Anthropology is the study of all humans in all times in all places. But it is so much more than that. “Anthropology requires strength, valor, and courage,” Nancy Scheper-Hughes noted. “Pierre Bourdieu called anthropology a combat sport, an extreme sport as well as a tough and rigorous discipline. … It teaches students not to be afraid of getting one’s hands dirty, to get down in the dirt, and to commit yourself, body and mind. Susan Sontag called anthropology a “heroic” profession.” What is the payoff for this heroic journey? You will find ideas that can carry you across rivers of doubt and over mountains of fear to find the the light and life of places forgotten. Real anthropology cannot be contained in a book. You have to go out and feel the world’s jagged edges, wipe its dust from your brow, and at times, leave your blood in its soil. In this unique book, Dr. Michael Wesch shares many of his own adventures of being an anthropologist and what the science of human beings can tell us about the art of being human. This special first draft edition is a loose framework for more and more complete future chapters and writings. It serves as a companion to anth101.com, a free and open resource for instructors of cultural anthropology.
Becoming Human is a fast-paced, irreverent introduction to evolutionary theory, especially human origins. The book is based on the Open2Study MOOC, 'Becoming Human,' created by Dr. Greg Downey and Open Universities Australia. The book discusses traces of evolution in our bodies, basic evolutionary theory from Darwin to the genomic revolution, sexual selection and reproduction, and how human brain development affects our evolution, including into the future. Copiously illustrated, with some interactive diagrams, videos of Dr. Downey presenting the material are also available through Open2Study.
Welcome to Beliefs: An Open Invitation to Anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft and Religion. This book was the combined efforts of the authors, contributors and editors who have been teaching these concepts to students for a number of years. While there are many great textbooks that teach the concepts covered in this textbook, there was a need for an Open Educational Resource (OER) for students. The success of Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology and Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology inspired this project in 2020, when the authors began curating the OER at Los Angeles Valley College. The project quickly grew over the next two years to include many talented anthropology instructors, thanks to the support and guidance of ASCCC.
Biological anthropology, also known as physical anthropology, is a scientific discipline concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their related non-human primates and their extinct hominin ancestors. It is a subfield of anthropology that provides a biological perspective to the systematic study of human beings. This textbook explores evolutionary theory, including the core concepts of basic genetics and the modern synthesis of evolution. Students will examine, critically evaluate and explain scientific claims about the origins of humankind and modern human variation as well as biocultural evolution. Students will develop critical thinking and communication skills through the application of essential anthropological approaches, theories, and methods.
Students will need an assigned text to assist with these activities, identify bone and features, understand the proper use of Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, significance of primate taxonomy, and specific information about various early human forms.
This book is intended for use in a variety of introductory archaeology settings, such as in lectures and lab courses. This text can complement an existing traditional text or completely replace a standard text. It can be used for its activities or as a study resource. When we wrote this text, we designed the chapters to be brief, providing concise and to-the-point information. This book is not intended to replace lectures or direct instruction from an instructor; rather, it supports learning in a variety of settings and formats. The book can be printed in whole, read digitally, or used piecemeal in either format. However you use this text, we hope that you find it serves as an instructive learning tool and that you dig archaeology as much as we do!
Anthropology is the study of humanity, in all its biological and cultural aspects, past and present. It is a four-field discipline comprised of biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology. The focus of this book is biological anthropology, which explores who we are from biological, evolutionary, and adaptive perspectives.
Where did we come from? What were our ancestors like? Why do we differ from other animals? How do scientists trace and construct our evolutionary history? The History of Our Tribe: Hominini provides answers to these questions and more. The book explores the field of paleoanthropology past and present. Beginning over 65 million years ago, Welker traces the evolution of our species, the environments and selective forces that shaped our ancestors, their physical and cultural adaptations, and the people and places involved with their discovery and study. It is designed as a textbook for a course on Human Evolution but can also serve as an introductory text for relevant sections of courses in Biological or General Anthropology or general interest. It is both a comprehensive technical reference for relevant terms, theories, methods, and species and an overview of the people, places, and discoveries that have imbued paleoanthropology with such fascination, romance, and mystery.
Designed to meet the scope and sequence of your course, OpenStax Introduction to Anthropology is a four-field text integrating diverse voices, engaging field activities, and meaningful themes like Indigenous experiences and social inequality to engage students and enrich learning. The text showcases the historical context of the discipline, with a strong focus on anthropology as a living and evolving field. There is significant discussion of recent efforts to make the field more diverse—in its practitioners, in the questions it asks, and in the applications of anthropological research to address contemporary challenges. In addressing social inequality, the text drives readers to consider the rise and impact of social inequalities based on forms of identity and difference (such as gender, ethnicity, race, and class) as well as oppression and discrimination. The contributors to and dangers of socioeconomic inequality are fully addressed, and the role of inequality in social dysfunction, disruption, and change is noted.
The high cost of textbooks prevents many students from succeeding. Textbook prices have gone up 3 times the rate of inflation in the past 30 years. New textbook editions are a scam. Textbooks have become a way to shift the cost of teacher salaries onto the student. The change in Jurmain's Introduction to Biological Anthropology from 2009 to 2011 was to search and replace the word “hominid” for the word “hominin”, and raise the price 20%. Many students will not buy their textbooks (Kingkade 2013), and struggle through class, reading at the library. Other students will order cheap copies online but get the wrong edition, or discounted shipping where it arrives halfway through the semester. Textbooks have become a barrier to student success.
Assigning free online textbooks is one solution. Much of the high cost of textbooks comes from color printing, but black-and-white and text-heavy books are poor options for our predominantly visual learners. Online textbooks allow for unlimited, large, color graphics. For the price of a new textbook, a student can buy a text reader (kindle, ipad, tablet, surface, etc.) or a used laptop. There may still be problems with students' access to high speed internet. The monthly fee for a cable modem service is expensive, but free WiFi is becoming more and more widely available. The new downtown San Diego library is a good example.
Unfortunately, in 2011 when I started this, there were no free online textbook available for Introduction to Physical Anthropology. Probably the closest were Dennis O'Neil's Biological Anthropology Tutorials from Palomar College, Wikipedia's Biological Anthropology and Introduction to Paleoanthropology textbooks, and Augustín Fuentes primatology class notes (no longer available), and I borrowed from these, especially O'Neil. I found most of these sources written in the style of an encyclopedia, and tried to make the textbook more approachable by including my own voice whenever possible.
Some students may lack the necessary computer skills to use an online textbook. Hopefully, the recent increases in funding for basic skills will help. Gone are the good old days whence we scribed our homework on tablets of wet clay. Students must learn computer skills to survive academically and professionally, and the printed textbook is becoming a relic of a bygone age. Information Communication and Technology Literacy is a component of most institutional goals. The more students practice current electronic research techniques, the better prepared they will be for the rest of their academic and professional life.
I previously encouraged students to use their textbook as the main source for my take-home tests, but I found that many students start with the internet as their first source of answers, and then fall-back on the textbook if the info doesn't show up immediately in a search engine. I've come to realize that this is not always bad, as they often discover more current information than the textbook. For rapidly changing issues, such as how many genes are in the human genome, how closely we are related to Neandertals, Homo naledi, or the Cerruti Mastadon eaters, the information available on sites such as Wikipedia is often more accurate than the typical textbook written three to ten years ago.
The first peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses. Produced by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and available free of charge for use in any setting.
If you are an instructor who is considering using this text, please be aware that it is still a work in progress. The chapters in this book are still working through the peer review and copy editing process, and additional chapters are being added. Let us know if you are going to use any of the chapters, and/or if you have any feedback about the material. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org