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Anthropology (ANTH) 434

The History of Anthropological Thought (Revision 2)

ANTH  434 Course website

Revision 2 closed, replaced by current version.

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


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.

Centre:Centre for Work and Community Studies

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%

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

Course Materials


Erickson, Paul A. and Liam D. Murphy. 2003. A History of Anthropological Theory. 2nd 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 2, September 10, 2007.

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Last updated by SAS  04/27/2015 14:55:14