Anthropology : What Does It Mean to Be Human?

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A unique alternative to more traditional, encyclopedic introductory texts, Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? takes a question-oriented approach that illuminates major concepts for students. Structuring each chapter around an important question, the authors explore what it means to be human, incorporating answers from all four subfields of anthropology-cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology-and offering a more balanced perspective than other texts. They address central issues of the discipline, highlighting the controversies and commitments that are shaping contemporary more

Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 200.7 x 248.9 x 22.9mm | 975.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • numerous colour and halftone photos and line illustrations
  • 0195189760
  • 9780195189766

Review quote

"The authors are right on target with their calls for a 'less is more' approach to a four-field introductory text. We need to make the anthropological perspective both unique and relevant, and it seems that Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? will meet this requirement, especially considering the short time we have to present the myriad topics in our field. The volume is an excellent one and should be very successful. It covers the entirety of the four fields and does so in a very up-to-date manner."--Thomas Offit, Baylor Universityshow more

Table of contents

EACH CHAPTER ENDS WITH A CHAPTER SUMMARY, KEY TERMS, AND SUGGESTED READINGS; CHAPTER 1. WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY?; What Is Anthropology?; The Concept of Culture; The Cross-Disciplinary Discipline; The Uses of Anthropology; MODULE 1. ANTHROPOLOGY, SCIENCE, AND STORYTELLING; Some Key Scientific Concepts; Key Terms; Module Summary; CHAPTER 2. WHY IS EVOLUTION IMPORTANT TO ANTHROPOLOGISTS?; Evolutionary Theory; Material Evidence for Evolution; Pre-Darwinian Views of the Natural World; The Theory of Natural Selection; Unlocking the Secrets of Heredity; Contemporary Genetics; Genotype, Phenotype, and the Norm of Reaction; What Does Evolution Mean?; CHAPTER 3. WHAT CAN EVOLUTIONARY THEORY TELL US ABOUT HUMAN VARIATION?; Microevolution; Macroevolution; The Future of Human Evolution; MODULE 2. DATING METHODS IN PALEOANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY; Relative Dating Methods; Numerical Dating Methods; Modeling Prehistoric Climates; Module Summary; Key Terms; CHAPTER 4. WHAT CAN THE STUDY OF PRIMATES TELL US ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS?; The Primates; Approaches to Primate Taxonomy; The Living Primates; Flexibility as the Hallmark of Primate Adaptations; Past Evolutionary Trends in Primates; Primate Evolution: The First 60 Million Years; CHAPTER 5. WHAT CAN THE FOSSIL RECORD TELL US ABOUT HUMAN ORIGINS?; Hominid Evolution; The First Hominids (6-3 mya); The Later Australopithecines (3-1.5 mya); Explaining the Human Transition; Early Homo Species (2.4-1.5 mya); Homo erectus (1.8-1.7 mya to 0.5-0.4 mya); The Evolutionary Fate of H. erectus; The Evolution of H. sapiens; An Archaic Human Population: Neandertals (130,000-35,000 Years Ago); Middle Paleolithic / Middle Stone Age Culture; Anatomically Modern Humans (200,000 Years Ago to Present); The Upper Paleolithic / Late Stone Age (40,000?-12,000 Years Ago); The Fate of the Neandertals; Upper Paleolithic / Late Stone Age Cultures; Spread of Modern H. sapiens in Late Pleistocene Times; Two Million Years of Human Evolution; CHAPTER 6. HOW DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE HUMAN PAST?; Archaeology; Interpreting the Past; Whose Past Is It?; Plundering the Past; Contemporary Trends in Archaeology; CHAPTER 7. WHY DID HUMANS SETTLE DOWN, BUILD CITIES, AND ESTABLISH STATES?; Human Imagination and the Material World; Plant Cultivation as a Form of Niche Construction; Animal Domestication; The Motor of Domestication; Domestication, Cultivation, and Sedentism in Southwest Asia; The Consequences of Domestication and Sedentism; What Is Social Complexity?; Archaeological Evidence for Social Complexity; How Can Anthropologists Explain the Rise of Complex Societies?; CHAPTER 8. HOW DOES THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE HELP US UNDERSTAND LIVING HUMAN SOCIETIES?; Explaining Culture and the Human Condition; Cultural Differences; Culture, History, and Human Agency; Writing against Culture; The Promise of the Anthropological Perspective; MODULE 3. ON ETHNOGRAPHIC METHODS; A Meeting of Cultural Traditions; Single-Sited Fieldwork; Multisited Fieldwork; Collecting and Interpreting Data; Module Summary; Key Terms; Suggested Readings; CHAPTER 9. HOW DO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS LEARN ABOUT CONTEMPORARY WAYS OF LIFE?; Ethnographic Fieldwork: A Short History; The Dialectic of Fieldwork: Interpretation and Translation; The Effects of Fieldwork; The Production of Anthropological Knowledge; Anthropological Knowledge as Open-Ended; CHAPTER 10. WHY IS UNDERSTANDING HUMAN LANGUAGE IMPORTANT?; Language and Culture; Design Features of Human Language; Language and Context; Pidgin Languages: Negotiated Meaning; Linguistic Inequality; Language Ideology; Language, Culture, and Thought; Language, Thought, and Symbolic Practice; Languages, Symbolic Practices, Worldviews; Symbolic Practices, Worldviews, Selves; CHAPTER 11. HOW DO SYMBOLIC PRACTICES SHAPE HUMAN LIVES?; Play; Art; Myth; Ritual; Worldview and Symbolic Practice; Religion; Worldviews in Operation: Case Studies; Maintaining and Changing a Worldview; Worldviews as Instruments of Power; CHAPTER 12. HOW DO ANTHROPOLOGISTS STUDY ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL RELATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY HUMAN SOCIETIES?; Anthropologists Study Social Organization; How Do Anthropologists Study Politics?; Hidden Transcripts and the Power of Reflection; How Do Politics and Economics Shape Each Other?; How Do Anthropologists Study Economics?; Distribution and Exchange; Production; Consumption; CHAPTER 13. WHERE DO OUR RELATIVES COME FROM AND WHY DO THEY MATTER?; Kinship; Patterns of Descent in Kinship; Lineages; Kinship Terminologies; Adoption; Marriage; Marriage as a Social Process; Marriage and Economic Exchange; Family; Transformations in Families Over Time; International Migration and the Family; Sexual Practices; Sexuality and Power; CHAPTER 14. WHAT CAN ANTHROPOLOGY TELL US ABOUT SOCIAL INEQUALITY?; Inequality and Structural Violence in Haiti; Gender; Class; Caste; Race; Ethnicity; Nation and Nationalism; CHAPTER 15. WHAT CAN ANTHROPOLOGY TELL US ABOUT GLOBALIZATION?; Post-Cold War Debates about Globalization; Cultural Processes in a Global World; Globalization and the Nation-State; Human Rights and Globalization; Cultural Imperialism, Cultural Hybridization, and Cosmopolitanism; MODULE 4. WHAT CAN ANTHROPOLOGY CONTRIBUTE TO EVERYDAY LIFE?; Anthropology beyond the University; Anthropology and the Challenges of Global Citizenship; Awareness and Uncertainty; Module Summary; Suggested Readings; REFERENCES; CREDITS; INDEXshow more

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35 ratings
3.05 out of 5 stars
5 17% (6)
4 23% (8)
3 29% (10)
2 11% (4)
1 20% (7)
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