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Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Arts component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Arts
Offered bySchool of Political and Social Inquiry
Campus(es)Clayton

Description

Anthropology is the comparative study of different ways of life - it seeks an 'insider' perspective on alternative ways of being in the world. To interpret human behaviour, anthropologists ask questions not just about what people do, but about why they do it, what they mean by it, what motivates them to do it and what people value in diverse societies and cultures. Anthropologists are playing an increasingly important role in the modern world: wherever human diversity is an issue, anthropologists are called upon to provide their expertise. In fields as diverse as journalism, climate change, mining, dispute-resolution and peace-building, social policy, indigenous issues, development aid and emergency assistance, anthropologists are called upon to contribute their specialised knowledge and understanding.

Anthropologists generally gain this knowledge and understanding experientially, by immersing themselves in the lives of others. They usually select and approach a group of people following a distinct way of life with a collective identity of some kind, often based on religious, political, social or economic factors. Using a method known as fieldwork, anthropologists observe the lives of others by living with them, sharing in their experiences, and discussing their perspectives to gain a detailed understanding of their cultural world. The social contexts in which anthropologists conduct fieldwork are extremely varied, but what anthropologists share is a commitment to exploring and understanding different ways of life and diverse cultural perspectives, so as to illuminate these for others.

Anthropology thus enables us to develop an understanding of cultural difference, but it also helps us reflect on our own cultural world from an altered perspective. Students are encouraged to recognise the assumptions underlying their own cultural orientation, as well to understand alternative ways of seeing the world from perspectives that may differ radically from their own. This reflection is a two-way process: anthropology can make the strange seem familiar, but it also makes the familiar seem strange, as it challenges our taken-for-granted assumptions about the way the world works.

Anthropology's comparative approach to understanding human kind is becoming increasingly important. In recent times, there has been a growth of major social and political movements throughout the world in which people are stressing their sense of community, shared identity and assertions of difference on the basis of factors, such as religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or status as indigenous peoples, which often cut across national boundaries. At the same time, many people are expressing concern over equity and social justice issues, environmental degradation and climate change. Anthropology is a vital discipline, because of its emphasis on the significance of cultural difference to any understanding of these diverse expressions of humanity.

Anthropology also has practical application. Anthropological knowledge, theories, concepts and methods can be applied to real-world problems, such as understanding poverty and development issues, or transformational change and its social and cultural impacts. Anthropologists are increasingly employed in the corporate world for their cross-cultural understanding of symbols and meanings that drive consumer behaviour; and in the development sector, where they work for government, non-government and multilateral aid agencies, as consultants, practitioners and evaluators of aid projects. They are also employed in the media and in a range of research and teaching roles.

The following are some areas of study that are central to socio-cultural anthropology:

  • Knowledge across cultures: What can we know of others? How can we know it?
  • Cross-cultural approaches to religion: What is shared and what is unique in religious experience around the world?
  • Political anthropology: How do forms of power and conflict differ cross-culturally?
  • Visual anthropology: What are the ethics and aesthetics of depicting other peoples?
  • Ethnography: Can we describe, interpret and explain other distinct ways of life?
  • Theories of culture: Can we make sense of culture and explain cultural difference?
  • Fieldwork: What methods allow us to know other peoples? How/Do they work?

Because the field of anthropological inquiry ranges over many areas, the teaching program provides a core of units that focus on key sub-fields and also topical units that study contemporary issues from a cross-cultural anthropological perspective.

Units

First-year level

Students studying a sequence in anthropology must complete the following two units (12 points):

  • ATS1254 Culture, power and difference: Indigeneity and Australian identity
  • ATS1255 Culture, power and globalisation

Second/Third-year level

Students studying a minor or major in anthropology must have completed the first-year sequence. In addition:

  • a minor requires completion of a further two units (12 points) from the focus and topic units listed below, including at least one focus unit (see List A). These units should be studied at second year level.
  • a major requires completion of a further six units (36 points) from the units listed below, including a minimum of two focus units (see List A) and up to four topic units (see List B). A minimum of three units must be taken at third year level.

List A: Focus units

As the field of anthropological inquiry ranges over many areas, each of these units focuses on a key sub-field of the discipline that students are encouraged to explore.

List B: Topic units

These units deal with a range of contemporary topics and issues that are studied from a cross-cultural anthropological perspective.

Elective units

These units from other academic programs are approved as electives, because they compliment and augment units offered in the anthropology program.

No electives may be studied in a minor. A maximum of 12 points of electives may be studied in a major.

Note: Some of these electives may require permission from schools as students may not have completed first-year sequences in the appropriate disciplines.

Units not offered in 2011

List A: Focus units:

List B: Topic units:

Elective units:

Relevant Courses

Diplomas

  • 2428 Diploma in Arts (Anthropology)

Bachelors

Single degrees

  • 0002 Bachelor of Arts
  • 1638 Bachelor of Arts as a Participant in the Dean's Scholars Program
  • 3907 Bachelor of Arts (English Language)
  • 3910 Bachelor of Arts (Global)
  • 4077 Bachelor of Arts (International)
  • 1366 Bachelor of Arts (Languages)
  • 4042 Bachelor of Journalism
  • 0202 Bachelor of Letters
  • 0821 Bachelor of Music
  • 1144 Bachelor of Performing Arts
  • 1275 Bachelor of Professional Communication

Double degrees

  • 3277 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Arts
  • 0550 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
  • 0553 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Banking and Finance)
  • 0555 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Management)
  • 0556 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
  • 1807 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business and Commerce
  • 3912 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Information Systems
  • 0542 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce
  • 2672 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 0170 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Economics
  • 1541 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education-primary
  • 1641 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education-secondary
  • 3906 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
  • 0080 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws
  • 3054 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music
  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 3426 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work
  • 0002 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology
  • 3779 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Visual Arts
  • 1941 Bachelor of Business and Commerce and Bachelor of Communication
  • 4423 Bachelor of Business and Commerce and Bachelor of Professional Communication
  • 0116 Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Arts
  • 3281 Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Arts
  • 3909 Bachelor of Professional Communication and Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
  • 1945 Bachelor of Professional Communication and Diploma of Professional Writing