First Essay Assignment
April 19, y
What are the major subfields of Anthropology? Describe each in
and in terms of
their subject matter.
Before one can identify the major subfields of Anthropology, one must know what
Anthropology is the study of what makes us human. Anthropologists take a
broad approach to understanding the many different aspects of the human experience, which we
call holism. They consider the past, through archaeology, to see how human groups lived
hundreds or thousands of years ago and what was important to them. They consider what makes
up our biological bodies and genetics, as well as our bones, diet, and health. Anthropologists also
compare humans with other animals, also known as other primates like monkeys and
chimpanzees, to see what we have in common with them and what makes us unique. Even
though nearly all humans need the same things to survive, like food, water, and companionship,
the ways people meet these needs can be very different. For example, everyone needs to eat, but
people eat different foods and get food in different ways. So anthropologists look at how
different groups of people get food, prepare it, and share it. Anthropologists also try to
understand how people interact in social relationships like for example with friends and families.
They look at the different ways people dress and communicate in different societies.
Anthropologists sometimes use these comparisons to understand their own society. Many
anthropologists work in their own societies looking at economics, health, education, law, and
policies. When trying to understand these complex issues, they keep in mind what they know
about biology, culture, types of communication, and how humans lived in the past.