Introduction To Anthropology (evening)
Anthropology is not just the study of other cultures: it is a way of seeing, a way of doing and a way of
thinking. In this course we will introduce you to many of the key concepts, methods and debates within this subject by each week exploring a different topic to explore how cross cultural comparisons can illuminate our understanding of these issues. Amongst the topics we will explore are: culture and identity; sex and gender; production and consumption; religion, death and dying; anthropology of the senses, and more. A main focus of the course is on developing the ability to apply an anthropological perspective to the world around us, and in the process come to appreciate some of the many things we take for granted in new and unexpected ways.
Who is this course for
Anyone who is interested in the study of people, cultures and society and who would like to know more about the distinctive ways in which anthropologists have approached this. Anthropology is not just the study of 'other' cultures: it is a way of seeing, a way of doing and a way of thinking. The course will introduce you to many of the key concepts, methods and debates within this subject by each exploring a different topic to explore how cross cultural comparisons can illuminate our understanding of these issues. Amongst the topics we will explore are: culture and identity; sex and gender; production and consumption and our understanding of 'waste'; religion, death and dying; anthropology and the senses, and more.
A main focus on the course is on developing the ability to apply an anthropological perspective to the world around us, and in the process come to appreciate some of the many things that we take for granted in new and unexpected ways. The course will assume no previous knowledge of anthropological methods, theories or data but would still be very suitable for you if you do have some background in these matters, or other approaches taken in the social sciences more generally.
What does this course cover
Over the duration of the course, we will aim to provide you with an understanding of the main methods, theories and concepts of anthropology but the emphasis is on guiding you through these via a range of topics that we will explore through case study examples. These examples will draw on cultures from around the world, including some from contemporary western societies. Examples of the kinds of case studies we will look at include: individual and collective behaviour in chat channels of the world wide, web; comparisons between cultural practices based on spirit possession and contemporary tracing of family trees as a modern form of ancestor worship; what it means for an object, thing or person to become a commodity and be circulated and exchanged in different societies; cultural practices based around food production and consumption; examining different notions of the 'workspace' in a changing world and in different cultures. And many more!
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
' Explain a range of key concepts, theories and methods used in anthropological research
' Apply these concepts, theories and methods to a range of case study examples
' Be able to plan and prepare to carry out your own ethnographic observations of social groups in the world around you
What will it be like
Sessions will be as interactive as possible, with each one being a mixture of tutor exposition, supported by relevant audio-visual material, class discussion and debate, group and pair activities. There is reading set for each week of the course and for the course as a whole and you will benefit much more from class sessions if you complete this. From around week 7 of the course, after enough introductory material has been covered, you will have the opportunity to work on carrying out your own small scale ethnographic piece of research. This can be done either individually or collaboratively with other members of the class. The final two weeks of the course will be given over to the presentation of these pieces and discussion of them.
What else do you need to buy or do
There is no set text for the course that you will need to buy in advance of the course. Reading for each week of the course and additional links to further material will be available via the Moodle page for the course.
What this course could lead to
The next courses in this series look in more detail at the Anthropology of the Body and, in the third term, at Anthropology of Religion and the Sacred. You will also find that this term's course will provide relevant information for other courses at the Mary Ward Centre in the Humanities and Social Sciences (e.g. in Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, History or Politics).
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why come to Mary Ward Centre?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’