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Anthropology (21A) - Archived

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Anthropology (21A) - Archived

 

Anthropology studies humankind from a comparative perspective that emphasizes the diversity of human behavior and the importance of culture in explaining that diversity. While the discipline encompasses the biological nature of our species and the material aspects of human adaptation, it takes as fundamental the idea that we respond to nature and natural forces in large part through culture. Anthropology, then, is the study of human beings as cultural animals. Sociocultural anthropology draws its data from the direct study of contemporary peoples living in a wide variety of circumstances, from peasant villagers and tropical forest hunters and gatherers to urban populations in modern societies, as well as from the history and prehistory of those peoples.

The Anthropology Program at MIT offers students a broad exposure to the discipline as well as an anthropological perspective on problems and issues relevant to other fields in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering. It also provides more intensive introduction to areas of faculty specialization, which include social and political organization, economics and human ecology, religion and symbolism, and the anthropology of medicine and scientific research. Geographical specializations include cultures of Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.

The anthropology curriculum is divided into six groups that show the breadth of the field, with particular emphases: introductory, social anthropology, technology in cultural context, and areal and historical studies. Special topics in anthropology and advanced graduate subjects are also offered.

MIT Anthropology students learn about the concept of culture, the nature of anthropological fieldwork, and the connections between anthropology and the other social sciences. They study the various theories that attempt to explain human behavior as well as the range of methods anthropologists use to analyze data. Students can focus on geographical areas, and on issues like neocolonialism, gender studies, religion and symbolism, or comparative political organization.

For more information, go to http://web.mit.edu/anthropology/

Recent Submissions

  • Slyomovics, Susan (2005-06)
    Photographs in anthropology serve many purposes: as primary data, illustrations of words in a book, documentation for disappearing cultures, evidence of fieldwork, material objects for museum exhibitions, and even works ...
  • Jackson, Jean (2005-06)
    This course is an introduction to the cross-cultural study of ethnic and national identity. We examine the concept of social identity, consider how gender, religious and racial identity components interact with ethnic and ...
  • Jackson, Jean E. (Jean Elizabeth), 1943- (2003-06)
    An introduction to the cross-cultural study of ethnic and national identity. Students explore the history of nationalism, focusing on ideologies about the nation-state, and look at the ways gender, religious and racial ...
  • Silbey, Susan S. (2003-12)
    Introduction to ethnographic practices: the study of and communicating about culture. Reading and discussion of classics of anthropological field work, contemporary critiques, and innovative practices. From the course home ...
  • Helmreich, Stefan, 1966- (2003-12)
    This course examines relationships among technology, culture, and politics in a variety of social and historical settings ranging from 19th century factories to 21st century techno dance floors, from colonial Melanesia to ...
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