We could hardly do a better job than the American Anthropological Association (AAA) at defining anthropology:
Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems.
Historically, anthropologists in the United States have been trained in one of four areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Anthropologists often integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their research, teaching, and professional lives. (…) An engaged anthropology is committed to supporting social change efforts that arise from the interaction between community goals and anthropological research. Because the study of people, past and present, requires respect for the diversity of individuals, cultures, societies, and knowledge systems, anthropologists are expected to adhere to a strong code of professional ethics.
It’s no coincidence that we chose the AAA’s definition. TGA’s editors were trained in the north american tradition of sociocultural anthropology, rather than in the French or British traditions. Although these traditions each answered, and contributed to, each other, important differences remain between them. One of the major contributions of north american anthropology, mainly through the work of one of it’s pioneers, Franz Boas, was the deconstruction of the notions of race and evolutionism. See the AAA statement on the notion of race here.
Anthropology of popular culture
The main project of this blog is to explore geek culture through the perspective of sociocultural anthropology. We consider geek culture to be a part, or subculture as some prefer to call it, of popular culture. The anthropological study of pop culture is a recent initiative, and the litterature, as well as the methods and orientations for this field, are still in the process of being improved and clarified. Ian Condry‘s work on hip-hop culture in Japan is an interesting example of such undertaking.
You can find interesting perspectives on the anthropology of pop culture here.
Learn more about anthropology
To learn more about anthropology, have a look at the Readings and Ethnographic Material page. You can also check out the AAA’s new anthropology wiki here. If you are lucky enough to speak French, you can check out this wonderful video series by Anthropologie et Sociétés .
Should you have any questions about concepts we refer to or the anthropological discipline in general, feel free to comment. It will help us improve this page and the overall content of this blog.
There are 8 comments
This is great. I can’t wait to read more of your blogs, and check out some of the past ones. I love anthropology.
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Wow I’m so glad I’ve found a blog dedicated to anthropology! I always felt like a geek for liking anthropology, and biological anthropology at that, but I love this site’s content and pop culture references! Definitely worth a follow! 🙂
Thanks for the compliments and for stopping by! We are always happy to hear from readers!
Wow I’m so glad I found a blog dedicated to anthropology! Even though I love biological anthropology, mitochondrial Eve and what not, I think the social aspects of anthropology on this site are great! Definitely worth a follow 🙂
That picture of Boas kills me! Great rundown of the discipline, great site in general!
Thanks for stopping by!
Hi, I Just found you guys and love the site so far! Just thought I would give you a heads up as I am a graduate of the University of Kansas that the above post mentioning Micheal Wesch lists him as a Professor at Kansas University but he is in fact a Professor at Kansas State University. Hope that was helpful info keep up the good work!
Thanks for the heads up! Much appreciated!