Cultural Anthropology, an introductory course

Study of peoples and their cultures

"It is imperative that I learn the differences in these different sub-cultures if I am going to effectively reach them with the gospel." -- Donald S., Northwest Nazarene University student

"from every nation, tribe, people and language" --

Syllabi (in PDF format)

"I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" -- Revelation 7:9

This course will use a variety of learning resources, including videos and case studies.

Helpful resources

"The musical "Fiddler on the Roof" made much more sense after reading chapter 7 of our cultural anthropology textbook." — Professional Studies student

Cultural Anthropology FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What's the difference between anthropology and ethnology?

Anthropology is the study of the origin, culture and development of human beings. It has several branches, including cultural anthropology. Ethnology is a branch within cultural anthropology. Ethnology deals with the origins and characteristics of individual ethnic groups with a focus on factors influencing cultural growth and change.

So, an anthropologist who decides to spend an entire career on an in-depth study of a tribal group in the Amazon rain forest is, in effect, narrowing himself/herself to being an ethnographer. A Bible translator who spends two decades learning a language, developing or inventing a writing system for it and the eventually producing a New Testament in that language is a type of ethnographer. On the other hand, a cultural anthropologist hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs would not be considered an ethnographer since that person is dealing with a wide range of tribal groups.

If we were dealing with automobiles, anthropology would be the study of everything about them (history, mechanics, styling, sales, repair, effect on human beings, etc.). Ethnography would be the study of Jeeps.

What tools do anthropologists use in their work?

Their eyes and ears are their main tools. Anthropologists do a lot of field work. If they are physical anthropologists they probably spend a lot of time digging up old bones. If they are archaeological anthropologists they are intent on unearthing treasures from villages and towns of the past. If they are cultural anthropologists they spend a lot of time in observing and interviewing people. If they are linguistic anthropologists, they spend time working with languages.

Are there particular resources helpful for thinking about things in the field of anthropology?

Print and video materials produced by National Geographic are very user-friendly resources. Museums that focus on cultures are also excellent. Here in Oklahoma, for instance, we have good Native American tribal museums as well as the the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museumthat that details the life of cattle raisers. In Haiti, there are two small, but good anthropological museums which missionaries have put together and maintain.
Most courses at SNU contain a writing component.
I expect students to produce written work that is focused, well developed, organized and relatively free of grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.
Papers falling short of this standard will not be graded. That work will be returned to the students for further revision and resubmission.
See my writing checklist.

How diverse are we?

arrow pointing to the rightHave you played cultural bingo? [ more ]

Tempted to cheat on some schoolwork?

Before you do, read Southern Nazarene University'sacademic integrity policy.

Cultural Anthropology -- Bridge program

"I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" -- Revelation 7:9

Course materials

Case studies for reflecting on issues in Cultural Anthropology

See above list of case studies

In-class worksheets for Cultural Anthropology

Helpful web pages

See above list of resources

PowerPoint presentations

See above list

Optional "dig deeper" enrichment readings for Cultural Anthropology

See above list of articles

"And people will come from all over the world from east and west, north and south to take their places in the Kingdom of God." -- Luke 13:29, New Living Translation

    -- Howard Culbertson

Cultural Anthropology course resources:    Exam study guides    My own culture shock    Reading report   Reentry: Coming home   Professor/student contract   Improving the papers you turn in   How to listen to a boring lecture    Getting better grades

Ruining your mission trip     Spending a year overseas     Ten ways to avoid becoming a missionary