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u/dubhlinn2 · 1 pointr/Anthropology

YES. Omg I thought I was the only one.

I grew up LOVING science, but my main talent, from as soon as I could hold a crayon, was art. I loved science, read Carl Sagan in high school, and wanted to learn more, but I couldn't get into the science classes I wanted because I didn't have the math. I figured I couldn't do math and science, that I was "right-brained," so I went into art. I got a huge scholarship to one of the top illustration schools in the country, but I soon dropped out because I knew what it wasn't what I wanted. Once art became work, it wasn't fun anymore. It's been 11 years and I still haven't done art since.

I spent a lot of my 20's trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted, and I stumbled upon anthropology while working at Babies R Us. I had a strong maternal instinct, and a lot of my friends were having kids, and I spent a lot of time observing people's parenting practices and the consumerist culture that surrounds parenthood and infancy. One day I was reading one of the books behind the registry counter, and I saw that an anthropologist was referenced when discussing the controversial issue of cosleeping. I was like wow! I didn't realize you could use anthropology to approach these problems! Before long, I knew that I wanted to be an anthropologist, and that this goal would require that I go back to school.

I've had to learn a lot more science, but since my minor was psych I actually wasn't required to take that much biology, so now that I'm done, I still have a lot of catching up to do before grad school. I did not do that well in chemistry in high school, and IMO my biology class wasn't that great. Plus it was 11 years ago so I don't remember much. So I've been playing a lot of catch-up and will have to continue to do that before I head off to grad school. (Taking a year off.)

I also realize now that I was a victim of societal sexism that holds girls back in the sciences. Now that I have taken anatomy and neuroscience, I understand that there's no such thing as "right brain/left brain," and that I can learn math -- I just have to start at the beginning and be patient with myself, because I've got an entire academic career full of shitty teaching to make up for. I gained a lot of confidence when I took a medical statistics course to fulfill my quantitative reasoning requirement. (By doing this, I actually didn't have to take any algebra for reason I am taking a year off before grad school, because I really should know Algebra.)

One of the greatest things ever, and what helps me not feel regretful that I didn't "try harder" to learn math in my youth, is because now we have Khan Academy, which I cannot recommend enough. The reason it is awesome is because, if you don't get something, you can stop the video and watch that part over and over again until you get it, before you move on to the next part. This is important because math is structural -- it builds on itself. This explains why kids fall behind in math in school. All you have to do to move on to the next level is get a 60% -- A D- right? That leaves 40% of the information from the previous year that you are going into the next class not knowing. Eventually, those holes add up to the point where you have no idea what is going on at all, which is what happened to me.

So I don't know how you get into an anthro grad program with an undergrad degree in the arts, but I am sure it is possible because anything is. I imagine you'll want to start by learning some stuff that you would have learned as an anthro major in undergrad. It sounds like you are interested in bioanth -- right? Luckily, even if you are more of a "hard science" anthropologist (as opposed to a cultural anthropologist), you usually don't have to know a ton of math and science. Not at the undergrad level, anyway. It helps, and there are areas of biological anthropology -- such as epigenetics, endocrinology, nutrition, and taphonomy (how stuff decays) -- that are more technical, and will involve some biochem. My program did require me to take a 5-credit science seminar with a lab component, which most students fulfilled with a field school. But honestly, most of what you're going to be doing is reading journal articles. Once you get used to reading those, you'll just start absorbing stuff that way. They will teach you the more technical science stuff that you need to know for your field in grad school, and most of that is taught by doing readings and discussion. It's not at all like how they teach in biology or medical school.

I also want to tell you that your art background will be more valuable to you in science than you probably realize right now. The BEST scientists are the ones who can think creatively, are curious, and know how to follow a hunch or an idea through to the truth. There is something that artists and scientists very much in common about the way they think about the world, and that is that they are very, very observant. They (or I should say "we") notice things that other people don't. This is INVALUABLE. The next step is to harness that noticing and curiosity and organize it into a methodology that tests hypotheses and solves problems, and to learn a bit of critical thinking skills.

