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ANTHRO-103 - Cultural Anthropology - Amanda Zunner-Keating

Course:Cultural Anthropology
Professor:Amanda Zunner-Keating
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Excellence in Online Teaching and Design: 

  • My course is currently under consideration as a "Showcase Course" aligned with both the CVC-OEI Rubric and the Peralta Equity Rubric.
  • I pride myself on excellence in online education.
  • I train and mentor faculty in online education through LACCD and enjoy receiving feedback from students that I can pass on to other faculty members. 
  • I seek to integrate my course into my students' regular lives; I use streaming services and smartphone games to help students learn on-the-go.   

My Research Background: 

  • I'm a cultural anthropologist with a particular interest in studying the negotiation of power. This past year, I’ve been conducting fieldwork across the country on the political divide with a special focus on the 2020 presidential election cycle. You will have opportunities to engage with this fascinating subject in my class. We will discussion controversial topics in my class; the course is best suited for students who have an open mind. 
  • To get to know more about my approach to teaching, read my recent work:

Contact Me: 

  • Students will use Remind to contact me

Course Description

This semester, we'll discuss some of the most challenging and controversial elements of human culture. The material is organized into multiple modules that are organized by theme. Each has a particular focus and objective. Please remember that we are working together to better understand the diversity of human life and that all students are expected to demonstrate respect for the cultural beliefs and practices of others.

My course is structured to achieve the following: 

Introduction to Anthropology

  • Students will be able to critique the work and motivations of colonial anthropologists.
  • Students will be able to apply the principle of cultural relativism to examples in class and in their personal lives.

Cannibalism and Cultural Relativism

  • Students will be able to apply the principle of cultural relativism
  • Students will be able to examine the case of kuru among the Fore holistically
  • Students will be able to critically engage with the concept of "maladaptations"

The Culture Wars

  • Students will be able to analyze a variety of cultural influences that lead to political and cultural conflict in our communities today.
  • Students will be able to translate cultural views across groups that could not previously hold a dialogue.
  • Students will be able to interpret the symbols that shape your own political values.

Language and Reality

  • Students will be able to analyze the relationship between a person’s language and reality.
  • Students will be able to translate cultural and emotional concepts that exist within your own language(s).

Postmodern Thought

  • Students will be able to analyze the social constructs that govern human behaviors, beliefs, and traditions.
  • Students will be able to critique the political power dynamics that influence scientific research.

Social Norms and Behavioral Rules

  • Students will be able to categorize cultural concepts of moral and immoral while considering culturally-specific ideas of cleanliness and dirtiness.
  • Students will be able to recognize unspoken rules that govern our behavior.
  • Students will be able to interpret symbolic cultural practices.

Social Control

  • Students will be able to analyze cultural traditions and beliefs that serve the function of controlling behaviour
  • Students will be able to interpret the meaning behind cultural stories and demonstrate how these stories establish moral values for a cultural group


  • Students will be able to classify ritual types
  • Students will be able to interpret the functions behind a variety of rituals

Ethnographic Research Methods

  • Students will be able to plan, write, and conduct interviews with primary informants.
  • Students will visit a cultural space and analyze the cultural symbols in the space.
  • Students will be able to analyze their fieldwork data by selecting and applying a theoretical approach. 

The Anthropological Study of Religion

  • Students will be able to compare and contrast the beliefs of the world’s major religions.
  • Students will be able to argue for or against at least one anthropologically established function of religion

Syncretism and Haitian Voodoo

  • Students will be able to identify multiple cultural forces that co-exist in cases of syncretism.
  • Students will be able to explain the primary cultural forces that led to the development of Haitian voodoo.

 Race and Racism

  • Students will be able to evaluate the biological basis of race using genetic end evolutionary facts.
  • Students will be able to evaluate the cultural basis of race by through historical records and migration patterns.
  • Students will be able to critique the socially constructed value systems that establish and reinforce our popular understanding of race while analyzing the function(s) that racism serves in a society.

Kinship Systems

  • Students will be able to organize a chart that reflects a community’s conception of family.
  • Students will be able to explain the specific functions of different marital traditions

Gender and Sexuality

  • Students will be able to evaluate the scientific basis of sex and gender using genetic end biological facts.
  • Students will be able to critique the socially constructed value systems that establish and reinforce our popular understanding of gender, sex, and sexuality.

The Incest Taboo

  • Students will be able to evaluate the biological validity of incest taboos using scientific evidence.
  • Students will be able to develop your own unique theory that explains the existence of incest taboos by drawing upon all of the material learned throughout the semester.

