ANTH045 - Cultural Anthropology

Instructor: Greg Bondar
Office: 419 Carpenter Bldg.
Mailbox: 403 Carpenter Bldg.
Phone: 865-1231
Email: ghb1 at
Office hours: 1-2:15pm M-F

Cultural Anthropology examines the myriad of behavioral facets that sum to "make us human". Why are we the way we are? Why are we different from people an ocean away? Why are we also the same? I hope that everybody in this class will complete this course critiquing, and appreciating, our own ways of life, as well as those of other peoples around the world.

My expectations are that none of you have prior course experience in the social sciences or cultural studies. However, just because this is an introductory class does not mean that I will only expect you to simply memorize "facts" and then regurgitate them back at us. Instead, I want to strongly encourage critical thinking as the key to understanding the concepts that we will cover in this course. Anybody can memorize and repeat a barrage of "facts" from the Discovery Channel. I want you to understand why scientists believe certain things and how specific processes operate. To get the most out of this class, you must constantly ask yourself "why is that so?" or "how does this process work?". To do well in this class, you will need to be able to explain concepts demonstrating that you understand these contexts. This kind of reasoning is applicable in every other subject that you will study. If nothing else, even if your mind is completely devoid of thoughts about cultural behavior as you hand in your final exams, I hope that you will continue to question and seek to understand both the "facts" of others, and your own experiences.

Serena Nanda, Richard L. Warms, Cultural Anthropology, 7th Edition  2002, ISBN: 0534557392 
Other materials will be posted as needed to:

Grading Policies:


Your final grade will be composed of the following components:

Grades will be assigned via the typical scale of:

19% Exam I

A = 94-100%

23% Exam II

A- = 90-93%

23% Exam III

B+ = 87-89%

15% Book Review

B = 84-86%

10% Museum Project

B- = 80-83%

10% Homework/Discussion

C+ = 77-79%


C = 70-76%


D = 60-69%


F = 0-59%

1) The exams will consist of a choice of essay questions, possibly supplemented by matching or map questions. The exam grades will not be curved unless the average grade is below 70%.
2) The book review  will be a 4-6 page report based on your analysis of the depiction of non-Western cultures in a novel (FICTIONAL work) of your choice.
3) Museum projects will be a 2-3 page report based on information from the Matson Museum of Anthropology on the 2nd. floor of Carpenter Bldg.
4) Your discussion grade will be based on your active, tactful involvement in class discussion--involvement based on your thorough reading of the text, articles, and viewing of the films. In order to receive full credit for the discussion component, you will need to stay up-to-date with the readings so that you can make informed, thoughtful, and relevant contributions to the class. To stay on top of this grade, I recommend contributing to discussion at least a couple times each week. In addition, students will choose a chapter for which they will be the "Discussion Leader". This is not as scary as it sounds, and in most cases will simply provide a couple people for me to bounce questions to during each class. 

While attendance will not be demanded, apart from the discussion grade, good attendance will be rewarded. Note that each class of Anth 146 will be equivalent to a week of class in other subjects!! For your own sanity, do not miss two consecutive classes. Attendance will be recorded for every class, and each student will earn extra points towards their final average based on the following scale:
-No absences: +5 pts.
-One or two absences: +4 pts.
-Three absences: +2 pts.
-Four or more: +0 pts.

Only exams missed for documented reasons may be" made up". Make-up exams must be taken prior to the return of graded exams to the rest of the class. The points for missed exams will be added to the next exam the student takes. No absences will be allowed for the final exam, except for documented conflict with other exams in other classes, or for extreme reasons , such as medical emergencies (travel reservations are not a valid reason), with the permission of the Head of the Anthropology Dept, Dr. Snow.
Academic Integrity Statement:

Unfortunately, a few students in every class are tempted to try to "beat the system" by dishonest means. Needless to say, such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in the perpetrator receiving a failing grade for the course, and they may then be referred to the University Judiciary for review. If you feel desperate about your progress in this course, please talk with me before resorting to such self-destructive behavior. My job is to help you learn, not to make you fail.

Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 49-20).

Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated in this course. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the University’s Judicial Affairs office for possible further disciplinary sanction.
Disability Access Statement:

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities and is committed to the policy that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have any questions about physical access, please tell the instructor as soon as possible. Penn State also makes an effort to accommodate observation of religious holidays.