Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology


Introduces students to Social and Cultural Anthropology. The course introduces: the history of anthropology and of anthropological thought; the nature of anthropological fieldwork; some of the main areas of ethnographic specialisation within the School of Social Sciences (e.g. Melanesia, Aboriginal Australia, South Asia, Islamic societies, Southeast Asia); and examines how the study of other cultures and societies can help us deal with urgent problems confronting today's world.



  • Semester 2 - 2015


  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. To provide an introduction to the discipline of social and cultural anthropology as a reflexive, critical mode of research into contemporary society.

2. To further develop students' understanding of the nature of social research.

3. To develop students' systematic, critical and sympathetic understanding of the nature of the contemporary world society, its pattern of inquality and its ongoing transformations.

4. To further enhance students' scholarly skills including capacity for effective research and critical appraisal of relevant literature, and skills in critique, logical debate, oral presentation and written communication.


The course introduces the history of anthropology and of anthropological thought and, the nature of anthropological fieldwork. Specific topics vary from year to year, but may include:

  1. The historical development of modern social and cultural anthropology.
  2. Basic theoretical and analytic models applied in anthropology.
  3. The relationship between society and environment.
  4. The impact of global economic and cultural processes on societies around the world.
  5. The variety and transformations of forms of social and political organisation, and cultural expression among non-western societies.
  6. Anthropology of urban societies, the variety and form of ethnic and cultural expression in post-colonial and cosmopolitan settings in a rapidly changing world.
  7. Questions of gender and sexuality in a cross-cultural context.
  8. The relevance of the study of other cultures to urgent problems confronting today's world, such as the accelerating environmental crisis.

Assessment Items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial exercises

Essay: Essay

Formal Examination: Exam

Contact Hours

Ourimbah and Callaghan


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term