39 Introduction: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology

Module 4 Introduction

Welcome to Module Four!

As we journey into our last Module, we have two main roads to explore:

  1. The road you choose to travel! This Module allows you to devote your writing time to your Semester Research Project! This essay will be the culmination of your research into a culture and topic of your own choosing.
  2. Explore the last three chapters of our textbook. Gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, and the complex interactions between different peoples around the world.

We will finish this course by exploring these important areas that help us to understand the cultures we are studying :

    • Globalization

      Learn about: the 5 “scapes” of global flows or exchanges, neoliberalism, neocolonialism, globalization, and the new “glocal” lifestyles and forms of consumption. Consider how people use agency to respond to globalization, including syncretism and participation in alternative markets like “fair trade.”

    • Culture and Sustainablility; Environmental Anthropology in the Anthropocene

      Learn about the concept of the Anthropocene and how anthropology contributes to understanding the human role in environmental destruction, and also read examples of how people are working to create more sustainable lifeways! Anthropology contributes to public discussions and the creation of public policy with lawmakers, activists, corporations, and others regarding major environmental challenges.

  • Health and Medicine

    Learn about the biocultural perspective (how interactions between biology and culture affect human biology); the four ethno-etiologies (personalistic, naturalistic, emotionalistic, and biomedical) and how each is used to explain the root causes of illness. Reflect on the significance of faith in healing; the relationship between mental health and cultural factors, including stigma, that affect the way people with mental health conditions are perceived; culture-bound syndromes; and evaluate the positive and negative effects of biomedical technologies.

Module 4 Assignments


Use the Study Guides as you read the chapters to help you focus on important terms, concepts, people, and places. This will also help you prepare for the quizzes in this module.

Study Guides and Quizzes

There is a 15 question quiz for each chapter. You can find these in the Quizzes tool.

Research Project – Follow Your Own Path

In this module you will submit your Semester Research Project.

This assignment is your opportunity to more deeply explore an indigenous or other “non-Western” culture or group. You have already stated your selection of a group and related topic in your Semester Research Project Proposal. Now, you are going to expand these into a full paper through research and writing!

Semester Research Project

As you research and collect information about the cultural group and topic you chose for your Proposal, remember to locate TWO scholarly sources, in addition to your textbook, to supplement your information and knowledge. These should be professional or academic sources.

Websites are tricky. In general, stay away from .com’s and .org’s as well as open-source or commercial reference sites such as Wikipedia, Askme.com or About.com. These are fine for initial consultation, and entries in Wikipedia often have their own bibliographies you can mine. But don’t use them as ultimate sources on the paper. For more about assessing websites, see the ANT112 Library/Research Guide.

You will write a 1500 word essay (no more than 1750 words), on the specific cultural group and topic you have researched. Include at least 7 internal citations within your essay (with at least one from each of your three sources: your text and two outside sources), in support of your explanations.

There are VERY specific instructions for this assignment. Please read them thoroughly on the Semester Research Project page before starting.


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