Anthropology is distinguished by its emphasis upon holism, cultural relativism, and the value of the perspectives of both insiders and outsiders. A holistic approach to cultures emphasizes the larger, functional integration of language, family, politics, economics and religion within an entire culture. Through the practice of cultural relativism, anthropologists seek to avoid the inherent biases of ethnocentrism by understanding a culture from the viewpoint of its own members. Finally, anthropology maintains a balanced appreciation of the insider’s and outsider’s – or particularistic and comparative – understandings of a given culture.
Anthropology is the ideal liberal arts major in that it straddles the boundary between the sciences and humanities. It is both the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. As anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn put it, “Anthropology provides a scientific basis for dealing with the crucial dilemma of the world today: how can peoples of different appearance, mutually unintelligible languages, and dissimilar ways of life get along peaceably together?”
A major in anthropology provides good preparation for students going into medicine and health-related careers, law, business, and non-profit and community-based organizations. The major also prepares students for graduate school in anthropology, public policy, urban planning, health administration, and several other areas.
For more information on anthropology and what you can do with this degree, please visit the American Anthropologic Association's website: