Professor Reymers - Fall 2020

Online Media 1


Macat's "Introduction to Cultural Anthropology"

1. What is the definition of anthropology according to the video?

2. When and why did early anthropologists study customs and beliefs in pre-industrial societies?

3. What is the main argument of Marcel Mauss's book "The Gift"?

4. What explanation makes sense of pre-industrial people's belief in witchcraft (according to E.Evans-Pritchard?)

5. What is an example of feminist anthropology?

6. What was the thesis and result of Clifford Geertz's "Interpretation of Cultures"?

7. What is the value of historical ethnography?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH1

Due Friday, Aug 28, 5pm

Online Media 2


Evidence for Evolution from (YouTube 11:22)

1. What are the two main claims of the theory of evolution?

2. What are the lines of evidence that support the claims of evolutionary theory?

3. How many different species are estimated to be living today?

4. How does evidence from comparative anatomy suggest that whales and other cetaceans evolved from a pre-existing four-legged land creature?

5. How does embryology help to confirm our suspicions that whales are closer to mammals than to fish in their evolutionary development?

6. How does fossil evidence from the ancient creatures called Basilosaurad and Maiacetus suggest that whales descended from these creatures?

7. How do DNA comparisons help to confirm our suspicions that whales evolve

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH2

Due Friday, Sept 4, 5pm


Online Media 3


Watch this Primatology video and answer the questions below:

1. Define primatology and explain what a primate is.

2. What are the three types of study in primatology?

3. How did Jane Goodall contribute to our understanding of primates?

4. How did Dian Fossey contribute to our understanding of primates?

5. What is one current threat to primates living in the wild in Africa?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH3

Due Friday, Sept 11, 5pm

Online Media 4


Watch PBS NOVA's"Becoming Human, Part III: Last Human Standing" (YouTube, ~52 min, 2014)

Take notes during the video and answer these questions while you watch:

1. In what order of descent did the species of Homo overtake one another and when?

2. What was discovered in the caves at Atapuerca, in northern Spain and what does this say about archaic Homo sapiens (Homo heidelbergensis in this case)?

3. What is “Excalibur” and what did it signify?

4. In what ways did our ideas about Homo neandertalensis change as the 20th century proceeds?

5. What recent discovery in the Meuse Valley, Belgium, helped to refine our views of Neanderthals?

6. What kind of research is going at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, regarding evolutionary studies?

7. Why are children’s teeth so valuable to archaeologists?

8. Why was hunting such a risky business for Neanderthals?

9. Why did Neanderthals go extinct about 25,000 years ago?

10. What is “the bottleneck effect”?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH4

Due Friday, Sept 18, 5pm

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link for email, or remove the automatic subject line heading "ANTH" if you do).

Online media assignments are graded on a pass/fail basis. See the Grades webpage for results.

Online Media 5: Race and Culture


Listen to this interview with Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show from the program "Fresh Air" on NPR (2/18/2016, feat. host Terry Gross) and answer the following questions.

1. What are Trevor Noah's roots (what place and circumstances does he come from)?

2. What is the sociological point Noah is making (using humor) about the "race" checkbox on employment forms?

3. How is Noah's family history related to South African apartheid (segregation)?
Note: If you don't know what "apartheid" is, read this.

4. How did apartheid affect Noah's parents' relationship?

5. What are the different cultural sensitivities in Britian and the U.S. regarding talking about race?

6. What is the point of the tips Noah gives about "not getting shot" (in another comedy routine)?

7. What is Noah's advice regarding "sharing the plight of the people that are oppressing you"? Discuss in terms of "role-reversal" and stereotyping.

8. What does Noah's joke about an African-American not recognizing an African say about preconceptions about race? How can this be misinterpreted to reinforce racism?

E-mail your completed assignment:

DO NOT send as an attachment, please.

Due on or before Friday Oct 2 at 5pm


Online Media 6: The Dig


Video Assignment:

Watch this video of the archaeology of the Fremont Indians by Time Team America. Then answer the following questions:

1. Where did the archaeological research take place?

2. What makes this archaeological research site so unique?

3. How old was the Fremont civilization?

4. What feature were the archaeologists trying to discover at the base camp site?

5. What types of artifacts were discovered by the archaeological team?

6. What forms of remote sensing did they use?

7. Why were the archaeologists rappelling off cliffs?

8. What figures were portrayed on the petroglyph drawings?

9. What was the conclusion the team drew regarding what they could learn from their excavation of the base camp site?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH6

Due Friday, Oct 9, 5pm

Online Media 7: Domestication


Guns, Germs and Steel, Part 1, feat. Jared Diamond (Source: National Geographic, 2005)

1. What is the thesis of this documentary? (Answer this question at the end of the video, but contemplate it throughout.)