Also, something that I know that many people don't realize about artists, is that they know how to do big projects, and that is a huge part of doing science. One of the things that graduate schools want to see in a potential student is that they can form a testable hypothesis, design a good study, and follow through with the entire project. This was one of the other reasons I didn't succeed in art school. I didn't know how to start a project, break it down into manageable pieces, and persevere at it until it was finished. In art or in science, this part is honestly not about intelligence or talent, but about perseverance. Especially when you hit inevitable roadblocks. (Funding rejections, lost data, field site access problems, etc.)

And of course, your writing skills will help you a lot. So many students in the sciences never really learn how to communicate. Writing for science is definitely different than what you're probably used to, but personally I love it because it is very precise. And frankly I think it is a lot easier to go from creative writing to technical rather than the other way around. But then again, I'm a water color artist who has a hard time with oils, and everyone tells me that water colors are harder for most people lol.

Now, as far as integrating art and anthropology, this is something I've thought about but never done because it doesn't really appeal to me. I honestly just want to do research. However, I do think about ways in which I would incorporate art into my learning if I had the time. I have thought about asking my professors if I could come into the lab during my time off to just sketch the different skulls and skeletons in our collection. Doing this would really help imprint on your memory the differences in morphology that separate the gracile australopithecines from the robust ones, etc. I saw a series of sketchbook entries on tumblr a few months ago that were amazing and made me want to do the same.

You might also consider going into making recreations of the different hominids for museums. My background is in painting/drawing -- I've done pretty much NO 3-D art. But if this is attractive to you, and you get good at it, it could be really fulfilling!

Also, a great way for you to start learning, since you are a visual person, is to go pick up the Human Evolution Coloring Book and, if you are so inclined, the Anatomy Coloring Book. (There's a physiology one too, if you think you might go into one of the more cellular/chem-oriented subfields.) I know it sounds like a kid thing, but these books are college-level in terms of technical content, and get this -- You know where I first heard about them? I was listening to a lecture from Berkeley. I shit you not! lol! Ivy league kids are sitting in their classrooms, coloring in coloring books. Personally, I make copies of each page so I can do the same page as many times as I like.

Also, if you do the more hardcore bio route, I highly recommend Crash Course Biology and Crash Course Chemistry.

Good luck! I think this is awesome and definitely keep us updated on your journey!

u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

Do you have access to classes at your local community college? There might be an intro-level cultural anthropology class that you could enroll in there.
The reading list that BentNotNroken linked to looks excellent, but if I was a high school student interested in learning about the field, I would find it very overwhelming! If you'd like a shorter list, here are the books I read in my first intro to anthropology class:

Core Concepts in Cultural Anthropology by Lavenda & Schultz

This is a super basic primer that will introduce you to a lot of the basic concepts and terms of cultural anthropology. It's very easy to read, and I still come back to it often if I can't think of a well worded definition/explanation of a term.

Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead

This is sort of a classic example of an ethnography. If you don't choose to read this now, you will absolutely read it at some point once you start taking anthropology classes. It's not too dry, interesting to read, and will give you a good idea of what anthropologists study and do.

White Saris and Sweet Mangoes by Sarah Lamb

This is another book that you will likely read at some point if you take cultural anthropology classes! Like the last book, it's just a basic ethnography that will help you understand the point of anthropology.

Coming of Age in Second Life by Tom Boellstorff

This ethnography is still one of my favorites! It basically takes the concept of ethnography that is used in the previous two books and applies it to an online community rather than a real-life one. I found it to be a fresh and modern example of the possible applications of anthropology. If you find the previous two books boring, you will probably enjoy this one more, because it's on a topic that you might find more interesting, since you participate in online communities yourself!

The books I listed are focused mostly on cultural anthropology, which is one of the four basic subfields of anthropology as a whole. The other three subfields are explained here if you are curious. If you are interested in one of those, perhaps someone else here can suggest some basic books to start with! If you are interested in archaeology, I can provide you with some readings, but my studies focus more on classical archaeology, which some would argue has little to do with anthropology.

