- Code BIAN3124
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Biological Anthropology
- Areas of interest Biological Anthropology, Psychology, Evolution and Ecology
- Academic career UGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Offered in See Future Offerings
What continuities are there between human and animal social lives? How did characteristically human social arrangements emerge over the course of hominid evolution? Is there, despite human cultural diversity, a genetically based human nature that can be contrasted with, e.g. chimpanzee nature? What might the human social sciences learn from the zoological disciplines that study animal social behaviour (ethology, sociobiology, behavioural ecology) or from evolutionary psychology? The long-standing social-science orthodoxy has been that radical differences between us and other animals render such questions fruitless, even dangerous, to pursue. But recent developments in the study of animal behaviour have challenged this view. Biological perspectives on human social life are attracting a fresh interest and research effort, though they remain controversial. This course examines the resulting debates. Communication, conflict, altruism, kinship, sex, parenthood, social organisation, language and culture are amongst the topics covered. These will be discussed in three main contexts: the evolutionary past of hominid social characteristics; child development and child-rearing; and adult interactions, relationships and social structures. The main empirical base will be present-day and ethnographically described human societies, with some discussion of evidence on the undocumented past, and some use of animal examples. The aim will be to present the biological approaches and the criticisms they have attracted in a balanced way, and to identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of these approaches. Students will be encouraged to form their own views on the material studied, and on its status in the natural and social sciences.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:
- Master the essentials of the groundwork presented in the course, especially in the lectures and the required readings; and demonstrate awareness of key ideas and the contributions of pivotal authors in the anthropological and wider literature which attempts to examine aspects of human society in a comparative cross-species context
- Place the controversies and debates reviewed in the course in their social and historical context, and demonstrate a secure grasp of fundamental biological concepts and methods drawn on in this literature
- Develop a well reasoned critical assessment of the validity of arguments and evidence presented for the application of these concepts to human society and social behaviour
- Use a selective case study approach to explain a topic or argument in the field orally to your peers, in a clear, concise, analytical and evidence-based manner, couched so as to elicit discussion; and respond thoughtfully and critically to the substance of peers’ similar contributions
- Draw together material from a range of scholarly sources relevant to a topic or proposition in the field, to form a unified text which sets out your own independent, where appropriate critical, assessment of that material, balancing general argument and supporting evidence.
One 2,500 word essay (45%); an option to re-submit may be offered [Learning Outcomes 3 & 5].
One mid-semester and one final examination (totalling 45%), covering respectively the first and second parts of the course [Learning Outcomes 1, 2].
One short tutorial presentation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 2 & 4].
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This course is normally offered in odd-numbered years
Normally there will be two hours of lectures, one hour of tutorial, and one hour of film/videos weekly; plus private study to bring the total weekly commitment to ten hours per week.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
- Domestic fee paying students
- International fee paying students
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|3295||16 Feb 2015||06 Mar 2015||31 Mar 2015||29 May 2015||In Person||N/A|