Syllabus for Intro to Anthropology: ANTH1101

Intro to Anthropology (ANTH 1101-006)

UNC Charlotte, Spring 2018

Mon/Wed (11:00-12:15pm) in CHHS 380


Instructor: Adam Johnson Office Hours: T/TR 11:00-12:00pm by appointment in Hickory 42B


This syllabus contains policies and expectations I have established for this course.  Please read the entire syllabus carefully and refer to it regularly throughout the semester.


Course Description


Our central concern in this course is to examine the four-subfields of anthropology: cultural, biological, archaeology, and linguistics. We will contextualize anthropology historically and see its application to contemporary examples and social issues.


This course will teach you to think anthropologically, that is, to think about humanity non-reductively. Thinking like an anthropologist is regarded as a tool for deciphering everyday experience and what it means to be human. Essentially, we are interested in who we are, where we come from, and what it means. Regardless of your major, understanding cultural and biological diversity, thinking critically and non-reductively, and culturally relative will be essential skills in whatever field and profession you’re passionate about!


Beyond the general course material, you will have the opportunity to practice your creativity, collaboration, communication, and most importantly, your critical thinking.


Course Objectives


  • A holistic view of anthropology, emphasizing the complementary and integration of its subfields.
  • Respecting tradition, with a contemporary perspective.
  • An emphasis on learning how to ask important and interesting anthropological questions.
  • Recognize relationships between individual and culture.
  • Think critically about social issues and articulate diverse perspectives.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  • Applying anthropology to understand and solve human problems.


Required Materials


Anthropology: Asking Questions About Human Origins, Diversity, and Culture (ISBN: 9780199947591) by Welsch, Vivanco, and Fuentes.

This required textbook for the course is available at the UNC Charlotte main campus bookstore and Gray’s Bookstore. I post the first chapter on Canvas to allow you time to get the book.  You MUST obtain access to this book to do well in the course.

Additional required readings include articles, book chapters, and other readings.  These will be posted on Canvas.

Grade Components


Grade Components Percentage
Quizzes 25
Reading Notes 30
Team-Based Challenges 5
Attendance and Participation 10
Team Weekly Reflections 5
Team Project 15
Misc. Discussion Boards 10
Total 100
Letter Grade Calculation (subject to change)
A = 100 to 90
B = 89.9 to 80
C = 79.9 to 70
D = 69.9 to 60
F = Below 60


Course Format



You will be placed into permanent teams for the duration of the semester. These teams will engage in in-class activities, discussion, and a team project. Team-Based Learning (TBL) shifts the dynamic of the classroom from one where I actively lecture and you passively learn, to one where you all work together in teams to actively learn the materials. TBL facilitates the development of skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication. There will be short lectures on the material read or to reinforce concepts that I think are important.

Course Information

Attendance and Decorum:

You must attend class to do well in this course. This class uses a team-based learning approach that requires you to be present during scheduled classes to work with your team. If you must miss a class, please realize that you are disadvantaging your team. As such, your team members get to decide whether to award you credit for work that is completed if you are not present. If you are receiving financial aid and fail to attend class regularly, you put yourself at risk of losing your aid.

If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to get notes from another student—not from me. I expect you to know when assignments are due, when exams are schedule, and what readings are required.


As adults, I expect you to be respectful regarding your conduct during class, including the use of cell phones, etc., in the classroom.  I would prefer that you not use laptops or tablets during class, except to take notes or participate in class activities. If you are distracting to me or to others during the class, I will ask you to modify your behavior or leave the room.  UNCC Policy Statement 104 10.s states “Disruptive conduct also includes use of cell phones or other electronic devices for voice or text communication in class.”


Controversial Subject Matter:


Student participation and class discussion are highly valued and encouraged. As such, we will be exploring several potentially sensitive topics such as prejudice, discrimination, racism, and so forth. Mutual respect is key is this class. I will not tolerate disrespect under any circumstance. I ask that everyone is respectful of other people’s comments and questions even if you disagree. In the event that you find a comment another student makes to be insensitive or disrespectful, please speak up and explain your thoughts or feelings in a civil manner, or discuss the issue with me outside of class.


That being said, I expect everyone to come to class with an open mind.  You will be asked to challenge your current world view and your classmates’, but let us do this in a respectful manner.  Active engagement is highly encouraged and rewarded.  I will exercise my responsibility to manage the discussions so that ideas and argument can proceed in an orderly fashion.  If you are having difficulty with participating or feel intimidated in any way, please come and see me and we can work together to find a solution.

Disability Services: 

UNC Charlotte is committed to access to education. If you have a disability and need academic accommodations, please provide a letter of accommodation from Disability Services early in the semester. For more information on accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 704-687-0040 or visit their office in Fretwell 230.

Academic Integrity:


All students are required to read and abide by the UNC Charlotte Code of Student Academic Integrity available online at Violations of the Code, including plagiarism, will result in disciplinary action.  The following violations of academic integrity are described in more detail online:


  1. CHEATING. Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise. This definition includes unauthorized communication of information during an academic exercise.
  2. FABRICATION AND FALSIFICATION. Intentional and unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification is a matter of altering information, while fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise
  3. MULTIPLE SUBMISSION. The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization.
  4. PLAGIARISM. Intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgement of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., are common knowledge.
  5. ABUSE OF ACADEMIC MATERIALS. Intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material.
  6. COMPLICITY IN ACADEMIC DISHONESTY. Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  7. GROUP WORK.  For group work, responsibility for insuring that academic integrity standards are followed is shared by all members of the group.  In cases where an individual student is able to demonstrate that he/she neither knew of nor participated in the academic dishonesty, that individual student is not guilty of academic dishonesty.


