Anthropology Course: A Contemporary Analysis

Anthropology Course: A Contemporary Analysis

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This contemporary anthropology course is focused on the notion of difference. It provides a line of inquiry and a way of conceptualising issues, questions, and events from a social anthropological perspective. Anthropology is accessible by everyone, everywhere – individually and collaboratively. It involves understanding cultural differences and perspectives, socially, spiritually and politically including how we see ourselves and others, how work is performed, the development and use of media as well as social and political structures.

This anthropology course will draw on an interdisciplinary approach to show how anthropological knowledge, theory, and methods are applied to permit critical reflection on contemporary societal problems including anything for example, from Brexit to consumerism to the use of social media. In so doing, questions such as what is anthropological knowledge and methods will be explored. This course will also tease out how studying social anthropology reforms how we reflect on issues in societies today such as gender, illness and healing, nutrition, local and global politics, the environment and rebuilding communities following disasters. Participants in this anthropology course will actively engage in texts e.g. case studies, novels, as well as drawing on their knowledge and experience.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this anthropology course you will have:

  1. Enhanced foundation knowledge, concepts, and methods of social anthropology.
  2. Increased understanding of perceiving the world from various perspectives and prisms.
  3. Increased understanding of cultural differences and sameness.
  4. Enhanced understanding of comparative cultural analysis.
  5. Increased knowledge and understanding about current world issues relating to identity, power, well-being in its broadest sense in diverse contexts of everyday life.

Course Content

Over the duration of this anthropology course, participants will explore a wide range of topics spanning many of the key themes of research in social anthropology. Topics will include:

Thinking anthropologically

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What is culture? Where is it? How does culture emerge? How does it function and shape communities?
  • What are the contradictions and narratives that shape lives?

Understanding Difference and Identity

  • Roles, rituals and status.
  • Gender, language and inequality.
  • Outsiders and insiders.

Cultural framing of issues through the media

  • Immigration.
  • Asylum seekers.
  • Refugees.
  • Crises.
  • Political issues.

Investigate diverse contexts

  • How to investigate diverse contexts e.g. community, organisation, a school, using anthropological methods:
    • qualitative and quantitative.
    • ethnomethodology.
    • interviews.
    • longitudinal studies.
    • observations.
    • surveys.
  • Interpretative analysis.

Anthropological inquiry into the world of work

  • Work and Professions.
  • Leisure.
  • Development of entrepreneurship and innovation.


  • Forms of disaster.
  • Attributions.
  • Recovery.
  • Risk and Hazards.
  • Exposure and liability.

Health and Diets

  • Traditional and alternative.
  • Lifestyle choices.

Drawing the threads together

Intended Audience

This anthropology course is suitable for anyone interested in gaining insights and skills for examining diverse and unfamiliar ways of life.

Delivery Style

This anthropology course will be delivered as an interactive workshop consisting of an instructor-led lecture, analysis of case studies and group discussions. This course strives to encourage active and informed participation, group analysis and debate of the facts, issues and insights into our changing world.

Course Prerequisites

This anthropology course has no prerequisites and is open to all members of the public.

About your instructor

Ann Brewer

Ann Brewer

Professor Ann Brewer is the Dean, University of Newcastle, Sydney. Her career has spanned organisational behaviour, psychology, education and business as a researcher, lecturer, and author. Her research expertise is people at work including conflict, change, leadership, commitment, stress as well as gender.

Ann is an accredited executive coach with more than 20 years of experience enhancing the performance of individuals, teams and organisations. In that capacity she designs and develops coaching programs for whole-of-organisations as well as 1:1 coaching consultations. She begins with establishing a foundation for each client to clarify their professional aims and values for developing and sustaining leadership resilience. Her coaching strategy is focused on leadership, relationship and culture building as well as dealing with thorny issues and conducting difficult conversations.

Ann’s professional background incorporates diverse programs and initiatives for individual development, team building, organisation design, and facilitation. Her practical approach to leadership and organisation development is derived from her own senior leadership positions.

Her work has been applied in diverse industry sectors such as business, education, industrial relations, human resource management, health administration, public policy, transport and logistics; banking and mining. She has led commercial facing entities including a start-up to success.


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Course Features

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The University of Newcastle, Sydney Campus is a leading provider of short courses in Australia, with industry qualified and experienced educators that bring up-to-date real-world skills directly to the classroom.