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About Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Anthropology is a four-field text, grounded in foundational content in cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. This approach makes the text useful for both general and cultural introductory courses as well as for introductory courses in some of the anthropology subfields. Upon this strong foundation, two contemporary themes are highlighted: social inequality and the natural world. Ethnographies and examples throughout the text address the impacts of these two themes on human societies throughout history and around the globe.
Coverage and Scope
Introduction to Anthropology contains all of the foundational material necessary for introductory courses in anthropology. Methods and theories from all four fields are introduced in the first two chapters and woven throughout later discussions. The central concept of culture likewise is both explored in detail in its own chapter and referenced repeatedly in examples throughout the text. The evolution and diversification of the human species is centrally featured in two chapters, “Biological Evolution and Early Human Evidence” and “Physical and Cultural Evolution in the Genus Homo.” The breadth of the discipline is apparent in the variety of examples and ethnographies as well as specific chapters dedicated to developing areas of anthropology, such as “Medical Anthropology” and “Human-Animal Relationships.” An engaging and inviting narrative will hold students’ interest.
Addressing Societal Issues
The central themes of Introduction to Anthropology—social inequality and the natural world—connect the text’s foundational material to two of the most pressing contemporary issues facing societies around the world.
- In addressing social inequality, the text drives readers to consider the rise and impact of social inequalities based on forms of identity and difference (such as gender, ethnicity, race, and class) as well as oppression and discrimination. The contributors to and dangers of socioeconomic inequality are fully addressed, and the role of inequality in social dysfunction, disruption, and change is noted. Introduction to Anthropology centers on the lived experiences of a wide range of people and provides ample opportunities for instructors and students to discuss and address preconceived notions, misconceptions, and potential solutions and outcomes.
- To illustrate the fundamental relationship between humans and their environments, the natural world is treated as both a setting for human existence and a key influence on human culture, economics, and politics. This focus makes the text uniquely suited to the contemporary era as climate change and environmental degradation play an increasing role in humanity’s governance, intercultural relationships, and daily lives.
Illuminating an Evolving and Relevant Field
The text showcases the historical context of the discipline, with a strong focus on anthropology as a living and evolving field. A deep and reflective exploration of the origins of anthropology’s methods and goals is featured in several chapters, including “Methods: Cultural and Archaeological Research Methods” and “Indigenous Anthropology.” There is significant discussion of recent efforts to make the field more diverse—in its practitioners, in the questions it asks, and in the applications of anthropological research to address contemporary challenges. The authors who contributed to this text come from diverse backgrounds and geographic regions, providing balance and richness to the narrative, examples, and theoretical foundations of the text. The researchers highlighted in the Profiles in Anthropology sections, many still living and working, are likewise representative of the growing diversity of the field.
Unique chapters: Five of the text’s 20 chapters introduce students to current and developing specializations within the discipline. These chapters offer an engaging and in-depth look at research fields rarely covered in introductory texts, fields that are particularly interdisciplinary in their aims and practices. They further stress that anthropology is an evolving and relevant field, offering insights into humanity’s deepest questions and directions forward in addressing the toughest challenges. These chapters are:
- “Anthropology of Food,” including material on food artifacts, ancient foodways and food reconstructions, food as cultural heritage, food prescriptions and proscriptions, and the globalization of food.
- “Anthropology of Media,” addressing topics such as visual anthropology and ethnographic film, photography and representation, news media and the public sphere, the role of media in the development of national identity, and digital media.
- “Medical Anthropology,” with material on the history of medical anthropology, the social construction of health, common medical anthropology methods and theoretical approaches, and applied medical anthropology.
- “Human-Animal Relationships,” including discussions of multispecies ethnography, human-animal empathy, human-animal relationships among people practicing varying subsistence strategies, animal symbolism in oral tradition and religion, and pet keeping.
- “Indigenous Anthropology,” which, through the lens of the experiences of the Indigenous peoples of North America, addresses the historical and contemporary challenges facing Indigenous people, including issues of agency, rights, and identity, as well as exploring Indigenous material cultures, perspectives, and worldviews.
Enriching and Engaging Features
Several feature boxes highlight the vibrant and applied nature of anthropology and give students practice using the methods discussed throughout the text.
- Profiles in Anthropology. Each chapter contains a profile of one or more anthropologists, many contemporary and some historical, who have made significant contributions to the discipline. These featured anthropologists represent a diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds as well as a broad sampling of research interests and perspectives.
- Ethnographic Sketches. Ethnographic sketches taken from the authors’ own fieldwork are spaced throughout the book. These engaging vignettes provide a window into the actual work of doing anthropology, providing readers with a sense of the pleasures and challenges of doing research in the field.
- Mini-Fieldwork/Applied Activities. Each chapter concludes with a simple fieldwork activity to give students practice thinking and researching like an anthropologist. These exercises provide them with hands-on experience applying the methods and theories discussed in the chapter to actual research conducted in their own communities.
An effective pedagogical framework helps students structure their learning and retain information.
- Chapter Outlines. Each chapter opens with an outline and introduction, familiarizing students with the material that will follow. Throughout the chapter, material is chunked into manageable sections of content within each of the larger main heads.
- Learning Objectives. Every main section begins with a set of clear and concise learning objectives. These objectives are designed to help the instructor decide what content to include or assign and to guide student expectations. After completing the section and relevant end-of-chapter exercises, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives.
- Chapter Summaries. Chapter summaries distill the information presented in each chapter to key, concise points.
- Key Terms. Key terms are bolded and followed by a definition within the text. Definitions of key terms are also listed in a glossary at the end of each chapter.
- Critical Thinking Questions. Each chapter ends with 8 to 10 critical thinking questions designed to help students assess their learning and apply it to their daily lives.
