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 seems human problems are everywhere. Climate crisis. Healthcare crisis. Racial injustice. Inequality. Refugees. This course attempts to detail a history of humanity which will help us to recognize human problems. And we will also humbly seek 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 attempts to distill previous teaching experiences. Since I have been unable to find an adequate textbook that would both present anthropology and adequately analyze the recent events of 2020-2022, this course instead concentrates on pairing classic and contemporary articles related to anthropological themes. I am drawing 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. I am also hoping to update two previous course outlines from 2018 (outline #1 & outline #2) when I was attempting to compose a four-field anthropology reader for the Oxford University Press.
For a full recorded lecture series from 2021, see the YouTube Playlist: