Cultural Anthropology

Course Code: ANTH 205

Academic Year: 2021-2022

Cultural anthropology has been called "the study of oddities by eccentrics." Who would marry more than one man at a time or their dead husband's brother or a ghost? What impels a person to hunt heads, become a suicide bomber or turn others into zombies? And why would anyone leave behind his or her family and all the comforts of home - living in an unfamiliar setting, often for years at a time - just to ponder the complicated answers to those questions? This introductory course in cultural anthropology turns on two themes related to perceiving and appreciating the human condition. The first concerns what sense we can begin to make of the extraordinary diversity, in terms of language, play, art, myth, ritual, worldview, politics, economics and forms of relatedness, found among different human groups. The second takes into account the ethnographic perspective - interacting with people seemingly different from us and participating in their way of life - and what such engagement can teach us about our society, our culture and ourselves.