Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-9313035-5-2
Read This Book
Conditions of Use
Very few times I have come across a more comprehensive textbook. The 18 chapters cover major topics in Cultural Anthropology ranging from a very read more
Very few times I have come across a more comprehensive textbook. The 18 chapters cover major topics in Cultural Anthropology ranging from a very critical introduction by Laura Nader on what this discipline has historically been about, its uniqueness within the social sciences to a thought provoking chapter on Public Anthropology by the distinguished scholar Robert Borofsky. Every chapter includes useful sections such as the Learning Objectives at the beginning and the Discussion Questions at the end. Besides, for every theme the students will find excellent material in the form of photography as well as links to websites with scholarly and other sources where both students and instructors would be able to expand or go deeper into a subject. The use of notes is also pertinent and to the point. Other key feature present in each chapter is a variety of case studies that would support the students' understanding of anthropological concepts, theories, the historical and social context, and the role of the ethnographer or anthropologist within and outside academia. Also, there is no scarcity of websites for students to get hold of documentaries, other audio-visual and written material to facilitate their grasp of the subject. The Glossary at the end of each chapter also contributes to make this textbook a very user friendly one. I would hardly find a more comprehensive presentation and discussion of all the subjects included in the textbook. Another illustration of my point is Chapter 10 on the complexity of sexuality and gender coordinated by Carol Mukhopadhyay, which in my opinion goes beyond undergraduate level so the instructor has plenty of possible entries to these subjects. I am adopting the textbook with no reservations whatsoever and I am glad that my students in the Community College I am teaching will not have to pay for it
From the chapters I read I found accurate presentation and discussion of themes backed by Notes and Bibliography to credit the sources.
One of the qualities I found in the textbook is the treatment and inclusion of the "classic" works in Cultural Anthropology as well as a wide array of works by contemporary practitioners and authors. I can see how the textbook will stand the test of time.
By and large, the language used by the authors is clear and they provide explanations and illustrations to make their point(s) clear.
Every chapter of the textbook is consistent with an overall pattern that I am sure the editors where very careful about.
Perhaps the second edition should work to achieve better modularity. Taken into account that each of the 18 chapters is written by different author(s), I can explain why some sections (blocks) could be better organized.
There is a logic presentation of each chapter with a general introduction to the subject followed by the intricacies, both conceptual and ethnographic of the theme. I really appreciate the inclusion of case studies with very interesting and current perspective.
I did not find a particular problem related to interface issues. The images are clear and well chosen and the display of links to websites or other sources is correct.
I did not find any grammatical error in the several chapters that I reviewed.
One of the main reasons that drew me to the textbook is the cultural relevance of the theoretical, methodological, and ethical aspects of the material presented. I will be very happy with the exposure my students will have to main tenets of Cultural Anthropology with careful and inclusive choices of language and illustrations of concepts and case studies that incorporate up to date material.
I am going to adopt the textbook and I would like to keep in touch because, after all, it is in the actual experience that we learn and appreciate a textbook.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Development of Anthropological Ideas
- 2. The Culture Concept
- 3. Doing Fieldwork: Methods in Cultural Anthropology
- 4. Language
- 5. Subsistence
- 6. Economics
- 7. Political Anthropology: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
- 8. Family and Marriage
- 9. Race and Ethnicity
- 10. Gender and Sexuality
- 11. Religion
- 12. Globalization
- 13. Culture and Sustainability
- 14. Performance
- 15. Health and Medicine
- 16. Seeing Like an Anthropologist: Anthropology in Practice
- 17. Media Anthropology: Meaning, Embodiment, Infrastructure, and Activism
- 18. Public Anthropology
About the Book
We are delighted to bring to you this novel textbook, a collection of chapters on the essential topics in cultural anthropology. Different from other introductory textbooks, this book is an edited volume with each chapter written by a different author. Each author has written from their experiences
working as an anthropologist and that personal touch makes for an accessible introduction to cultural anthropology.
Our approach to cultural anthropology is holistic. We see the interconnectedness of cultural practices and, in all of the chapters, we emphasize the comparison of cultures and the ways of life of different peoples. We start with Laura Nader’s observation that cultural differences need not be seen
as a problem. In our complicated world of increasing migration, nationalism, and climate challenges, cultural diversity might actually be the source of conflict resolution and new approaches to ensuring a healthier world. Indeed, as Katie Nelson reminds us, anthropology exposes the familiarity in the
ideas and practices of others that seem bizarre. Robert Borofsky advocates for anthropology’s ability to empower people and facilitate good. Borofsky calls on anthropologists to engage with a wider public to bring our incredible stories and important insights to helping resolve the most critical issues
we face in the world today. This book brings Nader, Nelson, Borofsky, and many others together to demonstrate that our anthropological understandings can help all of us to improve the lives of people the world over. We need you, as students, to see the possibilities. As instructors, we want to help you
share anthropological knowledge and understanding easily. We want all readers to be inspired by the intensely personal writings of the anthropologists who contribute to this volume.
About the Contributors
Nina Brown is a sociology professor at Community College of Baltimore County - Essex located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Laura Gonzalez is a Professor in the Anthropology department at San Diego Miramar College, San Diego, CA.
Thomas Mcllwraith is a cultural anthropologist conducting research with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, Canada. In 2007, he completed a PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, USA. Mcllwraith received a Master’s degree from the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in 1995. And, he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and literature from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the department here at Guelph, he taught anthropology at Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia. He has also worked as a consulting anthropologist with First Nations communities throughout British Columbia and northern Alberta on projects related to land use planning, local and family history, and traditional knowledge.
His academic work involves the documentation of territoriality and the identification of rights of local Indigenous peoples to use land. These days, this usually means an effort to understand contemporary Indigenous land use in the context of mining and logging. His work includes an effort to understand the attitudes and biases that underpin consulting anthropology projects such as traditional land use and occupancy studies.