This course introduces the evolutionary study of the modern human lineage, with a review of the biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity of human populations over the last million years. It commences with an introduction to key concepts in evolutionary theory and their application to the study of humans. The course provides a survey of the fossil and archaeological records of the genus Homo and the speciation or divergence of human populations, including the emergence of human populations that anatomically resemble people living today and their associated cultural assemblages and behavioral repertoires. Likewise, the instructors will provide a historical overview of how advances in evolutionary theory, including the modern synthesis of the mid-twentieth century, have shaped our understanding of human evolution. In doing so, they set the stage for critically examining the origins of anatomical and behavioral modernity, as well as the co-evolution of biology and culture in human populations. The course is then divided into sections corresponding to the instructor’s specializations in archaeology, paleoanthropology, and linguistics, providing a more comprehensive overview of how each discipline informs the emergence of biocultural modernity. Students enrolled in Winter Semester 2018-19 can attend the fourth annual, international symposium of the DFG Center for Advanced Studies “Ancient Connections in Eurasia.” The course will be of interest to undergraduate students in archaeology, linguistics, paleoanthropology, prehistory, and evolutionary biology.
Students in archaeological science (Faculty of Science) can complete this course for 3 ECTS. Students in linguistics (Faculty of Philosophy) can complete this course for 6 ECTS under one of the following modules: (1) BA Linguistics: Variation, Evolution & Change; (2) MA Linguistics: Language, Variation & Change; (3) MA Linguistics: Research Trends 1.