ANTH 2053 - Life, Death and Culture
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015
General Course Information
Course Code ANTH 2053 Course Life, Death and Culture Coordinating Unit Anthropology and Development Studies Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 undergraduate study Course Description Life and death are the core universals for human beings, yet are the context for key contemporary debates, and a wide variety of practices and beliefs historically and culturally. Debates on such key topics as reproductive technologies, organ transplantation, and the 'good death' often encapsulate central social and cultural assumptions. This course explores such debates and assumptions through an examination of the cross-cultural nature of life and death in both western and non-western societies. Both birth and death have been core concerns of anthropology throughout its history, and continue to be the focus of research. Dominant themes of this course are the practices and beliefs at the start of life (conception, and birth), as well as at the end of life, including how connections are forged or severed between the living and the dead (aging, the process of death, grief, funerals and memorials, and the afterlife).
Course Coordinator: Dr Susan Hemer
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
1 Introduce students to the anthropological literature on life and death 2 Increase students’ understanding of how people define and deal with life and death 3 Broaden students’ knowledge of cultural variation in how connections are forged or severed between the living and the dead 4 Engage students in contemporary debates that relate to life and death 5 Develop students’ awareness of, and ability to critically reflect on the politics of life and death in their own cultural background 6 Develop students’ research skills on a topic of interest related to life and/or death
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 6 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 5 An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 3, 4, 5
Required ResourcesThere will be a reader available for purchase from the Image and Copy Centre for this course. This is an essential resource for this course.
Recommended ResourcesCecil, R. 1996 The Anthropology of Pregnancy Loss. Oxford: Berg.
Franklin, S. & Lock, M. 2003 Remaking Life and Death: toward an anthropology of the biosciences. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
Ginsburg, F. D. & Rapp, R. 1995 Conceiving the new world order: the global politics of reproduction. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kaufman, S. R. & Morgan, L. M. 2005 The anthropology of the beginnings and ends of life. Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 317-41.
Loizos, P. & Heady, P. 1999 Conceiving Persons: Ethnographies of procreation, fertility and growth. London: the Athlone Press.
Lukere, V. & Jolly, M. 2002 Birthing in the Pacific: beyond tradition and modernity? Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Margry, P.J. & Sanchez-Carretero, C. 2011 Grassroots memorials : the politics of memorializing traumatic death. New York: Berghahn Books.
Metcalf, P. & Huntington, R. 1991 Celebrations of death: the anthropology of mortuary ritual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Robben, A. C. G. M. 2004 Death, Mourning and Burial: a cross-cultural reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
Scheper-Hughes, N. 1992 Death Without Weeping. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Online LearningMyUni will be used in this course to communicate with students through Announcements, as well as to post recorded lectures and powerpoint slides. MyUni will also have the details for assignments.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis course is taught through a combination of lectures and workshops. Lectures aim to provide the theoretical and conceptual background of the topics at hand. Workshops will focus on key debates around these topics as well as cross-cultural variation. Assignments will allow students to focus on a number of issues of their own choice.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
1 x 1-hour lecture (or equivalent) per week
12 hours per semester
1 x 2-hour workshop (or equivalent) per week
24 hours per semester
4 hours reading and workshop preparation per week
48 hours per semester
5 hours assignment preparation per week
60 hours per semester
1 hour research per week
12 hours per semester
156 hours per semester
Learning Activities Summary
Week 1: Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life
Week 2: Independent learning and research
Week 3: Pregnancy
Week 4: Birth
Week 5: The Cultural Politics of Reproduction
Week 6: Independent learning and research
Week 7: Brain death & organ transplantation
Week 8: Social birth, aging and social death
Week 9: Death and Dying
Week 10: Memorials and cemeteries
Week 11: Grief
Week 12: The Afterlife
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Percentage of total assessment Word Count Workshop participation 10% Critical Reflective Journal 25% 1500 Research Project (made up of the following): Research Proposal 20% 1000 Research Essay 45% 2500
Assessment Related RequirementsAttendance at Lectures and Workshops is essential for success in this course. If more than 2 workshops are missed (without documentation such as a medical certificate) students will gain 0% for Workshop participation.
Assessment DetailParticipation: Workshops are the major learning context for this subject. Students are required to participate in one 2-hour workshop each week. Workshops require continual preparation by way of reading and thinking about the materials under discussion.
1500 word Critical Reflective Journal: write a journal abareflecting on themes related to this course.
1000 word research proposal: students choose their own research topic relating to life or death that is related to the themes of this course.
2500 word research essay: this will be based on the student's research proposal and other research.
SubmissionSubmission of assignments will be done online through MyUni. Details for submission will be provided closer to submission dates.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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