Prehistoric Hunters and Gatherers (ANTH-UA 210)

Although they are no longer the dominant form of human sociality or adaptation, hunter-gatherers continue to play a pivotal role in anthropological theory. But who are hunter-gatherers? Some argue that the problem with trying to pigeon-hole hunter-gatherers is that this taxonomic unit holds little practical or evolutionary legitimacy. Others contend that people have evidently lived off the land without agriculture or animal husbandry, so at some level, hunter-gatherer is a meaningful category. Yet, few of the qualities assigned to hunter-gatherers hold up to detailed cross-cultural investigation. For example, hunter-gatherer subsistence is not inherently linked to peaceful coexistence, affluence, small group sizes or settlement mobility. Moreover, hunter-gatherer populations commonly thought to be deeply entrenched in evolutionary time are now known to result from complex historical processes of globalization and colonial expansion. This course will explore the diversity of lifeways subsumed under the banner of the hunter-gatherer. Drawing on a wide range of cross-cultural datasets, the course will unpack hunter-gatherer behavioral variability across broad topics, not paradigms. We will examine variations in hunter-gatherer subsistence, mobility, social organization, belief systems, landscape use, and material culture. Finally, we will ask to what degree the concept of the hunter-gatherer and the study of modern hunter-gatherers can help anthropologists understand and explore human behavior in the deeper past.

Anthropology (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2019)

ANTH-UA 210-000 (19127)
09/03/2019 – 12/13/2019 Mon,Wed
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (Morning)
at Washington Square
Instructed by Pargeter, Justin