Course Description and Objectives
This course examines the concept of race from the perspectives of biological and cultural anthropology. The first part of the course focuses on patterns of human biological variation and critically examines how these patterns compare to conventional ideas about race. The second part traces the origins of the race concept and explores the links between race and science. The third part examines the experience and consequences of racism in the United States and in other societies.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
- describe global patterns of human biological variation and identify their causes
- articulate why the concept of race does not adequately describe human biological variation
- examine the cultural construction of race in science and in everyday life
- compare the American racial worldview to ways of viewing human diversity in other societies
- Discuss racism at multiple levels of analysis and from a cross-cultural perspective
The course will consist of lectures, discussion, and in-class activities. The purpose of lectures will be to review the major conceptual points of each new topic and to integrate the material. You are expected to attend each class and to have completed assigned readings, so that we can use class meetings to discuss points of particular interest or difficulty and to move beyond the information presented in the texts.
There are three required books for the course. These books are available locally at the UF Bookstore (J. Wayne Reitz Union, 392-0194 ext. 128) and may be available at a discount from online retailers.
Relethford, John. 2003. Reflections of our past: how human history is revealed in our genes. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Graves, Joseph L., Jr. 2001. The emperor’s new clothes: biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Hartigan, John, Jr. 2010. Race in the 21st century: ethnographic approaches. New York: Oxford University Press.
Additional required readings (journal articles, newspaper and magazine stories, and book chapters) will be made available electronically on the course website. Please let me know if you have a problem accessing the electronic files or if you would prefer to order a course packet.
Course Requirements and Grading
Your final grade has three components: two midterm exams (25 percent each), a final exam (30 percent), and a digital storytelling project (20 percent). Final grades will be A (90-100), A- (87-89), B+ (84-86), B (80- 83), B- (77-79), C+ (74-77), C (70-73), C- (67-69), D+ (64-66), D (60-63), D- (57-59), E (<57).
- Midterm exams (50%). There will be two midterm exams with a combination of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. The exams will cover material from assigned readings, lectures, films, guest speakers, and class discussions or activities. The midterm exams are noncumulative and equally weighted. The first midterm is scheduled for February 10, the second for March 17. Exams must be taken at the scheduled time. There will be no makeup exams, except in the case of incapacitating illness or other university-approved absence (please see the University’s policy on absences). In such cases, you must provide documentation from an appropriate authority to Dr. Gravlee as soon as possible. The Teaching Assistant (TA) may not give permission for make-up exams.
- Final exam (30%). The final exam is scheduled by the Registrar for Thursday, April 28, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Like the midterms, the final exam will cover material from assigned readings, lectures, films, guest speakers, and class discussions or activities. It will concentrate on material introduced after the second midterm but will likely require you to integrate material from earlier sections of the course. Up to 25 percent of the final exam may come directly from questions on the midterms. The final exam will include a combination of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions.
- Digital storytelling project (20%). A digital story, according to the Center for Digital Storytelling, is “a short, first person video-narrative created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds.” Digital story telling is a creative way for you to share your own experiences, perspectives, and emotions with others. For this course, you will have the option of creating a digital story by yourself or with a group of up to four classmates. You will submit your digital story as a video file on hard media (CD or DVD) by
Thursday, April 7Tuesday, April 12. You must complete the assignment by this deadline; there will be no make-up opportunities except as provided by the university’s policy on absences. Your digital stories will be published online for public viewing. The purpose of this project is for you to reflect critically on your experience of race and racism and to convey that experience to others. I encourage you to use Appendix A and B of the required book by Hartigan as a starting point for developing your ideas. The project will be evaluated according to five criteria: (1) purpose and point of view, (2) voice and pacing of the narrative, (3) appropriate use of media (images and music), (4) economy of detail, and (5) appropriate use of grammar and language. We will provide you with additional detail and guidance in class and through the course website. See the grading rubric for more detail about these criteria.
- Course web site. You are responsible for all materials posted on the course web site, including required readings, announcements, details on assignments, and other supplementary material. I will use Twitter (@lancegravlee) to post important announcements and to share links relevant to the course. You can access my most recent Twitter updates from the course website (see the sidebar at right). If you have a Twitter account, you can also follow—and contribute to—course content by using the hashtag #ant3930. including required readings, announcements, details on assignments, and other supplementary material.
Policy on Late Assignments
You are required to complete all assignments by the stated due dates. Late assignments will lose one half-letter grade for each day past the deadline. There are no make-up opportunities for any assignment, as you will have ample time to complete each requirement. I will not assign grades of “incomplete” except in the most unusual, extreme circumstances of incapacitating illness, death of family members, or other university-approved excuses. You must provide documentation of such circumstances from a medical doctor, funeral home, or other appropriate authority.
Academic Honor Code
Unless it is specifically connected to assigned collaborative work, all work should be individual. Evidence of collusion (working with someone not connected to the class or assignment), plagiarism (use of someone else’s published or unpublished words or design without acknowledgment) or multiple submissions (submitting the same paper in different courses) will lead to the Department’s and the University’s procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty. All students are expected to honor their commitment to the university’s Honor Code.
Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Please make any requests by the second week of class.
UF Counseling Services
Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals that interfere with their academic performance. These resources include:
- University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, personal and career counseling
- Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, personal counseling
- Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual counseling
- Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling.
Syllabus Change Policy
This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advanced notice.