Credit required to make up for late work. Not completing the assignments lowers your final grade.

This is an asynchronous class, meaning that there are no required times when you have to log on, but it is not self-paced. You will be working together as a class and all following the same schedule. When you fall behind you will have to do more work than you would if you had stayed up with the class. This means that you should plan ahead for times when you're not going to be able to spend time on this course. For example, if you work weekends, get used to finishing your Answers by Friday. If a due date falls on a holiday that you want to take, just turn the assignment in early. We will take one week off per semester.

The first few weeks will be confusing, but once you accommodate this class into the the rest of your weekly schedule and get into a rhythm, you will find the 16 weeks goes by quickly and painlessly. Please read the syllabus carefully now and ask the right questions so you can get a rhythm going as soon as possible.

Our day begins at 12:01am Pacific Time, and ends at 11:59pm Pacific Time.


Hasty, Jennifer, David G. Lewis, and Marjorie M. Snipes. 2022. Introduction to Anthropology. OpenStax.

The textbook is available for free at the URL above. You need an internet connection to access the links. You'll read it on some electronic device: like a tablet, laptop, desktop, even your smart phone (but it's bad for your neck and eyes to spend too much time hunched over squinting at a tiny screen). The money you would have spent on a new textbook can easily pay for something with a nice screen. City College might still have some free Chromebooks and WIFI hotspots (2020-21 San Diego City College Laptop Loaner Program San Diego City College Technology Request and Agreement Form).
Try out your browser's "Reader Mode" so you can adjust the size and font.
If you have sketchy internet at home, one trick is to turn on page caching on your browser, sometimes called "Make Available Offline" or "add page to reading list", or "show saved copy", or just just leave everything up on different windows and click on all the links when you are connected, or try apps that store online documents like Pocket, or cloud services like Google and Dropbox.

There are several website readers that would be useful for long car trips or certain jobs.

I highly recommend you find an online note-taking system, like, which you can use to make notes on the textbook, and other documents you find online, for all your classes. For this class' textbook, OpenStax has their own highlighting and notes system, just make a free account and log on whenever you're reading.

This is a new textbook and a print version may be available later in the semester.


The holistic approach of anthropology and the introductory nature of this class means you have to learn a little bit about many topics, and we're going to read most of the textbook. We'll mostly skip the sections of the textbook that are covered in the other anthropology classes: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Introduction to Archaeology.

Reading a textbook is not like reading a novel. Read carefully and check yourself to make sure you understand everything.

Study the Learning Outcomes at the beginning of each section. And when you finish a chapter read the Summary.

If you don't completely understand a term or a concept, start with the Key Terms section at the end of each chapter, or check another biological anthropology textbook, or an internet search engine. Be careful if you use the internet or a dictionary to define terms, because the same word may have many meanings, and how it is used in popular conversation may be very different from how we use it in cultural anthropology, so try to consult your textbook first. For concepts you don't understand very well, ask questions in class.

Weekly Reading Schedule

This is what I want you read each week.

weeks: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16

Week 1 Reading

Introduction to the Class

Read this entire syllabus. You don't have to memorize it, but you really do want to know what to do for this class, and you want to know how to find the information (tl;dr= more wasted time and more overall work for you)

Read the entire Table of Contents of the Textbook. Expand the chapters and read all the section headers. This is part of your Week 1 Project Update, but you should also ask questions about the Textbook this week.

Week 2 Reading

What Is Anthropology?

Chapter 1 (this means get the free textbook and then read everything from the Introduction, 1.1 to 1.7, Key Terms, Summary, to the Critical Thinking Questions, then skim the bibliography, then stop just before you get to Chapter 2)

Week 3 Reading

Culture and the methods of Cultural Anthropology

Chapter 2 (2.3 to 2.5) (this means read the Introduction, skip 2.1 and 2.2, read 2.3 to 2.5, and then skim the Key Terms, Summary, Critical Thinking Questions, and Bibliography as necessary)

Chapter 3 (this means read everything from the Introduction, 3.1 to 3.6, Key Terms, Summary, to the Critical Thinking Questions, then skim the bibliography, then stop just before you get to Chapter 4)

Week 4 Reading


Chapter 6

Week 5 Reading


Chapter 7

Week 6 Reading


Chapter 8

Week 7 Reading

Inequality & Migration

Chapter 9

Chapter 10 (skip 10.1)

Week 8 Reading


Chapter 11

Week 9 Reading

sex and gender

Chapter 12

Week 10 Reading


Chapter 13

Week 11 Reading


Chapter 15

Week 12 Reading


Chapter 16

Week 13 Reading

More examples of interdisciplinary anthropological subfields: anthropology of food, medical anthropology, multispecies ethnography

read at least one of the following chapters:

Chapter 14


Chapter 17


Chapter 18

Week 14 Reading

Indigenous Anthropology

Chapter 19

Week 15 Reading

Why bother?

Chapter 20

Week 16 Reading

no reading this week, instead submit your completed Course Checklists

Participant Observation

Participant Observation is the method that distinguishes cultural anthropology from other disciplines and subfields of anthropology. In this class we will learn by doing. Unpacking the phrase "participant observation" provides a concise summary of cultural anthropology. We join a new culture and participate in that culture, but we also step outside the culture and observe. That moving between two worlds is the challenge of cultural anthropology. I have separated the assignments into time spent in the field taking notes about your experiences, and time by yourself reflecting and analyzing your observations. The field work requires you to stay aware of your surroundings and open your empirical senses to input from other people. The analysis requires you to take broad concepts (from your textbook) and apply them to your observations.

The tips on participant observation for your Project may also be useful.

Participant Observation Field Notes

On Mondays, we will meet briefly in class and then head out to the field to observe culture. I will give you specific instructions before leaving (please arrive on time), but the general requirements are to observe cultural patterns and write down your observations. For this assignment, please do not take photographs, or make video or audio recordings. You will turn your Participant Observation Field Notes in to me at the end of class on Monday

Participant Observation Analyses

Using your notes from Monday, and the Textbook, you will find at least one concept in this week's reading that is relevant to your observation, and write a 1 page essay comparing and contrasting them. Find something in the reading that relates to what you saw and write about it. Do this at home on Monday or Tuesday and turn it in at the beginning of class on Wednesday. Please turn your Participant Observation Analyses in at the beginning of class.

The main requirement of this assignment is to find a specific citation in the textbook and connect it to a specific observation from your Field Notes. If you're missing a textbook citation, a field observation, or a logical connection between them, I consider it incomplete.


One of the frustrations of an introductory class is that it skims over a large amount of material and doesn't leave enough time to delve into the subject. The goal of the project is to go into more detail about a single aspect of biological anthropology. It's a big project, but it's divided up into little bits each week. To get a sense of where we're heading, check out the San Diego City College Student Anthropology Journal. If you follow all the steps, your article may be in the next issue.

By the end of the course, you will submit a work of original research. The work will progress in stages that are designed to insure your success. You will be faced with some Project Updates that are extremely difficult and confusing, but resist the temptation to skip or delay them, and instead remember to ask for help before giving up on a stage.

weeks: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16

Week 1 Project Update

Week 2 Project Update

For this week I want to introduce you to academic writing and asking for help when things get confusing.

Week 3 Project Update

Read over the Textbook's Table of Contents once more, and maybe skim a few sections for more details and possible articles and choose at least three possible projects. For each idea, make-up a title that describes the project, list the kind of project (Ethnology, Mini-ethnography, Organizational Culture, Action Anthropology), the topic (textbook section), and the title and author of an article related to the topic that you might do a Critical Review on. You really need to read the entire syllabus and skim the table of contents of the textbook before doing this assignment because you need to know all the stages of the Project and the Schedule. Turn this in on the appropriate canvas forum.


