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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Peoples and Cultures of the World for showing
us the end result of all history, the peoples and cultures of the world.

Peoples and Cultures of the World
Lectures by Professor Edward Fischer

Peoples and Cultures of the World (2004) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Peoples and Cultures of the World at TheGreatCourses.com

Why is anthropology such an inherently fascinating subject? Because it's all about us: human beings. As the "science of humanity," anthropology can help us understand virtually anything about ourselves - from our political and economic systems, to why we get married, to how we decide to buy a particular bottle of wine.

Here are just a few of the intriguing questions anthropologists study:

  • What does it mean if someone raises his eyebrows when he meets you?
  • Is there such a thing as progress? Are modern technological nations really happier and better off than "primitive" hunter-gatherer societies?
  • What is the cultural significance of gift giving? What are the subtle social and psychological rules we follow when we give a gift, and what obligates us when we receive one?
  • How common is cannibalism today? What are the types of cannibalism and the beliefs associated with them?
  • In American garbage dumps, what item of trash serves as a clear stratographic layer, distinguishing one-year's trash from the next?
  • What's the difference between a matriarchal and a matrilineal society? Which is more common among world cultures?
  • Why are Starbucks coffee shops, reality TV shows, and tourist destinations such as Las Vegas and Disneyland so popular with American consumers?

In Peoples and Cultures of the World, Professor Edward F. Fischer reveals the extraordinary power of anthropology - and his subspecialty, cultural anthropology - as a tool to understand the world's varied human societies, including our own. As a science that incorporates many disciplines, including psychology, biology and genetics, politics, economics, and religion, anthropology probes human behavior from nearly every possible perspective.

This course gives you an opportunity to survey the full scope of the field of cultural anthropology. Professor Fischer examines the contributions of the profession's most noted scholars, from founders and early popularizers Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Margaret Mead to more contemporary researchers, including Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, Marshall Sahlins, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes.

These lectures will immerse you in the world of the Trobriand Islanders of Melanesia, the Yanomamö of the Brazilian Amazon; the Dobe Ju/'hoansi, or !Kung Bushmen, of Botswana and Namibia; and other indigenous peoples. In addition, they offer a glimpse into the lives of cultural anthropologists themselves - the theories and methodologies they use and the experiences of fieldwork - living for extended periods of time within the cultures they study.

By the end of this course, you will appreciate how valuable an understanding of cultural anthropology is in a world of ever-increasing globalization, in which members of even the most remote cultures come into more frequent and more influential contact through international travel, migration, business, and the Internet.

And you may be surprised at the many ways cultural anthropology affects your daily life. Here's one: Major corporations hire cultural anthropologists to create products - the PT Cruiser automobile, for example, was designed in consultation with French cultural anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille - that will have even greater appeal to customers and to find ways to advertise and sell them more effectively.

Professor Edward Fisher is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University, where he has taught since 1996. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology form Tulane University. He has won the Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. He has authored several books and articles.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: The Study of Humanity 13: Gatherers and Hunters
2: The Four Fields of Anthropology 14: Headmen and Horticulturists
3: Culture and Relativity 15: Cannibalism and Violence
4: Fieldwork and the Anthropological Method 16: The Role of Reciprocity
5: Nature, Nurture, and Human Behavior 17: Chiefdoms and Redistribution
6: Languages, Dialects, and Social Categories 18: Cultural Contact and Colonialism
7: Language and Thought 19: Cultures of Capitalism
8: Constructing Emotions and Identities 20: Is Economics Rational?
9: Magic, Religion, and Codes of Conduct 21: Late Capitalism - From Ford to Disney
10: Rites of Passage 22: The Maya, Ancient and Modern
11: Family, Marriage, and Incest 23: Maya Resurgence in Guatemala and Mexico
12: Multiple Spouses and Matrilineality 24: The Janus Face of Globalization


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Peoples and Cultures of the World
Lectures by Professor Edward Fischer

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Peoples and Cultures of the World for showing
us the end result of all history, the peoples and cultures of the world.