• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Biological Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Biological Anthropology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Shaun Lehmann
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

'Race' was once thought capable of explaining a great deal about both human biology and society. That is no longer true; but biological variation between individuals and between populations is real and remains to be explained. This course is about that variation, especially in physical traits, blood genetics and DNA. Variation amongst peoples of the world will be viewed as an outcome of evolution and biogeography, and as a reflection of ancestry, interrelationships and population histories.  The main emphasis will be on exploring findings on human population diversity and anthropological genetics and genomics, compared with inferences from archaeology and linguistics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Master the essentials of the factual groundwork presented in the course, especially in the lectures and the required readings; and demonstrate awareness of key facts and the contributions of pivotal authors in the literature on human ‘races’ and on human genetic and phenotypic variation, viewed especially at a geographical and population level
  2. Place the ‘race’ concept in its social and historical context, and demonstrate a secure grasp of fundamental concepts in general human, population and anthropological genetics
  3. Apply basic genetic principles to the solution of simple problems in the analysis of pedigrees, disease risk assessment and ratios of variants in populations
  4. 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 to the substance of peers’ similar contributions
  5. 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

Indicative Assessment

One 2,500 word essay (45%); an option to re-submit may be offered [Learning Outcome 5]

One mid-semester and one final examination (totalling 45%), covering respectively the first and second parts of the course [Learning Outcomes 1-3]

One short tutorial presentation (10%) [Learning Outcome 4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course is normally offered in odd-numbered years

Normally there will be two hours of lectures, one hour of tutorial, and in some weeks one hour of film/videos weekly; plus private study to bring the total weekly commitment to ten hours per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

12 units of 1000-level ANTH, ARCH or BIOL courses

Preliminary Reading

Harrison, G A, Tanner, J M, Pilbeam, D R and Baker, P T, Human Biology, Part II, 3rd edn, Oxford UP, 1988
Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. & F., The great human diasporas, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley, 1995
Jones, S, In the blood, London, HarperCollins, 1996
Ridley, M, Genome, London, HarperCollins, 2000
Wells, S, Journey of Man, London, Penguin, 2003




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3328 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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