Faculty of Arts

Skip to content | Change text size

print version

Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Matt Tomlinson


This unit gives students a grounding in the history of twentieth century anthropological theories of culture, and addresses the crisis in culture theory in the last decades of the century. By the middle of the semester, students will be able to develop a viable definition of culture and flexible but critical theory of ethnographic representation. In the second half of the semester, students will develop conference papers in which they reinterpret a major ethnographic contribution within a particular area (e.g., a classic monograph from Oceania) in light of the critical theoretical training they have received.


There are four main objectives for this unit, considered both in terms of content and skills and experiences. Students will:

  1. Learn the broad historical outlines of the development of anthropological theories of culture, from early ideas of sociocultural evolution to later theories of structural functionalism, structuralism, and interpretive anthropology
  2. Continue to improve their ability to think with scholarly rigor and philosophical depth on the subject of culture while beginning to formulate their own ideas about how best to study it.
  3. Develop the ability to write a focused and analytically rigorous conference paper of approximately 4,000-5,000 words,
  4. Develop the ability to present such a paper to their peers. All of these objectives are interrelated, and the unit is designed to lead the students toward greater independence and confidence in their abilities to be original and productive thinkers.


Written work: 45%
Exam: 45%
Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Matt Tomlinson

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



A first-year sequence in Anthropology or History or Politics or Sociology or a cognate discipline or by permission


The unit forms a sequence with ANY4300/ASM5290, Into the Field