ANT50 Sylabus

ANT50 Sylabus - Bruce Winterhalder, Instructor, 218 Young...

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Bruce Winterhalder, Instructor, 218 Young HallWhitney Meno, [; 754-4770] Course Description back to top Are there commonalities running through our diversity as a species, evolved characteristics that we can identify as human nature? If so, what are they? And, what are the implications, if any, for our behavior? ANT 50 asks what we can learn about these questions and ourselves by adopting a Darwinian form of analysis. The organization of the course is partly historical. We will begin in the mid-19th century with Darwin and his contemporaries, trace our topic through social darwinism at the beginning of the 20th century, and then examine the recent florescence of the evolutionary study of human behavior.The course organization also is partly topical. Among the subjects we will take up are: non- human primate precursors, incest, polygamy, sexual selection, parental investment, life history traits (e.g., menopause), honesty and deception, Machiavellian intelligence, language origins, religion, sexual behavior, gender and mate choice, parent-offspring conflict, competition and altruism, eugenics and social darwinism. These subjects have been as controversial as they are fascinating. Biological accounts of humanity are said by some to be reductionist and to seriously understate the role of nurture, socialization and learning in the formation of human societies. We will have to grapple with this critique. A final quality of the course is relevance. What we believe about our nature helps to shape it by establishing our sense of possibilities and limitations; such ideas are public and intensely personal.Ten weeks is insufficient to cover such a broad topic as
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the evolution of human nature; this syllabus necessarily is very selective. But, this course will provide you basic concepts with which anthropologists and other scholars attempt to understand human behavior and its diversity. It will serve as an excellent foundation for the more specific, detailed and advanced study to be discovered in anthropology and related fields, here at UC - Davis
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course ANT 50 taught by Professor Winterhalder during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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ANT50 Sylabus - Bruce Winterhalder, Instructor, 218 Young...

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