Majoring in Anthropology???

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Ccauceg, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Ccauceg

    Ccauceg TPF Noob!

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    So im in my second year in college and I have been looking around for a major, and its been hard. The more I think about it the more I want to do anthropology. I have been doing alot research on the department and the classes seem pretty good for me. What i am asking is, is there anyone around here that is/has majored in anthropology. How where the classes? Does it consist of alot of writing and reading? Any information would be great.

    Thanks
     
  2. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I didn't major in anthropology, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express...:lmao:

    Seriously, though, I did take an Anthro class in school, and the one thing I can tell you is that you can almost create your own field of study, and study is the operative word. I think the loose definition is "study of humankind", which leaves any specialty available. You can go archaeological, physical, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, folklore, religious etc, etc, etc.... Anything having to do with groups of people. There is probably even a cuisine anthropology.
     
  3. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wish I would have. Over the last 15 years or so I've become extremely interested in protohistoric desert cultures and would love to have had a career in archaeology. Something I've noticed though, in developing my interests I've spent huge amounts of time reading and researching papers that took huge amounts of time to research and write by authors in the disciplne.
     
  4. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    I'm majoring in anthropology. In fact, I'm in my last semester...and I'm not sure I'll get out alive :p

    It really is a major where you can do anything you want with it. Depending on what school you're at and how extensive their program is, you typically have to take a class or 2 in several very specific categories (physical, archeology, ethnographic, etc) and the rest of your major classes are essentially electives-- you can choose whatever you want in any area you want, and they typically don't depend on prerequisites (other than a few 100-200 level classes that you'd take your first semester as a major).

    The biggest thing about anthro is the amount of reading. Most undergrad classes don't have research papers until you get to the 400 level. Other than that, most of the classes could really be what you would call "easy" if you came from, say, a hard science like physics (like me). I'm taking a human genetics class and this is the first one I'm truly worried about failing since I declared my major.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I tend to lump anthropology in with sociology as generally useless, catch-all disciplines. The key identifier of which is the percentage of people who go on to teach others how to "do" anthropology or sociology instead of, rather than in addition to, applying it.

    In some remarkable cases it could be a really legitimately useful thing if you intend to do something other than go into academia for the rest of your life. Otherwise I'd reconsider.

    Read Paul Farmer's "Pathologies of Power" and Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth," think about whether you want to spend the rest of your life in academia, and then decide.
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I should have been more clear in my last post. What I meant to say was the following.

    Most majors in undergrad have a single intrinsic vocational use, and that's going into academia. I'll tell you first-hand, as a recently graduated poly sci major, that if you try to find a job with just a BA under your belt, you'll quickly discover that when job postings say "such and such major or related," chances are your major isn't related, unless it's a vocational major like business or communication (the latter I still think is worthless). Going to grad school for the same discipline of course only pushes you further into academia.

    But there are two sides to that problem. On one hand your liberal arts major doesn't really mean much of anything in the job world. On the other hand, you don't have to major in something to study it. I love anthropology but there's no way I would ever major in it.

    Other authors to look into (who are stuck in academia) are Davis (Late Victorian Holocausts), and Alexander de Waal (Famine Crimes). Amartya Sen is more of a political scientist, but plays the anthro field and actually does practically useful things with it.
     
  7. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    Alpha is right in a sense that anthropology is very closely linked to academia. What a lot of anthropologists do is teach at a university in order to fund archeological or ethnographic studies that interest them. This sort of thing requires many years of post-graduate studies.

    However, there are a lot of practical uses for, say, archeology. For one thing, every single new construction project, whether a road or a building or whatever, requires an archeologist on staff to identify and document any remains found in the process of digging. Also, all public lands (national park service, BLM, forest service, etc) hire archeologists to document any cultural resources found on the lands. Unfortunately, only the national park service actually does anything to protect those resources-- the others document them but the land use rules do little to prevent their destruction. Last time I checked (ok, I check nearly weekly) an archeologist can start out at $45k with national park service with just a bachelor's degree.
     
  8. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    I'm not majoring in it, but if I weren't doing what I am, it'd be a major I'd seriously consider. I LOVED my anthropology class, and I'm hoping to take another at some point.
     
  9. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Oh, and it's HARDLY a useless field. That's a pretty damn insulting thing to say.
     
  10. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It's relatively useless from a vocational standpoint if you don't want to go into academia and it's your only degree.

    What's it to you? You're not even an anthro major. Lay off.
     
  11. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Why would it matter if I'M an anthro major? Even if I didn't say that it's one that I'm highly interested in, I know some briliant people who have devoted thier lives to anthropology, some in academia, and some not. A very large part of Anthropology IS educating the public anyway.

    And no, I won't 'lay off'. If you are going to continue to constantly be offensive, you'd better be ready for backlash. An even better suggestion? Keep in mind that this forum is made up of a WIDE array of people, and continually pushing your narrow-minded views on everyone isn't a good idea. Thousands of other members can get thier viewpoints across, whether they agree or disagree, in a civil manner, you can to.
     
  12. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Back to the topic at hand: Anthropology

    For those who don't already know, here is a breakdown fo the 4 main areas of Anthro:

    http://www.lib.purdue.edu/hsse/researchguides/anthrotutorial/page2.html

    The uses of Anthropology are almost endless, and can be found in many more areas of work than one might think. Google, and ye shall find.
     

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