Cultural Anthropology
First Test
Sample Test Questions


1.      The Statement that "Science is Sciencing" means that


1.     Science is not defined as an “organized body of knowledge”, such as chemistry, physics, astronomy and biology, but rather as a particular method by which we investigate and explain the world around us, regardless of the academic discipline in which it takes place.

2.     Science is more appropriately viewed as a verb than as a noun.

3.     The periodic table and the Linnean classification system are the results of doing science, not an example of science.

4.     Science is a process, not a product.

5.     all of the above.



2.      Which of the following statements is most correct?  So far, this course has


1.     emphasized the importance of explaining the  variety of social behavior of different peoples in terms of distinct local values and belief systems.

2.     stressed the concept of "culture" as the most important factor explaining social behavior.

3.     focused on the consequences of a specific population's relationship to the resources it needs to maintain itself for determining that population's social organization and belief system.

4.     has stressed the importance of an empirically-based scientific approach to the study of human social behavior.

5.     3 and 4.



3.      Which of the following would be included by Harris and Johnson in infrastructure?


1.     Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus

2.     coal mining in West Virginia

3.     the distribution of shopping malls in Bucks County

4.     traffic jams on the Los Angeles Freeway

5.     the story of Noah's ark



4.    Frank Furedi ("North Waging Cultural War against South.") criticizes Westerners for


1.     assuming that they have the right and moral superiority to undermine the cultural practices of indigenous peoples which Westerners find offensive.

2.     attempting to impose Western views regarding population growth onto indigenous peoples in Third World countries for whom those views are not necessarily appropriate.

3.     expecting peoples in non-Western countries to adopt behaviors and lifestyles that may be at variance with prevailing norms in those countries.

4.     all of the above.

5.     none of the above.




5.       Which of the following statements is NOT correct?

1.     The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (the Torah) provide an accurate account of the early history of the ancient Israelites.

2.     In order to accurately understand the Torah, it is necessary to recognize that the five books include distinct historical and mythical traditions that were only later organized into a single, frequently contradictory, narrative.

3.     Of the four separate “documents” that make up the Torah, only the E-document represents the perspective of the northern tribes and the Kingdom of Israel to which they belonged. The J and P documents and Deuteronomy, all reflect the perspective of the southern tribes, which were part of the Kingdom of Judah.

4.     The flood story, as it is written in the Bible, actually contains two distinct flood stories that were merged into a single narrative. The two versions of the flood story differ in the number of days the flood lasted, the number of animals taken into the ark and the type of bird that was sent out to find land.

5.     1 and 4.




6.    Which of the following is true about the Yir Yuront ("Steel Axes for Stone-Age Australians")? 


1.     Those villages which got the steel axes first attacked the villages that had only stone axes and wiped them out.

2.     Because of the critical role that the stone ax played in reinforcing the social organization of the Yir Yoront, its replacement led to the disintegration of Yir Yuront society, even though no one was actually killed as a result of the introduction of the steel ax.

3.     The missionaries purposely tried to cause the disintegration of Yir Yuront society in order to better convert them to Christianity.

4.     The innocent introduction of the steel ax by the missionaries led to a revolution among the Yir Yuront as the younger men and the women banded together to drive the older men from power. 



7.    Which of the following types of explanation would be classified as Galileian (as opposed to Aristotelian)?


1.     Explaining human warfare in terms of innate male aggressiveness.

2.     Racial explanations for high crime rates in urban areas.

3.     Explaining cross-cultural differences in gender relations in terms of the different economic role that men and women play in local economies.

4.     Explanations based on ethnic stereotypes.

5.     Explaining environmental problems in developing countries in terms of the difference between “Western” vs. “Eastern” culture.



8.    Which of the following concepts would NOT be part of an Aristotelian explanation?

1.     Manifest Destiny
2.     The will of the people
3.     cost/benefit analysis
4.     Eastern Culture
5.     Women's intuition


9.      Harris and Johnson argue that as human populations have grown over time and societies have developed new methods of food production (foraging - horticulture - agriculture - industry) to feed the larger populations, output per unit of labor input has increased, but output per unit of total energy input has decreased.


1.     true

2.     false


10.      If social scientists are going to propose and test theories of human social behavior, they must make sure that those theories contain concepts and principles that are operationally defined. This means that the specific phenomena under investigation and the proposed relationships among them must be measurable. If the concepts and their relationships are not measurable, then the theory is not testable. If the theory is not testable, then it is not falsifiable; and if it is not falsifiable, it is not scientific.

1.     true
2.     false


11.     If an anthropologist were attempting to explain a people's adaptation to their environment (e.g.,  Inuit adaptation to their arctic environment or Yanomamo adaptation to their tropical environment) in terms of how the people themselves view their subsistence behavior, he or she would be adopting an _________ perspective.


1.     emic

2.     etic


12.     Collecting accurate information on kinship and genealogy proved to be much easier for Chagnon than he had anticipated.

1.     true

2.     false


13.      An ecological explanation, which shows that social behaviors such as warfare, circumcision or infanticide can be more parsimoniously explained by one set of general principles rather than by the distinct cultural attributes unique to each group, demonstrates which of the following concepts?

