Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims atintroducing the student to the knowledge and interpretation of the complex anddouble nature of demographic processes. Besides supplying details on the mostcommon techniques of demographic measures, the course will illustrate theimportance of the single demographic events (birth, marriage, migration, anddeath) not only as key phenomena useful to describe the social and economiccharacteristics of human groups, but also to interpret them in biological andevolutionary terms.
The course requiresknowledge of basic mathematics principles, concepts of anthropology and ofpopulations genetics.
Course contents summary
The concept of population.
Basic principles of demography: rates and probabilities; cross-sectional analysis and longitudinal analysis; life-tables.
The sources of demographic data: vital statistics and censuses; aggregate and nominative approaches.
Biological bases of demographic behaviours; some notes on the mechanisms of hereditary transmission of genes: the Hardy-Weinberg principle.
Concept of reproductive isolation and its meaning in demographic and evolutionary terms.
Selection and survival: the analysis of mortality. Infant mortalità. Population ageing and the Lexis point.
Fertility between biology and personal choices. The reproductive period and the intermediate variables of fertility: fecundability, intrauterine mortality, sterility, breastfeeding. Voluntary birth control and abortion.
Marriage: social and biological meaning.
Mobility and migration. General characteristics and its role in the study of the evolution of human groups.
The surnames as tool in biodemographic studies: isonymy, migrations, isolated populations.
Interaction between climate and demographic behaviors.
J.L. Rodgers, H.P. Kohler (eds), “Thebiodemography of human reproduction and fertility”. Springer, Berlino.
The coursewill consist of lessons of about two hours each.
An oralexam will conclude the course.