Why study Anthropology?
Many students take an anthropology course to learn about the different cultures and habits of people living in faraway places throughout the world. Sometimes, students expect the course to resemble a National Geographic magazine that presents ‘primitive’ and ‘exotic’ people that are presumed to live in ‘isolation’ from the ‘modern’ world and engage in ‘bizarre’ or ‘backward’ practices.
While the field of anthropology has undoubtedly contributed to the production of extremely pejorative representations of peoples and cultures throughout the world, most contemporary anthropologists now aim to take a more nuanced approach to cultural diversity. Today, anthropology aims to understand human diversity by addressing the unique social and historical circumstances that shape the human experience. By studying anthropology, you will not only become more aware of the mechanisms that shape cultural differences, you will also be able to understand how people can perceive the same phenomenon very differently because they interpret reality through very different experiences. More importantly, you will be able to identify how human diversity reaches far beyond generalized differences between large groups of people defined by national, ethnic, racial or religious affiliations as you come to understand the rich diversity that exists between individuals interacting within each group.
For online discussion, introduce yourself to your classmates in the discussion forum – be sure to include your major, interests, and what you expect to get out of taking this course. Tell us something unique about yourself. Keep in mind that the syllabus states that you must respond to another student’s post in order to receive credit for participation in online discussion.
When you complete the discussion, move on to the Culture lesson.