9 credits during the 3nd year of 8455 Philosophy (L-5) GENOVA

6 credits during the 3nd year of 10841 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES (L-19) GENOVA

GENOVA (Philosophy)
2° Semester
Teaching materials


The study of anthropos is an easy target for reductionism: it is often reduced to its cultural or biological aspects. Nevertheless, the nature-culture dichotomy is hardly ever questioned. To be human means to be a product of - and to produce - a specific human world, it means to be immersed in an specific relational environment that shapes our being.



The course offers a broad introduction to the fundamental notions of anthropology (variation, differentiation, phylogenetic evolution); it presents the many biocultural strategies developed by different human populations; and concludes with anthropology of health and illness, and ethnopsychiatry. Particular attention will be paid to the critical analysis of data.


At the end of the course students will be able to

1) expose the fundamental topics and areas of research of contemporary anthropology;
2) remember and connect main anthropological theories and the data upon which they are construed;
3) appreciate human variability and the plurality of existing "human worlds", reading them according to the scientific data presented in the course;
4) critically analyze scientific data and theories, understanding their social, ethical and political implications;
5) analitically develop an anthropological theme through personal research and reading of specific literature;
6) practice an anthropologically sound form of reasoning.




The course is entirely developed through lessons delivered by the teacher or, in some cases, by experts in the anthropological field or on relevant themes. If time allows, a short film club can be organized at the end of the course, aimed at conveying, in its minimal form, the sensation known as "anthropological bewilderment".


1) Biological and cultural anthropology: conceptual analysis of the divide.

2) natural hisotry and the theory of evolution.

3) Evolution and genetic in the XX century: history, developments fundamental concepts, intersections.

4) Humans within the living world: evolutionary timeline, systematics, close relatives.

5) Human phylogeny: from missing link to agriculture.

6) Human ontogeny: variability, bio-culture, practices and implicit knowledge..

7) Medical anthropology and ethnopsychiatry.

The 6 CFU program implies the study of the lecture notes, one book chosen form a list, and two papers chosen from another list  (see section "Reccomended readings/Bibliography").

The 9 CFU program implies the study of the lecture notes, two books chosen form a list, and three papers chosen from another list (see section "Reccomended readings/Bibliography").


The 6 CFU program implies the study of the lecture notes (a), one book chosen form the list (b), and two papers chosen from the list (c).

The 9 CFU program implies the study of the lecture notes (a), two books chosen form the list (b), and three papers chosen from the list (c).

Lecture notes and papers are available at the Section of Anthropology's library (tel. 010-2099745, email: Books can usually be found in city libraries, or can be bought in bookshops.

(a) Lecture notes.

(b) Books' list:

  • Barbujani G., 2006. L’invenzione delle razze. Bompiani, Milano.
  • Barbujani G. & Brunelli A., 2018. Il giro del mondo in sei milioni di anni. Il Mulino, Bologna.
  • Corbey R., 2005. Metafisiche delle scimmie. Negoziando il confine animali-umani. Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 2008. [also available in English]
    Despret V., 2001. Le emozioni. Etnopsicologia dell’autenticità. Elèuthera, Milano 2002. [aussi en version français]
  • Good B.J., 1994. Narrare la malattia. Edizioni di Comunità, Torino 1999.
  • Gould S.J., 1993. Otto piccoli porcellini. Riflessioni di storia naturale. Il Saggiatore, Milano, 2003. [also available in English]
    Hazen R., 2013. Breve storia della Terra. Il Saggiatore, Milano 2017. [also available in English]
  • Illich I., 1976. Nemesi medica. L'espropriazione della salute.            Red!, Milano 1991-2005.
  • Ingold T. & Pallson G. (eds), 2013. Biosocial becomings. Integrating social and biological anthropology. CUP, Cambridge 2013.
  • Jablonka E. & Lamb M., 2005. L’evoluzione in quattro dimensioni. Variazione genetica, epigenetica, comportamentale e simbolica nella storia della vita. UTET, Torino 2007. [also available in English]
    LeVine R.A. & New R.S. (a cura di), 2008. Antropologia e infanzia. Sviluppo, cura, educazione: studi classici e contemporanei. Raffaello Cortina Editore, Milano 2009. [also available in English]
  • Lewontin R., 1993. Biologia come ideologia. La dottrina del DNA.  Bollati Boringhieri, Torino. [also available in English]
  • Quaranta I. (a cura di), 2006. Antropologia medica. I testi fondamentali. Raffaello Cortina, Milano.
  • Reichholf J.H., 1992. L’impulso creativo. Garzanti, Milano 1995. [also available in English]
    Rogoff B., 2003. La natura culturale dello sviluppo, Raffaello Cortina, Milano 2004. [also available in English]

