The notion that archeology is all about studying old rocks is hilariously inaccurate, but then again, so is the misconception that all archaeological findings are as awesome as dinosaur remains....
Anthropology studies the roots and behaviors of humankind that make our species unique. From our evolutionary pasts to our modern present; from the individual to the society. Although it doesn’t focus so much on society—sociology takes charge of that area. Anthropology focuses more on other aspects of humans like our physical traits, environmental and social relations, and general culture. It is particularly interested in how these things have changed over time, making archaeology and other historical record analysis an important part of the field. In this category of Direct Knowledge, you’ll find various anthropology articles exploring the history of the field, the main topics within it, and new developments on the horizon.
History of Anthropology
The term anthropology originally appeared in Renaissance Germany, but first started being used in English in the early 18th century. At first it was only sporadically in use, but increasingly gained popularity. By the mid-1800s, multiple organizations of anthropologists formed in the US and Europe. Some of the main goals of these organizations were defending human rights, such as opposing slavery.
Throughout the 19th century, studies in linguistics, anatomy, history, and ethnic studies began contributing more to anthropology. Theorists in these fields saw many similarities between diverse groups of people often thought to be entirely different from one another. And not just similarities between people; they saw that animals and humans might not be so different from one another either. They started to explore the pathways through which these similarities appeared in people, languages, cultures, and species.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was a culmination and affirmation of many of the suspicions that had arose concerning the similarities between species. Much of the focus of theorists at this point became the goal of determining what specifically distinguishes humans from other animals. Aspects such as speech, civilization, psychology, and anatomy were considered the keys in this distinction. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century the number of official anthropological societies and organizations increased dramatically.
Now, anthropology has reached a global level of proliferation with many subdivisions. Anthropology articles exist on many topics and platforms for everyone to learn about it. Some of the newer fields of research include gender equality and multiculturalism, but in general there are four main fields. Below you’ll find brief descriptions of the four fields as well as links to articles with further details.
Main Subdivisions of Anthropology
This field of anthropology focuses on the physical aspects of humans. It especially looks at the physical differences and similarities between humans and other species of animals. This includes the species that humans originate from, making evolution an important part of the discipline. You can find biological anthropology articles here, in which the following are the main branches: paleoanthropology, human biology, primatology, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary biology, paleopathology, and bioarchaeology.
Archaeology is the study of specifically human remains and activities from the past. This usually involves the recovery of items or analysis of landscapes affected by humans. Through looking at these things from the past, we can determine how people lived and events that happened to them or that they directly caused. Archaeology is particularly critical when written records don’t exist either from destructive events or from the lack of record keeping altogether. This field is sometimes considered its own distinct discipline from anthropology, depending on region, but the close relation between the two is undeniable.
This area of anthropology looks at the sociological and cultural aspects of the field. This means looking at how humans interact with one another and their surroundings. The sociocultural anthropology articles here involve psychology, philosophy, literature, and history. Studying these areas helps us understand the differences between societies so that we can better accept them. This is increasingly important in today’s age of globalization where so much mixing of cultures is taking place the world over. Some of the main areas of study are kinship, law and conflict resolution, consumption and exchange patters, material culture, technology, gender, ethnicity, religion, and social, economic, and political organization.
Because the human ability to speak is generally quite unique, we focus greatly on understanding its origins and characteristics. Although, the ability to speak verbally isn’t the only important characteristic in this field. Non-verbal communication through signs, gestures, and writing are also critical both today and in the evolution of language and communication. Related fields that often found in linguistic anthropology articles are cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and pragmatics. This field also looks at modern language and communication between cultures. This makes anthropology an important part of international relations and peacekeeping.
Careers in Anthropology
A job in this field might be a good fit if you’re interested in different cultures throughout place and time. It’s also best if you are open to new ideas and ways of thinking. After all, the job will likely involve interaction with foreign cultures and methods of living.
The tasks of the job itself can range far and wide and include a range of positions. Anthropologists generally work for the government, consulting firms, or research organizations. They might perform hands-on work in laboratories or in the field, especially if specializing in archaeology. Some potential positions might include attorney, professor, human resource representative, media planner, or international relations positions.
Before starting a career in the field, one would need a master’s degree in anthropology, and potentially a PhD as well. Working after only obtaining a bachelor’s could be possible, but limits opportunities to lower positions such as assistant positions and field work. The median pay for master’s degree holders is over 60,000 dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a small amount of growth in the field.
All of these factors really depend on the specific areas of education and work. You can get a better idea of what anthropologists are capable of by checking out the articles in this category. Use them to supplement classes for students who are getting into the field, or keep the curious mind up to date.
What is Cultural Anthropology? Have you ever thought about your culture? There are two types of culture; material and non-material culture. It’s very easy to think about your culture, but...
We can understand the discipline better when assessing the two branches of study that form it. On one hand, cultural anthropology is applied to learn about ethnographic records that give...
The study of anthropology goes further than just examining rocks, and some would say that it’s not as exciting as going on adventures in unknown lands. The reality of biological...
Anthropology is the act of studying humans, human behaviors, and societies both in the past and in the present. It is a broad discipline that covers virtually all the fields...
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It is a branch of science dealing with all aspects of humanity ranging from language, culture and natural character of everything. Anthropology has its...
You may be familiar with the iconic line up of man's evolution from a stooped ape-like figure to a man with a briefcase, and you would be correct in associating...
Have you ever thought about how the language we speak controls our world and individual lives? Well, it’s true; various social and cognitive psychological studies show that the language we...
What is Anthropology? To answer this question, let us look at the different academic areas covered in anthropological research. It is a broad subject that deals with humans, ancient hominids,...