First year courses

Welcome to Anthropology at Western!

First-year courses in Anthropology at Western introduce students to all four of our discipline's main research areas: Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology.

If you are thinking of pursuing a module (minor, major or specialization) in Anthropology at Western, you should plan to take a pair of two 0.5 credit courses in your first year: one course in "Biological Anthropology and Archaeology" (that is, either 1022A/B or 1026F/G) AND one course in "Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology" (that is, either 1021A/B or 1025F/G). You can learn more about these different course options below.

We also offer Anthropology 1027A/B: Introduction to Linguistics, which is a prerequisite for our Major in Linguistic Anthropology as well as the Inter-Faculty Program in Linguistics.

We have scheduled our first-year course offerings in a way that gives students maximum flexibility. Essay/non-essay; in-class/on-line; you can also take the half-courses in the same or different timeslots in fall and winter terms, or double up and take them both in the same term. The choice is yours!

Consider the options ....

Which introductory anthropology course should I take?

1021A/B  Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (non-essay)

This 0.5 credit NON-ESSAY course introduces basic concepts in the study of Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology. It focuses on aspects of social organization, culture and language that are shared by all humans, as well as on the diverse ways in which people in our own society and around the world live, organize themselves, use language, and understand what is ‘normal’. Through lectures from specialists, engaging small-group tutorials, and practical applications of anthropological methods, students are given the unparalleled opportunity to study and reflect on the many ways of being human.

Specific questions addressed in this course include:

What is culture, and what is the relationship between language and culture?

How do social relationships and linguist practice shape people’s lives in different cultural contexts?

How is language used to accomplish social goals?

What is exchange, and how can it be understood as fundamental to both social and economic life?

Why do social identities matter to people, and what role does language play in shaping people’s identities?

How do sociocultural and linguistic anthropologists do their research, and in what ways is this research important and applicable in the world today?

Please note: if you are interested in pursuing a module in Anthropology, you should pair this course with either Anthropology 1022A/B: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (NON-ESSAY) or Anthropology 1026F/G: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (ESSAY).

Antirequisites for this course are Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E) and Anthropology 1025F/G.

Not sure if this course is what you’re looking for? Contact us at anthro-ugrad-office@uwo.ca.

1025F/G  Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (essay)

This 0.5 credit ESSAY course introduces basic concepts in the study of Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology. It focuses on aspects of social organization, culture and language that are shared by all humans, as well as on the diverse ways in which people in our own society and around the world live, organize themselves, use language, and understand what is ‘normal’. Through lectures from specialists, engaging assignments, and practical applications of anthropological methods, students are given the unparalleled opportunity to study and reflect on the many ways of being human.

Specific questions addressed in this course include:

What is culture, and what is the relationship between language and culture?

How do social relationships and linguist practice shape people’s lives in different cultural contexts?

How is language used to accomplish social goals?

What is exchange, and how can it be understood as fundamental to both social and economic life?

Why do social identities matter to people, and what role does language play in shaping people’s identities?

How do sociocultural and linguistic anthropologists do their research, and in what ways is this research important and applicable in the world today?

Please note: if you are interested in pursuing a module in Anthropology, you should pair this course with either Anthropology 1022A/B: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (NON-ESSAY) or Anthropology 1026F/G: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (ESSAY).

Antirequisites for this course are Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E) and Anthropology 1021A/B.

Not sure if this course is what you’re looking for? Contact us at anthro-ugrad-office@uwo.ca.

1022A/B  Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (non-essay)

This 0.5 credit NON-ESSAY course introduces aspects of Biological Anthropology and Archaeology that help us to understand the place of humankind in nature and global history. Topics covered in this course include: heredity, human evolution and variability, archaeological methods, the development of culture, mortuary practices, the domestication of plants and animals, and the rise of complex societies and the state. Through lectures from specialists, engaging tutorials, and practical applications of anthropological methods, students are given the unparalleled opportunity to study and reflect on the many ways of being human.

Specific questions addressed in this course include:

How did our species originate, and how can we understand human variation?

What can we learn from studying bones, seeds, archaeological sites and other remains of past lives?

What can we learn from people from studying the social lives of chimps, gorillas, lemurs, and other non-human primates?

How do forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists study human bodies, and what can they learn from such research?

What can archaeological sites and artifacts teach us about the gender roles, political systems, and social organization of people in the past?

How do biological anthropologists and archaeologists do their research, and in what ways is this research important and applicable in the world today?

Please note: if you are interested in pursuing a module in Anthropology, you should pair this course with either Anthropology 1021A/B: Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (NON-ESSAY) or Anthropology 1025F/G: Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (ESSAY).

Antirequisites for this course are Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E) and Anthropology 1026F/G.

Not sure if this course is what you’re looking for? Contact us at anthro-ugrad-office@uwo.ca.

1026F/G  Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology (essay)

This 0.5 credit ESSAY course introduces aspects of Biological Anthropology and Archaeology that help us to understand the place of humankind in nature and global history. Topics covered in this course include: heredity, human evolution and variability, archaeological methods, the development of culture, mortuary practices, the domestication of plants and animals, and the rise of complex societies and the state. Through lectures from specialists, engaging assignments, and practical applications of anthropological methods, students are given the unparalleled opportunity to study and reflect on the many ways of being human.

