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North Idaho College • Internet • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Anthropology

Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology ANTH-102

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 04
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 08/23/2012

Contact Information

Office Test

Instructor: Chris Muench

  • Email: Use Internet course mail system or you can contact me at [email protected]
  • Office: Molstead #209
  • Phone: (208) 665-5436

Office Hours

  • Friday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, via course mail system or by appointment on campus

Meeting Times

This is an Internet course.  There are no specific meeting times; however, the course is accessible online 24/7.  All assignments are due by Saturday, midnight at the end of week in which the work is assigned. 


ANTH 102 is a study of human culture which involves the information and techniques people use to survive and get along with each other. Included are examples from exotic peoples around the world in the areas of religion, magic, kinship, coming of age ceremonies, marriage rituals, economic activities, hunting techniques, etc. The course is desirable for students seeking a broad understanding of how human beings live, and how human customs vary throughout the world. This class satisfies a social science course requirement for the A.A. and A.S. degrees. Lecture: 3 hours per week



Required Text for this course is:

William A. Haviland, et al.  Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge, 13 th Edition. Thomson-Wadsworth Publ., 2010.

This text is available in the NIC bookstore.  My name (Chris Muench) will be on the shelf with the course information (Anth 102).


By the end of the course the student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of cultural and historical context for understanding people and their behaviors.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of anthropological terminology, concepts, principles, perspectives, theories, and methodologies of cultural anthroplogy. 
3. Demonstrate a broad overview of different cultures around the world and how they can be compared cross-culturally.
4. Analyze and demonstrate an understanding of the significance of cultural diversity.
5. Understand the rationale behind the concept that “studying other cultures can help us to better understand ourselves,” and that this understanding can help provide solutions to societal problems in our multi-cultural society.


Course Policies

Course Requirements

(1) Forum and weekly participation:  Each week your assignments will provide discussion questions that you will be required to address on the Forum (everyone is assigned the same questions).  Guidelines for answering these questions have been provided on your first week's assignment. Weekly participation is an important component of this course.  You are expected to respond to the forum postings of others in the class in a regular fashion.   This doesn't mean responding to every single posting, but at least attempting to respond to 2 postings per week.  Your responses don't have to be lengthy, but should reflect your ideas concerning the points your classmates have raised.   I have found that often students who perform well on the forum are able to offset less than optimal performances on the course exams and achieve a better grade than there exams would indicate.  Therefore, I urge each of you to put forth a strong effort in your weekly assignments.

Weekly participation and completion  of weekly assignments will account for 1/3  of your final grade.    

(2) Exams: There will be frequent quizzes covering the material presented in the assigned chapters. 

The exams will be worth a combined total of 1/3 of your grade.

3)  Midterm Exam:  There will be a midterm exam during  the 10th week of the semester.  You will be responsible for the information covered during the first eight weeks of class.  The exam will include both multiple choice and essay questions.

This exam will be worth 1/3 of your final grade.

(3) Final:  There will be NO final exam in this course.  

Letter grades will be assigned based upon the following percentage breakdown:    

100 - 90%             A to A-

89 - 80%               B+ to B-

79 - 70%               C+ to C-

69 - 60%               D+ to D-

Below 60%                     F


Important!   If during the semester, you find that you cannot complete this course, please contact me immediately to obtain a passing withdrawal.  Please keep in mind that NIC maintains a deadline for dropping a course without penalty.  It is your responsibility to contact the NIC registrar or your advisor in order to meet this deadline.   Also, if at any point in the semester an emergency or other events prevent you from completing an assignment or exam by the stated due date, please contact me in advance of the exam or assignment due date and I will work out other arrangements for the completion of the required work.   

Suggestions for Using this Site & Succeeding in this Class

(1) Every time you log on, check the top of the homepage for messages, suggestions, comments, etc...

(2) Become familiar with the features of your web browser (Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.) and the limitations of the version you are using.  Some graphics may not come through, in addition, some sites available through the "Anthropological Resources Links" may not work properly if you are using a browser that doesn't meet the above specification. 

(3)  Don't get too far behind on your assignments...You are allowed to get up to 1 week ahead or 1 week behind.  The interactive component of this course relies on students staying on the same material on a week-by-week basis.

(4)  Treat internet assignments with the same rigor you would for regular classes.   We are reading the much of the text and discussing the highlights of each chapter, very similar to a regular course.  The assignments you turn in have the same level of expectations for spelling, grammar, etc.

