Maricopa Community Colleges  ASB220   20066-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 4-25-2006

ASB220  2006 Fall - 9999

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Anthropology Goes to the Movies

Archaeology and anthropology through the lens of popular films of the 20th and 21st Century. Explores the popularity of ancient humans as a topic for film ventures and how accurately they are portrayed. Provides the student with a basic knowledge of anthropology and offers film images of anthropologists and archaeologists and the practice of archaeology and anthropology. Analyzes accuracy of films depicting culture and our human past.

Prerequisites: None.


Course Attribute(s):

General Education Designation: Humanities and Fine Arts - [HU]


Go to Competencies   Go to Outline

MCCCD Official Course Competencies:



ASB220  2006 Fall - 9999

Anthropology Goes to the Movies



Define anthropology and its cultural, biological, and archaeology subfields. (I)


Explain research methods and ethics of anthropology. (I)


Explain film as an artifact of visual ethnography. (II)


Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the goals of archaeology, physical anthropology, human paleontology, and cultural anthropology (I)


Compare and contrast the real world of the anthropologist with its film counterpart (II)


Understand how anthropology and scientists, in general, are perceived through popular culture and the underlying effects of that perception (II)


Contrast written and filmed ethnographies. (II)


Trace the history of human evolution, and analyze film portrayals for accuracy or distortion. (III)


Describe the practice of archaeology, and analyze film portrayals for accuracy or distortion. (IV)


Analyze film portrayals of anthropologists and archaeologists to see how these professions are viewed in the popular culture. (V)


Explain and exemplify how popular culture can influence society's understanding of prehistory and of diverse cultures. (VI, VII)



Go to Description    Go to top of Competencies

MCCCD Official Course Outline:



ASB220  2006 Fall - 9999

Anthropology Goes to the Movies


I. What is Anthropology?

A. Cultural, biological, and archaeology subfields

B. Anthropological research methods and ethics

C. Characteristics of culture and society

D. Ethnography, emic and etic views, cultural relativism/cultural romanticism

II. What Is an Anthropological Film?

A. Film as visual ethnography

B. Differences between written and filmed ethnographies

C. Can film convey abstract thought?

D. Problems of conceptualization, translation, and communication of ideas

III. Films about the Human Past

A. Early hominids: Human origins

1. Review scientific information and show documentary

2. Review how early hominids are viewed in popular culture

a. Example of possible films: Missing link, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Quest for Fire, Cave Man

B. Neanderthals

1. Review scientific information

2. Review how Neanderthals are viewed in popular culture

a. Examples: cartoons, Clan of the Cave Bear

C. Modern human origins

1. Review scientific information

2. Review how human origins are viewed in popular culture

a. Examples: One Million Years, B.C., Flintstones

D. Humans almost everywhere

1. Examples: Ice Man

IV. The Practice of Archaeology

A. The early years of archaeology

1. Method and theory of early archaeologists

a. Example: The Sphinx

B. Egypt and archaeologists

1. Method and theory

a. Science versus popular culture

2. Biblical Archaeology

3. Examples of movies: Valley of the Kings, The Mummy series of movies, The Curse of King Tut's Tomb, Death on the Nile

V. Archaeologists and Anthropologists in the Movies

A. Scientific method and theoretical approaches to archaeology

B. Ethics and archaeology

C. Examples of movies: Indiana Jones: Lost Ark or Last Crusade, Stargate, Timeline, The Last of the Dog Men, Tomb Raider

VI. Understanding Culture

A. What is culture and how it is studied

B. Ethics and anthropology

1. Examples of movies: Little Big Man (cultural anthropology and history); The Gods Must Be Crazy (globalism and culture clash); Last of the Dog Men (anthropologist as protector); Krippendorf's Tribe (anthropology)

VII. Fact Versus Fiction: The Impact of Popular Culture on Understanding Prehistory and Other Cultures


Go to Description    Go to top of Competencies    Go to top of Outline