- Code BIAN2120
- 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 Anthropology, Biological Anthropology
- Academic career UGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Co-taught Course
The potential of human populations to grow, stabilise or decline is realised through events which are often strongly marked culturally and always crucial for individuals: birth, migration and death. The prospects and hazards of survival, mobility, marriage and raising a family vary greatly between populations, and are often related to sociocultural factors including religion, education, gender roles, valuation of children, political organisation and economy. Yet if sociocultural factors are to influence the dynamics of fertility and mortality, they must do so through their effects on those very biological events, giving birth and dying. This course explores in an anthropological context the complex interplay between culture and biology in producing population dynamics of different kinds, as well as the implications of those population dynamics for the societies in question. Course topics include: population size and structure in the past and present; the biology of natural fertility; social factors controlling fertility; mortality and the impact of varying life expectancies; population pressure on resources and consequences for migration; marital mobility, marriage practices, kinship systems and sex ratios; the demography of small-scale societies; health, nutrition and the demographic effect of epidemics; demographic implications of warfare; change, development and demographic transitions. Quantitative demographic techniques are introduced but not pursued in depth. Examples are drawn from around the world, including the Australasian region. The course is designed on the premise that what is distinctive about the anthropological (in the broad sense) approach to population is its concern with the processes that lie behind population numbers more than the numbers themselves, and its comparative perspective across cultures and from the distant past to the present.
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 factual groundwork and demonstrate awareness of key facts and the contributions of pivotal authors in the literature which examines human population dynamics cross-culturally and (in the broad sense) anthropologically
- Demonstrate a secure grasp of fundamental concepts in anthropological demography and demographic anthropology
- Master basic demographic methods and measures sufficiently to be able to calculate simpler measures and draw correct inferences from quantitative results on fertility, mortality, migration and other demographic topics (but note that more advanced technical demography is covered in other courses)
- 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
- 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 AssessmentOne 2,500 word essay (45%) (Learning Outcomes 2 & 5).
Mid-semester examination, covering first part of the course, 1.5 hour duration (20%), held during regular class period. (Learning Outcomes 1-3)
Final examination, covering second part of the course. 2 hour duration, (25%) held in exam period. (Learning Outcomes 1-3).
One c.15 minute tutorial presentation (10%). (Learning Outcome 4).
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- 6 units
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