What Is Anthropology?
From the Greek anthropos (human) and logia (study), the word anthropology itself tells us it is the field that seeks to understand humankind, from its begin-nings millions of years ago up to the present day. Anthropology considers how people’s behavior changes over time, and how people and seemingly dissimilar cultures are different and the same.
There are many areas of anthropological study...
Seeks to identify skeletal, or otherwise decomposed, human remains
Helps businesses gain a better understanding of their activities and customers
Documents everyday life through filmmaking
Believes that the well-being of the environment goes hand in hand with the well-being of people
Interprets ethnographic and archaeological collections to the general public
Seeks to understand the internal logic of societies through ethnography
Retrieves artifacts from the past and places them in context to understand our history and its relevance for today
Traces our biological origins, evolutionary development, and genetic diversity
Seeks to explain the very nature of language and its use by humans
Seeks to better understand factors that influence peoples’ health and well-being
Careers in Anthropology
Today’s anthropologists do not just work in exotic locations. They can be found in corporations, all levels of government, educational institutions and nonprofit associations. Anthropologists even work in disaster areas, including, Ground Zero in New York and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There are not many limits on career choices for anthropologists. AAA doctoral fellows’ research projects have focused on virtually everything from then spread of mariachi music across the globe to reducing the exposure of farm workers’ children to pesticides.
To determine if a career as an anthropologist is for you, think about the following questions:
What do you want to know?
Anthropologists want to know why things happen. For example, we know how AIDS is spreading, but do we know why? Anthropologists tackle big human problems, such as overpopulation, warfare, and poverty.
What do you want to do?
Anthropological study and training provide the knowledge, skills and tools to work with people, study the past, and shape the future.
Where do you want to work?
Anthropologists work in practically every environment and setting imaginable. They can be found working in large corporations such as Intel and GM or studying primates in Africa. Anthropologists work in deserts, cities, schools even in underwater archaeological sites.
-American Anthropological Association