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ANTH 103 - Cultural Anthropology - Angela R Kirwin

Course:Cultural Anthropology
Professor:Angela R Kirwin
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Prof Kirwin with students at Shekwara Village School in 2015 in rural Bihar, India.

 I was inspired to become an anthropologist after I worked for Dr. Jane Goodall on a one-year contract as a website re-design project manager for the Jane Goodall Institute. I was inspired by Jane to change careers and devote the rest of my working life to helping people, animals, and the natural environment. I started graduate school at age of 40 as a part-time student while working part-time and taking care of two young children.  My fieldwork after graduate school includes three subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology (I researched the foodways of ultra runners and triathletes while doing participant observation that included competing in a triathlon), biological anthropology (I took a census of wild Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata) while staying in a small fishing village with my family (they went surfing and did a service project) in Gigante, Nicaragua, and archaeology (excavation field tech intern for Greenwood & Associates at the Ventura Mission's East Quadrangle Site in Ventura, CA). I have been involved with applied anthropology supporting women's education and small businesses in rural Bihar, India (2006 and 2015), and as a disaster relief volunteer during the Thomas Fire in Ventura County (2017) and during the Hurricane Katrina disaster in Hattiesberg and Picayune, Mississippi (2005).

Course Description

This course teaches you the science behind "why people do what they do" based on their learned cultural beliefs and practices.  Theoretical and ethnographic tools are introduced that are used to analyze human cultural differences and universals when it comes to social inequality and its cultural justifications, language, gender roles, sexuality, politics, religion, health, medicine, foodways, religion, family, marriage, subcultures, globalization, and cultural change. 

  • Upon completing this course, you should be able to perform a real-world task like a mini-ethnography requiring knowledge of cultural anthropology that demonstrates the meaningful application of the essential knowledge and skills taught in this class.  
  • You will be expected to share your own experiences and opinions about assigned cultural topics in various discussion exercises and assignments.

What to Expect in this Course

This eight-week course is equivalent to a semester-long course in units but with less time. This means there is about double the amount of lectures, readings, and assignments to do each week.   Expect to spend about 6-7 hours each week on this class.*   This short-session Anth 103 is organized into four units. Each unit will last two weeks. Each week during this short-session Anth 103 class, there will be several recorded Zoom video lectures,  an online Canvas Discussion with the other people in this class, and 1-3 short Canvas Assignments to complete. There will be a unit quiz about every two weeks. 

To stay enrolled during this 100% online class, you must upload your work for an assigned Canvas Discussion, Assignment, or Quiz by midnight Sunday each week of this class during its 8-week period. If you must miss a week of assigned Canvas work, PLEASE EMAIL ME so I know you are still in my class and you do not want to be dropped. 

Types of Assessments

Four units of material with assigned readings in the textbook (Elements of Cultural Anthropology by Kenneth Guest, 2020), research articles, short videos (a few TED Talks), and podcasts.

Each week will include the following:

  1. Pre-recorded and captioned videos of lectures using Zoom.
  2. Lecture slides saved as PDF files. 
  3. Online Canvas Discussion (basically one is due each week of this 8-week course).
  4. Online Canvas Quiz with 20 m/c questions and 2 short essay questions.
  5. Online Canvas Assignment of about 1-3 paragraphs for a primary research project called a "mini-ethnography" that requires you to interview a person or observe a cultural practice or ritual, describe it, and explain its significance or meaning for one anthropological theoretical perspective. 

Textbook Information

Guest, Kenneth J. 2020. Essentials of Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age. 3rd Ed., New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. (Paperback) ISBN: 978 039 341 7234  The cost of the textbook varies according to which online retailer you get it from. For example, here are the costs from the College of the Canyons supplier at the link below. A digital rental costs $45.03. A new print rental is $61.75 (return by 6/1/23). To buy a new print copy: $90.82, and less if it is a used print copy ($68.12).  See the link below for details.

College of the Canyons Online Bookstore at:

Other Relevant Course Information

You must submit work to its Canvas Assignment, Discussion, or Quiz at least once a week. If you cannot because of an emergency, email me (or have a family member email me) and explain the situation so I can help you succeed in this class (with a later due date or other things). 

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 04/01/2023 Sub#: 1567