Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology

(4 reviews)


Pub Date: 2017

ISBN 13: 978-1-9313035-5-2

Publisher: Independent

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Reviewed by Jason James, Associate Professor, University of Mary Washington, on 6/20/2018.

The text as a whole is very comprehensive, as are the individual chapters. With one exception the text covers all of the topics I include in my … read more



Reviewed by Víctor M Torres-Vélez, Assistant Professor, Hostos Community College, CUNY, on 5/22/2018.

Content wise the book is comprehensive and it addresses each one of the major themes/topics that an introductory cultural anthropology course needs … read more



Reviewed by David Beriss, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of New Orleans, on 5/22/2018.

All basic cultural anthropology texts strive to be comprehensive. This is hard to do, given that our discipline aspires to be a science of humanity … read more



Reviewed by Alcira Forero-Pena, Adjunct Assistant Professor, LaGuardia Community College of The City University of New York, on 2/2/2018.

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


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.