Project Idea #1

Project Idea #2

Project Idea #3

Your title for the possible Project




What kind of Project: Ethnology, Mini-ethnography, Organizational Culture, Action Anthropology, other




Sections of the Textbook most related to the topic      

Week number and dates when it will be covered in class




citation (title, author, and year) of a journal article related to the topic




You're not committed to these ideas or Critical Reviews, but the earlier you find something that will work, the easier the class will go.

Week 4 Project Update

Science tends to be collaborative, so explore the possibility of working on your Project in a group. Follow these steps:

  1. Copy your list of ideas from last week, and update them based on my feedback or your changing interests.
  2. Read through other students' Week 3 Project Updates and find ones that are interesting
  3. Copy at least 3 more possible Project Titles and include the name(s) of their author(s): these are people whom you wouldn't mind working with in a group,
  4. Submit both your ideas and theirs to the Canvas assignment (not seen by other students)
  5. OPTIONAL: Ideally, you should send messages to those student(s), showing interest in their project ideas, and willingness to form a group.

I highly recommend you at least try to form a group for the Project. If nothing works out, fine, but give it a try at least.

Week 5 Project Update

Evaluate your options from last week, including feedback from me and contact with other students, then pick one, and write a project proposal. You're not locked into doing this Project for the next 10 weeks, but the later you change your mind, the more rushed you're going to feel towards the end of the semester, so try to make these hard decisions early.

A project proposal should include:

The more detailed a plan you can give me, the better the feedback I can give you, and the smoother the Project will go. Submit this to the Canvas forum.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group.

Week 6 Project Update

Complete at least one Critical Review Worksheet and submit it to Canvas.

You already practiced finding topical articles for the Week 3 Project Update, so one of those might work. You're not stuck with what you signed up for during Week 3, and ideally you should choose Critical Review articles that relate to the topic of your Project.

This is the only required worksheet, but after this assignment, if you're having problems with your Critical Reviews, feel free to fill out more and email them to me or show it to me during Office Hours so I can give you feedback.

Week 7 Project Update

Complete your first Critical Review. Check my feedback on last week's Critical Review Worksheet, and then write your first Critical Review. Think of last week's Critical Review Worksheet as the outline for your Critical Review; expand the outline into an essay with paragraphs, and topic sentences. To save yourself some work, you should ideally do this Critical Review on the same article that you used for the Worksheet, but if you don't think you're going to use the article for your Project, then feel free to find a new article for this week's Critical Review.

Week 8 Project Update

First, copy your Week 5 Project Update (Project Proposal) and revise it if you've made any changes in the last few weeks.

Below your current Project Proposal include an annotated bibliography, and the specific requirements depending on which kind of project you chose. An annotated bibliography is a writing strategy to help you synthesize multiple sources and organize your notes. Since you know how to do a Critical Review already, an Annotated Bibliography will be easy. You can use the same format, just alphabetize all the sources you're going to use for your Project and take notes on them. Your Annotated Bibliography should include the Textbook and a Critical Review at a minimum. While you take notes on the other sources you read, make sure to copy the page numbers or section numbers across to your notes so you can include them when citing.

When you write your draft for the Week 11 Project Update you'll be able to just reorganize these notes into the body of your paper, and when you move the notes out of the Annotated Bibliography it becomes your Bibliography (Works Cited) section.

Submit this to the Canvas forum.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group, just submit one version with everyone's name on it.

Week 9 Project Update

Check my feedback from the Week 8 Project Update to see if I suggested any gaps in your annotated bibliography, and chose another article to fill them. Check my feedback on your last Critical Reviews, and then complete your second Critical Review. Any more Critical Reviews you do after this will be considered Extra Credit.

Week 10 Project Update

We have about a third of the class left and this is a good time to take stock and see how the Project is going. You may have been exposed to a new topic as you read more in the textbook, your project may be a disaster, your group may have imploded, you may have finally got a group started, your interests may have changed. So this is a good time for Self-Reflection: How are things going? Evaluate how this project is going to help with your academic and professional goals? Is the experience going to help you get a job? Are you curious about what you're researching? Depending on your answers you may want to change your project. This is a good time to commit to your current Project because trying to make major changes much later than this date will be stressful. Office hours are a great place to discuss this with me. Submit this Project Update to the Canvas assignment (not seen by other students).

Also submit your Course Checklists; just attach them to the same assignment.

Week 11 Project Update

Submit a draft of your Project. Make sure to spend enough time giving the context. At this stage you should start to worry about format and style. This is big update so try to start it early. The cleaner and the more complete your draft is, the less work you have to do from here on out; do a good job for this update and you're basically done with the Project. Submit this to the Canvas forum.

From this week on you can do the Extra Credit assignment Find an Editor.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group, just submit one version with everyone's name on it.

Week 12 Project Update

One popular myth about scientists is that they are these unkempt individual geniuses who lock themselves in a room for a week and come out with a major discovery, but science is more about collaboration and community. Similarly, writing shouldn't be something you do by yourself; we need to practice giving feedback and often struggle to find others to give us good feedback. An important aspect of the writing process is the relationship between writer and editor. Prominent anthropological journals and books are peer reviewed; this means that several anthropologists read and criticize a work before it is published.

For the Peer Review component, choose 3 drafts by other students submitted last week on Canvas and give constructive criticism. Make comments that will help your fellow students improve their Project. Usually, the more specific the comments the better. Ideally, upload an edited file to the same thread. Submit your peer review to the same Canvas forum as last week.

Week 13 Project Update

Clean up the best long version of your Project. Based on feedback from other students and myself, revise your Project focusing on: content, the specific requirements of the kind of project and format. After submitting your work on Canvas, wait an hour and then go back to the TurnItIn Similarity Report to check for plagiarism problems.

This should be a clean full version with all your resources and appendices included. You will probably end up trimming this down for Weeks 14 and 15.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group, just submit one version with everyone's name on it.

Week 14 Project Update

One of the components of science is sharing your research with others. Prepare your Project for publication in the The San Diego City College Student Journal of Anthropology

Before it gets published we use a google doc to homogenize the formats. You will need to make a google account for this. This document gets big and slow so please be patient and try put things in the right spot.

  1. make changes based on my feedback,
  2. take out unnecessary references to "the textbook", "the professor", "the assignment", "mini-ethnography", "Project" with a capital P, or anything that will confuse an average reader who wasn't in the class. It's fine to have those in the previous project drafts, but now your audience is changing.
  3. make sure the requirements from the previous Project Updates are relevant to your article; Textbook quotes and definitions of anthropology subfields shouldn't stick out, irrelevant info from Critical Reviews should be cut.
  4. revise your Author's Bio from Week 1 Project Update and paste it at the very end of your project, after the Work Cited section.
  5. add a contact email or phone number so the editor can get a hold of you next semester.
  6. clean-up all spelling, grammar, and formatting problems
  7. if you are in a group, just submit one version with everyone's name on the top, and check pronouns and formatting even more carefully,
  8. try to get more people to review it for you, see the Find an Editor extra credit
  9. if you made major revisions, submit it again to Canvas and check the TurnItIn's similarity report for plagiarism problems,
  10. copy it into the Google Doc and follow the instructions there: mostly reformatting everything, and checking for block quotes, extra spaces,   extra carriage returns
    , graphic captions, strange chåracters, etc.
  11. go back to Canvas and do the "quiz" called "Week 14 Project Update: Publication Ready Checklist"
Extra Credit

For extra credit, you can give constructive criticism on other articles within the Google Doc

If other people make suggestions to your article, please reply with “Y” or “N” whether you accept the suggestions or not, and I’ll clean them up periodically.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group, just submit one version with everyone's name on it.

Week 15 Project Update

Besides the journal article, I want you to also present your research in a public forum such as the Student Research Symposium or other college research fairs. I will announce the dates as soon as they are available. The Student Research Symposium date is Thursday, April 20th from 9am-1:30pm AH/BT Upper Quad.

Even though this is due towards the end of the semester you should plan this early so you don't miss submission deadlines. You will often have to submit or present a draft of your work, and that is very typical for scientists. Presentations may take various formats, such as slide presentations, posters, and videos.

