Anth151 Human evolution & diversity

Download: Syllabus for Anth151Anth151sylcover

Click on the link above to download the syllabus for ‘Human Evolution and Diversity’ (Anth 151, 2013). This course is a general survey for non-majors that introduces basic concepts in evolution, paleoanthropology, and evidence about contemporary human biological diversity. Like many unit outlines at Macquarie, it contains few ‘required’ readings — only those discussed in tutorials — but a much more extensive supplemental bibliography.

The most exciting thing about this course is that it really does not obey normal disciplinary boundaries in any sense: we cover everything from basic genetics, paleoanthropology, and primatology through to cognitive evolution, human sexuality, ancient history, linguistic anthropology, human diversity, and even futurology. It’s one of my favourite units to teach because students get excited about a chance to finally talk openly and knowledgeably about some of the most important issues about being human.

I was inspired to propose this unit (now part of our ‘People’ requirement for general education at Macquarie) after the controversy surrounding statements by Macquarie Law Professor, Andrew Fraser, calling for a return to a ‘White Australia’ racist immigration policy. If you’re really interested, here’s a news story about the Fraser-induced controversy (YouTube link).

‘Tutorials’ (what are called ‘discussion sections’) are often lab-like exercises using facsimile human remains, replica stone tools, life-size diagrams of footprints, and other material objects. Starting in 2013, we were able to conduct experimental lab tutorials with 3D printed replica remains. The full tutorial program for Anth151 is described, and all handouts used in tutorials are available here.

Macquarie University’s official course description for Anth151.

The Prezi that I used in 2013 to teach basic evolutionary theory is available at the following link:

In addition, I’m attaching our old ‘marking rubrics,’ the formats we used to provide systematic feedback on student essays, including advice about writing issues because these students are usually first year. These rubrics were designed to create some sense of uniformity across large groups of students with multiple graders; in addition, by making them available to students, we help them anticipate how their work will be evaluated. Just click on the title name to download the 5-page pdf file.

Anth 151 marking rubrics

I’ve put these rubrics up because some former tutors have asked for them, and I’m happy for them to circulate. Two years ago, we converted to online marking through Grademark, a platform linked to Turnitin. We use customised palettes of comments (with suggestions for improvement) for each assignment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s