Anthropology (ANTH) 434

The History of Anthropological Thought (Revision 3)

ANTH  434 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online. Video component.*
*Overseas students, please contact the University Library before registering in a course that has an audio/visual component.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 275 and 3 other credits in anthropology at the 300 or 400 level.

Precluded Course: ANTH 334. ANTH 434 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for ANTH 334.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Anthropology Studies home page

ANTH 434 is not available for Challenge.

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ANTH 434: The History of Anthropological Thought, is a senior-level course that examines the range of responses to the fact of human diversity through the ages, with emphasis on Modern and Postmodern anthropology.


The course consists of the following twelve units.

  • Unit 1: Anthropological Thought to the 19th Century
  • Unit 2: Nineteenth Century Evolutionary Thought
  • Unit 3: The Formation of General Theories
  • Unit 4: Culture Change—Diffusion, Migration
  • Unit 5: Psychological Anthropology; Culture and Personality
  • Unit 6: Functionalism
  • Unit 7: Structuralism
  • Unit 8: Materialist Explanations of Culture Change
  • Unit 9: Cognitive Anthropology
  • Unit 10: The Individual and Society
  • Unit 11: Postmodernism
  • Unit 12: Feminist Theory


To receive credit for ANTH 434, you must achieve a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent), and a grade of at least 50 percent in the examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Telephone quiz Essay 1 Research Paper Essay 2 Final Exam Total
6% 22% 25% 22% 25% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Erickson, Paul A. and Liam D. Murphy. 2008. A History of Anthropological Theory. 3rd edition. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.

Layton, Robert. 1997. An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Other materials

The course materials also include a student manual, study guide, and a reading file.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, April 20, 2011.

View previous syllabus

Updated March 17 2016 by Student & Academic Services