If you can't present to a live audience, your alternate assignment will be to submit your final article to at least two other virtual venues: academic journal (Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography,, etc), contests, or personal publishing platforms (,, etc). You may need to make accounts for these platforms.

On the Canvas forum, list the event or URLs where you presented your project.

*this week's update can be submitted as a group, include the entire group in either the preparation or the presentation, and make sure to credit all the members of your group.

Week 16 Project Update

Now that you're done, reflect on the completed Project and the process you went through to get there. How did it go? What worked what didn't? How would you do it differently? What did you learn about learning how to learn? Submit this to the Canvas assignment (not seen by other students).

Choosing a Project

For Week 3 you choose three possible projects. For Week 5 you narrow it down to one idea, and write a project proposal.

Try to choose a topics that will help you further your academic or professional career.

You have a lot of flexibility about the topic for your Project as long as you can find a connection to this course, but you will find that the closer you can align your topic to one of the topics in the textbook, the easier it will be. There are four kinds of Projects: Ethnology, Mini-ethnography, Organizational Culture, Action Anthropology. You get to do one. For some topics you might find that some combination of Projects might apply, and feel free to work with me to personalize your project.

Office hours are a great place to get immediate feedback on Project ideas.

1) Ethnology Project

Ethnology is the comparison of different cultures to explore universal patterns of culture. For this option you will choose two ethnographic monographs and compare and contrast them to each other and the ideas presented in your textbook. An ethnographic monograph is usually a short book that describes a specific culture at a specific time. It is sometimes called "an ethnography" for short because it is based on the field of ethnography, writing about a specific culture. This is like a book report, except you will be comparing and contrasting three books: two ethnographies and your textbook. I would be happy to suggest monographs that would be relevant to your interests. Several publishers have series of ethnographies: Cengage Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology (search Case Studies), Oxford University Press Ethnography, Waveland Press (skip down to Selected Case Studies). The City College library has several and you can find them by typing "ethnographies" into a LC Subject - Keyword search.

Be careful not to confuse ethnology and ethnography. Ethnography is when an anthropologist describes a single culture after living with them. Ethnology is when you sit at a desk and mash together ethnographies that other people wrote. For this project, I want you to do ethnology, but you need to find a couple of ethnographies to compare. If you find good ethnologies, you can cite them in your project, and you can work backward, and use the bibliography of someone else's ethnology to find an ethnography to read yourself.

How to find ethnographies instead of ethnologies? Avoid broad encyclopedic descriptions of huge cultures. Avoid travel writing and other sources that glorify the exotic. Ethnography differs from other descriptions of cultures in that the primary method is participant-observation. There are many ethnographies that don't use "ethnography" in the title, and their many sources about ethnography with "ethnography" in the title that are not ethnographies, so you need to check the research method. It's probably not ethnography if the primary method was analysis of census data, psychological experimentation, consultation of historical records, analysis of news media, analysis of economic indicators, or the biography of an individual. Find sources where the scientist actually went and lived with the people they're writing about.

This is a chance to explore a topic and a pair of cultures in more depth. Consider choosing a topic or regions that are relevant to your academic or professional career.
Week 5 Project Update should include the two ethnographies you plan to read, and which sections from the textbook you plan to compare the ethnographies to.
Week 8 Project Update should include an annotated bibliography with summaries of each ethnography and sections from the textbook for comparison.
If you don't want to be an armchair anthropologist, and you want to do your own fieldwork, read on...

2) Mini-ethnography Project

This Project is like the weekly participant observation work, but more involved. The best way to understand the methods of ethnography is to experience it yourself. Another option for your project is to complete a mini-ethnography project outside of class. The mini-ethnography project has three components, which must be completed in this order: (1) proposal, (2) fieldwork, (3) write-up.
The proposal consists of a one-page description of your proposed project. It should focus on who you plan to observe and interview, and what you expect to learn. Ideally, this should be an outsider-ethnography, studying a culture that is not your own. The more cultural shock, the easier you will find the assignment, so chose a cultural experience that you are NOT familiar with; e.g. if you listen to punk rock, go to an opera, if you are a fundamentalist Christian, observe a Wicca service, etc.

The proposal must address any ethical issues that might arise during fieldwork, e.g. include a statement that you will protect the confidentiality of your informants so that they won't be hurt by anything that you say about them. Ethical issues also includes steps you will take not to infect the population you are studying with COVID 19, including your vaccine status, masking, and social distance.

The proposal should also state your preconceptions about the culture you will observe, and your theoretical approach to the fieldwork, e.g. do you plan to merely describe the cultural experience in detail, or do you plan to test a hypothesis, such as how your observation will relate to the concepts mentioned in the class and in your textbook. Because your fieldwork in this mini-ethnography is limited to three hours, please limit the scope of your project. Find a situation where you can observe patterns of people interacting. Don't try to be profound, think of it as an exercise, and keep it simple! Before you begin fieldwork you MUST obtain my approval on the proposal. This proposal should be submitted before or as the Week 5 Project Update.
The fieldwork consists of three to five hours of participant observation, and one ten-minute interview with a member of the culture being observed after the observation. Notice the emphasis on observation. This is a not a life history assignment where you would emphasize the interview. It is not self-ethnography where you focus your own culture. Don't hand out surveys. Participant observation is about joining a group of people in their regular activities. For this project, the interview is a just a quick way to get an emic perspective on your observations. The observation must take place in a public area. You must inform the interviewee of your purpose before beginning the interview. During the participant observation and interview you are limited to using only hand-written written notes, and you are prohibited from using cameras or other electronic recording devices. There are several projects where this is not feasible, and you should address this in your proposal. Sketches or diagrams are often useful. Plan time to flesh-out your notes immediately after the observation and interview while it is still fresh in your mind, many ethnographers will type them out at this point and add commentary.
Week 8 Project Update should include any field notes so far, and an annotated bibliography of all the chapters of the textbook you will be comparing to, Critical Review articles, videos, and any other sources you want to include.
Week 11 Project Update should be a draft of your write up. The write-up should present your data in a logical form using academic English.
Week 13 Final Project should be a packet that includes the following components, in order from new to old: (1) final revised version on top, (2) original field notes, (3) proposal approved by me on the bottom.

Project Updates after Week 13 can leave out the field notes and the proposal

At the end of chapter 2 of your textbook, in the Mini-Fieldwork Activity is a shorter example of participant-observation, and here are more tips on participant-observation for this class.

3) Organizational Culture Project

If you browse the range of careers where anthropologists can apply their skills, you can see that not everyone is a university professor. Many consider Applied Anthropology to be a fifth subfield of anthropology because the goals and methods are so different from the other more academic subfields. With Applied Anthropology you're not just studying human behavior, you're actively trying to change it. Methods often include autoethnography along with traditional participant-observation. Applied Anthropology has many overlapping subfields and related approaches such as Practicing Anthropology, Engaged Anthropology, Participatory Action Research, but for your Project you can choose between Organizational Culture or Action Anthropology.

For the Organizational Culture Project you will follow all the guidelines for the Mini-Ethnography Project as described above except that your observations will be made based on 5-10 hours of observation at your job, internship, or volunteer organization. The format for your written work will be divided into three parts: a journal of field notes, a report, and a cover letter. Your journal should detail your activities, insights, cultural observations, and connections to topics in the textbook you made while observing the organization. The report should be a formal explanation of how you believe the organization could improve their organizational culture. Your audience (client) for the report is the administration of the organization (i.e. your boss, the NGO director, etc.). The cover letter is a formal business letter addressed to the appropriate department in your workplace which summarizes the project. You have to write the letter as an assignment for this class, but you don't have to actually send it.

The advantages of doing the fieldwork at your job is that you're there anyway. If you volunteer this would be like a service learning project. The service learning option requires you to be very self-motivated. To help decide where to volunteer, you might ask yourself what item your professional resume is missing, or what career you would like to explore. I can help you during office hours.

