Course Description

Course Name

Words, Deeds, Bones and Things

Session: VCPS3119

Hours & Credits

18 Host University Units

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


First year, first semester course, three lectures and one tutorial per week.

How might one explain the beginnings of our species and diversity of human social, cultural and linguistic forms that have arisen as humans have developed into and now live as modern people? The course compares approaches taken by archaeologists, linguists and socialcultural anthropologists in their attempts to answer su
ch questions. We delve into what lies behind the many ways people interact, communicate and use the material resources around them. Using examples from a wide variety of social, cultural, linguistic and ecological contexts, we address debates about the idea of human evolution; about the relation between nature and nurture and its
links with concepts such as race, gender and kinship; and about the social-cultural underpinnings of language use and linguistic variations. A core theme is to understand and recognise the limitations of a cultural relativist approach. A core goal is to introduce students to critical academic skills that enable us to understand the bases on which new knowledge is developed and thereby to recognise how provisional knowledge is.

DP requirements: Attendance at tutorials and submission of all written work, plus class test.

Assessment: Continuous assessment (essays, projects, class tests) counts 50%; one two-hour examination counts 50%, provided a sub-minimum mark of 50% is attained for the examination and
that at least half the examination questions required to be answered have been awarded marks of 50% or more.

Re-examination: Students will be entitled to re-examination in the period directly after the examination if they have attained a raw overall aggregate of at least 50% for the course but have failed to meet the
requirement for the examination and have achieved at least 48% for sub-minimum the examination.

*Course content subject to change