Anthropology Departmental Information
Anthropology is a field of study that deals with both the biological and cultural aspects of humanity. Its basic concerns include the organic evolution of the human species; the origin, development, and integration of customs, techniques, social relationships, and beliefs that define a way of life (or culture) of human social groups; and the interrelations among these biological and cultural factors in human behavior.
The subject matter of anthropology is divided into four major areas of study: Anthropological Archaeology (ANTHRARC), Biological Anthropology (ANTHRBIO), Linguistic Anthropology, and Sociocultural Anthropology (ANTHRCUL).
Biological Anthropology considers human evolutionary history, the causes of present genetic diversity, and biological aspects of human behavior. It uses the evidence and concepts of paleontology, primate studies, population genetics, growth and nutrition, and ecology.
Anthropological Archaeology seeks to understand human behavior in the past, by examining the remains of human activity (such as settlements, tools, pottery) that have survived from earlier times. Through the analysis of material remains, archaeologists explore the cultural forms and social organization of human societies over the longest possible time span.
Sociocultural Anthropology describes, analyzes, and compares the widest possible range of human cultures and social institutions, with emphasis on the present day. While some sociocultural anthropologists concentrate on societies that differ from our own in scale or cultural history and way of life, others examine contemporary European and American societies with the wider perspective gained from looking at other cultures and societies.
Linguistic Anthropology views language as one of the most distinctive characteristics of human beings. It studies language in the context of human evolution, social relationships, and cultural forms, and it explores the role of languages and ways of speaking in cultural difference and social action.
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