ANT 128A: Kinship & Social Organization: From Clans to Countries

Why can you only marry one person? Why can’t you marry your cousin in 1⁄2 of states? Why can’t you kill your sibling if they’ve committed a crime? Why do people donate money to strangers? Why do culturally-similar neighbors go to war? Why are each of these true in only a few societies? This course will address these, and other, questions about the way societies are organized around kinship and other social bonds. We will use evolutionary tools to understand both human universals and patterns of cultural variation regarding sexual relations, incest, marriage, family structure, inheritance, inequality, intergroup hostility, and cooperation.


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Course Description: Family, marriage, household and social organization from a cross-cultural and evolutionary perspective. Emphasis on case studies that illustrate human variation, theories that account for this variation, and recent advances in the treatment of this data.
Social Sciences (SS); World Cultures (WC); Writing Experience (WE).

Units: 4

Prerequisite(s): None.

Quarter(s): Winter 2023

Instructor(s): Cristina Moya