Essay on Anthropology : What Makes Us Human?

1595 Words Mar 11th, 2016 7 Pages
According to the American Anthropological Association, anthropology is “the study of what makes us human” (2016). Unsurprisingly, there are many ways in which anthropologists have attempted to do so and have broken anthropology into four subfields; Archeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology. The father of American anthropology, Franz Boas, introduced this four-field tradition through the amassing of holistic data collection through fieldwork expeditions. Although, each field has deepened our understanding of what makes us human, Boas and his students such as Edward Sapir, Alfred Kroeber, and Ruth Benedict work as sociocultural anthropologists have significantly shaped our ability to understand how people in different places live and construct the world around them. Through the Boasian methods of recording cultures, these theoretical anthropologists have contributed to our understanding of the perspectives, practices, and social organization of cultures and have fundamentally altered anthropology as a discipline. This paper will review each theorists central work, address their theoretical contributions to the field of anthropology and will conclude with which anthropologists perspective I find most compelling. Franz Boas started his career in the natural sciences, earning a Ph.D in physics and eventually worked in northern Canada’s Baffin Islands to complete geographic mapping. This expedition placed Boas in contact with Inuit…

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