Anthropology and Geography

Ages 11 to 13

In this course, students will be introduced to the social sciences by approaching anthropology and geography from first principles.

Students will look at seminal studies of the nature and development of humanity, and how those explorations led to the formation of the academic discipline of anthropology. They will also explore the subject of geography, both human and physical. The interactions between these disciplines will then underpin in-depth explorations of ecological anthropology.

The first semester will begin with an examination of human evolution and then trace the development of humanity through the agricultural revolution to the emergence of empires. The semester will examine examples of how humans shaped their environment and vice versa, ending with case studies that illustrate the dangers of human environment imbalance.

The second semester will start with an introduction to modern anthropology, with an emphasis on how anthropologists study human societies. Case studies will be used to illustrate how these methods have produced an abundance of research on unique cultures. The class will then move forward in time, exploring concepts such as carrying capacity and urbanization, with special emphasis on how these issues underlie the challenges faced by modern cities.

The entire course will be underpinned by the teaching of writing for scientific purposes. Specific writing skills to be addressed include forming logical thought and utilizing data as evidence to writing clearly and concisely.

Semester One
Week 1: Introduction? What is Anthropology? What is Geography?
Week 2: The Emergence of Humans — Basic Human Evolution
Week 3: What Makes Us Human? Are We Really that Special?
Week 4: The Spread of Humanity
Week 5: Subsistence Societies
Week 6: The Falsehood of the Ecological Indian? How Subsistence Societies Alter the Environment
Week 7: Farming — Technologies and Domestication
Week 8: The Effects of Farming on Human Organization ?Surplus, Specialization & Cities
Week 9: Early Cities and Political Organization
Week 10: Religion? A Unifying Political Force
Week 11: City-States and Empires
Week 12: Collapse #1 — Human Actions & the Environment
Week 13: Collapse #2 — Human Actions & the Environment
Week 14: Further Study of a Selected Topic Based on Students’ Interests
Week 15:End of Semester Review & Case Study

Semester Two
Week 1: An Introduction to Modern Anthropology, Focus on Ecological Anthropology
Week 2: How to Study People? Methods and Case Study
Week 3: Telling the Story of Place
Week 4: Disappearing Cultures ?Indigenous and Un-Contacted Peoples
Week 5: Unique Religions and Belief Systems
Week 6: Population Growth, Carrying Capacity and Modern Development
Week 7: Urbanization, World Cities and the Role of the Environment
Week 8: Comparing Development and Growth — Global North vs. Global South
Week 9: Modern Environmental Problems #1
Week 10: Modern Environmental Problems #2
Week 11: Case Study ?Climate Refugees
Week 12: Sustainability as the Solution?
Week 13: Future Cities — Sustainability in Action
Week 14: Further Study of a Selected Topic Based on Students’ Interests
Week 15: End of Semester Review & Case Study