This term’s part of the course will explore a key anthropological theme: the relationship between nature and culture. Following an introduction to what anthropologists do (and why they do it), we begin with an exploration of eating arrangements and food preferences, a mundane but profound example of how culture influences natural processes. We then draw on theories of rites of passage to explore birth, initiation and death. Why are life stages constructed and managed by cultural groups in such different ways, and can we make any general statements about such rituals? After reading week, we learn about diverse cultural perspectives on the ‘natural’ environment, before examining the difficult but ‘non-natural’ topic of race. We then explore two questions central to thinking about cultural difference: Why do humans (and not animals) have cultures? How far (if at all) does language shape human thought? Finally, we end the term with a provocative debate about whether human beings are naturally violent.