THIS SYLLABUS is designed to be a "generic" syllabus,
primarily for students who might be taking one of the various Anthropology
courses I teach at California State University,
Chico. Rather than "create" a new syllabus for each course
(each semester), this "generic syllabus" is referred to in various
lectures in all of my courses (and is referenced in the various course-specific
syllabi distributed to the students).
AS THE SEMESTER moves along (and the years speed along), this "Generic Syllabus" will be modified, so you might be interested in "bookmarking" it!
PHILOSOPHY: In the paradigm I use in all of my courses, I have
several major themes that I attempt to present (at various stages in the
course and at various levels for the various courses). With that in mind,
this "generic syllabus" deals with IDEAS, BEHAVIOR,
WORDS, and THINGS. In my mind, the "IBWT"
paradigm is both descriptive and explanatory and allows me to make innumerable
comments (through time and across space) about "culture" and the
This Generic Syllabus is thus divided as follows: RESEARCH, LOCAL CONTEXT/PERSPECTIVE, FIELDWORK, COMMUNICATIONS AND FINISHED ITEMS, CHANGES & THE FUTURE. I stress the anthropological concept of culture, as well as pointing out the need to "place things into perspective" and the need for "simple" ABCs: Appreciation of Basic Cultural Diversity Everywhere!
I also use many quotations and graphics (not reproduced here at the moment): my "opening quote" for years has been from the distinguished scientist Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944):
"I say my philosophy, not as claiming authorship of ideas which are widely diffused in modern thought, but because the ultimate selection and synthesis must be a personal responsibility." (Sir Arthur Eddington, The Philosophy of Physical Science, 1949: viii)And I always end my quote selection from Montaigne (1533-1592): "I quote others only the better to express myself."
"The study of Anthropology promotes an understanding of self and of all humanity by exploring human nature from its beginnings to the present. In today's world -- where every society is dependent upon other societies --ignorance of the goals, values, and customs of other peoples can lead to discrimination and racism in the community or to war and oppression between nations. Anthropologists, through study and analysis, try to reduce these social tensions."Specific course descriptions then follow (and for Fall 1996, they were ANTH 13-1, ANTH 13H-1, ANTH 198ABC, and ANTH 196).
"The difficulty is that modern human beings no longer directly perceive
the world they live in and whose conditions affect them" (James Burke
and Robert Ornstein, 1995, The Axemaker's Gift: A Double-Edged History
of Human Culture, page 280).
"The latest figures from the Census Bureau confirm the bad news: The income gap between rich and poor in the U.S. continues to widen. And the increased importance of education means that college graduates possess an enormous edge in the job market, while high school graduates lag behind" [Business Week, July 22, 1996, page 74].
"...organisms, and their microbial cousins, have an influence on life that is wholly disproportionate to their dimensions and invisibility. First, consider the difference in size between some of the very tiniest and the very largest creatures on earth. A small bacterium weighs as little as 0.000000000001 grams. A blue whale weighs about 100,000,000 grams. Yet a bacterium can kill a whale" (Bernard Dixon, 1994, Power Unseen: How Microbes Rule The World, page xvii).
"Most of the 8,500 people infected with the AIDS virus worldwide each day have little hope of getting the costly new treatments causing so much excitement in the industrialized world, top AIDS experts said Sunday [July 7, 1996]" (Kim Painter, "8,500 New HIV Cases Occur Daily" in USA TODAY, July 8, 1996, page 1).
"University of Washington scientists have succeeded in reading the entire genetic code in one part of the body's disease-fighting arsenal, opening the door to new research on how the body's immune system works. The achievement, announced Friday [June 21, 1996] in the journal Science, represents the longest segment of human DNA yet decoded: a string of genetic information 684,973 segments long that governs the disease-fighting beta T-cell receptors. The human DNA code has 3 billion such segments, known as nucleotides, and scientists hope to read the entire sequence by 2005" (Bill Dietrich, "Scientists Make History By Decoding Big DNA String" in The Sacramento Bee, June 22, 1996, page B8).
"'America began to change on a mid-September day in 1958, when the Bank of America dropped its first 60,000 credit cards on the unassuming city of Fresno, California,' according to Joseph Nocera, in his book A Piece of the Action: How The Middle Class Joined The Money Class. (In Josh Hammond & James Morrison, 1996, The Stuff Americans Are made Of: The Seven Cultural Forces That Define Americans--A New Framework For Quality, Productivity & Profitability, page 245).
"USA Today published the first issue, Volume 1, Number 1 on September 15, 1982; in 1984, "it was losing more than $10 million a month. Put another way, the newspaper was losing $339,726 every day, $14,155 every hour, $236 every minute, $3.93 every second. ... [finally] USA Today broke into the black with profit of $1,093,756 for month of May , six months ahead of schedule" (Peter S. Prichard, 1987, The Making Of McPaper: The Inside Story of USA Today, pages 305 and 378].