Good luck with your studies - if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

u/ewpaisley · 1 pointr/Anthropology

I use a Sony A5000 (which has sexier siblings, like the A6000, but this is the one I have), which I picked up for about $300 (refurb, but new ones are quite affordable too).

The Sony E-mount feels solid and there is a good array of lenses. I got it with a 16-50mm lense.

I've been extremely happy with it. It feels robust, and it is -very- compact and have not had problems with battery life. With a small tripod it will also do alright video for interviews, which I've used for consumer research stuff.

Plus: Portability, affordability, but definitely a strong important on point and shoots in terms of picture quality. Very well reviewed, too.

I carry it in a case like this:

Hope this helps!

u/EatMorePangolin · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

Oooooohhh coooooool. I hope you update us on your progress! This sounds super cool.

I only have one particular recommendation, Sarah Lamb; White Saris and Sweet Mangoes: More about gender and aging, but Lamb goes into some interesting nuance regarding subsistence, cooking and gender/age (including gender fluidity and caste navigation). Also, check out Susan Rasmussen's books on the Tuareg. She doesn't focus so much on food, but heavily on gender, religion, ritual and language. I never ran across a whole lot of early anthropology that focused exclusively focus on the constellation of topics you are looking for, but TONS can be extracted from it, especially subsistence-based ritual, such as from Malinowski ("Coral Gardens and their Magic"). Taboo is also (obviously, through Douglas) a subject richly covered all over the place.

Have fun! Sounds like an awesome project.

u/fallflight · 1 pointr/Anthropology

I'm not sure how they compare to other textbooks, but Biological Anthropology: The Natural History of Humankind seems to give a broad and relatively up-to-date overview, and Exploring Biological Anthropology: The Essentials is a somewhat more concise version.

Like other users mentioned, The Fossil Trail has pretty interesting background, and The Complete World of Human Evolution is a solid but truly concise overview if you don't want to go for a full textbook, or would rather spend the difference on a lucky replica tarsier skull. Fossil and genetic research within the last year will make any book a little dated, but is easy enough to catch up on.

The CARTA symposia lectures available on YouTube or its site are a good resource.

For example, this one could be interesting for the emphasis and associations even if you've covered the material in a book, and gives a sense of a prominent researcher in the field (coauthor of 'The Complete World...', and author of Lone Survivors, which might also be worth checking out).

These presentations from a symposium on the origins of violence are another example (20 min. each, 3 per video):

They give a range of viewpoints, and again personalize some of the academics involved.

u/Culturedecanted · 1 pointr/Anthropology

Hi NP, thanks for the question. I think it's fair to say that many people found living in urban areas more attractive at particular times of history - this wasn't always true. Since the frame of the discussion is 'modernity', I am talking about recent history. If you look back at the formation of most 'modern' cities there was an excitement and exuberance that is not there today - your correct challenge is evidence of this.

I think you might have a slight romantic view of agricultural life, compared to what I have read. Rather than a pastoral 'Eden' it was often a challenging seasonally effected lifestyle of famine and struggle. If you read an early posting I made, this has been linked to the evolution of the human brain - challenges made us smarter.

Cities actually, allow for less-manual work and a diversification of workforces; have been linked to a collection and centralisation, through markets of better quality and more reliable supplies of food; Michael Olmet actually links cities with better oral care.

However, you point of view does confirm my hypothesis that we aren't really thinking about our relationships with cities and how they make us feel. Thanks for reading.

u/imjustanape · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

That is exactly what I am interested in doing! So since I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about this I believe I can help. As for what to read: I started with Your Inner Fish because it brings human evolution back to when we first got out of the water and explains very, very early brain evolution and development of the brain in utero. Also an easy read. Next I have been tackling "Evolution of the Human Brain" by Lieberman (can't find an amazon link for it, sorry). I'll admit it is not an easy read and it is not impeccably edited but I believe all the facts are there and it is very comprehensive. You can learn a lot from this book. I will also suggest The Brain. Now, I can't speak to the quality of this one because it has just come out, but the guys who wrote it are incredibly smart and I expect nothing but great material from them.

