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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice


OER Course Conversion Projects

ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology


  OER for ANT 101


This course is an introduction to cultural anthropology, the study of human societies and cultures. Students will examine the concept of culture in historical and global perspective, and learn tools for cross-cultural comparative analysis with an emphasis on critical thinking in relation to cultural values and practices, variation in human behavior, the organization of social life, and the making of cultural identity. Cross-cultural topics include subsistence, power and law, gender, family and kinship, language and intercultural communication, and the impact of globalization on human societies. Students will also learn fundamental concepts in anthropology to better understand the causes and conditions of our contemporary world.

Methodologies / Experiential Learning

  • Genealogical diagrams (talking to relatives and neighbors, mapping kinship relationships, to understand the role of family in our culture)
  • On-site observational note taking and interviews
  • Classroom participation. Because of our diverse college community, the classroom is a filled with variations in gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality and ethnicity, not to mention political outlook. Classes give our students the opportunity to engage with, communicate and debate their ideas verbally by engaging discussions of contemporary affairs with their peers
  • Reading mini-ethnography (information literacy). Students will read classic and contemporary ethnographies within the discipline
  • Old fashioned map quiz encouraging students to not only localize themselves but to see the world in its vastness and to understand diversity created by geography

Explore and Understand

  • To instill in our students an active curiosity about culture and the world they live in by fostering a relationship between themselves and others in a globalized world
  • To trace historically, for our students, the origins of contemporary local and international issues
  • To locate our students culturally within the larger narrative of the world (basically, to explain to them that they belong and the applied ways they can engage the many others of the world)

Student Goals and Success

  • How to read a social science article—the difference between data and theory
  • To understand plagiarism versus paraphrasing; to understand how to think about and use the work of others effectively
  • To learn to write not only for an anthropological audience but for the job market. Critical thinking and the organization of ideas and facts contributes, i.e., to producing resumes, cover letters and writing samples. To teach that compelling writing is not only to share data and analysis but a vital mode of communication in the corporate world
  • To design, conduct and report on urban ethnographic research
  • To be skeptical about given assumptions, to mistrust categories and ready-made formulas, to grasp competing viewpoints through observation while analyzing socio-cultural issues