Anthropology

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Introduction to the Major

Faculty members talk about what you can learn and what makes this major special.

Mission Statement

Anthropology is a discipline devoted to the study of human diversity. Although as humans we are all members of one species, homo sapiens, there is tremendous variation between cultures on the globe. We can see this variation in terms of languages, religions, rituals, and culinary traditions, which significantly distinguishes us humans from other animals. Our goal in anthropology is to understand both the shared aspects of our human existence and this remarkable variation.

Learning Goals

The Anthropology major at ICU emphasizes the following five aspects:

Internationalism: Anthropology is a comparative discipline and involves the study of societies and cultures from all over the world. Anthropology at ICU has strengths in the study of East, South, and Southeast Asia, but anthropology students can pursue their interests in any culture in the world, past or present. It is essential for anthropology students to maintain a global perspective both as an individual and a researcher.

Flexibility: Anthropology, which studies human diversity, covers a broad range of topics as its research object. ICU anthropology courses focus on multiple aspects of socio-al and cultural diversity, such as religion, medicine, nationalism, globalization and transnationalism, gender, symbolism, violence, food, and inequality. Anthropology students are encouraged to study and research those topics and issues that interest them most.

Hands-On Training: Anthropologists conduct their research by living among and talking with the people they are studying. Anthropology majors are encouraged to participate in a fieldwork course in which they have the opportunity to design their own research project, go to the field to conduct their research, and write up their results. Previous fieldwork sites have included Hokkaido, Okinawa, Canada, and Thailand.

Critical Analysis: Culture is often thought of as involving beautiful practices and traditions, but it also involves power and politics. Anthropology majors learn how to critically analyze and understand these aspects of culture.

Global Citizenship: Anthropology rejects parochialism and encourages its students to recognize that we are all part of a global community. Anthropology majors are expected to reflect upon their places in a diverse world and what role they can play there.

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