What is anthropology? 

The Four fields of American Anthropology

In the tradition of American anthropology, the discipline is split into four primary fields: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology.

The fields of anthropology are concerned with understanding the diversity of human societies across space and time in different ways. The scope of anthropology is vast. Anthropologists study Japanese fish markets, Brazilian favelas, Lebanese bars, East St. Louis neighborhoods as well as Bronze Age China, 17th century New Mexico, and mortuary sites in ancient Peru — to name a small sampling of research performed by Harvard anthropologists.

There are many different approaches to asking questions about human diversity, but many anthropologists share an interest in the beliefs, actions, and material products of human society, and how they impact what people think of as possible, desirable, or even common sense in different social contexts. 

Entering Anthropology

What draws people to anthropology? The following videos share the experiences of two different Harvard community members.


"Step Out of the Book...Into the World"

In conversation with Angela Ortiz & Cengiz Cemaloglu,
Professor Ajantha Subramanian (Anthropology & South Asian Studies) discusses how she came to the discipline of Anthropology. From a background in Religion - with a focus on textual analysis - Professor Subramanian found that she wanted to "step out of the text and into the world" by the time she finished her own undergraduate studies. She worked to understand how "religion and politics [were] lived practices rather than just conceptual frameworks" in the world.

New Ways of Thinking

Cengiz Cemaloglu, '18 is a joint-concentrator in Anthropology and Government. He discusses the experience of reading Marx while taking the Anthropology Sophomore Tutorial at the same time as an Intermediate Macro-Economics Class.  Interestingly, this reading connects to his personal background, as well as how he understands the "different perspectives" that one gains from Anthropology.

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