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An Introduction to Anthropology – Anthropology Studies

Anthropology Studies - An Introduction to AnthropologyAnthropology studies human life, at the intersection of the sciences and the humanities. An introduction to anthropology encompasses human biology and evolution, archaeology, culture, and language. See also What is Anthropology.

The Introduction to Anthropology sections of Living Anthropologically use anthropological studies to comment on contemporary issues and ideas. The chapters cross-reference current blog posts and other resources. They are best used as a complement to traditional four-field introduction to anthropology textbooks. My preferred four-field textbook is Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?Anthropology Studies - An Introduction to Anthropology For my current book selection and comments, see Introduction to Anthropology 2014.

Part 1, Biological Anthropology: Human Nature, Race, Evolution

Explores biological anthropology, emphasizing biology and evolution as dynamic processes and anthropological documentation of human possibility. These sections are also available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook, Anthropology I: Human Nature, Race, Evolution in Biological Anthropology.

Part 2, Archaeology: Domesticaton, Agriculture, and Civilization

Archaeology, emphasizing how to understand the domestication of plants and animals, agriculture, and ideas of social complexity and civilization.

Part 3, Cultural Anthropology: Culture, Cultures, and Cultural Relativism

Explores the anthropological idea of culture and how it turned to plural cultures. We must bid “Adieu Culture” (Trouillot 2003).

For a preview see:

Part 4: Language and Languages

Part 5: Sex, Gender, Family

For a preview see:

Part 6: Moral Optimism

For a preview see:

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  • Muriel Sackey

    How does an anthropologist, trained specifically in the cultural sub-field, learn to teach a general anthropology course that encompasses the other three sub-fields? I trained as a cultural anthropologist and recently received my doctorate. I’m now applying to teach at community colleges and have no idea how to encompass the three sub-fields. I’ve never even taken courses in those sub-fields. Advice?

    •!/JasonAntrosio Jason Antrosio

      Hi Muriel, thank you for the comment and question! This was exactly what happened to me, although I was eased into it by starting off with cultural anthropology courses and later doing a four-fields introduction to anthropology. My first suggestion is simple–be confident, you can teach your way into it! I would simply choose a four-fields textbook and four-fields reader (my suggestions are in the Four Fields Introduction to Anthropology post, and also the overview at Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields Anthropology, and then take it from there. Truth is, most people who teach four fields introductory courses are specialists in one; there are very few who have broad four-field training before they teach. You will pick it up quickly. I’ll try to write a more extensive post about it soon, but for now would urge confidence that you will be able to pick up on some common themes across the sub-fields and learn a lot as well.

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  • Aquaria

    I’ve been thinking about majoring in anthropology, with a double major in political science, since my uni doesn’t have political anthropology, per se, which is what I really want to do. I’m making do with the idea of a double major to compensate. Does this make sense?

    I worry about the anthropology side of the equation though, because I can’t do archaeology. I have MS, and just can’t do the physical work of it. Should I just stick with political science?

    •!/JasonAntrosio Jason Antrosio

      Hi Aquaria, thanks! Really difficult to say without more specifics, and even then would not want to do any advising. It sounds like you have a great combination here and the double major may give you some options that a single-major might not. But life has too many twists and turns to know for sure.

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