Your Week 5 Project Update should include permission to conduct research from the group you wish to volunteer with, as well as your research goals. You MUST get permission from your supervisor to submit this Project proposal.

Your Week 8 Project Update should include your journal so far, possible comparisons to the textbook, and an annotated bibliography that includes at least one source on a topic related to your organization, and one source that defines "Organizational Culture".

Your Week 11 Project Update should be a draft of your report and cover letter, and a more complete journal.

For Week 14 and 15 You should write a summary of your research that anonymizes the data. Take out all identifying references to the organization and people.

If you want to volunteer in a cultural situation that is new to you, but you don't want to focus on organizational culture, you can always just do the Mini-Ethnography Project with the new group where you're volunteering, but you'll need permissions from both the organization director, and the people you're observing.

4) Action Anthropology Project

Another kind of Applied Anthropology is Action Anthropology and it includes using anthropological knowledge to better guide political action. For this project you will plan a short political campaign related to an ethical issues addressed by cultural anthropology, which because of the holistic aspect of anthropology means almost anything goes. Your Project Updates will be planning and reports on the campaign, and should include the same comparison to topics in the Textbook and other sources as the Literature Review project. For example, if you start a campaign to get the campus store to stop selling clothes made in sweatshops, your campaign media (letters, petitions, fliers, videos, etc.) must cite academic sources that use participant-observation to study the culture of sweatshops. There are many good resources on community organizing (e.g. campaigns, or newspaper op eds), but make sure that you focus on the anthropological ideas first.

Your Week 8 Project Update should include an outline of the campaign, and an annotated bibliography of other sources you want to include and the sections of the textbook you will be comparing your project to.

Your Week 11 Project should be an essay describing the campaign, with all materials that you create included as appendices.

Critical Reviews

Critical reviews are a basic research tool for almost all sciences. I want you to practice extracting hypotheses, methods, and data from research articles and evaluating their reliability. The practice is so you can better apply these concepts to your own original research and article. Your textbook contains references to scientific articles related to the topics being discussed in that section, and you can find more recent articles from the library and online. You will choose two Critical Reviews for the entire semester. The write-up should include the following sections: citation, introduction, hypothesis, background, method, data, and conclusion.

For this assignment you are required to find an article or resource that relates to a topic in the Textbook, find a specific list of items in the article, and compare and contrast the article with the textbook. Use this assignment as a chance to move away from the confines of the textbook and explore topics that interest you, the holistic nature of anthropology makes it easy to find articles that YOU want to read, but can still be connected to one or more of the sections in the textbook.

the keyboard buttons for Control + the letter F floating in space

Selecting a Resource

You can find good articles for Critical Reviews in the Textbook, at the library, and through the internet. Ideally, you're looking for peer-reviewed journal articles, like an anthropology journal article or a single chapter from an anthropology book. Other sources that will be more difficult to review include: reviews of articles, popular science magazine articles, newspaper articles, internet blogs, Hollywood movies, television programs, interpretive dance performance, etc; finding the hypothesis and enough data to review can be tricky. It's all doable, but probably harder than a peer-reviewed journal articles where the categories I'm looking for will often pop-up in the first paragraph. If you have any doubt about the relevance of your article, please ask me. Office hours are a great place for me to help you with finding articles.


At the end of each chapter in the Textbook is a bibliography with sources that would make good Critical Reviews. The online version of your textbook has a search function, where you can enter a keyword and it will search all chapters for the term.


The City College library has many good resources. Start with OneSearch, and then Articles & Databases, and for this class I recommend EBSCO (the top on on the list), Ethnic Newswatch, and JSTOR (halfway down the list). For EBSCO if you go to the left bar where it says "Source Types", click on "Academic Journals" for a better selection. Here is a guide to finding scholarly articles. Here is a guide specific to Cultural Anthropology. The City College Learning Resource Center has a Chat with a Librarian Now service linked to their home page and also offers 30 minute zoom research sessions. If you have access to other college libraries, they have may bigger online catalogs that will give you the full text of an article for free. Friends at four-year universities are nice to have. Don't pay for articles, there are plenty of good ones for free. If you feel overwhelmed at your screen and the eye strain has you seeing red, don't neglect the old-school technique of just walking into a library and browsing the periodical stacks.

Google Scholar

If you use a search engine I highly recommend Google Scholar. Just putting a vocabulary word from the chapter into a search engine may give you all kinds of crap that you need to sort through. If you choose a source that is not from a peer reviewed journal, you will need to spend more time critically evaluating the reliability of the journal, author, and all of the author's ideas, and if you don't completely address the article's shortcomings, you run the risk of propagating bad science. Choose scientific journals over blogs. If a blog talks about a newspaper article, go find the newspaper article. If the newspaper article talks about an article in a scientific journal, go find the journal article. Often the primary source is stuck behind a pay-wall, but not always, so make an effort to find it.

Below each listing in Google Scholar there is a set of icons and text that links to very powerful features. Please click on all of them and experiment until you figure out what each one does.

Where to post your Critical Reviews?

I want to be able to give you individual feedback on your writing, and for you to share your work with the rest of the class, so you'll need to post your Critical Reviews in two places on Canvas. First, submit the file in that week's Project Update assignment, and I will give you individual feedback.

One of the requirements of the Critical Review is to give the Background of the article you are reviewing, to explain the context of how this specific information is relevant to the class we're taking. In the Background section you are required to cite the textbook. Whatever section (or sections) you cite from the textbook, that is the week's folder where you should post your Critical Review. If you cite sections covered in different weeks then it's your choice, but the earlier the better is a good strategy with Critical Reviews.

Content of Your Critical Reviews

First Read: How to Review a Scientific Article for My Class

The most important content of your critical review should be a comparison between the ideas presented in the textbook and similar ideas presented by the article you chose. You must situate the article in the context of biological anthropology; compare and contrast your article with the Textbook section. I like to think of this as "backing-up" in both senses of the metaphor; your article is probably going to be very specific, but before you get too far down your narrow path, back up and give us the broad view of where we are. What is the topic? How do the authors' presentations of the ideas differ? Do they emphasize different points? Do they disagree? See the Anthropological Imagination for more information.

Your critical review must contain at least one citation of your textbook. The citation can be a paraphrase, a short quote, or a block quote. A paraphrase is where you take the information and rewrite it in your own words to better fit the point your trying to make; you must include the source (the section most cases) where the information came from, usually right after the idea you borrowed from the author, but possibly at the end of your paragraph. A short quote is less than five lines, and the author's exact words are put in quotation marks and the chapter is given right after the close quote. A block quote is more than five lines of the authors exact words and the text is indented, single spaced, the font size reduced, no quotations marks are used, and the section given in brackets after the quote. You must include the section for paraphrases, short quotes, and block quotes. When citing other sources, also include the page number when available. Review the "Scientific Writing Exercise" for more info.

When including ideas from other authors you must frame the citation with your own words, introducing why the citation is relevant to the point you're trying to make, and after the citation, explaining to the reader what they were supposed to get out of the citation. The longer the citation (e.g. block quotes) the more framing you need to do. Review Academic English for the style and format.

Critical Review Worksheets

To help you organize the content of your Critical Reviews, I have blank Critical Review Worksheets that you can turn in and I will give you feedback.

How many Critical Reviews do I have to do?

Besides the two required Critical Reviews you may do up to eight additional ones for extra credit, for a maximum of 10. If you find several interesting articles from a single section consider putting them together and doing your Ethnology Project on that subject.

Critical Review Checklist


It's important, but sometimes difficult, to find my feedback on the work you submit. I will return your Critical Reviews with comments in several possible places on Canvas:

Canvas doesn't make it easy to find my comments, so please open all rubrics, and check the threads of all of your posts to look for feedback. If you have problems seeing my comments, please let me know. Occasionally, my feedback is skimpy because I feel it is represented by the grading rubric form, and that usually means you're either a rock star, or you need to read the instructions again more carefully, and you can tell the difference by whether the assignment was satisfactory or not.

