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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Holly M. Barker
ANTH 101
Seattle Campus

Exploring Sociocultural Anthropology

Introduces perspectives from sociocultural anthropology on the diversity and the dynamics of collective human life. Examines how individual lives are shaped by broader social and cultural contexts, how people make meaning, and how power relations work. Introduces ethnography as a method for documenting and understanding social and cultural life.

Class description

ANTH 101 EXPLORING SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE BOMB. Students will explore sociocultural anthropology by examining the ways that the mining, production, testing, storage and accidents involving radioactive materials profoundly altered the lived experiences of communities throughout the world. The course will give special attention to the ways that indigenous and relatively powerless groups (children, soldiers) have suffered disproportionately from exposure to radiation. Class readings provide examples of anthropologists involved in practical problem-solving tasks in conjunction with communities exposed to radiation in documenting changes in health and the environment, and advocating for policy change.

On Tuesdays, the class will explore key concepts in sociocultural anthropology, such as: interview, voice, ethnography, participant-observation, fieldwork, power, meaning, context, methods, gender, race, ethics and advocacy. The important terms are listed below for each week. On Thursdays, we will apply those terms to readings and presentations about communities impacted by the nuclear era.

Student learning goals

Students will be introduced to sociocultural anthropology and its efforts to document and understand the endless diversity of the human condition.

Students will explore how individual lives are shaped by broader social and cultural contexts, and how global forces impact the lived experience of people at a local level by examining case studies from the nuclear era.

The course will consider how people give meaning to the world around them, and how power relations are constructed and reproduced.

We will also learn about ethnography, the primary method used by sociocultural anthropologists to document, understand, and appreciate human variety as well as other key terms in sociocultural anthropology.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, student presentations, analysis of oral histories and music.

Recommended preparation

None.

Class assignments and grading

There are no exams in this class. Grades are derived from class participation, daily reviews, group presentations, and short papers.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Holly M. Barker
Date: 02/01/2010