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ANTHRO-103 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology - Laurie Rodriguez

Course:Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Professor:Laurie Rodriguez
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Anthropology is a broad field exploring all factors that help us understand this unusual bipedal, tool-creating, socially-complex primate we call "humans".

This course focuses specifically on the various aspects of human *culture*, from the early appearance of culture in human populations, to local aspects of kinship, marriage, subsistence, to broader concepts of politics, religion and artistic expression.

Upon completion of this course, a student should be capable of the following:

  1. Explain the anthropological definition of “culture” and be able to provide concrete examples of variations in cultures.
  2. Describe the differences between an ethnology and an ethnography and explain how these two tools are used to better understand cultures.
  3. Identify key cultural anthropologists and briefly describe their contributions to the field.
  4. Explain culture as an extension of biological adaptation and identify traits that demonstrate a mix of cultural and biological traits.
  5. Describe the role of kinship in cultures and outline the impact of kinship on other cultural /biological practices, such as social organization and classification, marriage, residence patterns, reproduction, and inheritance patterns.
  6. Recognize the cultural specificity of behaviors and practices.
  7. Outline the rise of political organization in human cultures and discuss its relationship with violence and war.
  8. Define the function of religion and art in human populations.
  9. Identify and discuss the causes and mechanisms of cultural change.
  10. Apply cultural concepts to current social and political events in our culture.

Course Description

This course is designed to give students a comprehensive introduction to the field of Cultural Anthropology, providing instruction in all core foundational concepts as well as an overview of all major sub-fields.

What to Expect in this Course

  • This course will be conducted 100% online.  There will be no face-to-face component required or offered.

  • The amount of material covered in this 8-week course is IDENTICAL to the amount covered in a 16-week traditional course.

  • The amount of time you should expect to dedicate to this class/week will vary according to your individual abilities (such as reading comprehension skills and comfort with technology) but on average, you should expect to invest about 15 hours per week to successfully complete this course.  This time will be distributed across reading assignments, online activities, taking part in discussion groups, submitting homework, and taking quizzes and tests.

  • In order to do well in this course, you will need to complete all assignments (including exams) thoroughly and accurately and submit them to me by their deadline.

Types of Assessments

Each week, students will be asked to complete weekly readings, view videos, complete activities, and submit assignments.  Assignments will also include a long term project, completing an ethnography of a chosen culture.  Assignments and quizzes will be evaluated and will contribute toward your final grade in this class.  Videos and activities are tools to be used to help you better understand the material and to complete your assignments accurately.  Short quizzes will be given once a week.  There will also be two exams for this course, a midterm at the end of week 4 and a non-cumulative final exam in week.

Textbook Information

Textbook:  Cultural Anthropology:  The Human Challenge, 15th edition. Haviland, W.A., et al; Thomson Wadsworth (2017).  ISBN-13:  978-1305633797

Other Relevant Course Information

To be successful with online learning, students need to be self-motivated and organized to stay on track with course assignments, readings and activities.

Understand that the instructor is always available for questions and support, but it is your responsibility to reach out for help.  You are *not expected* to be able to learn this this material on your own.  You are supposed to ask questions and contact the instructor to help you with the material. 

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: 09/13/2022 Sub#: 1484