Make sure to find my feedback so you avoid making the same mistakes week after week. If you don't understand the feedback, please ask me during the first few weeks, so you don't keep making the same mistakes.

This is not kind of class where you make one mistake on an assignment and you can never get higher than a "B". This is the kind of class where it takes you a few weeks to figure things out, and if you fix the problems from the week before, you end up with an "A".

Group Work

Many Project Updates (Weeks 5,8,11,13,14,15), and many extra credit assignments may be done in groups. There is no penalty for working in groups, and assignments will be graded as if written by a single author, and all the authors in a group will be given the same evaluation. Likewise; each member of the group is also responsible for the entire submission. If there is a problem with plagiarism, all members of the group suffer equally.

For your Week 4 Project Update, you are required to read through other students' project proposals and find at least three that you are interested in. You are encouraged to contact them, but you are not required to follow through and actually form a group. Group work is optional.

This class is not graded on a curve, so there is no advantage to hoarding information or obstructing your classmates, but you have no obligation to join a group if you don't want to, or to accept group members just because they are desperate.

To define a group, one of the group members just needs to put the names of all the co-authors on the top of the first page of the assignment. You may not be in more than one group per assignment; if you helped another group, then make sure that the group states that you helped the group but are not a co-author.

All members of the group should contribute to editing all parts of an assignment, and the assignment must have a uniform format. You may not use different font styles or citation formats for different sections. If you use personal pronouns (I, me, my, mine), you must specify which author you are referring to, usually by putting their name in parentheses after the pronoun.

Many word processing programs have a feature that allows comments from different authors to show up on your writing. I recommend Google Docs because everyone in your group will need an account anyway for the Week 15 Project Update. Another option is the Review or Track Changes function of MS Word.

You are responsible for anything that gets turned-in to me with your name on it. Don't put your name on something you didn't do, don't put someone else's name on something they didn't do.


Take a deep breath and check yourself to see how things are going. For both self-reflections I'd like a narrative journal or blog style post, nothing formal. Please also submit your Course Checklists at this time.

The Week 10 Self-Reflection is about finding strategies to make the project as relevant to you as possible. Evaluate how this project is going to help with your academic and professional goals? Is the experience going to help you get a job? Are you curious about what you're researching?

The Week 16 Self-Reflection is about learning how to learn. How did it go? What worked, what didn't? How would you do it differently? What did you learn about doing projects?

Academic English

Your Project and Critical Reviews should be exercises in using academic English to write essays. The main thing to remember about an essay is structure. Ideas are broken into paragraphs, and paragraphs are broken into sentences. The title summarizes the essay. The introduction and conclusion summarize the essay in more detail. A topic sentence summarizes each paragraph. The structure helps the reader quickly find the information they need while skimming your essay. Apply the skills you learned in your English classes. If you're rusty, here's a quick overview of the writing process.

Proofread it, spell-check it, and grammar-check it. Use a writing style appropriate for readers of popular science magazines (National Geographic, Discovery, Nature, Archaeology, etc.) or anthropology journals and consult their style guides if possible. Please cite your sources correctly to avoid plagiarism.

Submit your work on Canvas.

Project Format

If the idea of a 15 page essay scares you, remember that the introduction, conclusion, and bibliography will add about a page, and when you cover the context and bring in concrete examples you'll find it's easy to make it long enough. A typical writing style in anthropology, especially cultural anthropology, is to mix the statistics with personal narratives of ourselves and our informants. We want to put a human face on the numbers, and to support generalizations with specific examples. The qualitative research methods of anthropology push us towards this style. If you get writer's block, check out this article on Writing Anthropology for ideas.
Relate your data as much as possible to the topics covered in the textbook. Cite the author year, and page number. For your textbook the intext citation should look like (Hasty, Lewis, and Snipes 2022, [chapter/section number]). For example, in a discussion of primate behavior, you might write:

[...]We should use caution when attributing a biological basis for violence (Nader 2017, 34-5; Hasty, Lewis, and Snipes 2022, 17.3), but my observations were consistent with O'Neil's (2012) discussion of affiliative behavior in primates and showed what Victor Turner described as communitas (Harris and Johnson 2007, 280). But, their agonistic behavior fit more with Harris' description of political power, not as complex, but similar to the way "disobedience and nonconformity result not only in retribution administered through the state's police military apparatus but also in punishments in the present or future life" (284). [then go on to explain these connections in detail]

Include the following section at the end of your paper:

Works Cited

Harris, Marvin and Orna Johnson. 2007. Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Pearson

Hasty, Jennifer, David G. Lewis, and Marjorie M. Snipes. 2022. Introduction to Anthropology. OpenStax.

Nader, Laura. 2017. "The Development of Anthropological Ideas." In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology. Edited by Nina Brown, Laura Tubelle de González, and Thomas McIlwraith. 2017. American Anthropological Association. Accessed January 1, 2019.

O'Neil, Dennis. 2012 "Primate Behavior." Biological Anthropology Tutorials. Accessed August 22, 2016.

[include all the references you use, alphabetized, and correctly formatted]

All of your options for Projects require a college level quantity and quality of written work, but you'll do it in stages, and have multiple chances to fix mistakes, so you don't get overwhelmed.

Critical Review format

Your critical review should look like an extra-long annotated bibliography entry. This means the citation (Chicago style is author, title, year, publisher, URL, access date) goes on the top instead of a title. The title of your Critical Review is the article that you are reviewing. Your review goes below the article citation. This is upside down from a regular essay, where the list of sources go at the end, but it makes sense for a Critical Review because you are just focusing on one source, so put it on top. I have included links about how to format an annotated bibliography and examples of past Critical Reviews in the Academic Resources folder, accessible from the course home page on Canvas.

Here's an example:

Student's Name
Anth 103

Alemseged, Z., F. Spoor, W. H. Kimbel et al. 2006. "A Juvenile Early Hominin Skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia." Nature, 443:296-301

  An early fossil skeleton from Ethiopia was determined to be 3.2 million year old, juvenile, and an Australopithecus afarensis. Cumulative cultural evolution is a very recent trend in human evolution compared to the long history of hominin biological evolution (Nader 2017, 435). Alemseged's discovery is important because it is one of the earliest infants ever found (Alemseged 2006, 299), and it is a good example of how most of our unique evolution and separation from apes occurred in the last few millions of years since split off from other apes. Alemseged based his conclusion that this by conducting survey, excavation, dating techniques, morphological analysis, and other methods. The data is conclusive that the skeleton was early, a child, and a hominin, but "but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire" (299). [...]

Notice that the format for both an annotated bibliography and your Critical Reviews is upside-down: the article citation comes first, the annotation goes below.

Please use formal academic English for your Project and Critical Reviews. This doesn't mean you have to use the biggest word possible, but try to use the most precise word. You must explain yourself clearly, thoroughly, and support your position with examples from the class. Assume that your reader has not taken this class, and define and explain any new vocabulary. Avoid lists and bullets. Use complete sentences. Organize your ideas with indented paragraphs and topic sentences. If you are not a strong writer, you should compensate by writing longer essays. Since this is not a writing class, I'm focusing on the quality and quantity of your ideas. If you are not a strong writer, it will take more words to convey those ideas, so don't write skimpy essays. Try to expand rather than condense. I've found it takes most students 2-5 pages to fulfill the requirements.

Your writing style for Participant Observation and extra credit may be informal, but not for your Critical Reviews, or Project. Make sure to use the spell check and grammar check functions of your word processor for academic English. If you cite a website remember that they change, so you must include the date when you accessed the page along with any search terms you used to get to the information that might not show up in the URL. The reason you give a full citation is to make it easy for someone to read exactly the same thing you did.

