Course Overview

The main goal of “Peoples and Cultures of the World” (ANT 121) is to introduce students to the daily life, rites of passage, marriage, family, work, politics, social life, religion, ritual, and art among different types of societies. In this course, we will especially explore the relationship between culture, power and identities and to examine how anthropologists have been grasping, understanding and writing about these issues in diverse social and cultural settings. In order to critically approach and study peoples and cultures around the world, we will especially focus on the processes that have been conceptually grouped under the rubric of social inequality and violence.

This class is divided into two main parts. In the first part, titled “Culture/Power/Identities” we will draw on a number of ethnographic writings and films that focus on the basis of social inequality and relationships shaped by differences of race, class, ethnicity, generation and gender. The second half of class, broadly titled “Global Assemblages,” will address numerous effects that global processes have had on peoples and cultures of the world. Here we will investigate the phenomena such as neoliberalism, tourism, organ trafficking, commercial surrogacy, family relations, and migration, and we will critically examine the emerging forms of social inequality that these global processes generate.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Define, understand and use the key anthropological concepts (such as culture, society, power, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, globalization, etc.) in writing assignments and section discussions.
  • Understand anthropology’s methodological tools, especially ethnography, and think critically about what kind of knowledge this method contributes to.
  • Understand the range of variability of cultures in the global world.
  • Think critically about the nature of violence and social inequality in different historic and socio-cultural settings.
  • Critically assess and compare class readings according to the theoretical arguments put forward in lecture and recitation.
  • Write a research paper on a contemporary issue, utilizing the knowledge of core concepts of cultural anthropology discussed in class.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: ANT 121

Format: On Campus

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school junior or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: 3

Grading: A-F


  • Residential: $4,695
  • Commuter: $3,766

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (EST)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session I:
Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 19, 2024
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
3 creditsOpen

Course Requirements

Textbook Requirements

2 books, both available electronically:

Student Expectations

In-person attendance in mandatory.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Each day (except the exam days) will be a combination of lectures, discussions of the readings, question and answer periods, and occasional exercises, such as “mini-ethnography.”

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College virtual activities to meet and connect with other students across the world. Check out our Virtual Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Azra Hromadzic — Associate Professor and Dr. Ralph E. Montonna Professor for the Teaching and Education of Undergraduates.

Degree: Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2009

Dr. Hromadžić is a cultural anthropologist with research interests in the anthropology of international policy in the context of state-making in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her book, Citizens of an Empty Nation: Youth and State-making in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (University of Pennsylvania Press), is an ethnographic investigation of the internationally directed postwar intervention policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the response of local people, especially youth, to these policy efforts. The book was translated into Serbian in 2017 (Samo Bosne nema: Mladi i građenje države u posleratnoj Bosni i Hercegovini. Beograd: Biblioteka XX Vek). Several years ago, Azra initiated a new project that ethnographically researches aging, care and social services in the context of postwar and postsocialist Bosnia and Herzegovina. She co- edited (with Monika Palmberger) a volume titled Care Across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration which was published with Berghahn Books in 2018. Hromadžić spent the spring semester of 2017 as a Fulbright Scholar in Bosnia-Herzegovina where she conducted research and taught at the University of Bihać. This experience propelled her to begin a new research project on what she calls “riverine citizenship” and river-inspired socialist vernacular environmentalisms, social movements, political imaginations, ecotourist practices, and green capitalist investment projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina.Hromadžić is the recipient of the 2017 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Teaching and Research, the 2017 Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award and the 2014 Meredith Professors’ Teaching Recognition Award. Her research has been supported with grants and fellowships from Fulbright; American Council for International Education, US Department of State; National Council for Eurasian and East European Research; Social Science Research Council; US Institute of Peace; and Spencer Foundation.