Cultural anthropology (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Fabio Vicini
Fabio Vicini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2B dal Apr 14, 2021 al May 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and capacity to understand:
- knowledge of the problems linked to cultural diversity;
- basic knowledge of the main stages of socio-cultural anthropological thought;
Knowledge and capacity to apply understanding:
- ability to identify and analyse cultural diversity
Independent assessment:
- ability to independently assess the origin, nature and sense of the topics dealt with during the courses;
Independent assessment of specific socio-cultural topics. Communication skills Ability to speak accurately about cultural alterity.
Capacity to learn:
- ability to continue studying at a Master degree level 2


The course is introductory. Therefore no previous knowledge of the topic is required.

The main contents of the course follow the evolution of anthropological thought in stages, starting from the second half of the 19th century to today. In particular, it will focus on the following schools:
- Evolutionist anthropology of the 19th century and the American school;
- French anthropology and the study of "primitive societies";
- French ethno-sociology;
- The development of American cultural anthropology;
- Malinowski and the origins of the ethnographic method;
- British structural-functionalism;
- The structural anthropology of Lévi-Strauss;
- Interactionist theories;
- Marxist anthropology;
- The interpretative turn in anthropology;
- Main contemporary debates and issues.

The exploration of the themes above will introduce the students to:
- the main acquisitions of anthropology regarding human worldviews and creativity: from myth to ritual, from religion to the cognitive dimension of human experience;
- the anthropological perspective on the social dimensions of human life such as family, power, politics, economics, and forms of human organization;
- the contribution of the discipline to the study of human life in today's complex society.

Teaching methods:
The course is based on frontal lessons generally supported by multimedia content (slides, videos, and photos) and the exploration of ethnographic cases.

Note: In the cases provided by the law and/or of particular measures adopted by the University, the teaching activities might be conducted from remote.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Marcel Mauss Saggio sul dono Einuadi 2002 9788806162269 Introduzione a cura di Marco Aime
Ugo Fabietti Storia dell'antropologia (Edizione 4) Zanichelli 2020 9788808220356 Solo i capitoli 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20.

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination consists of a single oral examination. There are no differences regarding the program between attending and non-attending students.

a) Objectives:
Students will have to demonstrate to:
- have understood the main currents of anthropological thought from the origins to the present day;
- know how to place the key notions and basic principles of the discipline within these currents;
- be able to synthesize and present their arguments rigorously and by demonstrating the ability to use appropriate anthropological language;
- know how to associate one or more ethnographic examples (among those treated in class and/or found in the monograph) to each argument and theory.

b) Assessment methods:
The oral examination is based on open questions to the students.

Note: In the cases provided by the law and/or of particular measures adopted by the University, the examination might be conducted from remote.

c) Evaluation methods:
The evaluation of the oral examination will take place in thirtieths.