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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Eric A Smith
ANTH 310
Seattle Campus

Native North American Societies

Traditional cultures of America north of Mexico, emphasizing diversity of North American Indian and Eskimo societies. Origins of Native-American culture areas and language groupings; subsistence systems; levels of social organization; European conquest and colonialism; and description of representative cultures from the ten culture areas. Recommended: ANTH 100.

Class description

This is a general survey of what anthropologists and others know about Native North American societies at roughly time of contact (or first detailed ethnographic description), which varied from place to place from 1500 to 1850. Besides discussing the evidence on Native American origins, we will examine the diversity of these societies primarily through the "culture area" approach (Arctic, Subarctic, NW Coast, Plateau, Great Basin, Plains, Northeast woodlands, Southeast, Southwest, and California). In each area, we will examine and try to understand (sometimes by cross-cultural comparison) subsistence, social organization, political structure, ritual, and world-view.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture, supplemented by slides and films.

Recommended preparation

Introduction to sociocultural anthropology.

Class assignments and grading

Fairly extensive reading assignments. Midterm and final (both in-class). Option for a take-home final.

Midterm (45%) and final (55%)


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Eric A Smith
Date: 11/02/2005