- Suggested Readings. This feature helps students further explore the chapter content by providing curated links to other information sources.
About the Authors
Senior Contributing Authors
Jennifer Hasty is an adjunct professor of African studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies media and politics in West Africa and the United States. Her book The Press and Political Culture in Ghana explores the cultural and historical forces shaping the practice of journalism in the recent period of democratization. In addition to working as a journalist for several Ghanaian media organizations, she has worked as a wedding videographer in the Philadelphia metro area and a community radio DJ in northern New Mexico. She is currently writing a book on corruption in Ghana. Chapters authored or coauthored in this text include the following:
Chapter 1: What Is Anthropology?
Chapter 2: Methods: Cultural and Archaeological
Chapter 3: Culture Concept Theory: Theories of Cultural Change
Chapter 6: Anthropological Thought
Chapter 7: Work, Life, and Value: Economic Anthropology
Chapter 8: Authority, Decisions, and Power: Political Anthropology
Chapter 12: Gender and Sexuality
David G. Lewis is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde of Oregon. He has a PhD from the University of Oregon (2009) and is an assistant professor of anthropology and ethnic studies at Oregon State University. David has conducted research on Oregon tribal history for some 25 years and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. Additionally, he has researched and written over 470 essays for his blog, the Quartux Journal, documenting tribal adjustments to colonization in the West. David conducts numerous presentations annually with community groups, at conferences, and at universities, educating about tribes in the region; consults with local governments and organizations on diversity, place naming, and land acknowledgments; and curates museum exhibits at local historical societies and museums. Chapters authored or coauthored in this text include the following:
Chapter 2: Methods: Cultural and Archaeological
Chapter 3: Culture Concept Theory: Theories of Cultural Change
Chapter 19: Indigenous Anthropology
Dr. Marjorie M. Snipes earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1996) and is currently a professor of anthropology at the University of West Georgia, where she teaches anthropological theory, ethnographic field methods, anthropology of religion, and animals and culture. Her doctoral fieldwork in the northwestern Andes of Argentina focused on religion and identity in an agropastoral society, in particular on understanding the relationships that herders forge with their animals and with each other. Among her recent publications are Inside Anthropology (2021, Kendall Hunt) and The Intellectual Legacy of Victor and Edith Turner (2018, Lexington). Chapters authored or coauthored in this text include the following:
Chapter 10: The Global Impact of Human Migration
Chapter 11: Forming Family through Kinship
Chapter 13: Religion and Culture
Chapter 14: Anthropology of Food
Chapter 18: Human-Animal Relationships
Chapter 20: Anthropology on the Ground
Dr. Todd A. Barnhardt, PhD
Dr. M. Anne Basham, Gateway Community College and Executive Director, Biodiversity Outreach Network
Sharon Gursky, Texas A&M University
Saira A. Mehmood
Dr. Sydney Yeager, Rollins College
Janet Altamirano, Texas A&M University–Kingsville
Dr. M. Anne Basham, Gateway Community College
Jack Bish, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Heidi Bludau, Monmouth University
Ryan Collins, Dartmouth College
Alejandra Dashe, Paradise Valley Community College
Bridget Fitzpatrick, Normandale Community College
Leslie Fitzpatrick, Mercyhurst University
Tony Fitzpatrick, University of Wyoming
Paul Hanson, Case Western Reserve University
David Hicks, Stony Brook University
Michael Hollis, St. Edward’s University
Stewart Jobrack, The Ohio State University at Mansfield
Barry Kass, Orange County Community College
Phineas Kelly, University of Wyoming
Elizabeth Kickham, Idaho State University
Jonathan Marion, University of Arkansas
Annie Melzer, Northern Kentucky University
Kerith Miller, University of Arizona
Mackie O’Hara, The Ohio State University
Jenell Paris, Messiah University
Caroline Rivera, Florida Gulf Coast University
Megan Schmidt-Sane, Case Western Reserve University
Max Stein, Florida Gulf Coast University
Fay Stevens, University of Notre Dame
Antoaneta Tileva, American University
Kristen Verostick, Rowan University
Answers to Questions in the Book
The end-of-chapter Critical Thinking Questions are intended to stimulate student reflection or to be used in classroom discussion; thus, student-facing answers or solutions are not provided. Sample responses and techniques for using the questions are provided in the Instructor Manual for select Critical Thinking Questions. Instructors may share these with students at their discretion. These same Critical Thinking Questions are also included in the Lecture Slides.
Student and Instructor Resources
We’ve compiled additional resources for both students and instructors, including an instructor’s manual, test bank, and lecture slides. Instructor resources require a verified instructor account, which you can apply for when you log in or create your account on OpenStax.org. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your OpenStax book.
Comprehensive Instructor’s Manual. Each component of the instructor’s manual is designed to provide maximum guidance for delivering the content in an interesting and dynamic manner. The instructor’s manual includes a chapter outline containing the learning outcomes for each section, section outlines, and section summaries. Chapter key terms are listed as well. Also included for each chapter are strategies for using the Mini-Fieldwork/Applied Activity and the Profiles in Anthropology. There are sample answers and strategies for using select critical thinking questions in the chapter. Each chapter also includes links to websites and organizations relevant to the content in the chapter as well as to content that extends examples in the chapter.
Test Bank. With nearly 1,100 multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short-answer questions in the test bank, instructors can customize tests to support a variety of course objectives. The test bank is available in Word format.
PowerPoint Lecture Slides. The comprehensive PowerPoint lecture slides provide a structure for course lectures. Chapter images, lesson learning outcomes, and bulleted content provide a starting place for instructors to build their lectures.
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