We are one of three distinct programs that contribute to the holistic education and experience you have in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Anthropology is an old and distinguished discipline, yet the basis of our work, to interpret and understand the human condition, is what keeps us relevant and engaged in the 21st century. Anthropology shares many things in common with other social science and life science fields in that we study human life as a biological fact and a culturally variable mystery.
A minor in anthropology consists of 18 credits of course work in the field. If you are interested in learning more about anthropology, please contact Dr. Julia Giblin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.”
The Human PastWe are an amazing species. Really. It is kind of crazy what humans have managed to build, think, and achieve throughout our history on this planet. It might seem trite to say it, but we really cannot understand our contemporary world if we don’t learn about the past. And with rapidly growing concerns about how sustainable human life is on this planet, whether we have the resources to feed a growing population, and if we can find ways to end the wars and conflicts that destabilize and destroy communities around the world, we can’t afford to be ignorant of the ways we made things better in the past, or possibly made them worse.
Our PresentSocial media and other new technologies have made it so we are much more aware about things happening in other parts of the world than in the past, and we receive information about other cultures and societies at a mind-blowing pace. However, these new technologies have not necessarily led to the provision of better information, or more accurate information. Just more of it. One of the things the study of anthropology allows you to do is to make sense of this information, and turn it into knowledge. What we mean by this is our program provides you with the cultural context, the political and economic framework, and the historical facts to help you make sense of the news in a way that thoughtful, meaningful, and more accurate. A good example of this would be receiving information about a conflict happening in some foreign country, yet there is no explanation of the various cultural groups involved in the conflict, the historical background to how that country’s borders even came to be what they are, the role of other nations in the conflict (including the US), or even of the heterogeneity of views and perspectives of the people involved. These are the questions our courses teach you to ask. In other words, the learning you do in anthropology helps you to complicate the information you receive, and this is a good thing. This is what we call critical thinking, and it is a skill that most employers value over any other.
So, you’re going to be asked this question, or you might be asking it yourself—what can you do with a degree in anthropology? Thankfully, there is no limit to what you can do in life if you study anthropology. That’s what makes it great. People who study anthropology go on to do amazing things in life—they become teachers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, politicians, business leaders—if you can think it, anthropology majors can do it. Anthropology is less about one distinct career path and more about having an intellectual and methodological toolkit at your disposal. Anthropologists think differently from other people, and this is good. In the 21st century, you can’t afford to not understand the diversity of the world around you. You have to have the skills and ability to learn from others, and see the world the way they see it, or we’re just going to continue to destroy this planet. The Department of Labor has identified anthropology as an area of study that has a career growth potential that is 20% faster than other fields! Read more about this finding here.
Our government recognizes that we need people in the work force who are trained in anthropology; as citizens, we need a smart, cross-culturally aware, and engaged population. We cannot make the world safe for human differences if we are ignorant about the world around us.