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Anth 103 - Cultural Anthropology - Angela Rockett Kirwin

Course:Cultural Anthropology
Professor:Angela Rockett Kirwin
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Angela Rockett Kirwin, MA with a replica of "Mr. H"

My approach to teaching is more like a coach than what I remember experiencing when I was an undergrad in college. Even though you do the work, I am here to help you succeed --not just in my class, but in life. I a teaching method called “active teaching” where I help you not just learn the material but connect it in relevant and memorable ways to your own life with in-class discussions and applications of various cultural research perspectives and methods. Most of my students are not bored in my casual and friendly active teaching classes. Hopefully, you won’t be either. 

I was inspired to become an anthropologist after working for Dr. Jane Goodall on a year contract as a website consultant way back in 2006. After graduate school and then teaching both biological and cultural anthropology classes for while, I am interested in practically all things anthropological!  My research focus in graduate school was food anthropology. I have done qualitative research in regards to the culture of food in endurance athletic communities and was invited to present my research methods at the American Anthropology Association's annual meeting in 2013. In 2013, I did some fieldwork in Nicaragua that included a howler monkey monkey census and mapping project for a local eco-tourism/wildlife protection project. For the record, my favorite monkeys are howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata). My favorite apes are chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). My research interests are sometimes combined with community service. I have been a volunteer disaster relief worker since 2004 for Kirwin International Relief Foundation, briefly for the Ventura County of the American Red Cross, and more recently as a member of the Downtown Ventura Lion's Club. My other areas of research include historic archaeology, indigenous ethnobotany, and food anthropology.  I have volunteered as a field archaeologist with prehistoric and Mission Era Chumash material culture at Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura, California. From time to time, I teach the "Indians of California" (Anth 210) class at College of the Canyons. 

What drives me to teach each semester is to help students succeed. I have earned a Skilled Teacher Certificate, EOPS Recognition Awards., and have been on the Civic Engagement Steering Committee at College of the Canyons. I am looking forward to meeting my new students this semester. So, even though this class is a live online class, I will do my best to help you as much as I can to succeed in my class.


Course Description

The student learning outcome for this class is: "To be able to analyze a variety of aspects of culture, such as the family, economics, politics, religion, and worldview." 

The topics that we cover during this class will include the following: culture and how our cultural background is responsible for biases (and blindspots) that we may not even be aware of, how cultural norms can re-inforce gender, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic inequality and general unfairness in a society, how language can serve to shape view points, race and racism, gender, sexuality, family systems, marriage systems, how our current global system is helping some people while harming others, inequality and how cultural norms enforce the status quo, kinship, the roles of religion in society, rituals, religious symbols, magic, the social function of the belief of witchcraft and witch hunts, the cultural context of illness, disease, and health in society, too. It is a lot! 

However, most generally, this class gives answers to "why people do what they do" because of their culture.

What to Expect in this Course

This three (3) unit course will involve three hours of synchronous online class time and about three (3) hours of home work each week. However, it may be less or more time for you. 

Course Work and Due Dates
Total Assignments and Points
(1) 4 or 5 Quizzes (30 points each, m/c and written responses) 
(2) One Six-Part (5 drafts + 1 final) Mini-Ethnography Assignment 
(3) OnlineLive Class Discussions 
(4) Extra Credit Reading Questions with key term definitions (Extra Credit)
(5) Extra Credit movie review, service project, kinship chart, etc. (Extra Credit )                                                                                                     

Total:  200 pts.

Points and Grades 
The grade rounding policy at College of the Canyons: If the percentage between grades is less than 0.4%, then the grade will be rounded down and if the percentage between grades is more than 0.5%, the grade will be rounded up. In other words, if your score is 89.5%, you will earn an A. If your score is 89.4%, you will earn a B.
Course grades will be assigned in accordance with the following scale:
    •    A = 180-200 (90%)*
    •    B = 160-179 (80%)
    •    C = 140-159 (70%)
    •    D = 120 – 139 (60%)
    •    F = 119 or less (50% or less)
*If you earn an "A" grade in my class, feel free to ask me for a reference for university/internship applications.

Types of Assessments

My online assessments include the following:

(1) 4 or 5 Quizzes (30 points each, m/c and written responses) 
(2) One Six-Part (5 drafts + 1 final) Mini-Ethnography Assignment 
(3) OnlineLive Class Discussions 

I assign an equity-orientated scaffolded writing project that has you submit a paragraph every few weeks for and at the end of the semester you edit together these paragraphs into a larger document. I assign a "mini-ethnography" primary research assignment whereby students can follow their own interests and incorporate their own cultural knowledge and interview a person from another culture (or generation) in order to answer a "research question" that they are curious about.  Each quiz has a "short essay" section where you define three scientific terms and then give one example from your own life experience of a cultural phenomenon.  In my lectures, I share my own cross-cultural experiences doing applied anthropology to illustrate real-world global scenarios. 


Textbook Information

There is one well-written and interesting textbook that is mandatory for this class:

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, to rent it will cost $19 to $42, to buy a new copy it will cost $55 to $85, and less if it is a used copy. See below for details.

How to get the textbook for this class

You can get the textbook at the College of the Canyons Official Bookstore online or from an alternative book retailer online (which may cost less). Below are the directions on how to get it at the College of the Canyons Official Bookstore online.

If you chose to not purchase this excellent textbook, there is an inferior (but passable) choice to help you (but I will not assign readings from it and you are on your own):

You can use the free online ebook published by the American Anthropology Association. It is called Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology,
2nd Edition (2018). Here is a link to it: 

Other Relevant Course Information

I am looking forward to another fun class. Before the coronavirus pandemic, each of my Cultural Anthropology classes were waitlisted. Since then, my classes have been smaller but we seem to have a great community of nice people helping each other each semester. I'm looking forward to helping you succeed, too! 

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: 10/09/2023 Sub#: 1250