Why major in anthropology?
The study of human behavior goes back thousands of years to the time of ancient Greek civilization. Greek historian, Herodotus (484 – 425 BC) is considered the “father of history” having written about the Greek victory over the Persians. But if ancient history doesn’t motivate you, try asking Idaho State University anthropology students, Michelle Carpenter and Jennifer Hernandez, both of whom landed internships at the Smithsonian this summer. “I would live in a cardboard box if I could work at the Smithsonian,” said Hernandez. “It has always been one of the goals of mine to be at the Smithsonian, but now it is a little scary because I’m actually going there to work,” Hernandez said. “It might be hard not to be star-struck the whole time.”
Anthropology is not a large discipline. Nearly 15,000 anthropologists are actively engaged in the profession, according to Boston University. But anthropology’s greatest asset lies in its diversity. Researchers who bring different backgrounds to the profession add new voices and approaches to the important research and discovery always taking place. Questia’s archives feature some vital additions to the history of anthropology and our librarians have selected five publications to help you in your scholarly research.
What role plays the National Academy of Sciences?
President Obama recently spoke at the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Nearly 100 anthropologists make up the membership of NAS, an organization founded by none other than Abraham Lincoln back in 1863. NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to Congress on matters related to science and technology. To quote President Obama, “one of the things I’ve tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in the fields like psychology and anthropology….we’ve got make sure that we are support the idea that they’re not subject to politics.”
How did early man transition from four legs to two?
Anthropology majors get the opportunity to conduct all kinds of original research enabling them to compose scholarly papers, and even books. Challenging the prevailing hypothesis can also be part of your studies. Case in point: Why did our apelike ancestors begin to walk upright? Millions of years ago being four legged had important advantages. You’re center of gravity was lower, improving wind-resistance, for example. But what would have prompted our ancestors to transition to walking upright? The prevailing hypothesis is that due to climate change, the Australopithecine or hominid (circa 4 million years B.C.) descended from the trees and made their way into the open savanna. But a new study recently published in Antiquity suggests that the transition to bipedalism was prompted by the shifting of tectonic plates and volcanoes in East and South Africa. According to University of York archaeologist and study co-author Isabelle Winder, “the broken, disrupted terrain offered benefits for hominids in terms of security and food, but it also proved a motivation to improve their skills by climbing, balancing, and moving swiftly over broken ground.
For all you anthropology majors, take a sneak peak into the Questia archives and get a leg-up on your studies with some excellent choices covering an important selection of anthropology books and articles. And if you haven’t yet explored an internship at the Smithsonian, contact your school’s department of natural history and introduce yourself. You just might be the next interns taking part in the analysis of human and animal remains.
Applied Anthropology: An Introduction. Edition: 3rd
Author: John Van Willigen
Author/contributor John Van Willigen focuses on the use of the methods and theories of anthropology to solve the practical problems of human communities. His book addresses a wide range of problem-solving practices in both development action and applied research. Willigen details specific practices such as evaluation and action research. In addition, there are chapters on history, employment strategies, and ethics.
“Medicine and Anthropology in Twentieth Century Africa: Akan Medicine and Encounters with (Medical) Anthropology” African Studies Quarterly. Volume: 10. Issue: 2-3
Author: Kwasi Konadu
In this academic article, author Kwasi Konadu argues the failure to locate African perspectives on therapeutic matters that may or may not be important concerns in African societies is the academic quest for “ethnographic cases” that lend themselves to issues in the field of medical anthropology rather than African knowledge and perspectives of the field (i.e., Africa).
The Anthropology of Islam
Author: Gabriele Marranci
The Anthropology of Islam is author Gabriele Marranci’s result of debates and discussion with students and colleagues about what the anthropology of Islam may be. Because there can be multiple interpretations, for Marranci, there can be multiple embodiments of Islam.
Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art. Edition: 2nd.
Author: Evelyn Payne Hatcher
Evelyn Payne Hatcher writes about the ideas people have had about art and the human condition in all its diversity. Her purpose in writing this book is to help provide a way for formulating questions concerning whatever aspect of the subject is of interest, at whatever level the reader wishes to pursue it.
A Social History of Anthropology in the United States
Author: Thomas C. Patterson
Author Thomas C. Patterson has multiple goals in writing this tome, including showing how anthropological knowledge is a dialectical process. It is shaped by what the world is and who the anthropologists and the diverse peoples they study are. Anthropologists continue to argue about the significance of how people relate to one another. Ultimately, this book is concerned with the historical development of anthropology in the United States with a focus on its roots, including the study of those individuals on the on the margins of society.