The Origins of Modern Humans
07/04/2011 - 08/05/2011
Tuesday & Thursday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Science Tower 137
What does it mean to be human? This is a question critical to the study of modern human origins - the answer influences our interpretations of the fossil and archaeological records. How we define our species, how we ask that important question, differs from one scientific field to the next. Paleontologists, archeologists, and molecular biologists are all currently working on the problem of how, when, and where the human species arose. We will explore this issue by examining of recent debates over the role of culture in non-humans, the fossil record of extinct humans, such as the "Hobbit" people of Flores, Indonesia (Homo florensiensis) and the Neanderthals, and the changing perspectives offered by research in molecular genetics.
Course readings consist of selected journal articles and book chapters. Course work includes participation in discussions of weekly readings, and a term paper on a relevant subject matter, chosen in consultation with the instructor, and divided into several scaffolded assignments.
Course readings consist of selected journal articles and chapters of books by major players in the modern human origins debate (e.g., Wolpoff, Stringer, Harpending, Templeton, Paabo).
Course work includes participation in discussions of weekly readings, and a term paper on a relevant subject matter, chosen in consultation with the instructor.
Enrollment is limited to 18 students.
This course is open to auditors.
The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Wednesday, July 6 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.
A syllabus for this course is available at:
Jolee West (B.A., M.A., Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) is Director of Academic Computing Services and Digital Projects at Wesleyan University, and a Research Affiliate of the Department of Anthropology. She has conducted archaeological and taphonomic research in Illinois and northern Kenya. Specializing in physical anthropology, faunal analysis and archaeological taphonomy, she has published on topics in forensic anthropology, Illinois bioarchaeology, and archaeological and palaeontological taphonomy. Click here for more information about Jolee West.
Consent of Instructor Required: No
|Level: GLSP||Credits: 3||Enrollment Limit: 18|
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