Anthropological Imagination

All work in this class should answer the question: what is anthropological about this text or experience? Back up and give the context to someone who hasn't taken this class. Explain what anthropology is, and how your project is an example of anthropology. You should locate the books or experiences in the relevant subfields of the larger discipline of cultural anthropology; explain how your text or experience fits into the section headings in your textbook. You should demonstrate your ability to understand the anthropological issues discussed by the authors or observed. Try to always relate your observations to the topics covered in the textbook; try to find the spots in your textbook where it says something similar to what you're saying; it is a requirement that you must include citations (paraphrases or quotes) of your textbook.

Extra Credit

I offer a smörgåsbord of activities to apply the anthropological concepts you learn from your textbook, and compensate for problems you have with getting satisfactory course work in on time.

The most important element in all Extra Credit is to compare and contrast your event or experience with what it says in your textbook and give an anthropological perspective.

You can use other forms of communication besides academic English for most Extra Credit; such a journal, blog, hand written, illustrations, videos, etc.

Turn your Extra Credit in as soon as possible so I can approve it and give you feedback. Try to attach your Extra Credit to the late assignment in Canvas, and distinguish it as Extra Credit. If you turn it all in the last week of class, it may be unsatisfactory and there will be no way for me to let you know before giving you a final grade. Make sure to keep track of your Extra Credit on your Course Checklists. If you have late assignments that you need to make up for, just send me a copy of your Course Checklists, with a brief description of the Extra Credit in the notes box on the sheet next to the assignment you need to make up for. Then, I'll change your Incomplete assignment to Complete. I will also ask for your Course Checklists during the self-reflection Project Updates, and at the end of the semester when I determine your grade, and you need to make sure that each late assignments has a corresponding approved Extra Credit. Longer Extra Credit, like extra Critical Reviews, may count for more than one late assignment.

Below are some typical extra credit activities for you to choose from. Remember: the Extra Credit is just to compensate for when you didn't get a satisfactory Project Updates, Participant Observation Field Notes, or Analyses in on time. Don't even think about trying to do everything here! The Annual Anthropology Calendar might suggest current events, and try to pick activities that you enjoy, that will help you work on a deficiency, or that further your academic career:

Critical Thinking Questions

At the end of the chapters of the Textbook are thought provoking questions that don't have right or wrong answers. You're not limited by media, but your responses must engage with the concepts of cultural anthropology.

Mini-Fieldwork Activities

At the end of the last section of each chapter of the Textbook are Mini-Fieldwork Activities. Try to follow the instructions and write up your experiences.

Library Tour

The Library may offer 30 minute tours on the second and third week of the semester, check the library website and see the schedule in the Anthropology Announcement folder

Additional Critical Reviews

You need to do two to get an A, but you can do up to ten. Extra Critical Reviews will make up for one to three late assignments.


I will periodically make quizzes available on Canvas. They will be linked as an item in the weekly learning module.

Cultural Event Write-ups (Micro-ethnographies)

If you want more fieldwork experience you could try attending cultural events (such as those listed in the San Diego Participant Observer), and writing them up, using the Mini-ethnography description as a guide.

Museum or Lecture Write-up

Write an essay about a lecture or museum visit and compare it to the concepts presented in your textbook. Several events are mentioned in the the Anthropology Announcement folder, you can propose your own events, and I will announce more during the semester. Write-ups will make up for one to three late assignments.

Anthropological Critiques of Video

Video Critiques are like Critical Reviews but less formal. Just watch the video, and compare and contrast it to what the Textbook says.

I encourage you do at least one Anthropological Critique of a Video for the primate ethology section.

To find videos, the Textbook includes many links, and the City College library has a Media collection with several good films. You can also just take a concept from the Textbook and put it in a search engine. For example, if you search for "Sickle Cell Anemia", you'll find over 100,000 videos, most of which will work for this assignment. It's not that important what video you choose, but just that you connect it to the ideas in the textbook.

Some videos are academically rigorous enough that they can be reviewed exactly the same way as a Critical Review, identifying the citation (director), hypothesis, background, method, data, etc, but you may also decide to critique the video from other anthropological perspectives, for example you can include more of your personal or aesthetic reflections. I expect the Critical Reviews to be formal, but you have more flexibility with the Anthropological Critiques of a Video. The most important requirement is that you relate your video back to ideas mentioned in your textbook.

Visual anthropology is a subfield of cultural anthropology that deals both with how visual media helps us understand humans, and how we can use anthropological concepts to help understand visual media.

Anthropological Critiques of a Video will make up for one to three late assignments.

Additional Project

You can do a second project for extra credit. Extra Projects will make up for one to ten late assignments.

Find an Editor

Finding an Editor can happen anytime after you finish your Week 11 Project Update. Give the latest draft of your project to a native English speaker who is a university graduate and ask them to proofread it. Have the proofreader sign/initial the top of your draft, and include their university, degree, and date of graduation. Attach the marked-up copy to the Canvas assignment. Scan or photograph it if necessary. Consider incorporating their suggestions into your next draft. Where to find an outside academic not associated with this class? The English Center is a great resource but might not work for this Extra Credit, depending on which tutor you get. Maybe your boss? Another professor during their office hours? A family member? Try going downtown during lunch with a printout and a red pen and solicit random office workers?

Examen Extraordinaria

This is a Spanish term for a make-up final exam. They will take place during office hours of the last week of class. Contact me for details.

Honor's Contract

If you read all the above Extra Credit assignments and got really excited about doing all that extra work then consider doing an Honor's Contract. Honor's contracts are a great way for the kind of self-motivated student who ends up doing twice as much work as the rest of the class to get the brownie points they deserve. You enroll in a separate class, and you get a little "H" on your transcript, and bragging rights when transferring to four-year colleges. You attend this class and participate normally, but you add another layer of work on top.

Before you start the paperwork make sure to complete my requirements which include a draft of your plan as soon as possible (the Honor's Program needs the signed proposal by the middle of the third week), and a commitment to attend Office Hours regularly, or schedule a separate time if you can't make the regular one. Your contract must include a timeline with due dates for your proposed work. The most common honor's contract is serving as an editor for an issue of the City College Student Anthropology Journal which gives you more experience with anthropology and a nice line-item for your resume or college application. Honor's contracts are great, but you must be self-motivated because you are responsible for designing your own class and then carrying it out.

After making a plan with me, you'll need to fill out their very short Google Form (see the top of this syllabus for the CRN and other class info). More information from the Honors Program.


Students are expected to be honest and ethical at all times in their pursuit of academic goals. I take plagiarism seriously. I teach you how to avoid plagiarism with the Week 2 Project Update: Scientific Writing Exercise". I ask you to check your Critical Reviews and article drafts for plagiarism using the TurnItIn Similarity Reports on Canvas.

Plagiarism problems are very different from not understanding anthropology, because they become a legal issue involving Policy 3100 of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Administrative Due Process. As soon as I detect plagiarism I will arrange an informal office conference to present you with my evidence, and allow you to respond. This conference may take the form of an exchange of emails. I may then proceed with academic and administrative sanctions. Academic sanctions are limited by State Chancellor's Legal Opinion 7-12 to receiving a zero for the entire assignment where plagiarism occurred. Administrative sanctions will be determined by the Disciplinary Officer appointed by the Dean of Student Affairs, and range from Admonition to Expulsion. You may appeal both the academic and administrative sanctions by petitioning the Dean of Student Affairs.

Plagiarism: The act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance on another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting the same as one's own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source. Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to the following:
1) Submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another;
2) Omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which belong to another;
3) Omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof;
4) Close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writing or work or another, with or without acknowledgment;
5) Submitting artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculpting, or another;
6) And submitting papers purchased from research companies (or downloaded from electronic source) as one's own work.
[Honest Academic Conduct. January 16, 2009. San Diego Community College District Administrative Procedure 3100.3 1. b.]