Specific questions addressed in this course include:

How did our species originate, and how can we understand human variation?

What can we learn from studying bones, seeds, archaeological sites and other remains of past lives?

What can we learn from people from studying the social lives of chimps, gorillas, lemurs, and other non-human primates?

How do forensic anthropologists and bioarchaeologists study human bodies, and what can they learn from such research?

What can archaeological sites and artifacts teach us about the gender roles, political systems, and social organization of people in the past?

How do biological anthropologists and archaeologists do their research, and in what ways is this research important and applicable in the world today?

Please note: if you are interested in pursuing a module in Anthropology, you should pair this course with either Anthropology 1021A/B: Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (NON-ESSAY) or Anthropology 1025F/G: Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology (ESSAY).

Antirequisites for this course are Anthropology 1020 (formerly Anthropology 1020E) and Anthropology 1022A/B.

Not sure if this course is what you’re looking for? Contact us at anthro-ugrad-office@uwo.ca.

Why take a first year course in Anthropology?

Anthropology may not be what you think it is. Even if you have studied a little Anthropology in High School, or have seen TV shows or documentaries featuring Anthropologists at work, it is likely that you have not yet been introduced to the great breadth of our discipline. Anthropology is not only the study of how processes of biological evolution have made us the species we are today, nor is it only the study of past human cultures and societies through archaeological research, nor is it only the study of the diverse ways in which people around the world live, organize, use language, and experience the forces of globalization. Anthropology is the study of all of these things, and more. For an up-to-date sense of the breadth of topics addressed by Anthropologists today, check out SAPIENS (www.sapiens.org).

Taking an introductory Anthropology course will open your mind.

Anthropology is unique among disciplines in how we approach the human experience in the broad, holistic way that we do, focusing on how humans are simultaneously biological, social, cultural, and language-using beings. An introductory course in Anthropology will challenge you (in a good way!) to think differently about what makes us human and how we have come to be this way.

You will not be disappointed.

Student evaluation statistics consistently reveal that even students who enter our introductory courses with a relatively low “initial level of enthusiasm” come out of them with a profound appreciation for what they have learned. Put another way: if you are not sure whether you will get something out of an introductory Anthropology course, rest assured that you will!

First year Anthropology will stick with you.

We often hear two kinds of stories from students who have discovered Anthropology through an introductory course at Western. The first, commonly told by students who continue in one of our modules, is that experiences in first year Anthropology are what ignited a passion for the discipline. The second, commonly told by students who only took an introductory course with us, is that Anthropology was a favorite first year course, offering insights on humanity that have proven memorable and relevant beyond their time with us.

What if I'm not planning on pursuing Anthropology?

Not all students who take introductory courses in Anthropology will end up pursuing modules with us, and we don’t see this as a bad thing. In fact, we anticipate it by ensuring that our introductory courses will broaden and enrich students’ understandings of humanity in ways that will serve them well no matter what their particular interests or goals. Given the breadth of our discipline, an introductory Anthropology course is an excellent choice for students intent on pursuing modules in Arts and Humanities, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, History, Political Science, Economics, Biology, Health Sciences, Women’s Studies, and other areas that focus on different aspects of the human experience.

Students love our intro courses!

Our introductory courses consistently receive great evaluations from the students who take them. Here is a selection of comments taken from student evaluations of our introductory courses:

"It is nice how for every type of anthropology you get an expert on that field so you get the best learning experience."

"Interesting Course! Highly recommend to first year students"

"I LOVED it!"

"One of my favourite courses this semester"

 "It is organized so well, it's easy to know what is required for each lecture and the study guides help a lot when it comes to retaining information."

 "Anthropology is an organized course and I appreciate having four different sections with different professors to keep it fresh and interesting."

 "I really appreciate that we are taught, albeit briefly, in all four areas of anthropology; this is extremely useful as we decide on our majors and have to make decisions pertaining to course selection."

"Very interesting. As a Health Science Student, I came into the course with minimal background and a lack of interest. This course was mind-opening and kept me engaged throughout."

"I really like the labs we do in the tutorials. I feel like they help give a good understanding of the course, and they're fun."

“I am in the science faculty (biology) and anthropology has always interested me; specifically biological anthropology. Although I am pretty much only taking this course to fulfill my essay requirement, it has brought such a great interest to me. It has made me reconsider my potential major of choice and I am now thinking of majoring in biological anthropology whether or not it be a double major with biology. It is definitely something I am considering. Thank you!”

“Very enjoyable and would recommend to any first years coming in, or second years like myself that need to make up a credit, was unsure going into the course but I am glad I continued with it.”

“Lots of group work and peer discussion made the concepts of the course easier to understand”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this course! This course so far has made me want to pursue anthropology next school year.” 

“This course is thorough and well organized. I appreciate that we have different professors for different topics in anthropology.” 

“This is a really interesting course. I do not major in anthropology and I could still understand and enjoy the course.”

“This course is definitely not what I expected. I was pleasantly surprised by the content we were taught. The labs were also super helpful and interesting.”

“I believe the evaluations for the course are very fair, and enjoy the layout of it.”

 “Great learning experience. Helps you grow as a person.”