Welcome to the Anthropology Community
Anthropology examines the nature and significance of human diversity in its biological, historical, and cultural forms. This examination is both a scientific and a humanistic undertaking. Anthropology thus straddles the social sciences and human biology in its theories and methods and the interpretive traditions of the humanities as well. Anthropology challenges conventional views that regularly mystify, categorize, or essentialize human diversity by race, gender, language, nationality, and class. Inevitably, students of anthropology apply what they learn to understand and ameliorate social conditions here and elsewhere, and to preserve and to interpret cultural resources from the past. An anthropological perspective on human nature and human diversity is avidly comparative and cross-cultural, relying on assessing the full range of human diversity now and in the past before making generalizations about what it means to be and to act human. By contrast to various popular efforts to reduce human nature to what are perceived to be biological imperatives or constants, anthropology is skeptical of such claims and insists on examining and interpreting the interplay of culture, history, biology, and identity formation. The Department of Anthropology offers four overlapping subdivisions of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.
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