Hunter-Gatherers (ANTH 477/877)
On-line seminar course
(Or, The Truth about Hunter-Gatherers)
There is a current fascination about the lives of hunter-gatherers, an economic formation representing human existence for 99% of our time on earth. A number of recent popular books and other media extoll the lives of hunter-gatherers. The basic premise in these works is that the invention of agriculture and the development of civilization has led to myriad problems we face today. Consequently, hunter-gatherers are used as natural exemplars of how we should raise our children, eat and exercise, and conserve resources. Still others argue that hunter-gatherers were sexually promiscuous, rarely resorted to homicide or warfare, and had equality between the sexes and lacked economic inequality. The goal of this course is document the diversity of hunter-gather life and to qualify and/or debunk and contextualize many of these poorly founded beliefs. Hunter-gatherers were culturally diverse and their way of life was responsive to a host of environmental, historical, and social circumstances we are now beginning to understand.