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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Bryan D. Tilt
ANTH 301
Seattle Campus

Human Nature and Culture

Comparison of various anthropological perspectives on the sources of variation in customs, values, and beliefs of human groups, including non-Western peoples and contemporary Americans.

Class description

One anthropologist noted that "culture is something which man interposes between himself and his environment in order to ensure his security and survival" (Carneiro 1968: 551). In fact, the field of anthropology has always been concerned, to one degree or another, with the ways that human societies adapt to, and extend, the limits placed upon them by the natural world.

The degree to which cultural traits are influenced by biology is a constant point of contention in anthropology and related fields. This is a debate that can be summed up by the following questions, which are the basis for this course:


This course will address all of these questions through readings, lectures, and discussions on the topics of genetics, cognition, gender, environmental conservation, and sharing behavior. We will seek to understand how humans make their way in the world by bringing both biological and cultural resources to the problems they confront.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course requires students to read a substantial amount of material, to think critically about it, to write short response papers, to attend lectures, and to participate actively in class discussion.

Recommended preparation

A basic understanding of anthropological principles is recommended.

Class assignments and grading

Grades in the class will be calculated based on several short writing assignments, a mid-term exam, a final exam, and class participation.


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 Bryan D. Tilt
Date: 04/17/2005