As for schools: you must know now that it really all depends on the person you want to work with. They could be anywhere in the world. I mentioned before, this is my thing, so I can tell you that the schools I have interest in because they have one or more people researching this area are: UC San Diego, George Washington U, possibly NYU if you can tie it into neuroscience and work with the medical center, then there are people abroad as well if that's something you would consider.

Hope that helps.

edit: the book is called "Evolution of the Human Head" not Brain.

u/Pachacamac · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

I did an anthro of art class in undergrad and the prof was a biological anthropologist who was most interested in the evolution of consciousness (which can be seen through art). Our textbook was Calliope's Sisters, which was a good intro, I think, to human consciousness as seen through art. It's a bit old now, but I'd glance at a copy if you can get your hands on one. That may help focus your reading.

As for where to go to grad school, when you find some books or articles that you really like and that are recent, find out where the person who wrote it is teaching and get in touch with them. If they aren't taking students, they may be able to help. Undergrad profs are also a great source of guidance for grad school choices.

u/Skankin_it_easy · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

Agreed about the syllabi. I saved all of mine from college for later reference.

I find Anthropological "readers" to be a great place to start. They are a quick way to get familiar with the range of topics, styles, theories, etc that Anthropologists cover. Conformity and Conflict is a good one. I personally found this Anthro Theory book to be very useful. It has a lot of foot notes and chapter summaries. If you're interested in the religious side of cultural anth, this one is aight.

Straight up reading full ethnographies is time consuming and doesn't give a good overview imo. Could burn you out. /shrug

Also Anthropology is the fucking shiiiiiiiiiit. Represent. >.>

u/Santabot · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

The answer you are looking for is either:

Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams by David Graeber


Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein


The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies by Marcel Mauss is the cornerstone of the field and very enjoyable, though shorter than the other two. It may be helpful to have read Mauss in order to understand the previous two mentioned.

u/deaconblues99 · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

I'm quoting a reply / post of yours from below because I hate long chains of replies that get buried, and because you seem to be lacking some information (or at least assuming your argument is stronger than it is).

>I think it's fair to say that many people found living in urban areas more attractive at particular times of history

Based on what? The presence of people in cities? By that metric, if 80% of the planet's population currently lives in cities, we freaking love our cities.

>Since the frame of the discussion is 'modernity', I am talking about recent history. If you look back at the formation of most 'modern' cities there was an excitement and exuberance that is not there today

How are you defining / quantifying "excitement and exuberance" in the past versus today such that you can make a statement like this?

>Cities actually, allow for less-manual work and a diversification of workforces; have been linked to a collection and centralisation, through markets of better quality and more reliable supplies of food; Michael Olmet actually links cities with better oral care.

You seem to have things a little backward here. Archaeological evidence indicates that specialization, markets, and centralization didn't develop because of cities. Rather, cities appear to have formed as a consequence of increased centralization and hierarchy, and surplus production, which in turn contribute to greater degrees of specialization.

This may sound like a chicken-egg argument, but it's not, really. We see archaeological evidence for the things you're describing as resulting from city formation well before the formation of cities in most of those regions.

Now you can argue about what a city is, but that's an entire body of literature in and of itself.

u/distilledw · 1 pointr/Anthropology

If you want to read an Ethnography i suggest In Search of Respect by Phillipe Bourgois. I read it after my first semester of Anthropology and i think its the book that made me continue on and do a major in Anthro.

