Thursday, March 19, 2020

🌎Why Anthropology is such an Underrated Degree🌎

Anthropology is the broad study of everything that makes us human. Linguistics, Biology, Culture, and Archaeology all fall under the umbrella of Anthropological studies. It’s the most humane of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. I studied Anthropology at university and I can tell you it’s an extremely underrated degree.

For one, it qualifies you for so many different careers that you’ll never be backed into a corner to pick only one. Besides becoming an actual anthropologist, careers range from forensic science to the arts. There's always a place for someone who has a Bachelor's degree in this field. Just a couple of examples of potential careers are in business, fashion, police investigation work, jobs in the medical field, etc. Honestly you can do almost anything with a degree in Anthropology.

 Businesses have to know the target audience of their products. You wouldn’t try and sell pork and alcohol to people in a primarily Muslim country. It’s the same idea for fashion, understanding cultural dress is of the highest importance to consider when writing blogs, commentary or reviews of fashion. Cultures wear dress to symbolize many things. Mostly, adherence and submission to their God/religion and their identity within a community. This is the same within American subcultures, people wear clothes to symbolize their adherence and identity within a group. Police use forensic anthropologists for skeletal analyses to solve murder cases (Bones the TV Show depicts a Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan). Medical anthropologists study the relationship between health, illness, and culture. Beliefs and practices about health vary across different cultures and are influenced by social, religious, political, historical, and economic factors. (This is especially prominent right now during the Coronavirus Pandemic).

Not only does a BA in Anthropology allow you to have a broad skill set on which to gain your career it is also incredibly fascinating to study. To study what makes a human, a human, is the most rewarding knowledge you could gain. It teaches you how the world works. Gives you an understanding and compassion for other people. Instead of fear of the unknown, it’s curiosity. Do you ever wonder what would happen if people were focused on understanding each other before starting a conflict? Anthropology does just that. It explains foreign conflict, political action, wars, etc. As well as things that are far more complex like metaphysical phenomena, and what the human body is capable of. Philosophical Anthropology is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person, and interpersonal relationships. It raises and scientifically answers the age old questions ancient civilizations have pondered for milleniums. Where did we come from? Where are we going? Why do we look different? Why do we act so differently from place to place? All complexities that Anthropologists examine daily.

Some fields of anthropology are literally the stuff out of sci-fi novels. Theoretical Xenoanthropology is the study of alien cultures. If/whenever we make contact with aliens the first people that governments are going to recruit are Xeno Anthropologists. (This is depicted in the movie The Arrival 2016).

If I haven’t convinced you by now that Anthropology is worth studying then I doubt I ever will. But I can say with confidence that with the way our planet is headed, we’re gonna need more knowledgable Anthropologists or our future looks bleak. Why? Because capitalism lacks the attention span required for survival. But Anthropology does. I know first hand from myself and other Anthropology degree holders that it really does give you compassion for other people far beyond what any other field of study could. While we head into this pandemic unsure of what the future holds we can look to our Anthropologists of the world to help us figure out where we go next. And of course from the lessons that we’ve learned from history, however.. “Men do not learn very much from the lessons of history… and that is the most important lesson that history has to each.”

                                                                                                        - Aldous Huxley


 

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3 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I enjoyed reading your post and I thank you for it!
    I have a bachelor degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology and a post-graduation in Biological and Forensic Anthropology. Anthropology is fascinating, it changes the way how you perceive the world, other people, the way you see everyone and everything interacting, it can make you feel and become more human.
    If only Anthropology was taught in every school, every university, every college degree, I think everyone could be a better person, a better professional because they would be sensitive and respectful towards the Other, diversity, to others cultures and ways of living.
    I do love this subject, but unfortunately in my experience regarding work in this area is that it's scarce because no one knows what is or what you can do, it seems vague. How many times have you heard "anthropo... what? What is that?".
    Yes, its a broad area but I think that this is what undermines this field because in the world of work. Who do you think that will be chosen, the one person with an entire degree on that specific field or someone with broad knowledge on everything and nothing? Who would you choose a psychologist or someone with a broad knowledge and some notions in psychology? Who will you choose to work as a police officer? Someone fresh out of the academy or someone fresh out of an anthropology degree?
    In my third year I had an anthropology teacher saying to us that "there is no real job as an anthropologist, you have to be an entrepreneur" and that "this bachelor degree is for self growth, basically". I was enraged because I read in the degree brochure a full list of "professional options: police, city hall, ONGs, etc etc".
    On one of my last papers I had to interview some colleagues that had already graduated, to see who was working in the field, what they thought of the degree and what had changed since then. Not even one of the best students was working in anthropology. "Working in anthropology is an illusion" or "It gave me a diploma so that I could have a better position in my company" to quote some of them. Other said that yes you can work in anthropology if you have someone to sustain you while you'r applying for investigation scholarships, but good luck with the latter.
    Investigation scholarships in Portugal are a joke, because some of them are already assigned to someone, the public announcement is just to look that they follow the rules.
    I was shocked, disappointed and felt lost with my choice. Today I think that if I could go back this degree wouldn't be my first choice, maybe the second years later. I did try to apply for my city hall but hey had already an anthropologist. I tried to work as biological anthropologist in an archaeological excavation site (it was an emergency excavation context). But because it was my first time excavating with no prior experience in a rough ground, I was nervous, I did not fulfilled their goals and did not impress, so I was excused and deemed incompetent. That was no place to learn! I had only experience handling and cleaning human remains, in the college lab, so I heard "Maybe you'r only cut out to be in the lab!", it was harsh. What I needed to hear was support like "maybe you need more time to learn excavation techniques to get the hang of it, you should try other excavation contexts, like volunteering or summer courses". There's a Portuguese saying "we were not born taught"!
    So in my experience this is a tough area in the world of work. It's a very closed and academic field.
    I wish the ones that have a job in anthropology can bring light to this subject and show the world how amazing it is and its potential to change the world for better!

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  3. To me Anthropology is like a history art or other humanistic degree. Very interesting but in the real world it is hard to pay the bills with it. It is easy to get shut out of job opportunities if you don't have experience or the right degree. You can argue that anthropology is a well rounded degree. But that only counts if your competition is the same.

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