Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences The University of Alabama

Social Anthropology

ANT 536-001
Spring, 1999

Professor: Dr. M.D. Murphy
Class Place and Time: 119 ten Hoor, Wed. . 3-5:30 p.m.
Office: 24C ten Hoor
Office Hrs: Tues 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Wed 1-2 p.m.; by appointment


Course Objectives

This seminar of lectures, discussions, readings and web page construction will explore the attempts of anthropologists to describe, interpret and analyze the social relations of a wide range of human societies. Lecture topics will include kinship, marriage, descent, residence, modes of production, the control of sexuality and aggression, and social evolution. Each student will take a written examination in the anthropology of kinship and social strucure and will construct a web page leading to an essay and an oral presentation on one of ten theoretical or methodological perspectives in social anthropology.

Reading List

Reserve Reading Room Resources for Essays and Web Assignments


Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Other Resources for Essays and Web Assignments

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


Class Participation and Attendance

Attendance is required and excessive absences will lower the student's grade for the course. Classroom participation is an important requirement of the course and it will figure in the final grade.

Written Examination

The written examination (April 7) will test the student's knowledge of the anthropological study of kinship and related topics. The exam will cover the lectures, Parkin's kinship handbook, Murphy's kinship glossary, and the four ethnographic monographs.


List of Anthropological Schools of Thought

Web Pages:

Social Evolutionism:
Diffusionism and Acculturation:
Manchester School:
Culture & Personality:
American Materialism:
Cultural Materialism:
Ecological Anthropology:
Cross-Cultural Analysis:
Cognitive Anthropology:
Marxist Anthropology:
Feminist Anthropology:
Symbolic & Interpretive Anthro:
Postmodernism & Its Critics:

Potential New Web Pages:

Anthropology of Practice
Psychoanalytic Anthropology

Web Page Assignments

Each student will construct a web page outlining the material that will be used in the class presentation and which will appear in final form in the essay. On several scheduled occasions, each student will be required to add new material to the web site and these efforts will be graded separately. The aims of this exercise are two-fold. First, it assists the student in preparing the oral presentation assignment and in composing the final essay. Second, it provides study materials for all students who will be taking the comprehensive exams at the end of the semester.

Students will be divided up into three groups for administrative purposes only. On three separate dates the members of each group will submit progressively elaborate web pages for posting and re-posting on the course web site. Each original submission and upgrade will be submitted in three forms: a paper copy,a copy of the file on a floppy diskette, and a copy sent through email. The due dates of these postings and upgrades are as follows:

Group A: Jan 27; Bef 17; Mar 10

Group B: Feb 3; Feb 24; Mar 17

Group C: Feb 10; Mar 3; Mar 24

A web page design template can be found at:

Oral Presentations

During the last three weeks of the course (April 14, 21, 28) each student will present a 30-45 minute summary of his or her essay topic for the benefit of the other students.


Examination (35%), Paper (30%), Web Page Assignment (20%), Presentation (15%)

Course Web Pages

Return to M.D. Murphy's Page
Return to Anthropology Department Web Page