Anthropology FAQs

Anthropology

  • An overview from the American Anthropological Association

    Applied Anthropology. In a recent move to decrease funding for liberal arts majors and move more resources to STEM fields, Florida governor Rick Scott said that his state "doesn't need any more anthropologists". The following response shows some of the important things that applied anthropologists do in the state of Florida.

    A lecture by Mark Allen Peterson on some of the lesser-known uses of anthropology, including business and other areas you may not have thought of.

    More on business careers for anthropologists, from the American Anthropological Association.

  • In the U.S. archaeology, the study of past human activities through material remains, is one of the four fields of anthropology, so technically Indiana Jones might be considered an anthropologist. However, he is a very bad one. Real archaeologists are very careful to study artifacts where they are found, and often learn as much from the dirt and debris around artifacts as from the artifacts themselves. People who grab artifacts and run away with them are more typically known as looters or tomb-robbers. To learn about real archaeology, take a course or enroll in a summer archaeology field school.

  • Anthropology provides perspectives on human diversity and skills in learning about and understanding others' behaviors and beliefs that complement almost any field of study.  Former students of anthropology have found their training useful in the fields of education, health care and public health, business and marketing, social services, speech pathology, language teaching, non-governmental and international agencies, museums, communications, counseling, law, journalism, contract archaeology, and the clergy. Pursuing a career as an anthropologist usually requires further study at the Masters or Ph.D. level, depending on one's goals.

  • In the early 20th century the difference was one of division of labor - sociologists were said to study literate, more "modern" or complex societies, whereas anthropologists studied pre-literate, "primitive", or "simple" societies. However, since the 1930s, anthropologists have studied groups in urban settings and in the U.S.  Conversely, any sociologists study social phenomena outside of Europe and North America. Anthropologists pioneered techniques of fieldwork and participant observation, but today many sociologists use these as well. Cultural anthropologists draw on much of the same social theory as sociologists. Many cultural anthropologists are in conversation with the other subfields of anthropology, which consider social phenomena in the light of adaptation, human evolution, and the prehistoric record - something sociologists are less likely to do. That said, many anthropologists and sociologists today are studying the same social phenomena, in the same places. Because of this, integrated Anthropology and Sociology programs are not uncommon.

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