Human Problems

We must most of all lower our arrogance decibels. . . . Social science really does have something to offer the world. What it has to offer is the possibility of applying human intelligence to human problems, and thereby to achieving human potential, which may be less than perfection but is certainly more than humans have achieved heretofore.
–Immanuel Wallerstein, The End of the World as We Know It 2001, 156

Anthropology & Human Potential

Looking around the world in 2022, it seemed human problems were everywhere. Climate crisis. Healthcare crisis. Racial injustice. Inequality. Refugees. This course attempted to detail a history of humanity which would help us to recognize human problems. And we also humbly sought solutions to human problems through understanding those who have demonstrated how to fulfill human potential. We can work toward living sustainably, providing healthcare as a human right, challenging injustices and inequalities, welcoming everyone in a world we make together.

Anthropology is the only academic discipline that combines studies of human biology and evolution with archaeology and history as well as culture and language. It takes a global perspective, asserting that all human groups are important to the fate of humanity.

This Introduction to Anthropology 2022 course attempted to distill previous teaching experiences. Since I was unable to find an adequate textbook that would both present anthropology and adequately analyze the recent events of 2020-2022, this course instead concentrated on pairing classic and contemporary articles related to anthropological themes. I drew upon previous courses, including four courses that used the textbook Anthropology: What Does it Mean to Be Human? (2021, 2018, 2017, and 2016). In 2020 I used the textbook Through the Lens of Anthropology.

For the fall 2022 version, using the 3rd edition of Through the Lens see Intro to Anthro 2022. In 2024 I am using the new textbook The Human Story: An Introduction to Anthropology with this course outline.

The other textbook-free course was a first-year course in 2023 titled People: Discovering Anthropology with this course homepage and a YouTube playlist:


Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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