Spring 2016 - SA 101 D100

Introduction to Anthropology (A) (4)

Class Number: 1914

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Sitara Thobani



An introduction to the study of human social and cultural life from an anthropological perspective. The course will explore the scope and nature of the discipline of anthropology through study of selected cases drawn from both technologically simple communities and complex modern industrial societies. Students with credit for SA 170 may not take SA 101 for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences. Equivalent Courses: SA170 Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course provides an introduction to Anthropology as a discipline, and then focuses on one of its four subfields – Social and Cultural Anthropology. We will explore how the concept of culture has been problematized by anthropologists in their theoretical and methodological approaches. We will be guided by the following key questions: What is culture and how does it shape – and become shaped by – human life? How do anthropologists study culture given the range of cultural diversity in the world? What is the relation between culture and history?  What is ethnography and what insights does it enable? What is the objective of anthropological study? In what ways can studying other cultures teach us about our own? The course draws from both classic and contemporary texts to familiarize students with the history of Anthropology as a discipline, as well as some of the key figures in this field. Students will acquire familiarity with the language of cultural anthropology; the historical development of the discipline; key concepts such as culture, cultural relativism and ethnocentrism; social constructs such as gender, race, and ethnicity; and methods used in anthropological fieldwork. We will explore themes in both culturally specific and cross-cultural contexts, and will conclude by considering the future of Anthropology as a discipline in the current context of globalization and transnationalism.


  • Class Attendance and Participation 15%
  • Small Group Presentation 15%
  • Response/Reaction Piece 10%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Final Exam (take-home) 35%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.    



A Course Pack with the required readings will be made available for purchase at the SFU Bookstore.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html