Professor Reymers - Fall 2021

Each week, a reading, listening, or video activity will be added to this page (accessible through the course Blackboard site) and you must send your answers to questions about these activities directly to the professor by email. These activities will relate to readings that enhance the topics from the textbook and/or other readings assigned in class and available through the course Blackboard site. Answers should be completed individually. Online activities will be posted weekly and are typically due on Friday at 5pm. They CANNOT be made up after the due date. One missing online activity grade can be dropped at the end of the semester.

OPTIONAL: Bonus Online Media ANTH B1

This assignment is optional and will count for bonus online media points (see below).


Read the following article about the development of human leadership and authority structures by Marvin Harris, titled Life Without Chiefs, then answer the questions below.

1. What is a headman, and do the !Kung people have headmen? Explain your answer.

2. What forms of economic distribution would be most closely associated with headmen and chiefs, respectively, and why?

3. What are some examples of the use (and abuse) of group labor by chiefs to erect “sacred precincts for communal rituals marking the change of seasons”?

4. What implications does the development of social status and hierarchy have on the modern world?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTHB1
Due FRIDAY, Dec 3, 5pm.

This bonus online media assignment will replace one missed assignment from earlier in the semester (or, in the case that you have done them all, it will add one [1] additional point to the online media portion of your final grade).


Online Media 10: Reciprocity


Read the following article about practices of reciprocity and answer the following questions:
Reciprocity and the Power of Giving
, by Lee Cronk

1. Explain where the term “Indian-giving” came from and why.

2. How has gift giving in some societies come to serve as a substitute for war? Describe a culture that has a “war of wealth” instead of a “war of blood”.

3. What is a modern-day example of reciprocity that the author discusses?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH10

Due FRIDAY, Nov 19, 5pm.


Online Media 9: Culture and Ethnography


Eating Christmas in the Kalahari, by Richard Lee (1969)

1. What was the basic misunderstanding between the !Kung and Lee?

2. How well do the !Kung get along in sharing resources such as meat? Why is sharing such an important practice to them?

3. Why do you think the !Kung ridicule successful hunters? How is this fundamentally different from American culture? Give an example in your answer.

E-mail your completed assignment:

DO NOT send as an attachment, please.

To accomodate the research paper due date,
online media 9 will be due on or before SATURDAY Nov 13 at 5pm this week


Online Media ANTH 8

Speaking in Tongues
Speaking in Tongues

Watch the following videos (~3 minutes each) and answer the question related to each one.

Q1: The History of Language - Episode # 1 Let There Be Words
How long ago does language go back (when was the first language spoken)?

Q2: The History of Language Episode #2 Constant Change
Why are languages always changing?

Q3: The History of language Episode # 3 Mother Tongue
How many languages are there in Australia?

Q4: The History of Language Episode # 4 Civilization to Colonization
What is the only ancient Asian writing system that is still in use today?

Q5: The History of Language Episode # 5 Life and Death
How many languages of the world are there now?
How many languages are anticipated to exist at the end of this century?

E-mail your completed assignment:

DO NOT send as an attachment, please.

Due on or before Friday Oct 29 at 5pm


Online Media 7


Video Assignment:

Watch this video (From Caves to Cosmos: Native America) on the organization of tribes in the Americas. Then answer the following questions:

  1. What is the name of the largest native settlement dating to about 1,000 years ago in what is now the southwest U.S.?

  2. What did archaeologist Patty Crown  find at the bottom of the drinking vessels discovered in “Room 28” and what was its significance? 

  3. What is a “Kiva”? 

  4. Where is the “birthplace” of the Pueblo people? 

  5. What do the Pueblo mean by “finding the right place”?

  6. What was discovered in 2003 at Teotihuacan (pop. 125,000), the largest city in the Americas 2,000 years ago? 

  7. What is the purpose of the alignment of the walls that make up Pueblo Bonito?

  8. What was discovered to have been left behind 13,000 years ago on a cliff side in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest?

  9. Many diverse Native American cultures share a cosmological belief system that integrates science and spirituality with a healthy respect for and intimate relationship with the natural environment. What explains the commonality of this idea across the Americas?
E-mail your completed assignment:

DO NOT send as an attachment, please.

Due on or before Friday Oct 22 at 5pm


Online Media 6


Video Assignment:

Watch this video of the archaeology of the Fremont Indians by Time Team America. Then answer the following questions:

1. Where did the archaeological research take place?

2. What makes this archaeological research site so unique?

3. How old was the Fremont civilization?

4. What feature were the archaeologists trying to discover at the base camp site?

5. What types of artifacts were discovered by the archaeological team?

6. What forms of remote sensing did they use?

7. Why were the archaeologists rappelling off cliffs?

8. What figures were portrayed on the petroglyph drawings?

9. What was the conclusion the team drew regarding what they could learn from their excavation of the base camp site?

E-mail your completed assignment
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH6

Due Friday, Oct 8, 5pm

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link for email, or remove the automatic subject line heading "ANTH" if you do).

Online media assignments are graded on a pass (1)/fail (0) basis. See the Grades webpage for results.


Online Media 5


Review the information about human variation in each of the 6 links (The Human Spectrum, Only Skin Deep, Our Molecular Selves, Health Connections, Race and Human Variation, and Human Variation ) available at the following website: "Understanding Race"

Answer the following questions after investigating the section under each link:

1. The Human Spectrum: Why is race a questionable way to group people, according to the rationale of this section? Answer the two questions at the endof this section as well.

2. Only Skin Deep: What causes variation in skin color?

3. Our Molecular Selves: What have we learned about DNA from the Human Genome Project?

4. Health Connections: Use sickle-cell disease as an example to explain how our health is determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

5. Race and Human Variation: What is the "essentialist" view of race, and what are the problems with this view?

6. Human Variation Quiz: For the sixth section, the quiz, simply report your score on the quiz. Reflect on what you learned that was new in this assignment.

E-mail your completed assignment:

DO NOT send as an attachment, please.

Due on or before Friday Oct 1 at 5pm


Online Media 4


Watch PBS NOVA's"Becoming Human, Part III: Last Human Standing" (YouTube, ~52 min, 2014)

Take notes during the video and answer these questions while you watch:

1. In what order of descent did the species of Homo overtake one another and when?

2. What was discovered in the caves at Atapuerca, in northern Spain and what does this say about archaic Homo sapiens (Homo heidelbergensis in this case)?

3. What is “Excalibur” and what did it signify?

4. In what ways did our ideas about Homo neandertalensis change as the 20th century proceeds?

5. What recent discovery in the Meuse Valley, Belgium, helped to refine our views of Neanderthals?

6. What kind of research is going at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, regarding evolutionary studies?

7. Why are children’s teeth so valuable to archaeologists?

8. Why was hunting such a risky business for Neanderthals?

9. Why did Neanderthals go extinct about 25,000 years ago?

10. What is “the bottleneck effect”?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH4

Due Friday, Sept 17, 5pm

Online media assignments are graded on a pass/fail basis. See the Grades webpage for results.

(Note: for any correspondence other than the answers, do not use the above link for email, or remove the automatic subject line heading "ANTH" if you do).

Online Media 3


Watch this primatology video and answer the questions below:

1. Who are the hosts and what is the topic of the video?

2. Are there gay monkeys?

3. What unusual behavior of the bonobos (close relatives of chimpanzees) is described?

4. Why might primates have looked at the stars at night?

5. Have apes now entered the stone age? Explain.

6. How carnivorous are primates?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH3

Due Friday, Sept 10, 5pm

Online Media 2


Evidence for Evolution from (YouTube 11:22)

1. What are the two main claims of the theory of evolution?

2. What are the lines of evidence that support the claims of evolutionary theory?

3. How many different species are estimated to be living today?

4. How does evidence from comparative anatomy suggest that whales and other cetaceans evolved from a pre-existing four-legged land creature?

5. How does embryology help to confirm our suspicions that whales are closer to mammals than to fish in their evolutionary development?

6. How does fossil evidence from the ancient creatures called Basilosaurad and Maiacetus suggest that whales descended from these creatures?

7. How do DNA comparisons help to confirm our suspicions that whales evolve

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH2

Due Friday, Sept 3, 5pm



Online Media 1


Macat's "Introduction to Cultural Anthropology"

1. What is the definition of anthropology according to the video?

2. When and why did early anthropologists study customs and beliefs in pre-industrial societies?

3. What is the main argument of Marcel Mauss's book "The Gift"?

4. What explanation makes sense of pre-industrial people's belief in witchcraft (according to E.Evans-Pritchard?)

5. What is an example of feminist anthropology?

6. What was the thesis and result of Clifford Geertz's "Interpretation of Cultures"?

7. What is the value of historical ethnography?

IMPORTANT: E-mail your answers (not an attachment)
TO:, with the SUBJECT: ANTH1

Due Friday, Aug 27, 5pm



Note: I will give you 3 chances to get the subject heading correct and to not include attachments in your online media emails to me. For example, when you sent the first online media assignment, you should have used a subject heading in the email of "ANTH3." If you wrote something else (like, for instance, "Online Media Questions 3" or "anth 3 hw"), or if you have included your assignment as an attachment, you have not paid attention to the details of the assignment instructions (details which make it crucially easier to organize your responses and read what you have written). You can do this three times without penalty, but a fourth instance of not paying attention to the details will result in a 1-point reduction from your Online Media grade. For the vast majority of you who are doing it right, thank you for paying attention to the details! - Regards, Prof Reymers