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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Anthropology - Wilson: Home

For Mr. Wilson's Anthropology class.


In this course we will explore the rich complexity of human society and culture. By utilizing the anthropologist’s “toolkit,” we will study how concepts like race, gender, sexuality, and class manifest in disparate human groups. Ultimately, you should come away from the course with an appreciation for human cultural diversity while understanding the ways in which the human experience is similar across cultures.


Course Readings and Materials:

  • Colleen E. Boyd and Luke Eric Lassiter ed., Explorations in Cultural Anthropology (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2011)
  • Supplemental Readings: In addition to the reader, I will provide you with supplemental readings each week. These readings will be the basis of our class discussions on Friday, which will be student lead.


Assignments and Participation:

  • Ethnography: Over the course of the semester you will research and write an original ethnography. You will choose a local group to study, find relevant secondary sources, conduct fieldwork, and write an ethnography. This project will be the majority of your final grade. However, don’t freak out. The project itself is broken up into smaller assignments that you will complete over the course of the semester.
    • Libguide: There will be resources available in the library to help you determine an area of research and find supporting documents.
  • Response Papers: You will write six response papers in reaction to a unit’s assigned text. These papers are an opportunity to explore similarities between the various readings or any original ideas that they inspire. There are no right or wrong answers for the response papers, with creative and original work the goal. There are nine units and you can choose whichever six units you want to write your papers on. Each unit is two weeks long and papers are due at the start of class on the last Friday of the unit. Papers are to be 2-3 pages, double-spaced.
    • If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you can write nine papers and I will drop the three lowest grades.
  • Discussion lead: At one point during the semester, each student will help lead a discussion session. Those students assigned to lead discussion will create a list of topics and questions related to the readings that they want to discuss. Because there will be more than one student leading discussion, each student needs to turn in their own list of questions or topic ideas.
  • Participation: Thursday and Friday will be seminar-style discussions. On Thursday, we will discuss the Boyd-Lassiter readings. On Friday, we will bring in the supplemental readings. You are expected to participate in these in-class discussions to receive your participation grade. 


Plagiarism and Late Work:

  • I have a zero tolerance policy in regards to plagiarism. Any plagiarized work will result in an automatic zero. If you are unsure about how to properly cite something, check with me or one of the library staff.
  • All late work will be docked 10% for each day that it is late unless you talk with me ahead of time. If you know that you are going to be late turning in an assignment, let me know and we can work something out.



  • Laptops: Laptops are to be put away unless I let you know that you can have them out. Notes are to be taken by hand in a notebook. This keeps distractions to a minimum. Plus, taking notes by hand helps you better retain information. That’s science.
  • Phones: The same policy applies to phones as well. If you have recorded an interview on your phone, used it to take notes, or have a pdf on it, you can have your phone out during designated workshop days. However, you need to run it by me. Otherwise, I’m going to come by and bust your chops about it.


Classroom Conduct:

  • Be respectful of the other people in the classroom. This means not using any hateful or hurtful speech. Any kind of mean-spirited or bigoted speech will not be tolerated.
  • Pay attention while me or your classmates are talking. Because we are all going to be teaching each other, it is important that we give each other the attention and respect that we would like to receive. No side conversations or disruptive behavior.
  • Don’t interrupt your classmates while they are talking or presenting. Again, be respectful and give them time to complete their thoughts.

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