What to Expect in this Course

I Value Diversity

My class has a special theme that focuses on the "culture wars." As a result, we'll be discussing political life extensively in our class. Similarly, we will dismantle racism, sexism, and we will deconstruct socially-constructed identities including gender, sexuality, and race, etc.  You will never, ever be required to share your political views in my classroom (although you are always welcome to share, and I promise to create a space for this). Your views and cultural beliefs are welcome and protected, and you are expected to welcome and protect the views and beliefs of your classmates. 

Students will not demean or stereotype anyone based on race, gender, ability, nationality, sexuality, or any other identity. Any student who is heard disrespecting their instructor, disrespecting their classmates, or purporting identity-based stereotypes will be considered to be a disruption and will:

  1. Be asked to leave the discussion boards or other meetings
  2. Lose all participation points for the module 
  3. Be referred to the Dean of Students

Students who are unable to refrain from the above mentioned behavior are encouraged to take this course with a different instructor. 

Your Voice Is Protected

I am deeply committed to creating a learning environment where all students feel respected and empowered. I cherish every opportunity to introduce my students to different forms of human culture. Each time you log in this course, you are expected to: 

  • Have an open mind that is eager to learn 
  • Contribute with thoughtful, well-formed responses
  • Honor the cultures and beliefs of others
  • Strive to understand those with different beliefs from your own
  • Respect your classmates and your instructors
  • Participate courageously in the course

Let's Have A Productive Dialogue

If you are overwhelmed by these policies, I encourage you to reach out to me anytime for clarification. Some students feel more confident engaging respectfully in controversial topics than others do and you are welcome to let those confident students take the lead in the beginning of class. In order to get comfortable engaging in controversial topics, I recommend taking the following step: 

  • Watch my behavior: See how I strive to use personal examples and how I avoid overly-generalizing entire groups of people. And, if I make a mistake, please tell me so that I may correct my behavior. 
  • Watch your classmates’ behaviors: Observe which types of communication are more successful and which are less successful. If a classmate makes you uncomfortable, please reach out to me so that we can improve the classroom dynamic. 
  • Use "I Statements:" You know your community well and you should speak up to reflect your lived experiences. Phrase your statements in the first-person to ensure that they are not unfair generalizations about another group. 
  • Correct me: In this class, I'll discuss a variety of cultural groups in this course. If you feel that I am not accurately representing your community, please speak up right away and correct me.

Types of Assessments

Students will complete a "Fieldwork Project" (1-2 pages research paper) based on interviews with members of their community. In addition, my course requires regular quizzes, discussions, and readings.

Textbook Information


Please set up and get familiar with the following pieces of technology. 

  1. Canvas
    All work will be completed and submitted on Canvas. 
  2. Remind
    Remind is the program that I use to communicate with you via text. You do not need to download anything in order to text me. However, students who don't have phones can enroll through the Remind Website.
  3. Soundcloud
    All of the course lectures are posted on Soundcloud in playlists so that you can more naturally fit the course material into your daily life. By downloading Soundcloud, you can stream recordings of the lessons in the car, at the grocery store, on a walk, or at the gym, etc. Links for each module's recordings will be listed on the lesson pages. 
  4. Medium 
    Medium is a  self-publication website where writers can get paid for their original work. You will be required to read some of my work on this website, but the readings will be free for you. If you want to keep reading the work of others, you'll need to pay $5 per month (if you join, please follow me). I recommend publishing your own work on Medium. In particular, I recommend posting your Critique, Emic, and Etic papers on Medium (I'm happy to help you perfect them before you post!) 
  5. Quiz Up 
    Quiz Up is a trivia app. I've uploaded all of this course's quiz questions onto the app to help you review my course in a fun and addicting way.  If possible, please download the app and start playing the review games after you've completed your first course module. 

Other Relevant Course Information

Before enrolling in my course, it's important to know that my class is not easy. The course material will challenge your personal beliefs and the workload is heavier than you might be accustomed to. However, I take a variety of steps to help ensure that my students succeed. 

How I Support My Students: 

  • My course is very flexible with late work and due dates.
  • I'm available via text and love to hear from my students. 
  • Quizzes and exams have unlimited attempts, you can use these as review tools. 
  • Students choose their favorite readings to complete; select the pieces that are relevant to your personal life. 
  • I walk students through the research process step-by-step. 
  • I offer a great deal of review items to support struggling students, and advanced assignments for students who want more (all for extra credit). 

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: 03/17/2022 Sub#: 816