Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Anthropology: Understanding Societies and Cultures

Gain an introduction to anthropology: the study of societies and cultures. Learn how the discipline has changed over time.

Anthropology: Understanding Societies and Cultures

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
This course is part of the program What is Anthropology?, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Bachelor of Arts. Find out more.

Learn more about society, cultural issues and practices

You are invited on a journey to different places and different times. On this course, you will learn about diverse ways of living and explore cultural differences and similarities.

You will be introduced to a number of anthropological theories and gain insights into how the study of other cultures and societies can help us deal with urgent problems confronting our own societies and the modern world.

Through your new knowledge about other cultures, you will reflect on your own cultural home, society and world views.

What topics will you cover?

  • An introduction to social and cultural anthropology
  • The historical development of modern social and cultural anthropology
  • Basic theoretical and analytic models applied in anthropology, including kinship theory
  • A basic introduction to anthropological fieldwork and ethnography

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Investigate what the discipline of anthropology is and how it relates to the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘society’
  • Describe the historical evolution of anthropology, from its foundation to the present day.
  • Produce ethnographic field notes related to a field work exercise.
  • Identify the significant theorists and theories undergirding anthropology.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in anthropology, cultural issues in society, or the workings of society and cultural practices. It would also suit those looking to develop their critical thinking or research skills. No prior experience is required.

Who will you learn with?

Hedda Askland

Hedda Askland

Senior Lecturer of Social Anthropology in the School of Humanities and Social Science at UON.

Daniela Heil

Daniela Heil

Senior Lecturer of Anthropology, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle (Australia). Research interests: Australian Aboriginal health, and German parents working with ARTs

Who developed the course?

The University of Newcastle is a world-class university distinguished by a commitment to equity and excellence. Ranked in Australia’s Top 10 universities, and #207 in the world (QS rankings, 2019).

Advance your career with a degree

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from The University of Newcastle Australia

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program What is Anthropology?, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in Bachelor of Arts.

Anthropology offers critical insight into everyday life.

This program gives insight into cultures and societies, including your own, through explaining the philosophy and practice of anthropology.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: