Fall 2009

Tues & Thurs 9:30-10:45, Hamilton 108


Instructor: Gail E. Wagner
Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Hamilton 300; phone 777-6548;

Office Hours: Tues, Thurs 2:00-3:00, or easily by email appointment



   --     Learn about the myriad relationships between plants and peoples;

   --     Share the excitement and fun of studying ethnobotanical subjects;

   --     Advance ethnographic skills in gathering and analyzing data;

   --     Advance inquiry-type skills in formulating, researching, writing, speaking, and

          presenting ideas.



Lectures, class discussions, in-class workshops, videos, fieldwork, group work.



Readings are on file in the Dept. of Anthropology Xerox room and are posted as pdf files on the course Blackboard web page. Readings should be read (and sometimes annotated) before or for the class on the date they are listed. To receive credit, annotations are DUE by class time on the date listed (annotations of movies are due by the next class after the movie was shown).



The class continues a project examining the botanical knowledge of South Carolinians. We will concentrate on identification of plants on a plant trail through campus, but other possible methods of data collection include free listing and identification of plants on a PowerPoint presentation. Only a handful of previous studies have been reported. American children display substantially less botanical knowledge than do Mexican children.


You do not need any background in botany or in anthropology to take this course. However, you will need to be actively (rather than passively) involved in your learning in this course.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

-  Answer the question: what is ethnobotany?

-  Summarize how the four subfields in anthropology intersect with the field of ethnobotany

-  Give examples of ethical responsibilities in human subject research

-  Be certified for Human Subject Research

-  Apply the scientific method by stating a testable hypothesis, researching the topic,

   compiling data, and evaluating the findings

-  Compose a PowerPoint presentation and post a Wiki page

-  Demonstrate ability to critically annotate a reading

-  Conduct an oral interview

- Follow a professional style guide for submission of writing


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: You are expected to practice the highest possible standards of academic integrity. Any deviation from this expectation will result in a minimum of your failing the assignment, and may result in additional, more severe disciplinary measures up to and including referring you to the Office of Academic Integrity. For more information, see the Carolina Community Student Handbook. Remember that the first tenet of the Carolinian Creed is, “I will practice personal and academic integrity.”



Class attendance is REQUIRED: if you can’t attend regularly, DO NOT SIGN UP!

More than 3 unexcused absences (=1.5 weeks missed) results in subtraction of 2 points (1%) for each additional day missed from your final grade. There will not be any make-up work, so work instead at getting the assignments and readings done on time. Two points (1%) will be subtracted for each day an assignment is overdue – missing class is no excuse. Grading will be determined as follows out of 200 possible points:

   35%    Project Paper and Fieldwork (70 points)

   20%    Assignments (40 points)                              

   15%    Exercises (60/2=30 points)

   30%    Course Notebook (60 points)                       

Each day missed beyond 3 days (1.5 weeks) = 2 points off your total score (1% per day missed)


A         181.5-200.0 pts    (91-100%)

B+       173.5-181.0 pts    (87-90.5%)

B         159.5-173.0 pts    (80-86.5%)

C+       151.5-159.0 pts    (76-79.5%)

C         130.0-151.0 pts    (65-75.5%)

D+       121.5-129.5 pts    (61-65%)

D         100.0-121.0 pts    (50-60.5%)

F          <100.0 pts             (<50%)


Project Paper and Fieldwork “how-to” will be covered in class. Paper will be about 5 double-spaced pages in length.

Exercises (n=6) are completed online on the course Blackboard web page. They are 10 points each and generally consist of 20 questions each.

Assignments are listed on the next page.

Course Notebook substitutes for a final examination in the course (essentially it is a take-home final). The Course Notebook is compiled throughout the semester, with benchmark due dates that must be met. It will consist of about 10 essays that are 2-5 paragraphs in length each, some with citations.







Online Blackboard Exercises and due dates: (10 pts @)

1. Ethnobotany, Sept. 1

2. Ethics and Ethnography, Sept. 10

3. Botany, Sept. 17

4. Linguistics, Sept. 29

5. Paleoethnobotany, Oct. 1

6. Biological Anthropology, Oct. 20


Assignments and due dates:

1. Post Blackboard homepage (2 pts) and email (1 pt), Sept. 1

2. Comparing Codes of Ethics (2 pts), Sept. 3

3. Annotation of OSN web link (1 pt), Sept. 5

4. USC Human Subjects certification (10 pts), Sept. 8

5. GE Briefing Paper (3 pts), Nov. 6

6. PowerPoint presentation of paper (4 pts), Dec. 1 or 3

7. Five Annotations (2 pts @ = 10 pts total), must meet individual due dates

8. Post Wiki Page (7 pts)


Class Project benchmarks and due dates:

In-class design of project, Sept. 10

List of people you will interview, Sept. 15

Individual hypothesis , Sept. 24

Typed interviews due, Oct. 6

Paper due, Oct. 29

Revisions due, Nov. 24


Course Notebook benchmarks and due dates:

Two essays, Oct. 13

Completed notebook of essays, Dec. 8


Annotations and due dates: (must annotate 2 movies, plus any 3 articles by deadlines. Note that one particular article and movie are required.)

