Most students in this course are Anthropology majors or at least seriously committed to considering that possibility, but we are all drawn to Anthropology for a wide range of reasons.  Anthropology is a broadly defined discipline that takes aim at the whole of human cultural, biological, and material life, so it is not unreasonable that we might all have different senses of what draws us to Anthropology.  This assignment should help us all start reflecting on how we each see the discipline, what attracts us to Anthropology, and precisely what the most exciting Anthropological thinking does.

Answer each of the following questions in a paragraph or two.  There are no right answers, but a good answer is thorough and clear and recognizes where you learned the things you know about the discipline.  It is not really all that important that you define Anthropology in a certain way or even that you learned about the discipline from some more reputable source than Indiana Jones.  But you should try to be reflective, consider how you learned what you already know about the discipline, and think a little about how this training will serve you in the long run.

The assignment is due on September 9.  It is worth 5% of your course grade.  As with all course assignments, it must be typed and double-spaced in a 12 pitch font.  I expect strong essays that receive the full five points will be at least two pages in length.   Email me if you have any questions.

1. If you are an Anthropology major, what made you decide to major in anthropology?  If you are not a major (or not even mulling it over), why did you decide to take Anthropology classes like this one?

2. At some point you've probably told your family and friends that you want to be some sort of Anthropologist, and their responses probably have varied as widely as our own reasons for doing Anthropology:  They may have been aghast that you're rejected other perfectly good careers, they may think you're departing to study somebody living at the edge of the earth, or they may surmise that you're digging up dinosaurs.  What do your family and friends think of your choice, and why do you suppose they feel that way? 

3. What do your friends, or people you meet, say when you tell them you are an Anthropology major?  If you have not told them, do so now and see what happens.

4. Name up to five kinds of jobs that exist for professional anthropologists.  What makes you think these are things anthropologists can do for a living?

5. Lets say some affluent patron comes to you and resolves to fund you in whatever anthropological research you want to do.  What do you see as the ideal anthropological career, and why?

6. What have you learned about Anthropology from popular culture (for instance, the movies and TV)?  Where else have you learned about Anthropology?

7. In a single sentence that any reasonably clever person could understand, describe the value of Anthropology.  

Last updated July 31, 2009