1.     an emic explanation

2.     an Aristotelian explanation

3.     Occam's Razor

4.     an essentialist explanation


14.      Which of the following statements best describes the goal of scientific research in the social sciences?


1.     Research should be undertaken that supports established social norms and rules.

2.     Social scientists should reject the conclusions of research that would not be socially acceptable.

3.     Social science research, like research in other scientific fields, should be guided by a search for better understanding the world and not to support or confirm a specific political, religious or ideological perspective.

4.    Social scientists should not publish research that would contradict a community's religious beliefs.


15.      According to Hughes ("The Sacred Rac"), the Asu use most of the excrement of the Rac for both fuel and fertilizer, which explains why they don't kill the animals and eat them.


1.     true

2.     false


16.      The application of the Uniformitarian Principle requires that anthropologists analyze the story of how the world is created in Genesis (the first book of the Bible) the same way that they would analyze the creation myths of other peoples, such as the Yanomamo, the Inuit or the Pygmies.

1.     true

2.     false



17.      Which of the following statements supports the thesis that Jesus perceived his mission in strictly Jewish terms?

1.      he chose only Jewish apostles.

2.      he and his apostles preached only in Palestine.

3.      he chose specifically 12 Apostles.

4.      Jesus' brother James (who led the early church in Jerusalem) and Jesus' apostles continued their strict adherence to Judaic Law after Jesus' death.

5.      all of the above.


18.      Which of Hill's criteria when applied to anthropological research specifies that if Variable A (e.g. population growth) causes Variable B (agricultural intensification) then an increase in the size of a population within a given area should result in a commensurate increase in the amount of energy and resources invested in agricultural production per acre and, conversely, a decrease in the size of a population should result in a commensurate reduction in the investment of energy and resources per acre.


1.     Temporal Relationship

2.     Consistency

3.     Dose-Response Relationship

4.     Plausibility


19.      Which of the following statements is true and undermines our ability to accept the various stories in the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament) as accurate historical accounts?


1.     Numbers such as 12 and 40 are used so frequently that they cannot be considered accurate descriptions.

2.     The Bible contains numerous stories (including alternate creation stories, different versions of the flood, and contradictory accounts of Israelite invasion of Canaan) that flatly contradict one another and, therefore, cannot be taken as accurate accounts of what took place.

3.     Archaeological research does not support the biblical claim, as described in the Book of Exodus, that vast numbers of Israelites fled Egypt and invaded Canaan.

4.     All of the above.


20.      _______ refers to the tendency to view the traits, ideas and values of your own society as superior to those of other societies.


1.     cultural relativism

2.     enculturation

3.     anthropocentrism

4.     ethnocentrism

5.     egocentrism



21.      Lawrence Kuznar has stated that "a concern with knowing the world, rather than advocating a view of the world because it confirms some political, ideological, or religious project, has always been fundamental to scientific philosophy." Which of the following examples best fits Kuznar's definition?


1.      The Reverend Lundmark's piece on "Evolution -- Sheer Nonsense" from the Morning Call in which he uses quotes by the Presidents of Harvard and Lehigh Universities to attack the concept of evolution.

2.     A faculty member who believes that a teacher should not give students all of the facts on a particular topic because it might keep them from being politically active.

3.     A sociology course on domestic violence that concentrates on “battered women”, that only discusses male-on-female violence, and that ignores data relating to female-on-male violence as well as violence in gay and lesbian relationships.

4.     A researcher who, having collected careful quantitative data on female labor and on the amount of food acquired by women in several hunting and gathering populations, suggests that anthropology must revamp its notions about gender relations in hunter-gatherer societies due to the fact that on average between 60-80% of the food consumed by most foraging societies is produced by women.

5.     An environmental studies course on population that focuses exclusively on Malthusian models of population growth, which predict dire consequences of continued population growth, and ignores non-Malthusian models, which don't predict negative results.


22.      Which of the following characteristics do the United States, Australia, Israel and the white Apartheid government of South Africa NOT share in common?


1.     All began as British colonies.

2.     All four countries were the product of European peoples settling on territory already occupied by native populations and violently removing those populations from their ancestral lands.

3.     While all four countries began as colonies, they all eventually evolved into multicultural democracies in which all citizens were guaranteed equal rights under the law.

4.     All four countries forced the native populations to live within restricted territories, used police and military forces to keep native populations from leaving those territories, and justified their actions by recourse to higher (usually religious) values.

5.     All four countries maintained active immigration policies designed to increase the size and power of the dominant (i.e., immigrant) population and repeatedly reduced the size of the territory set aside for native peoples in order to accommodate the continued growth of the immigrant population.



23.      When applied to the study of Christian origins, the Uniformitarian Principle suggests that

1.     Since the Roman colonial administration in Judea would have conformed to political and administrative policies similar to colonial governments elsewhere, we should approach the study of the rise of Christianity using what we know about other colonial situations in which religious movements occurred.

2.     We must be just as skeptical of extraordinary claims made about Jesus as we would were such claims made about other religious prophets.

3.     Such stories associated with Jesus' birth as the "Slaughter of the Innocents" and the great census of Caesar Augustus must be evaluated in light of what we know about the political reality of the time.

4.     Paul's claim to have spoken with Jesus while on the road to Damascus should be examined in the same light as claims of supernatural visitation by such other prophets as Wovoka among the Paiute Indians, Handsome Lake among the Iroquois Indians, Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet and Muhammed Ahmed, the Muslim messianic leader in the Sudan.

5.     All of the above.





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Cultural Syllabus



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