What does anthropology teach that is useful beyond the classroom?

Careful record-keeping, attention to details, analytical reading, and clear thinking are taught by anthropological courses. Social ease in strange situations, critical thinking, and strong skills in oral and written expression are cultivated by anthropological training. Using a range of social, behavioral, biological, and other scientific research methods, anthropology majors learn to supplement statistical findings with descriptive data gathered through participant observation, interviewing, and ethnographic study.

An anthropologist is a trained observer who knows the importance of collecting data, in listening and watching what  others are doing, in reflecting on what has actually as well as apparently occurred, in researching the context, in applying various explanatory models, and in adopting a broad perspective for framing an understanding. Whatever the topic of research, anthropologists share a particular holistic vision that requires using a repertoire of methods in order to forge a deeper understanding of situations. This holism characterizes the best anthropology and imparts the perspective for which the profession is valued.

While the job market for academic anthropologists is relatively steady, demand for anthropologists is increasing in other areas, stimulated by a growing need for analysts and researchers with sharp thinking skills who can manage, evaluate, and interpret the large volume of data on human behavior. The extent of occupational flexibility reflects the emphasis on breadth, diversity, and independence of thought.

What do professional anthropologists do and what do they have to say about the world and current events?

The American Anthropological Association, the largest professional organization of anthropologists in the USA keeps track of members who are in the news or commenting on current events in prominent venues.  Having a look at how anthropologists are engaged in what is happening around us RIGHT NOW is a good way to get a handle on what the field of anthropology has to offer.  Check out AAA Anthropologists in the news links here.

UA Little Rock Anthropology Major Learning Outcomes

By graduation, Anthropology majors should be able to

  1.  do anthropology: raise anthropological questions, develop strategies to find answers, gather data, contextualize knowledge, and analyze results.
  2. apply anthropological theory and knowledge to develop informed decisions, claims, and/or conclusions
  3. be comfortable with and knowledgeable of the guiding concepts of the discipline, including mechanisms and processes of evolution, implications and explanations of biological and cultural diversity, dynamics of cultural change, and rejection of ethnocentrism.
  4. present ideas coherently and effectively in written and spoken form, appropriately using the vocabulary, concepts, and cognitive skills of the discipline of anthropology.
  5. be engaged with the community/world by using their anthropological background to act responsibly and ethically in an increasingly complex world.

In sum, you could say that the UA Little Rock, the Anthropology program prepares students to “Do Anthropology,” at a reasonable undergraduate knowledge level, meaning we want our students to be comfortable and confident to:

  • Think Like an Anthropologist
  • Act Like an Anthropologist
  • Speak Like an Anthropologist