Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Human culture is often said to be communicated through the use of symbols. In this subject, students are introduced to the major issues involved in the understanding of culture as a symbolic system. Students will encounter a range of ethnographic examples of symbolic systems. Students can expect to achieve an understanding of how ideas are represented in symbols, how symbolic systems are configured, and how symbolism is related to social life, power, consciousness and the unconscious.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorNicholas Herriman

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjects ANT2SPS

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsThe Forest of SymbolsPreliminaryTurnerITHACA, CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1967
ReadingsThe Interpretation of CulturesPreliminaryGeertzHUTCHINSON, LONDON, 1983

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Critically evaluate key texts related to the anthropology of symbols.

Multiple choice questions, in-class assessments.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Life-Long Learning (Life-Long Learning)
Ethical & Cultural Awareness (Ethical & Cultural Awareness)
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)

02. Write a critical and coherent essay that demonstrates awareness of benefits and shortcomings of various anthropological theories.

Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking)
Ethical & Cultural Awareness (Ethical & Cultural Awareness)
Writing (Writing)
Creative Problem-solving (Creative Problem-solving)
Life-Long Learning (Life-Long Learning)
Inquiry/ Research (Inquiry/ Research)

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2016, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorNicholas Herriman

Class requirements

Lecture/Workshop Week: 31 - 43
One 3.0 hours lecture/workshop per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
One 2000-word essay50 02
Weekly in-class assessments (1,000-word equivalent)25 01
Weekly multiple choice questions (1,000-word equivalent)25 01