Winter 2007 Syllabus

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Winter 2007 Syllabus

  1. 1. BIOLOGY, SOCIETY, AND CULTURE Winter, 2007 – Anthropology 361 Tu-Th: 1-2:30, Denniston 182 Instructors: Professor: Adam Van Arsdale GSI’s: Khori Newlander Office: West Hall 231A irohk@umich.edu Office hours: Tu 1-2, W 10-11 Drew Rodriguez e-mail: avanarsd@umich.edu @umich.edu Description: This course will provide an anthropological perspective on the intersection between human biology and society, past and present, in three topical areas. The first unit will focus on human genetic diversity and the increasing use of genetic information in society. Included in this unit will be discussions of genetic ancestry testing and what genes can and cannot tell us about where we come from. The second unit will examine the concept of “missing links” in human prehistory. This will include missing links in the fossil record, the use of missing links to support incorrect views of racial continuity, and the ethics of studying recent human skeletal material. The final unit will look at the relationship between humans and our environment. What is the human environment, how has our environment changed throughout prehistory, and what changes are occurring today? Carrying through all of the units will be the themes of understanding the relationship between human past and present, human diversity, and the ethical issues surrounding intersections between biology and society. Grading: Grades for the course will be based on material presented in the lecture and assigned readings, as well as involvement in discussion sections. Two exams will be given during the course, covering materials presented during the first and middle third of the class, respectively. A final paper (8-10 pages), developed out of the topics presented in the final third of the class will also required. In addition to participation, the discussion section grade will be based on the completion of weekly article summaries (readings marked by ‘**’) and two, short (2 pages) response papers. The grade breakdown will be as follows: Exam #1 25% October 12, in class Exam #2 25% November 14, in class Final Paper 25% December 18, 10AM Discussion Section 25% -10% article summary completion -10% response papers, -5% attendance and participation The only opportunity for extra credit will be participation in the Discussion section of the course website. The Discussion section will serve as an open forum outside of class to
  2. 2. ask and respond to questions about the course material or to post articles in the news which are relevant and of interest to the course. Active participation in this forum will result in a 1/3 bump in the final grade (e.g. B+ > A-). SYLLABUS Week 1: Jan 4-5 1) Introductory lecture UNIT 1: DNA, DIVERSITY, AND ANCESTRY Week 2: Jan 8-12 Introduction to DNA and genetic variation 2) What is DNA and what does it do? 3) What does DNA say about where I come from? Reading: Relethford, 2006 – Chapter 2, “Human genetics” (31-61) Rotimi, 2003 – “Genetic ancestry tracing and the African identity: A double-edged sword?” Developing World Bioethics (151-158) Week 3: Jan 15-19 (MLK Day, Jan 15th) Understanding human genetic variation 4) What evolutionary factors affect variation? 5) How do we measure human genetic variation? Reading: Relethford, 2006 – Chapter 3, “Evolutionary forces” (69-99) Relethford, 2006 – Chapter 5, “The study of human variation” (123-147) Week 4: Jan 22-26 Race and human genetic variation 6) What does genetic variation tell us about human variation and race? 7) Historical (mis)understandings of race in anthropology Readings: Caspari, 2003 – “From types to populations: A century of race, physical anthropology, and the American Anthropological Association” American Anthropologist (63-74) Templeton, 1998 – “Human races, a genetic and evolutionary perspective” American Anthropologist. (632-650) Jorde & Wooding, 2004 – “Genetic variation, classification, and race” Nature Genetics (s28-s33)
  3. 3. Week 5: Jan 29-Feb 2 Genes and Ancestry 8) How do we use genetic variation to tell where we come from? 9) The ethics of using genetic data and biological determinism Readings: Shriver & Kittles, 2004 – “Genetic ancestry and the search for personalized genetic histories” Nature Reviews (611-618) Cho & Sankar, 2004 – “Forensic genetics and ethical, legal, and social implications beyond the clinic” Nature Genetics (S8-S12) Shriver et al/Cho & Sanker, 2005 – “Replies to Cho & Sankar, 2004” Nature Genetics (449-451) UNIT 2: MISSING LINKS Week 6: Feb 5-9 10) Exam #1 (Weeks 1-5) 11) What are “missing links” and why do we study prehistory? Reading: No readings Week 7: Feb 12-16 Issues of deep history 12) What is evolution? 13) Missing links in the human fossil record I – The ape-human divide Readings: Wong, 2003 – “An ancestor to call our own” Scientific American (4-13) Wong, 2003 – “Stranger in a new land” Scientific American (74-83) Wolpoff, 1999 – “Chapter 4: Hominid Features” Paleoanthropology (127-184) Week 8: Feb 19-23 (Winter break, Feb 24-March 4) Missing links 14) Missing links in the human fossil record II – The origin of modern humans 15) Modern origins, race, and racism Readings: Hawks & Wolpoff, 2001 – “The four faces of Eve: hypothesis compatibility and human origins” Quaternary International (41-50) Gould, 1996 – “Chapter 2: American polygeny and craniometry before Darwin” The Mismeasure of Man, 2nd ed. (62-104) Wolpoff & Caspari, 2000 – “The many species of humanity” Anthropological Review (3-17)
  4. 4. Week 9: Mar 5-9 Issues of recent history 16) Kennewick man and the politics of human variation 17) The ethics of human remains and material culture Readings: Sauer, 1992 – “Forensic anthropology and the concept of race: If races don’t exist, why are forensic anthropologists so good at identifying them?” Social Sciences & Medicine (107- 111) Thomas, 2000 – “Foreward & Chapters 20-22” Skull Wars (xv-xli, 198-238) Lemonick & Dorfman, 2006 – “Who were the first Americans?” Time 3/13/06 (44-49) Kluger, 2006 – “Who should own the bones?” Time 3/13/06(50-51) Week 10: Mar 12-16 Dealing with our past 18) Different approaches towards human skeletal material 19) Exam #2 (Weeks 6-10) Readings: No readings UNIT 3: THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE Week 11: Mar 19-23 What is the human environment? 20) The ecology of humans 21) Inseparable concepts – Gene, Individual, Environment Readings: Bates, 2005 – “Chapter 2: Human Ecology” Human adaptive strategies (33-53) Levin & Lewontin, 1980 – “Dialectics and reductionism in ecology” Synthese (47-78) Week 12: Mar 26-30 What is the human environment? 22) Our hunter-gatherer past and the EEA 23) Human environmental change in the past Readings: Birdsell, 1958 – “On population structure in generalized hunting and collecting populations” Evolution (189-205) Irons, 1998 – “Adaptively relevant environments versus the environment of evolutionary adaptedness” Evolutionary Anthropology (194-204) Barnosky, 2004 – “Assessing the causes of Late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents” Science (70-75) Potts, 1996 – “Evolution and climate variability” Science (922-923)
  5. 5. Week 13: Apr 2-6 Humans and environmental change 24) Human environments today 25) Global warming and environmental change today Readings: Mann & Jones, 2003 – “Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia” Geophysical research letters (1-4) National Academy of Science, 2006 – “Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years” (1-4) Root et al, 2003 – “Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants” Nature (57-60) Week 14: Apr 9-13 Human-environment interaction 26) The biology & ethics of environmentalism 27) Concluding remarks Readings: Guha, 1989 – “Radical American environmentalism and wilderness preservation: A third world critique” Environmental Ethics (1-7) Adeola, 2000 – “Cross-National environmental injustice and human rights issues: A review of evidence in the developing world” American Behavioral Scientist (686-706) Week 15: Apr 16-20 (Last day of class, April 17th) 28) Exam #3 (Weeks 11-15)

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