Anthropology, B.A.

As the comparative study of humans in the past and present, the field of anthropology promotes awareness and understanding of human variation on a global scale. Anthropology at Furman aims to challenge assumptions about cultures by introducing students to societies and social groups that appear different from their own and encouraging thoughtful reflection on their own place in the world. The anthropology major here at Furman concentrates on the subfield of cultural anthropology with comparative courses as well as courses that focus on the geographical areas of Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. The major also has a strong set of courses on the subfield of linguistics, biological anthropology, and archaeology.

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:

Major Requirements

Meet our Faculty

Tami Blumenfield

Assistant Professor
of Asian Studies
Anthropology Program

Jerry Cox

Professor of Modern Languages
Anthropology Program

Lisa I. Knight

James B. Duke Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Religion
Anthropology Program

Brian Siegel

Professor of Anthropology
Director of Anthropology Major

Shusuke Yagi

Chair and Professor of Asian Studies
Anthropology Program