What is Anthropology Really?
In theory what is it?
In theory, anthropology is the study of culture and cultural institutions, human biology, language, and prehistory—everything that entails being human. One can specialize in anthropology by being a linguistic anthropologist, a biological anthropologist, a cultural anthropologist, or an archaeological anthropologist.
What is it used for?
Research, research, research.
What does the major actually entail - work-wise?
Human anatomy and physiology, history of medicine, primatology, primate social behavior, sociology of health and illness, linguistic analysis, statistics, pathophysiology, comparative medical systems… These are but a few of the courses I've had. The field is so broad so as to force specialization according to the kind of research you want to do.
What kind of jobs do you get with it?
At the bachelor's level, there's really not a helluva lot, other than working at a museum. At the master's level, you can teach at a community college, work as a forensic anthropologist, or work as a contract archaeologist. At the doctoral level, the possibilities are limitless. Anything from jury selection consultant to cultural resource management.
What are the fellow students like (personalitywise) in it?
The personality types are quite diverse, but I've noticed a trend. Those who plan on graduate study seem "stable" and those who don't seem "unstable." I tend to think it's because those who don't intend to go on believed some of the common misconceptions about anthropology and jumped willy-nilly into it.
#1: Indiana Jones. Uh… no. Unless you think digging up a four thousand year old out house or spending three hours in the burning sun counting raspberry seeds is sexy.
#2: Anthropology is fluff. Even within the discipline, some cultural anthropologists are seen as \"fluffy\" but this is hardly the case. Fieldwork is quite demanding.
#3: Anthropologists are trained to be appalled at everything and deconstruct everything sociologically. Hmmm… this is partly true, but it's also a very pedestrian view if the course of study is taken lightly.