Intro to Anthropology: Humankind

$245 per course per person for the general public. Members pay $230.

$245 public - $230 members

View the weekly class calendar
Spring classes start the week of January 28 and end the week of May 13.

Instructor: Anastasia Risley
5-10 students
Suggested Age Ranges: 11-14; 13+
Meets: Thursdays at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm Pacific time


Have you ever wondered how humans got to be such a distinctly odd species of this Earth? We walk on two feet instead of four, we use tools of vast complexity and variety, we study the planets and beyond, we create art, and we wonder about many things, including ourselves! Have you ever met another animal that does all of these things? Let’s take a journey through time, from the primitive apes of dense jungles to the modern humans of dense cities. We will answer all kinds of questions in between, such as: “Why are our heads so big?”, “How did humans populate the planet?”, “Why do we grow our own food?”, “Are we the only species of human?”, and many other inquiries brought to the classroom by you! The class format will have a chronological focus on the timeline of human evolution, while encouraging critical thinking discussions, and integrating current discoveries being made in the anthropology field. For the final AnthroProject, students will choose from a handful of project  options, ranging from human history of their local region, to writing a story from an ancient human's perspective, to gathering evidence to explain a collective human behavior. Join me for an expedition into the story of humanity!

Prerequisites: None

Week 1: Introductions and Curiosities - Syllabus review and questions; What interests you about human history?
Week 2: What is Anthropology? - Methods of study and history of humans studying themselves
Week 3: Evidence: Acquisition methods- Archaeology; Credibility processes; Interpretation
Week 4: Human EvolutionFirst intelligent apes - Climate change
Week 5: Walking Upright and Enlarged Brains - Other distinctly human physical qualities
Week 6: Battles of Theory: - Major difference in evidence interpretation, anthropologists with differing ideas
Week 7: Ways of Life for Early Humanoids: - Traveling; Food acquisition & fire; The earliest tools
Week 8: Homo sapiens: the last remaining humanoidsHow and why did the others go extinct?
Week 9: The Early Homo sapiens - Environment and social structures
anthropologyWeek 10: Tools, tools, tools: What we know about the social evolution of tool use in Homo sapiens
Week 11: Spring Break
Week 12: More differing theories—and their origins - How did humans populate the Earth?
Week 13: Researching credible anthropological sources
Week 14: Early agriculture - What sparked the discovery of agriculture?
Week 15: Agricultural methods: Pastoralism; Wilderness management; Horticulture
Week 16: Last Presentations

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