 What was the name of the Middle Eastern village identified by Canadian archaeologist Ian Kuijt (pronounced "Kite") where people settled into a community for the first time?

 What grain sources were available to the people of this first community?

 What is the human artifact (a feature of the archaeological site) that is so important in the development of domestication of plants?

 How did the first farmers impact the evolutionary development of the plants around them?

 According to Diamond, why did the New Guinea farmers not develop civilization?

What is the advantage that Americans have over New Guineans when it comes to the crops we eat?

 How did the domestication of animals relate to farming in America and New Guinea?

 Why were most of the villages of the fertile crescent abandoned after one thousand years of intensive farming and where did the people go?

 What are some of the criticisms of Jared Diamond's argument that geography and food crops explain inequality and how does he answer them?

E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
to:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH7

Due Friday Oct 16 at 5pm

Online Media 8: Culture


Eating Christmas in the Kalahari, by Richard Lee (1969)

1. What was the basic misunderstanding between the !Kung and Lee?

2. How well do the !Kung get along in sharing resources such as meat? Why is sharing such an important practice to them?

3. Why do you think the !Kung ridicule successful hunters? How is this fundamentally different from American culture? Give an example in your answer.

Shakespeare in the Bush, by Laura Bohannan (1966)

4. In choosing the play Hamlet, what is the authors perception of how the Tiv would understand the story?

5. What were the errors in the story of Hamlet that the tribe elders pointed out?

6. What is the main thesis of the article by Laura Bohannon?

E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
to:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH8

Due Friday Oct 23 at 5pm

Online Media 9: Language

Speaking in Tongues
Speaking in Tongues

Watch the following videos (~3 minutes each) and answer the question related to each one.

Q1: The History of Language - Episode # 1 Let There Be Words
How long ago does language go back (when was the first language spoken)?

Q2: The History of Language Episode #2 Constant Change
Why are languages always changing?

Q3: The History of language Episode # 3 Mother Tongue
How many languages are there in Australia?

Q4: The History of Language Episode # 4 Civilization to Colonization
What is the only ancient Asian writing system that is still in use today?

Q5: The History of Language Episode # 5 Life and Death
How many languages of the world are there now?
How many languages are anticipated to exist at the end of this century?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH9

Due Friday Oct 30 at 5pm

Online Media 10:

Read the following article about practices of reciprocity and answer the following questions:
Reciprocity and the Power of Giving
, by Lee Cronk

1. Explain where the term “Indian-giving” came from and why.

2. How has gift giving in some societies come to serve as a substitute for war? Describe a culture that has a “war of wealth” instead of a “war of blood”.

3. What is a modern-day example of reciprocity that the author discusses?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH10

Due FRIDAY, Nov 13, 5pm.


Cultural Stratification


Read the following article about the development of human leadership
and authority structures by Marvin Harris, titled
Life Without Chiefs
, then answer the questions below.

1. What is a headman, and do the !Kung people have headmen? Explain your answer.

2. What forms of economic distribution would be most closely associated with headmen and chiefs, respectively, and why?

3. What are some examples of the use (and abuse) of group labor by chiefs to erect “sacred precincts for communal rituals marking the change of seasons”?

4. What implications does the development of social status and hierarchy have on the modern world?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTHB1

Due FRIDAY, Nov 20, 5pm

Cultural Resources


Read the following article and answer this article about hunting and gathering life -- Scarce Resources in the Kalahari, by Richard Lee -- and answer these questions:

1. Describe the physical geography as well as social organization of the place that Lee was studying.

2. According to Lee, how much did the average !Kung camp member work? Discuss at least two different measures.

3. When Lee wrote the article in 1964, what was the dominant anthropological hypothesis regarding foraging tribes?

4. Did Lee’s research on the !Kung confirm or deny this hypothesis?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTHB2

Due Friday, Dec 4, 5pm



Note: I will give you 3 chances to get the subject heading correct and to not include attachments in your online media emails to me. For example, when you sent the first online media assignment, you should have used a subject heading in the email of "ANTH3." If you wrote something else (like, for instance, "Online Media Questions 3" or "anth 3 hw"), or if you have included your assignment as an attachment, you have not paid attention to the details of the assignment instructions (details which make it crucially easier to organize your responses and read what you have written). You can do this three times without penalty, but a fourth instance of not paying attention to the details will result in a 1-point reduction from your Online Media grade. For the vast majority of you who are doing it right, thank you for paying attention to the details! - Regards, Prof Reymers