(3) Papers' list:

  • Chandler M.J. & Lalonde C., 1998. Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations.  «Transcultural psychiatry» 35, 2, pp. 191-220.
  • Coppo P. & Consigliere S., 2009. Psicologie, etnopsichiatria, sistemi di cura. «Humana.Mente. Journal of Philosophical Studies» n. 11, Oct. 2009, pp. 125-136.
  • Csordas T.J., 1990. Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology. «Ethos» 18 (1), pp. 5-47.
  • Deutscher G., 2010. Pensieri obbligati. «Internazionale» 867 (08/10/2010), pp. 54-58. (English version:
  • Gardner L.I., 1972. Nanismo da deprivazione. «Le Scienze» 50, pp. 72-78. [also available in English]
  • Gould S.J. & Lewontin R.C., 1979. I pennacchi di San Marco e il paradigma di Pangloss. Critica del programma adattazionista. Torino: Einaudi (Piccola Biblioteca on line), 2001. [also available in English]
  • Graeber D. & Wengrow D., 2018. How to change the course of human history (at least, the part that's already happened). «Eurozine»
  • Hahn R., 1999. Expectations of sickness: concept and evidence of the nocebo phenomenon. In: KIRCSH Irving, How expectancies shape experience. American Psychological Association, Washington D.C. 1999, pp. 333-356.
  • Lestel D., 2009. Pensare con l’animale. «Discipline filosofiche» XIX (1), 2009, pp. 153-169.
  • Margulis L., 2001. Simbiosi ovunque. «Kaiak. A Philosophical Journey» 7 (2020). [also available in English]
  • Marmot M., 2005. Social determinants of health inequalities. «Lancet» 365, pp. 1099–1104.
  • Novick D., Haro J.M., Hong J., Brugnoli R., Lepine J.P., Bertsch j., Karagianis J., Dossenbach M., Alvarez E., 2012. Regional differences in treatment response and three year course of schizophrenia across the world. «Journal of Psychiatric Research» 46, pp. 856-864
  • Ochs E. & Schieffelin B.B., 1984. L’acquisizione del linguaggio e la socializzazione. Tre percorsi evolutivi e le loro implicazioni. In: Shweder R.A. & LeVine R.A., 1984. Mente, Sé, emozioni. Per una teoria della cultura. Argo, Lecce 1997, pp. 317-362. [also available in English]
  • Ramirez-Goicoechea E., 2013. Life-in-the-making: epigenesis, biocultural environments and human becomings. In: Ingold T. & Palsson G. (eds), 2013. Biosocial becomings. Integrating social and biological anthropology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2013, pp. 59-83.


Office hours: Monday and Wednesday, 10-12 AM, at the teacher's room: DISFOR Section of Anthropology, via Balbi 4, fourth floor.

Exam Board






The course is entirely developed through lessons delivered by the teacher or, in some cases, by experts in the anthropological field or on relevant themes. If time allows, a short film club can be organized at the end of the course, aimed at conveying, in its minimal form, the sensation known as "anthropological bewilderment".


15th of February 2021

Class schedule




The exam consists of an interview.. In order to pass it, one must (a) know the exam program, i.e., the contents of the lecture notes; (b) develop and in-depth critical analysis of (at least) one of the themes presented in the lecture notes through the study of the reading list proposed in the "Readings/Bibliography" section. Students will first be asked to expose their in-depth analysis through the chosen literature; after that, their knowledge of the themes presented in the lecture notes will be assessed. Learning outcomes, assessment method and bibliography are identical both for students who follow the lessons and for those who do not.


Knowledge of the contents of the lecture notes counts for 24/30 of the final vote. The capacity to develop a critical in-depth analysis of an anthropological theme counts for 6/30 of the final vote.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
10/12/2020 09:00 GENOVA Orale
18/01/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
01/02/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
11/05/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
26/05/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
09/06/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
22/06/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
19/07/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2021 09:00 GENOVA Orale


Exams are normally held at the Anthropology Section of DISFOR (via Balbi 4, 4th floor) and begin at 9.00. Only in case of further global health emergencies, examinations will be made through the Teams platform. Inscriptions must be made through the apposite UniGe web service, as detailed by the University rules. Students who work or with special needs will be examined first.

Examinations' calendar:

only for students from previous academic years:10 Dec 2020 – 18 Jan 2021 – 1 Feb 2021 – 11 May 2021

for all students: 26 May 2021 – 9 Jun 2021 – 22 Jun 2021 – 15 Sep 2021