Jan 26, 2021  
2017-18 RACC Student Catalog 
2017-18 RACC Student Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANT 255 - Interpreting Lives: Rites of Passage, Personal History, and the Life Cycle (Honors)

3 Credit Hours

Same as HIS 255  & PSY 255 . Honors courses involve more in-depth study than non-honors courses and often involve exploratory learning, essay writing, collaborative activities and individualized research. This interdisciplinary course considers the stages of life and their cross-cultural variation, including the rites of passage that mark transitions throughout the human life cycle. Further, the course examines how people construct and reaffirm their lives through the process of personal narrative. Students will be taught life history interview methods and guided to do independent research with an individual “tradition bearer”. Such life history research facilitates the coming to voice of women and minority people who are often ignored in standard historical writing.

Prerequisite(s): COM 121  or COM 122 , eligibility for the Honors Program

Semesters Offered: Every other Spring alternate with ANT 200 (Honors)


The purpose for this course is to increase students’ awareness of both the commonality and diversity of human experience throughout the life cycleand to teach students ways to gain understanding of the perspectives and life circumstances of people in different cultural and historical contexts. In addition, it provides the capable honors students with an opportunity to conduct original research with the professors supervision.


  1. Describe the ritual process inherent in rites of passage. 

  2. Compare and contrast rites of passage from different cultures. 

  3. Delineate the paradigm of developmental life stages and the issues to be confronted in each life stage. 

  4. Discuss the universal applicability and culture-specific variations of the life stages paradigm. 

  5. Describe the characteristics of personal experience narrative. 

  6. Explain how individuals use personal experience narrativeto construct and reaffirm their lives. 

  7. Define the terms ‘autobiography’, ‘biography’, and ‘life history’. 

  8. Review the history of biographical studies, especially in psychology and anthropology. 

  9. Describe life history interview procedures, including the importance of nondirective interviews. 

  10. Define the concepts ‘emic’ and ‘etic’ and discuss their relevance to life history interviewing and writing. 

  11. Discuss the collaborative nature of doing life history interviewing and how the needs and motives of the interviews influence the life-history account. 

  12. Explain approaches psychologists and anthropologists have used to analyze and interpret life histories. 

  13. Describe cross-cultural variation in concepts relating to ‘self’ and the structuring of life experience. 

  14. Discuss the ethical concerns to be considered in doing life history research.

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