Course syllabus



ANTHRO 726A: Advanced Biological Anthropology

SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points

Course Convenor: 

 Heather Battles:


Heather Battles:

Nicholas Malone:

Course delivery format:

2 hours of seminar per week

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

 Summary of Course Description:              

This course gives students an opportunity to critically read and thoughtfully evaluate several of the most important issues in biological anthropology, paying particular attention to theoretical perspectives, the hypotheses generated from them and the various assumptions and evidence underpinnings debates, past and current.  This course provides you with a broad understanding of a range of perspectives in biological anthropology and we are open to your suggestions.  However, we will start with the texts most frequently cited and never read: Darwin and Wallace.

Course outcomes:

By the end of the course we expect that:

♦ Have some understanding of a number of the most important theoretical perspectives and concepts relevant to our sub-discipline. Among these are macro- and microevolution, speciation, natural selection, adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, political economy and life-history theory

♦ Understand and be familiar with key historical developments in the discipline

And have gained these skills:

♦ Be able to identify and thoughtfully evaluate hypotheses derived from various theories

♦ Recognize strengths and weaknesses or limitations to various arguments and be able to suggest what more could usefully be done to resolve disagreements or uncertainties

♦ Demonstrate effective library research skills including being able to track arguments and ideas both backwards and forwards and

♦ Formulate and organize a logical written argument

♦ Be able to give and respond to constructive comment on both written and oral work through oral participation in the class and responding to draft comments in written work

♦ Be able to present your opinions and work orally to a small group and participate in such discussions.

Assessment Summary:

10% - Semester 1 participation

10% - Darwin & Wallace Essay

10% - Peer Review

20% - 1st Research Essay

This adds to 50% for 726A, with the other 50% of assessments in 726B in Semester 2.

Weekly Topics:


Prescribed Texts:

See Talis list (TBA) for readings.

Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details