So falling into plagiarism can be as dangerous as leaving off a few little quotation marks, but avoiding plagiarism is really easy! You just need to tell the reader where you got your information from. You must cite your sources for all assignments. If you copy text word-for-word then you need to put it in "quotes" or format it as a block quote. If you use material from the textbook, even if it is not in quotes, you still need to include the page number where you found the information. If you use other sources, please include a full bibliography at the end of the assignment. If you consult websites, include the URL, and any search terms that I would need to get to see the same information you saw, and include the date that you looked at the webpage.

One aspect of science is that it must be reproducible. While defending your position, you need to make it easy for someone to come to the same conclusions that you did. You're not expected to reinvent the wheel, or come up with every thing from scratch; in an introductory class like this most of your writing should be regurgitation. You don't need to use a paraphrase app, you just need to practice the fundamental academic skill of incorporating an outside source into their own work, which Isaac Newton immortalized: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants". You will practice avoiding plagiarism with the"Scientific Writing Exercise" and feel confident in your writing.

Academic Accommodations

If you have any disabilities that I need to be aware of, or need academic accommodations please let me know as soon as possible. If you find yourself having problems accessing the requirements, keeping up with the reading, or understanding the material, talk to me as soon as you see a problem. Don't wait until the end of class when there's no time to find accommodations. I'm willing to help with anything that gets in the way of you succeeding in this class, and I can at a minimum refer you other resources to help you with your specific problems. Office hours are great for this. It might help to think of me as a case manager as well as a professor. As far as I'm concerned, we're in this together and if you fail, so have I.

In this online/remote learning format, I have made every effort to make this course accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. If you need disability related accommodations or if you encounter a problem accessing anything in this course, please contact me immediately by email so that I can support you. You may also contact the college's disAbility Support Programs and Services (DSPS) Department at to apply for services. Email:, Phone: 619-388-3994

Student Success

Your success as a student inside and outside the classroom is important to me. If you have difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or lack a safe and stable place to live, please contact the Office of Student Affairs for support. Or, if you need support related to mental and physical health, you are encouraged to reach out to the Student Health Center. If you believe your needs in the areas mentioned above may affect your performance in this course, know that there are support resources for you. If you are comfortable doing so, please talk to your professor (me) so I can provide you available resources.

I have made every effort to make this course accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. If you encounter a problem accessing anything in this course, please contact me immediately by email so that I can work with you to resolve. Students with disabilities who may need academic accommodations are encouraged to discuss their authorized accommodations from disAbility Support Programs and Services (DSPS) with your professor (me) early in the semester so that accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. To connect with the DSPS Department and establish services please visit their website

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are firmly committed to diversity and equity whereby barriers are removed to create space for all individuals to fully engage in all areas of campus life. Each student's voice has something of value to contribute and students are therefore encouraged to communicate and participate during class meetings. We must take care to respect the individual backgrounds, personal identities, intellectual approaches, and demographics expressed by everyone. Individual differences can deepen our understanding of one another and the world around us, thus making us global citizens. We strongly adhere to the San Diego Community College District Non-Discrimination policy and reserve our classroom as a safe space for unique and meaningful dialogue. Remember to keep confidential all issues of a personal or professional nature that are discussed in class. We also strongly encourage you to utilize the campus resources that City has to offer you.


If you have an unresolved conflict during the class, you must first contact the course instructor in an attempt to resolve the problem. If the results are unsatisfactory, you should next contact the Department Chairperson. If the results are still unsatisfactory, you should contact the School Dean.

Student Responsibilities

Please refer to the "Student Rights and Responsibilities" section of the Student Handbook or College Catalog (see Policy 3100 and Procedure 3100.2). Students are responsible for officially withdrawing from classes they are no longer attending. Do not assume that the instructor will do this for you.

Drop Policy

Students who stop participating (submitting assignments in class and Project Updates to Canvas) for 2 weeks may be dropped. The Last Date of Attendance is the last date of participating (submitting something).


This class uses contract grading, so there are no tests, no percentages, no points, and no final exam for this class. I determine your final grade based on your satisfactory completion of the weekly class requirements: Participant Observation Field Notes, Participant Observation Analysis, and the Project Updates. Contract grading means if you do all the work you get an A; if you don't do any work you get an F.

A = Excellent- you completed all the requirements for this class.

B = Good- you completed at least:

C = Satisfactory- at least:

D = Poor- at least:

F = Fail- less than:

The "and" means that you have to do everything and you can't just skip something you don't like; you have to do Participant Observation Field Notes, and the Participant Observation Analyses, and the Project Updates to get that grade. So, if you did all your Participant Observation Field Notes and Participant Observation Analyses, but you only did 8 Project Updates, you'll get a D.

Remember that late assignments are considered unsatisfactory until you complete them satisfactorily and do Extra Credit to make up for them being late.

I reserve the right to give you a higher grade based on my holistic evaluation of your performance: Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Poor, or Fail.

Course Checklists

Use these charts or worksheets to track how you're doing in the class and figure out how much work you need to do to get the grade you want. Transfer the information from Grades in Canvas to these Course Checklists. If you go to Grades in Canvas and the item has a checkmark, then you can transfer the checkmark or say "yes" in your Course Checklist. Otherwise, if the assignment in Canvas is blank or has an "X" than on your Course Checklist you need to leave it blank or say "no", and then explain in the notes column what the problem is. Sometimes it's just that I haven't graded the assignment, often it means that you had a problem with the assignment and need to fix it, and then do Extra Credit to make up for being late. Sometimes it means that I haven't graded your Extra Credit yet. The Course Checklists help us both keep track of your work and grade. If you have questions about your grade at any time, please fill out this chart and I'll check it against my records to make sure we're on the same page. At a minimum, I want to see them along with the self-reflection Project Updates, and on Week 16 to assign your final grade. There are 4 different Course Checklists: one for the Project Updates, two for Participant Observation (Field Notes and Analysis), and one to list all of your Extra Credit. The Extra Credits should correspond to the notes section of your other Course Checklists; I know this kind of double-entry bookkeeping seems redundant but please copy the information into both places. Make sure that your Checklist reflect Grades in Canvas.

Field Notes completed? notes (haven't done yet, need to redo, late but need to do Extra Credit, list Extra Credit you did to make up for being late, etc.)
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Project Update completed? notes (haven't done yet, need to redo, late but need to do Extra Credit, list Extra Credit you did to make up for being late, etc.)
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Extra Credit description for which late assignment? notes

Here is a link to the above Course Checklists as a Google Doc (direct link) that might be easier to update, print, and share with me; just start by making your own copy.

For example, let's say you missed class and couldn't submit your Participant Observation Analysis for Week 3 on time, no worries, so you would still submit the assignment late anyway, and then do some Extra Credit, say a Video Critique (writing about an anthropological video) to make up for being late. You would record on the Extra Credit Course Checklist "Video Critique on [title of video]" in the Extra Credit description column, and "Week 3 Participant Observation Analysis" for the for which late assignment? column; and copy the same information to the Participant Observation ANALYSIS Course Checklist in the Week 3 row: in the completed? column you would leave it blank or say "no", in the notes column you would put something like "submitted late, did Video Critique on [title of video] to make up for being late." After I look over your Extra Credit and your course worksheets and update your grade on Canvas, then you can go back and say "yes" in the completed? column. If you don't have a green check for the assignment in Grades in Canvas, your assignment is incomplete, and we still have some work to do. Make sure the information on your Course Checklists corresponds to Grades on Canvas.

Anthropology Annual Calendar

this may suggest timely Extra Credit write-ups to do

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get help?

drop into to the Office Hours at anytime without scheduling an appointment, or send me an email or through Canvas: try Pronto or send me a message. If you can't make the Office Hours, email me to set a more convenient time.

Is this the right class for me?

Yes! You are guaranteed to learn something about human beings!

How does it fit into my Ed Plan?

Make sure to talk to a counselor, but both introductory anthropology classes count for many requirements.

What should I do?

Use the table of contents on this syllabus to get the details about your assignments. If after reading the syllabus you don't understand something, ask me for help.

When are my assignments due?

There are weekly due-dates that you will get used to after a few weeks.