Students must assume that all graded assignments and tests are to be completed individually unless otherwise noted in writing in this syllabus.  Lack of knowledge on how and when to cite will NOT be acceptable as an excuse for cheating. I reserve the right to report any cases of suspected plagiarism or cheating.


You must read BEFORE class to participate in the team-based activities. There will be a Readiness Assessment Process (RAP), including: reading notes, and individual quizzes to assess whether you have read and understood the materials and to assist you in collecting your thoughts. The reading notes will be submitted in Canvas prior to class and this will be modeled during the first week of class. Individual quizzes are generally 10 multiple choice questions in which you have 10 minutes to complete on Canvas prior to class on Mondays. Your teams will also complete team based challenges (TBC’s) based on the assigned materials. Reading before class means you will have an idea of what exactly you do not understand, which will enable you to clear up misunderstandings in a timely manner.

Class Cancellation:

Although I don’t foresee cancelling class, in a case where I must, I will communicate with you through email. University-wide cancellations will be received through the university system.

Religious Accommodations: 

UNC Charlotte provides reasonable accommodations, including a minimum of two excused absences each academic year, for religious observances required by a student’s religious practice or belief. In cases where class will be missed due to religious observations, please communicate with me ahead of time.

Other Expectations:


I expect you to regularly check both Canvas and your UNC Charlotte email.  This is how I will get in touch with you and it is the best way to get in touch with me.


I also expect that you will use Canvas to access required readings and to submit your assignments.  You are responsible for doing so and should contact me in a timely manner (and before assignments are due!) should you have any difficulty.


It is your responsibility to get in touch with me early in the semester if you are struggling in the course or have questions.  I am more than happy to work with you, but I cannot do so unless you communicate with me.  I expect students to take advantage of my office hours, especially if the material or assignments seem difficult.


The University policy on withdrawal allows students only a limited number of opportunities available to withdraw from courses.  It is important for you to understand the financial and academic consequences that may result from course withdrawal.

Syllabus Amendments:

I reserve the right to alter the syllabus as necessary.

Exam Policy

I’m trying a new thing where there will be no exams. Instead I will use the quizzes, in-class assignments, discussions, TBCs, and reading notes to assess your understanding of the material.

Grading Policy


Periodically (i.e. about every week) you will take an individual quiz on the assigned chapter. This quiz will be based on readings and sometimes videos. Your quiz average will be worth 25% of your grade. Everyone gets to drop one quiz, no questions asked.

Weekly Team Reflection: 

Every week, your team will compile a list of three questions at the beginning of each unit concerning the reading. You will spend the week trying to answer the questions during lecture, class discussion, or independent investigation. You team will turn in the questions and answers on Canvas on Fridays. This is worth 5% of your grade.

Attendance and Participation:

You are expected to attend every session of class, but I understand that things come up. You can miss TWO CLASS periods with no penalty to your grade. After that, you will lose 1 percent of your final grade, up to 5% (half a letter grade).  Participation includes a mid-semester and end-of-semester peer review of your teammates in order to give them the opportunity to evaluate your contribution to your team throughout the semester. The grade is calculated by the average score that you receive from your team (with any obvious outliers thrown out). The first peer review is worth 2% of your total grade and the final one is worth 3%. 10% of your grade, total.

Team-Based Challenges:

You will complete team-based challenges throughout the week. These challenges will ask you to engage in the material covered in the course with your teammates. These will be worth 5% of your final grade.

Team Project:

At the end of the semester, you will present a team project (a video presentation emailed to me). This project will consist of picking a contended topic in science, researching it, and presenting it to the class, either live or in video format. This project will be broken into smaller graded parts equaling 15% of your final grade. For this project, your teammates will grade your performance and you will receive the average of the grades assigned by your team of the total grade awarded to your team. If you slack, it is reflected in your grade.

Reading Notes: 

Reading notes serve as a way to reward you for carefully reading the material. By completing this, you should do well on the quizzes and effectively engage with the material in class. This portion of the course constitutes 30% of your grade.

Miscellaneous Discussion Boards:

3-5 times during the semester, I will ask you to participate in various discussion boards. They could include: reflecting on the course so far, engaging with contemporary issues arising in the news, discussing a particular issue that requires more discussion than we have in class. These will be worth 10% of your final grade.


Extra Credit

There may be extra credit opportunities throughout the semester in the form of talks at the university that are of particular importance to the course. In order to earn extra credit, you will attend the talk and write a 500-word summary/reflection. You should summarize the talk, reflect on it, and relate it to topics from the class.


Please do not try to negotiate your grade at the end of the semester. I will not offer late semester extra credit opportunities, re-assess your previous assignments, or arbitrarily bump up your grade. I will work with you throughout the semester to make sure you get the most out of the class.

While grades are necessary in order to hold you all accountable and to ensure that you are taking the time to engage in the material, I hate that they have become the center of students’ psyche. If you really focus on the material and its application and less so on doing the bare minimum to get your intended grade, you’ll find that you will actually do quite well in the course; better than you may have expected. In short, take the class seriously and it will greatly benefit you.


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