Fall 2023 - SA 101 D100

Introduction to Anthropology (A) (4)

Class Number: 2785

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-10-06
    AQ 3005, Burnaby

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-10-11  2023-12-05
    AQ 3005, Burnaby



Anthropology asks fundamental questions about how people live and interact in different contexts. Engages with contemporary social life around the world, including the relations among people, ideas, and things. Provides analytical tools to help understand the role of culture and society in our lives. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course will examine what we mean by “culture” and cultural anthropology. We all have a sense that there are many different cultures in the world, but what does that really mean? How were we raised in particular societies to see and even feel a certain performance of gender as expected or problematic?

In this class we will explore a number of topics, such as colonialism, space, time, and gender, to understand the various ways these have been experienced and lived in different places and times. We will use one anthropology textbook and one graphic novel. As a class, we will also think about intersections between these readings and our own lives and histories, and gain a broader perspective on difference. One goal is to question some of the habits and assumptions that we take for granted in our everyday lives, such as how we often think of humans as exceptional species, apart from and above all others. We will be learning how to think analytically and anthropologically about the lives of others and ourselves. We will use lectures, small-group breakout sessions, and films, as well as tutorials for more in-depth discussions.

Some of the key questions anthropologists ask are: what is culture, and how does it shape the way we move in the world, organize our lives, and think about ourselves and others? What makes social groups in various regions of the world different, and what do we all share? How are cultures and societies changing with the increasing globalization of contemporary life? How might we challenge the notion of the nation-state, and reflect upon Indigenous efforts towards enacting sovereignty?



At the end of the course, students will be able to

- describe and explain key anthropological terms, concepts, questions, and research methods.

- explain some of the ways that culture shapes ideas, societies, individual and group identities, language, space, and everyday life, by describing, analyzing, and comparing examples from different cultures.

- think critically about their own society, and engage with perspectives different than their own; recognize how their culture informs experiential aspects of their own lives (like space, time, identity, gender, and more); and reflect on the assumptions they hold in regards to self and others.

- understand that power relations are a key force in shaping cultures and societies; evaluate the effects of unequal power relations in particular examples.


  • Midterm exam (Week 7) 25%
  • Final paper 25%
  • Ethnographic exercises (from the Delaney text) 30%
  • Tutorial participation (including ungraded written assignments) 20%


Graded course assignments include exams, short essays, and various learning exercises. Attendance at tutorials is a major part of the participation grade. Students will receive an N grade (explained below) if they do not take the midterm or final exam.

Extra Credit: Turned in by the last lecture at the beginning of class. You may only choose one extra credit. These will earn an extra 1---5%.

1) In relation to the body assignment #2 (Delaney p. 239), create a spoof of an ad in a way that highlights cultural expectations (i.e. gender, ethnicity). Provide a copy of the original and your modified version, with a one page write-up of how your version challenges such expectations. See Adbuster’s website for some examples: http://adbusters.org/spoofads/index.php

2) Clip a newspaper article and analyze its cultural assumptions. Refer to one of the class readings in your one page analysis.

3) Create a family tree going back five generations for your family using the correct kinship symbols. For the last three generations, compare the gender expectations of each generation. Write a one-paragraph analysis for each gender for each generation (six paragraphs in total). This should describe expected behaviors, social roles, and actions within the family. It is likely that you will get better details by consulting with your parents and/or grandparents.

Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



Delaney, C. L. (2017). Investigating culture : an experiential introduction to anthropology / Carol Delaney. (Third edition.). Wiley Blackwell.

Access here: https://sfu-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/15tu09f/01SFUL_ALMA51439066620003611

Hamdy, S. and Nye, C. (2017) Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (This book is available electronically from the library but with restrictions)

Access here:https://sfu-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/15tu09f/01SFUL_ALMA21260738140003611



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.