I don’t even know where to begin. I love anthropology. I know many people don’t really know what anthropology is. I’ve had an Uber driver ask me, “That’s where you poke people with needles, right?” (She was thinking of acupuncture.) And another ask, “Why do you want to study ants?” Most people think that I’m simply studying to become an archaeologist (which is only one of many concentrations). But I am here to clear this up once and for all!
Well, actually, sometimes even I have trouble explaining anthropology. It isn’t something that I can sufficiently sum up in a few neatly packaged sentences. My go-to answer is that it is the study of humankind and culture. But, this does not capture the nuances of the discipline, nor the scope of it. Anthropology is not simply history or science –– nor any other one thing. It encompasses these and culture, society, psychology, art, language, government, and much more. The word that we throw around a lot is “holistic.” Anthropology is concerned with the big picture, not just its individual parts. To study human culture is to look at the elements that make up a culture in relation to the whole. Because of this, studying anthropology necessitates that one be pretty well-versed in the different facets of culture.
In a previous blog, I mentioned how I love everything –– from art, to science, to music, to writing, to language, and everything in between. Anthropology covers these subjects and more. I think that is why I gravitated toward it. Beyond its educational content, however, there is a foundational principle that I believe is indispensable: empathy. I think that studying anthropology well demands that one have empathy for others. It involves seeing culture from the eyes of those involved. I am a strong proponent of empathy in every facet of life, from personal relationships to those that are business-related, political, and beyond. This is also why I believe that anthropologists should be involved in every area of society! We could always use more people-people.
Biola’s anthropology department is a smaller department at Biola but it's thriving! If you ever want to check out what we are all about, come to an Anthropology Guild club meeting (here's a recent article by our school newspaper, The Chimes, on the anthropology guild) or event! You can also check out a class! Our last big event was a weekend camping trip to Joshua Tree.
We’ve also gone to the Getty Villa together.
And often we will get together during the holidays at one of the professor’s, Dr. Langenwalter, houses.
I really enjoy the small size of the department, because it allows us to more deeply connect with each other.
Thanks for reading a bit on this field that I love! Will be writing to you all again very soon!