Do you accept late work?

Yes, but you need to also do Extra Credit to make up for it being late.

Where do I turn in my assignments?

Submit your work in class or on Canvas, unless otherwise noted. There are some assignments where you'll do the work on another site, and then report that you did it on Canvas, e.g. the last few Project Updates will be done on a shared Google Doc.

What's my grade?

You will receive feedback on your work in Canvas, but you need to keep your own Course Checklists up to date to stay track for getting an "A".

How do I know if I got credit for an assignment?

Check on Grades in Canvas. There are 3 options for each assignment: 1) a green check mark (or occasionally a number), 2) an X, or 3) a faint line. You want to get all green check marks, that means you're done with that assignment and you got credit. If it has an X that means there is a problem you need to fix, and the assignment is considered incomplete until you fix it. If it has a faint line, there a few possibilities: a) you didn't submit anything, b) I haven't graded it yet and will get to it soon, or c) it slipped through the cracks; please contact me if you turned the assignment in on time and the grading period has passed (one week from the Project Update or Answers due date).

Where do I find feedback on my work?

What if my assignment is incomplete?

I will tell you in the feedback whether it had problems or it was just late.

a) Was it incomplete because of problems?

  1. see my feedback
  2. ask me questions to make sure you understand the problems
  3. fix the problems
  4. resubmit it
  5. do Extra Credit to make up for being late (see below)

b) Was it good, but just late?

Do Extra Credit to make up for being late. If your assignment is marked as "Incomplete" because it was late, then in Canvas, add a comment to the assignment telling me which Extra Credit you are using to make up for that assignment, and if you haven't done the Extra Credit, you can often submit it there, as an attachment to the same late assignment. Then, update your Course Checklists with that information, so we can both track the work. If you have problems finding a good Extra Credit to do, just let me know.

Where do I post Critical Reviews?

I don't feel comfortable coming to Office Hours what should I do?

  1. Email me at
  2. Work through whatever barriers are keeping you from going to Office Hours. Don't worry about not knowing something, that's the whole point of being in college and taking classes; Office Hours are a great place to get answers. Going to Office Hours is not like going to the principal's office, it's not punishment, it's a really important part of the college experience. Your professors really want to help you succeed and are willing to work with you and help you solve whatever problems you have. You will never get a worse grade for going to office hours.

What should I do if I feel insecure about my writing ability?

  1. come to office hours
  2. take advantage of the tutors at the English Center and the Free Online Tutoring, and a wide variety of other programs and people ready to help you.
  3. for your Critical Reviews do the extra step of filling out the Critical Review Worksheet, and for your Project drafts spend more time making outlines and share those with me.

Do I have to work in a group?


My group is having problems what should I do?

Prepare to cut your losses and do the work yourself. Make sure to give your fellow group members a clear message: either they do the work they agreed to by the deadline you all set, or you will leave the group.

I can't keep up with the work, should I drop this class?

Probably not, but talk to me during Office Hours and we'll figure how doable things are. If you're just confused about what to do, I can easily get you back on track for an "A". If you're too busy this semester, I can help you be as efficient as possible, and set you up to do the bare minimum to pass.

More Fine Print that should be in all syllabi:

The San Diego Community College District does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, color, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, or military and veteran status, or because they are perceived to have one or more of the foregoing characteristics, or based on association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Complaints of discrimination or harassment based on protected class, other than sex/gender, may be filed with the Site Compliance Officer (SCO) on your campus. For more information on how to file a complaint and/or to contact your SCO, please refer to the following link:

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational institution that receives federal funding. The San Diego Community College District does not tolerate discrimination based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, including: sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship or intimate partner violence, and stalking. Students are asked to immediately report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator at (619) 388-6805 or by using the online reporting form available on the Title IX webpage: ix Students may also report incidents to an instructor, faculty member, staff member, or member of the College Police Department, all of whom are required by law to notify the Title IX Coordinator of the contents of the report. If a student wishes to keep the information confidential, the student may speak with a campus mental health counselor or with health services provider. Information for contacting these resources is available at

San Diego Community College District


Please include the following information in your syllabi:


  • It is the student's responsibility to drop all classes in which he/she is no longer participating (for online classes).

  • It is the student's responsibility to drop all classes in which he/she is no longer attending (for on campus classes).

  • It is the instructor's discretion to withdraw a student after the add/drop deadline (include date) due to excessive absences.

Students who remain enrolled in a class beyond the published withdrawal deadline, as stated in the class schedule, will receive an evaluative letter grade in this class (A, B, C, D, F).

Attendance: If the final grade in a class is affected by attendance (active participation in the class), it must be stated in the class syllabus as follows:

The final grade in this class will be affected by active participation, including attendance, as follows: (Instructor to define specifically how attendance, including participation, will affect final grade in the class)

Remember that attendance cannot be one of the standards for class grades, however participation can include the corresponding class points for participation.

Advisory for Faculty

When establishing expectations for participation/attendance it is strongly recommended that the “reasonableness” test be applied. In other words, if the classroom expectations for participation were challenged by a student, how would a jury of peers respond? It is also important that expectations are applied consistently and fairly for all students.

Examples of questionable practices:
Marking a student absent for being less than 5 minutes late (any number of unforeseen circumstances could have happened)
If the class total for participation points is 5 points, then marking off 2 points for being late for one class period is not reasonable. The standard should be spread out over the total number of class meetings in a reasonable manner.
Marking a student absent for leaving class to take a call on their cell phone (we don't know the nature of the call)
Marking a student absent for not bringing a textbook to class

If you have any questions regarding expectations for class participation please consult your dean.


Students are expected to be honest and ethical at all times in the pursuit of academic goals. Students who are found to be in violation of Administrative Procedure 3100.3 Honest Academic Conduct, will receive a grade of zero on the assignment, quiz, or exam in question and may be referred for disciplinary action in accordance with Administrative Procedure 3100.2, Student Disciplinary Procedures.

Student Code of Conduct

  • Students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct at all times. Students who violate the Student Code of Conduct may be removed from class by the faculty for the class meeting in which the behavior occurred, and the next class meeting.

    For online classes: Student access to class is removed for one week (5 instructional days).

  • Acceptance of make-up work during the removal.

    [Specify whether you will or will not accept make up work, since it is at the discretion of the instructor].

  • Incidents involving removal of a student from class will be reported to the college disciplinary officer for

    follow up.

  • The Student Code of Conduct can be found in Board of Trustees Policy, BP 3100, Student Rights, Responsibilities, Campus Safety and Administrative Due Process posted on the District website at:

    Students with disabilities who may need academic accommodations are encouraged to discuss their authorized accommodations from Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) with their professors early in the semester so that accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible.

The faculty member will work with the DSPS Office to ensure that proper accommodations are made for each student. By law, it is up to the DSPS Office, through the interactive process with the student, to determine which accommodations are appropriate, not the instructor. This includes accommodations in a clinical setting.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities:

For an online or hybrid course, consider this statement in your syllabus “I have made every effort to make this course accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. If you encounter a problem accessing anything in this course, please contact me immediately by email and also contact the college's Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) Office.”

For a face-to-face course, include these statements in your syllabus:

Students that need evacuation assistance during campus emergencies should also meet with the instructor as soon as possible to assure the health and safety of all students.

Instructors may contact DSPS if they have any questions related to authorized accommodations in their classroom.

In accordance with Title IX, absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, shall be excused for as long as the student's doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary. Students must notify the instructor in a timely manner and shall be afforded the opportunity to establish make up work or other alternative arrangements. If a student elects to withdraw from the course on or after census, a “W” shall be assigned and the district will work with the student to ensure that the W is not considered in progress probation and dismissal calculations.

For more information, you may contact the DSPS Office on your campus or the website at or refer to Administrative Procedure, AP 3105.1 Academic Accommodations and Disability Discrimination for Students with Disabilities.

Prepared by Student Services: August 2016