College 002: Biology, Language and Culture

Spring Term, 2002


There will be two "bulk packs" of readings for the course. The first one is available now from the SEAS copy center, and the second one will be available before spring break. In addition, most if not all readings will be available on-line as .pdf files on the password-protected Blackboard site, with active hyperlinks from this page.

In addition, most lectures will involve PowerPoint or html lecture notes, which will also be linked from this page.

1 1/08 Course overview and structure;
Introductions and discussion
Notes: Mann
  Liberman [discussion]
2 1/10 Presentation and discussion of initial examples All Entine, Jon, " The Straw Man of 'Race'", The World & I, vol. 16 no. 9 pp. 294-317 (9/2001)
Selection from " Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes" video (shown in class)
3 1/15 Topic 1: Humanness Mann Smedley, Audrey "Introduction" and "Some Theoretical Considerations" [part 1]and [part 2]. In Race in North America (1999).
4 1/17 Topic 1: Humanness Urban Geertz, Clifford. "The Concept of Man in Light of the Concept of Culture." In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books. (1973). Diamond, Jared. "Why is World History Like an Onion" and "Yali's Question" in Guns, Germs, and Steel, pp. 9-32. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. (1977).
5 1/22 Topic 1: Humanness
[.ppt] [.html]

Miller, G. chapter 1 ("The Scientific Study of Language") in The Science of Words, (1996).
Pinker, S. chapter 1 in The Language Instinct, (1994).
[alternative: Pinker, S. chapter 1 ("The Infinite Library") in Words and Rules (2001)].
Smith, J.M. and Eors Szathmary, chapter 2 ("The Major Transitions") in The Origins of Life. (1999).

6 1/24 1 (Panel Discussion) All  
7 1/29 Topic 2: Variation and adaptation Mann

Molnar, Stephen, "The biological basis for human variation". In Human Variation: Races, Types and Ethnic Groups. (1998). [part1] [part2]
Stearns, Stephen,"Introducing evolutionary thinking". In Evolution in Health and Disease. (1999).

8 1/31 Topic 2: Variation and adaptation Urban Nanda, Serena. Chapter One: "Hijra Roles in Indian Society," and Chapter Two: "The Hijra as Neither Man nor Woman. In Neither Man nor Woman: The Hijras of India, p. ix, xvii-xxi, and pp. 1-23. New York: Wadsworth Publishing Co. (1998) [part1] [part2]
Herdt, Gilbert. Selection from Ch. 4: "Gender and Socialization." In The Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea, pp. 75-91. Ft. Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. (1981). [part1] [part2]
9 2/5 Topic 2: Variation and adaptation Liberman Axelrod, R.A. "Evolving new strategies" (pp. 15-19)". In The Complexity of Cooperation. (1997).
Pinker, S. chapter 8 in The Language Instinct. (1994). [part1] [part2]
10 2/7

2 (Panel Discussion)
[slides for discussion]

11 2/12 Topic 3: Tracing backwards Mann

Caspari, R. and Wolpoff, M. "The pattern of human evolution". In Man and Environment in the Palaeolithic. (1995).
Tattersall, I., "Once we were not alone". Scientific American 282: 56-62. (2000).

12 2/14 Topic 3: Tracing backwards Urban Sahlins, Marshall. "Critique of the Scientific Sociolobiology: Kin Selection." The Use and Abuse of Biology: An Anthropological Critique of Sociobiology, pp. 17-67. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. (1988). [part1] [part2]
13 2/19 Topic 3: Tracing backwards Liberman Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. chapter 5 in Genes, Peoples and Languages. (2000). [part1] [part2]
14 2/21 3 (Panel Discussion) All  
15 2/26 Topic 4: Transmission of information Mann

Templeton, Alan. "Human races: a genetic and evolutionary perspective". American Anthropologist 100: 632-650. (1999) [part1] [part2]

16 2/28 Topic 4: Transmission of information Urban

Smith, J.M. and Eors Szathmary. "From Animal Societies to Human Societies" and "The Origin of Language." In The Origins of Life. (1999). [part1] [part2]
Savage-Rumbaugh, E. Sue, and Duane M. Rumbaugh "The Emergence of Language." In Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution. K.R. Gibson and T. Ingold, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1993).

17 3/5 Topic 4: Transmission of information Liberman N/A
18 3/7 MIDTERM EXAM    
Spring Break
  NEW: Templeton, Alan. "Out of Africa again and again." Nature 416, 45 - 51 (2002) [published March 7!]
Unless you are interested, you don't need to try to follow the details of the analysis, but see especially Figure 1: A new model of recent human evolution.
19 3/19 Topic 5: Theories & ideologies of group identity Mann Marks, J. and Gill, G.W. "Should anthropology abandon the concept of race?". In Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Anthropology.(2000).
Montagu, A. "The concept of race". In The Concept of Race, Ashley Montagu, ed. New York: The Free Press. (1964)
Entine, Jon Forward and Chapters 1, 20 and 24, in Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It. (2000)
[Various Authors]. Reviews of The Bell Curve; The Evolution of Racism; Human Biodiversity; Race and Evolution and Behavior. Evolutionary Anthropology 6: 99-109. (1995).
20 3/21 Topic 5: Theories & ideologies of group identity Liberman Gil-White, Francisco. "Are ethnic groups biological 'species' to the human brain?: Essentialism in our cognition of some social categories." Current Anthropology 42(4): 515-554 (2001).
    Topic 5: Theories & ideologies of group identity Urban La Fontaine, J.S. "Child Sexual Abuse and the Incest Taboo: Practical Problems and Theoretical Issues." Man, Vol. 23(1): 1-18. (1988).
Kottak, Conrad Phillip "The Cultural Construction of Race" and "Kinship, Descent, and Marriage." In Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, pp. 57-75 and 173-182. New York: McGraw-Hill. (1996).
Fortes, Meyer. "The Structure of Unilineal Descent Groups." American Anthropologist 55: 25-39. (1953).
22 3/28 5 (Panel Discussion) All  
23 4/2 Topic 6: From now to the future Mann  
24 4/4 Topic 6: From now to the future Liberman McWhorter, John. "Most of the World's Languages Went Extinct." pp. 253-286 (Chapter 7) of The Power of Babel (2001). [part1] [part2]
  4/9 Topic 6: From now to the future Urban Fagan, Brian. Chapter 9: "A Plenteous Harvest." In People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory, 7th ed. New York: Harper Collins. (1992)..
Rabinow, Paul. "Introduction" and Chapter 1: "Toward Biotechnology." In Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology, pp. 1-45. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (1996). [part1] [part2]
26 4/11 6 (Panel Discussion) All  
27 4/16 Conclusion 1 (Lecture) All  
28 4/18 Conclusion 2 (Lecture) All Discussion of "descent graphs"
Final Exam