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ANT4002 Contemporary Issues and Debates in Anthropology

Semester 1, 2015 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lara Lamb
Moderator: Bryce Barker


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BAHN or MSTA

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


This course is designed to facilitate student involvement in thinking about practical and theoretical debates within anthropology, with a view to understanding how anthropology and anthropologists engage with contemporary issues.


This course examines central themes in contemporary anthropology today including key debates such as the issues of whether anthropology is primarily an explanatory or interpretive enterprise, positivism and relativism; the nature of culture; and the relationship between anthropologists and the people they study. Case studies of important issues that have resulted in debate within the discipline will be examined in detail. Examples of topics to be examined include the Hindmarsh Island Bridge controversy, the Chagnon/Tierney Yanomami issue and the Sahlins/Obeysekere debate about Lono and the meaning of the death of Captain Cook in Hawaii.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a critical perspective on the contribution that anthropology can make to the understanding of contemporary issues
  2. demonstrate an awareness of key applications of anthropology to contemporary issues
  3. demonstrate an ability to locate such themes in a wider debate of anthropological theory
  4. demonstrate an awareness of ways that anthropologists respond to and develop strategies in response to problems encountered during and post research.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Theoretical orientations 25.00
2. Specific Issues in contemporary anthropology 25.00
3. Ethical dilemmas - case studies 25.00
4. Rethinking contemporary anthropology 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Textbook to be advised.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Ingold, T 1996, Key debates in anthropology, Routledge, London.
  • Marcus, GE 1992, Rereading cultural anthropology, Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina.
  • McGee, JR & Warms, RL 2012, Anthropological theory: an introductory history, 5th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.
  • Moore, JD 2012, Visions of culture: anthropological theories and theorists, 4th edn, Altimira Press, Lanham, Maryland.
  • Further references specific to case studies will be provided as part of course content.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 26.00
Private Study 139.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
SEMINAR PARTICIPATION 20 20 05 Jun 2015 (see note 1)
CRITIQUE - 3000 WORDS 80 80 08 Jun 2015

  1. Seminar participation is defined as ongoing attendance and contribution to discussions with your supervisor.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online: There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

    On-campus: It is the students? responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Not applicable.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.