"Gambling is now bigger than baseball, more powerful than a platoon
of Schwarzeneggers, Spielbergs, Madonnas and Oprahs. More Americans went
to casinos than to major league ballparks in 1993. Ninety-two million visits!"
(The New York Times Magazine, July 17, 1994) and "Nevada's major hotel-casinos
grossed $12 billion in fiscal 1995 and reported annual net, pre-federal
tax profits of $1.28 billion....In the previous fiscal year the clubs took
in $11 billion and had a pre-tax profit of $1.2 billion...." (Reno
Gazette-Journal, February 5, 1996, page 4F); and see The Sacramento Bee,
July 23, 1996, page B8: "From 1974 to 1994, the amopunt of money legally
wagered annually has risen 2,800 percent, to $482 billion from $17 billion.
The gambling industry generates six times the revenue of all American spectator
sports combined." [And please see: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/FApr11-96.html].
"Murders and physical assaults in the workplace have climbed to a record high.... There were 1,071 Americans murdered at work in 1994, and 160,000 physically assaulted" (Marilyn Elias, in USA TODAY, July 8, 1996, page 1). "Of the 1,071 workplace homicides in 1994, 56 percent  of the victims worked in retailing or other service industries" (San Francisco Chronicle, July 9, 1996, page A4).
"More than 2,600 people in California were victims of reported hate crimes last year, a figure that authorities admit may not paint an accurate picture of the problem.... crimes authorities believe were motivated by bias related to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability...." (San Francisco Examiner, July 19, 1996, page A-2).
"If Western Nevada Clean Communities reaches its goal of recycling 100,000 [telephone] books, 4,200 trees will be saved, 750 cubic yards of landfill space will be available for something else and 1.75 million gallons of water will be conserved." (Reno Gazette-Journal, August 1, 1996, page B1)
"The news media are usually thought of as agents for change, and sometimes this is true. ... Bad news can in fact persuade people that the world is much more dangerous than it is. George Gerbner of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania finds that people who watch a lot of television see the world as much more threatening and filled with menace than those who watch less [stress added]" (Caryl Rivers, 1996, Slick Spins And Fractured Facts: How Cultural Myths Distort The News, page 3).
"McDonald's Japan, currently with 1,688 stores nationwide [in Japan], is opening another 500 this year alone. ...in 2006, it plans to have no fewer than 10,000 stores throughout the country [of Japan!]. ... McDonald's Corp. of the United States owns 50 percent of McDonald's Japan, and the expansion is part of the parent company's worldwide plan to add as many as 3,200 units this year and next to its 18,000 restaurants. ... Kentucky Fried Chicken has more than 1,000 outlets nationwide [in Japan].... [stress added]" (Michelle Magee, "Big Mac Attack In Japan" in the San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 1996, pages D1 and D6).
PLEASE NOTE: If one year = 365.25 days then 3200/730.5 = 4.3 new McDonald's a day for two years!
"Last year, about 208,000 portable computers were stolen--nearly twice the number of filched desktop computers. ... In 1994, only 150,000 laptops were taken" (Jeff Zeleny, "Laptops: Little, Light--And Easy To Filch" in The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 1996, page B1). [SO, ~569/day!]
"The world is headed for an unprecedented food shortage that neither science nor current farming practises will be able to meet, a summit of leading agriculture scientists has concluded. ...the Third World's population is expected to grow by 2 billion people by 2025, developing countries will need at least 75 percent more food than currently consumed.... 'A global wake-up call is needed'.... The world must also cope with an unprecedented increase in population, with projected growth averaging 90 million people annually." ("World Food Shortage Is In Store, Agriculture Scientists Warn" in The Sacramento Bee, July 13, 1996, page A14)
"Scientific evidence is mounting that...music may be as powerful a food for the brain as for the soul. Not only does it pluck at emotional heart strings, but scientists say that it also turns on brain circuits that aid recognition of patterns and structures critical to development of mathematics skills, logic, perception and memory" (Bill Henrrick, "Parents, Studies Say Music Lends An Ear To Learning" in the San Francisco Chronicle, July 6, 1996, page A7).
"Texas Instruments Inc. announced Tuesday [May 28, 1996] that it could manufacture a new generation of advanced semiconductors that would speed development of new miniature products from wallet PCs to Dick Tracy-style wristwatches. Each chip will be the size of a thumbnail but will have the processing power of 20 of today's personal computers. TI will be able to pack on a single 125 million-transistor chip the functions of a microprocessor, memory chips and other specialty devices. Today's most-complex chips have between 5 million and 7 million transistors [stress added]" (Alan Goldstein, "TI Plans Potent Chips To Fit In Tiny Products" in San Francisco Examiner, May 30, 1996].