It is pretty easy to get through and very interesting and relevant subject matter.

u/sabu632 · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

Ethics in Anthropology. Gets very heavy into some of the important considerations for anyone thinking about a life in anthropology. Class was structured like a grad seminar, with each week the readings assigned to two people who lead the class discussion. Then for the big reads we had a formal debate with the class. There were four teams, broken up in two private debate sessions. You were assigned a side on the issue the day of the debate. All of this keeps you up on reading, and really really gets you invested in the topics. Also, some of the best case studies from the field. Favorites were:

The Fierce Controversy

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Yale/Maccu Piccu Debate

u/jessy0108 · 6 pointsr/Anthropology

For my Intro to Cultural Anthropology class last semester we read an ethnography called "In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in the Barrio" by Philippe Bourgois. It was an interesting read, very captivating and real. I really liked it.

u/gekkou · 1 pointr/Anthropology

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice is a great book covering specifically rainforest drug use (been a while since I read it, seems like it was snuff and ayahuasca that is covered).

Use in Haiti/DR and places for voodoo practices might be something to explore as well.

u/typingthings · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

Been a while now, but I recall the book "Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches" being pretty interesting, and a really easy read.

u/anthropology_nerd · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

A good popular anthropology book for summer reading is 1491: New Revelations About the Americas before Columbus.

A good medical anthropology-like book is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down about epilepsy in recent Hmong immigrants to the U.S.

I'm a little tired and that is all I've got right now.

u/Hot_Zee · 1 pointr/Anthropology

Confirm...Neil Shubin is awesome, the book is good too.

u/emtilt · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

One approach would be to search for syllabi for undergraduate anthropology courses and see what texts they require. Then you could work through different "courses" on your own.

For example, an older edition of this book was used in my intro to anthro course when I was an undergrad. Something like it or one of its competitors might be a good place to start. If you live in a metropolitan area, I'm sure your public library has plenty of books to get you started.

u/thecrackshotcrackpot · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

Interesting thanks.

I seem to remember Charles Mann writing about this in his pop science book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Highly recommended if you haven't checked it out yet.

u/Razhelm-tk · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

Another great is "The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies" By Marcel Mauss. This book changed my life. It opened the door to a whole new stream of thought dealing with 'ecomonies' or relationships people create and the obligation to reciprocity that bind people not only to other people to create culture but also binds people to objects within a time and space.

u/j-khuysmans · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

His more academic work Passage of Darkness: Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie is better for a number of reasons, but SatR is a much better read. If you're looking for another good in-depth discussion of research ethics I highly suggest about Napoleon Chagnon's extremely problematic work with the Yanomamo.

u/montereyo · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

My ubiquitous recommendation for medical anthropology is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about a Hmong family in California whose newborn daughter has epilepsy. It's well-written and engaging.

u/Montuckian · 1 pointr/Anthropology

This has always been a favorite of mine

u/moon-worshiper · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

"The Naked Ape" - Desmond Morris 1967

The human ape is the only ape not covered in thick hair. Chimpanzees and orangutans may go in the water but they don't do it as a form of leisure. Orangutans will go to extremes to not get wet.

Bonobo aren't afraid of water and will play in it.

The big difference is the human ape is the only ape that enjoys being in ocean water. Almost all primates avoid ocean water. The hypothesis is that long periods in ocean water resulted in the human ape losing body hair.

u/energirl · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

Just read ethnographies on a subject or group that interests you.

One of my favorites in college was [In Search of Respect(] Philippe Bourgeois was studying crack dealers in El Barrio (a mostly Hispanic are of New York City also called Spanish Harlem). It's a very good ethnography because it is objective, showing how social capital and other phenomena play a role in keeping the crack dealers from "going legit," yet it does not make apologies for the sometimes obscene things they do to other human beings.

Thunder Rides a Black Horse is about a traditional Mescalero coming of age ceremony for women.

Life and Death on Mt Everest is an intimate look at the experienced Sherpas who aid mountain climbers as they tackle the world's tallest mountain.

There are ethnographies all over the place on just about every culture you could ask for. Just do a google search on something that interests you and use the keyword "ethnography" in your search. You're bound to come up with something.

u/follier · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

Not specific to reproductive health, but a good starting point to medical anthropology I always thought was Health, Illness, and the Social Body.

u/WhiteMike87 · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

Check out the book "The Naked Ape". It examines humans as the animals which we are.