(5) Internet courses are sometimes prone to a number of problems. For example, the network here at school may be having difficulties or may be operating slow...this will cause frustrations at times. You might also have problems with your home computer or your Internet provider may be experiencing a high number of clients trying to log on at the same time, or a number of other factors may come into play. The key is to be flexible, have patience, and to always make sure you have backups of your work. Also, you should let me know if you are having difficulties or if you have found a bug in the course (and they do crop up every now and then!).

(6) Keep in mind that the idea behind Internet classes is flexibility, for both you and me.  You do not have a specific time you need to log on, you mainly need to keep up with your assignments, getting them in by the due date.  You have plenty of time to do this and can even work ahead a bit if you desire.  The main thing is to not get behind--Internet courses require a high degree of self-motivation and self-discipline. 

(7)   Ethics and Honesty:   I expect each of you to honor the basic rules of ethics and honesty expected of students in any college class.  This means that you complete your own assignments and  exams without collaboration with other students, that you refrain from providing to others in the class either the questions or answers to the questions in the on-line exams,  and that you refrain from plagiarism in any form.   Because we are not in a classroom environment, I cannot monitor student activities to insure compliance with these rules.  I must rely on the honesty and honor of each student to do what is right.  When students  cheat on their exams or assignments, they are creating an unfair advantage over their classmates who do not cheat.  Unfortunately, the honest students are the ones who suffer.  They must rely on their own knowledge and skill to succeed.  In the long run, they gain by actually achieving a knowledge of the subject; however, the lack of fairness in the situation is frustrating and discouraging.   If I become aware of cheating on the part of any student or group of students, I will refer the situation to the Social Sciences Division Chair for disciplinary action.

(8)  ATTENTION:  If you find that you are having difficulty accessing the course web site or sending and receiving assignments or email, please contact the NIC computer help desk at 769 - 3280.  They should be able to help you solve your computer problems.

Misc. Course Policies & Procedures:

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY--Cheating, plagiarism, or any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated 

ASSISTANCE--I am more than willing to help or assist students on material presented that they do not understand. If you don't feel like bringing something up in the forum for clarification I encourage you to (1) send me a private e-mail; (2) call me; and/or (3) view my office hours as a chance to discuss this in person (I am also very open to setting up alternative times if my normal office hours are inconvenient).

BEHAVIOR--Even though we don't meet face-to-face, we still need to be aware of the feelings of others and behave in a mature, courteous manner in forums or via e-mail.   Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.

SPECIAL RULES -- In the course of the forum discussions of the past an issue has arisen that needs to be addressed before we start the semester.  The question concerns the extent to which personal ideological or religious beliefs should enter into these online forums.  It is quite natural and healthy for individuals to feel  strongly about their religious or ideological convictions. Indeed, much of anthropology is directly concerned with understanding the belief systems of others.  However, a problem arises when the shared religious assumptions of one group serve to exclude from discourse others who do not likewise share in those assumptions.  In the case of  your forum, a number of individuals have been reluctant to contradict the religious statements of others both out of respect and as a means of avoiding disagreement over what are generally irreconcilable points of view.   Some have been offended by what they perceive as an attempt to impose a particular religious interpretation on the historical and anthropological information presented in this class.  Given that a forum is an arena for the exchange of ideas, it is important that all students feel free to participate without fear of offence.   Therefore, the following rules of discourse will apply: 

1) All discussions must be respectful of others.  This means that you can not assume that others automatically agree with your religious or ideological views.  You should consider that your own strongly held beliefs may be regarded by others as simple prejudice.

 2) Unless it is of direct historical relevance, citing religious texts as an explanation of causality should be avoided. While religious scripture may represent absolute truth to some, for others it holds no such validity.   Furthermore, by questioning the veracity of religious doctrine those in disagreement are by extension questioning the private faith of another and, therefore, likely to cause offence. 

3) Remember that this is a course in Anthropology.  The basic premise of Anthropology is that we try to set aside our biases in our attempt to understand the cultures of others.   It is important to try to cultivate an objective view when studying the beliefs and practices of unfamiliar cultures.  

     You are all here to share a common learning experience.  Each of you has much to contribute.  Your forum is the place where you can explore new topics and ideas together.  We are sure that you can all be successful in this venture.


Additional Items

Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college.Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.

For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct applies to any student enrolled at North Idaho College.  This includes, but is not limited to, face-to-face classes and Internet classes.

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.