Kareiva 2008, Aug. 27 (must annotate)

Hunn 2000, Sept. 1

Basso 1996, Sept. 22

Brown 2000, Sept. 24

Secrets of the Rainforest, Oct. 22

Nabhan 1989, Oct. 27

Seeds of Tomorrow, Nov. 5 (must annotate)

Salmon 2000, Nov. 10

Berkes et al. 2000, Nov. 12

Plants and the Cherokee, Nov. 17

City Farmer, Nov. 19


Required: annotation of an assigned web link for OSN by 4 pm on Sept. 5


For list of readings, see Fall 2009 Reader

For contents of Course Notebook, see Course Notebook




AUG    20     Introduction


                      Assigned: 1: Post Homepage and email address on Blackboard



             25 -   Overview of Ethnobotany

                      Assigned: 2: Comparing Codes of Ethics; Exercise 1


             27 -   Ecoliteracy

                      Annotate: Kareiva 2008

                      Assigned: 3: USC Human Subjects certification (takes ca. 5 hrs to complete)



SEPT  1 -    Botanical Knowledge of South Carolinians

                      Annotate: Hunn 2000;  Read: Wagner 2008

                      DUE: Exercise 1: Ethnobotany (complete it online on Blackboard)

                      DUE: Assignment 1: Post Homepage and email address on Blackboard


              3 -    Ethics and Human Subject Research

                      Read: Martin 1995a:239-251

                      DUE: Assignment 2: Comparing Codes of Ethics


              5 -    deadline by 4 pm for annotation of an OSN web link



              8 -    Ethnographic Research Methods

                      Read: Martin 1995d:96-112, 116-123

                      DUE: Assignment 3: USC Human Subjects Certification

                      Assigned: begin to find people to interview


             10 -   WORKSHOP: Class Project

                      Read: Puri and Vogl 2005: Sections 6.3 – 7.2.3 and Section 7.7

                      DUE: Exercise 2: Ethics and Ethnography



             15 -   Botanical Background

                      Read: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2000

                      Read: Martin 1995b

                      DUE: list of people you will interview


             17 -   WORKSHOP: Wiki Pages

                      DUE: Exercise 3: Botany



             22 -   Folk Taxonomy and Linguistics

                      Annotate: Basso 1996


             24 -   Folk Taxonomy and Linguistics

                      Read: Martin 1995c: 215-221

                      Annotate: Brown 2000

                      DUE: Hypothesis



             29 -   Paleoethnobotany

                      Read: Wagner and Civitello 2000 (link on Blackboard Assignments)

                      DUE: Exercise 4: Linguistics


OCT    1 -    Paleoethnobotany, cont.

                      DUE: Exercise 5: Paleoethnobotany



               6 -   WORKSHOP: Research Paper

                      DUE: Typed Interviews 

                      Skim: American Antiquity Style Guide (on Blackboard, Assignments)


               8 -   MIDPOINT FALL BREAK: NO CLASSES



             13 -   Biological Anthropology

                      Read: Johns 1999

                      DUE: Two Course Notebook essays (choose from Ethics, Botany, or



             15 -   Biological Anthropology, cont.

                      Read: Reiff et al. 2003



             20 -   Plant Medicines

                      Read: Martin 1995c:68-81

                      DUE: Exercise 6: Biological Anthropology


             22 -   Plant Medicines

                      in class, annotate: Secrets of the Rainforest



             27 -   Politics and Genetic Diversity

                      Annotate: Nabhan 1989

                      Assigned: 4: GE Briefing Paper


             29 -   Genetic Diversity, cont.

                      DUE: Botanical Knowledge paper



NOV    3 -    GMO and Biotechnology

                      DUE: Assignment 4: GE Briefing Paper


               5 -   Annotate, in class: Seeds of Tomorrow (58 min)



10 -   Ethnoecology

                      Annotate: Salmon 2000


             12 -   Ethnoecology

                      Annotate: Berkes et al. 2000



             17 -   Ethnography

                      Read: Turner et al. 2000

                      In class, annotate: Plants and the Cherokee (26 min)


             19 – Plants and People

                      in class, annotate: City Farmer (31 min)



             24 -   Making paper

                      DUE: Revised paper


             26 -   Thanksgiving: No Classes




DEC    1 -    Paper Presentations


              3 -    Paper Presentations and Ethnobotanical Wrap-up






Tuesday, December 8

2:00 pm, Hamilton 300


Subpages (2): Assignments Reading List