Anthropology as a Holistic Discipline
Anthropology is the study of humankind in cross-cultural and evolutionary perspectives. With one foot in the sciences (both social and biological) and the other in the humanities, anthropology takes a holistic approach and consists of four sub-disciplines: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics. Anthropologists emphasize fieldwork as a means to investigate cultural diversity and human biology in our species—past, present, and future.
Our major fulfills its mission by equipping the student with an integrated view of the discipline and providing biological, archaeological, linguistic, and cultural emphases with attention to laboratory and on-site field methods. The goal of the anthropology student is thus to construct a broader, more inclusive, and insightful view of humans/humanity in context.
The Department of Anthropology at Drew University emphasizes the importance of fieldwork and laboratory expertise. Through the major program in anthropology, biological anthropology and in the archaeology minor, students will be expected to develop first-hand experience with the specific research methodologies of the sub-discipline (ethnographic fieldwork, excavation and laboratory research). Further, Drew University offers a wide array of off-campus study opportunities—many of which contain ethnographic or social science research content—and it is very much recommended that students attempt to include one of these experiences in their programs.
The Four Fields of Anthropology As They Are Taught at Drew:
Social and Cultural Anthropology
COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF HUMAN SOCIETIES AND CULTURES BASED ON ETHNOGRAPHIC FIELDWORK AMONG CONTEMPORARY POPULATIONS.
Anthropologists, like many other scientists, study people. However, anthropologists are not specifically concerned with the physiological aspects of our biological existence (medical doctors); nor are they concerned with the structures and mechanics of the human mind (psychologists); not with the demographic shifts in societal institutions (sociologists); nor with the machinations of political entities (political scientists). What then is distinctive about anthropology and, specifically social and/or cultural anthropology?
Perhaps most importantly, social and cultural anthropology is unique among the social sciences in that it brings a comparative approach to the study of human societies and culture through ethnography—the scientific study of human societies and cultures in situ and through prolonged interaction (participant-observation), working in the subject’s language and the ongoing attempt to privilege local understandings and meanings.
Drew Anthropologists conduct fieldwork in North America, South America and West Africa on a variety of topics including: environment contamination of aboriginal fisheries; resource extraction in the American West; hunting and representations of masculinity; creolization and identity in Afro-Brazil; chiefship and religion in the West African sahel.
EXCAVATION OF REMAINS OF PAST SOCIETIES AND RECONSTRUCTION OF THEIR MATERIAL CULTURE AND SOCIETY.
Drew University offers a free-standing minor in Archaeology. The Archaeology program conducts a summer field school in Ecuador, giving students the chance to gain valuable field experience. Opportunities for participation in field programs with other Drew faculty also exist.