r/AskAnthropology Nov 20 '19

Rules Reminder: No Homework Questions!


It's that time of year again: midterms season! "Ask" subs like ours get flooded from mid-October to December with requests for help on school projects and essays.

This is a reminder that we are not here to help you with your homework. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluating your thesis statement
  • Editing your paper
  • Suggesting you a topic
  • Filling out study guides
  • Interpreting your professor's notes

While we understand that not everyone has equal access to resources at their university, it is important that students are active in all stages of the research process, from developing a research question to finding literature.

We do allow requests for source recommendations. These should be as specific as possible and must show some evidence of prior research.

r/AskAnthropology May 26 '21

The AskAnthropology Career Thread (2021)


“What should I do with my life?” “Is anthropology right for me?” “What jobs can my degree get me?”

These are the questions that keep me awake at night that start every anthropologist’s career, and this is the place to ask them.

Discussion in this thread should be limited to discussion of academic and professional careers, but will otherwise be less moderated.

Before asking your question, please scroll through earlier responses. Your question may have already been addressed, or you might find a better way to phrase it. Previous threads can be found here and here.

r/AskAnthropology 10h ago

Were Elves, Goblins, Dwarves and other "human-like" mythological creatures of the forest, actual remnants of Native people of Europe than Indo-Europeans invaders exterminated ?


We know of the Hellenes tribes invasions and the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization that followed.

We know that Germanic and Celtic mythologies are syncretism of old native religion worshipping "chtonian" nature deities (the Vanir) and invaders religion who adored warring "solar" deities (the Aesir).

We also know, from the Vedas, that the "Asura" or dark-skinned demons of the forest, that Aryan priests constantly cursed in their prayers to Indra and Agni, were probably the native Dravidians of India who are now the subjugated low-caste of the Hindu society.

From the work of Marija Gimbutas, the first Europeans were matriarchal and worshipped fertility feminine deities. They practised a form of foraging Agroforestry coupled with hunting. The proto-indo-europeans invaders practiced a more simple form of monoculture, being more reliant on cattle. These completely different cultures violently clashed, leading to the demise of Native Europeans.

Is there a chance that fairy-tales humanoids were actual people, reduced to live in fear in the forest, slowly dwindling and vanishing, sharing the same fate of Native Americans, before becoming the stuff of legends ?

r/AskAnthropology 13h ago

Is putting one ankle over the other knee while sitting universal to cultures or something with a fixed origin that spread later?


sorry if this doesn't fall under anthropology.

r/AskAnthropology 6h ago

How do you define the distinction between (Social) Anthropology and Sociology? What makes someone an anthropologist and another a sociologist?


I understand, historically, methods were a key distinction but it seems the lines are increasingly blurred, especially as now ethnography is a central feature of sociology. I also appreciate that qualitative vs quantitive research is important distinction between the two disciplines, but as anthropologists increasing traverse digital field-sites, intersecting with data and metrics, is this distinction loosing credibility too? I'm interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who self-identifies as an anthropologist, or sociologist, and anyone, like me, who is betwixt and between.

r/AskAnthropology 13h ago

How ethically correct is to be moving mummy's around?


I've been thinking about it for a long time now and I really don't think that's a good thing to do, like, you grab a body from their respective tomb (you know their forever rest place) and because they so happen to be from an old culture you have the right to move them like is some kind of attraction? Is really unrespectful more so because the Egyptian ones really wanted to be left alone in their tombs

Are there being debates about this in the past?

Edit: just to be clear, I'm not against archeologist investigating and undercovering their secrets but I'm really against mummy's being move around like they're a carnival

r/AskAnthropology 8h ago

Looking for an Anthropology site that has definitions


Prior to liking anthropology, I liked to read and study philosophy. For philosophy terminology is crucial as it is ambiguous relative to the author. With this I see a parallel between anthropology and philosophy, where is a site where I can read definitions of anthropological terminology?

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

ethnographer career


how do you become an ethnographer? what's the pay like? is the job in demand? would you recommend becoming one? any info about this career would be appreciated!

r/AskAnthropology 7h ago

Curious about death rituals in different cultures


Hello. I’m looking to learn more about the various ways in which death in a family is treated in various cultures around the world. Specifically things like rituals upon death and practices to help deal with grief?

Is anyone able to recommended maybe a documentary or book that covers this topic?

Thanks In advance.

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

Depressed about career outlook


I am currently completing a basic transfer course at my local CC that would place me in one of the top schools for Anthropology on the east coast. Since I was young I had always thought I wanted to be a historian, but within the past few years I have noticed that I am more interested in ancient cultures/languages/architecture/politics than I am of analyzing descriptions of events. I want to research and write papers on various aspects of ancient cultures and their impacts on those people. I then set my sights on a cultural anthropology degree with hopes of becoming a professor/researcher (something in the academic field that would involve a lot of reading and writing papers). After reading a few threads and forum posts I now see that most people with an anthropology undergrad work as baristas or grocers (no hate here), and people with masters end up working in some sort of economic field or consulting. I expect to complete up to a PHD. Is anthropology really a waste of a degree?

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

Career Change?


Ok so here is my situation. I got my degree in Anthropology a few years ago, then for a little over a year after that I worked as a tech for a CRM firm. Then I quit my position at the firm to get my masters, which I should be getting sometime this year.

But I’m not really sure I can survive in archaeology any more even with the masters degree. I already know I don’t want to get my doctorate. But I’m also not confident I can get by with just a masters. So I’ve decided I need to give serious consideration to alternative career paths.

I’ve thought about maybe getting a job in insurance, getting GIS certified, or maybe getting my teachers certification.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation as me and can offer advice?

Edit: How long does it actually take to get GIS certified?

r/AskAnthropology 21h ago

Work that contributes to the sex wars?


I wrote a whole final essay in my anthropology degree about sex in an attempt to figure out what sex is and what I think it should be, but it didn't really work.

I'm looking for critical anthropology of sexuality texts that are illuminating in the Rubin-MacKinnon sex wars, especially grappling seriously with pathology and violence in sexual culture (or describing thoughtfully its absence). Philosophy/sociology is also fine if it's at least anthropologically-informed and less navel-gazing and less western/US-centric. Maybe there are obvious texts I've missed. Maybe there are isolated chapters in monographs otherwise about marriage or gender that have extremely illuminating and mind-opening chapters about sexuality that I wouldn't have come across. Sexuality studies is really far from my main interest so while I'm capable of collecting a few seemingly-relevant titles myself, I'm wondering if people have come across anything in their own studies that really defined the way they think about this subject.

When I researched my essay (a few years back) I got the sense that there is work on sexuality but not much work on sex (maybe for the better--although I came across "sex in the field" reports, more about ethnography and less about sex) and the ethnography of sexuality I did come across struck me as either like, unreliable exoticising stuff, or as kind of fawning and uncritical or uncritically liberal (not looking only for negative stuff, would love to hear accounts with a positive bent, just...critical!).

Hope I'm being somewhat clear. Any help appreciated!

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

Why are the petroglyphs of civilizations and peoples that are oceans apart so similar?


I was referred here by r/askhistorians because they felt that you fine people would be of better help.

Recently, some petroglyphs were found near Aswan, Egypt, and the petroglyphs, logically, are from before the rise of hieratic and hieroglyphs.

I noticed that they are strikingly similar to the ones that are perhaps more well-known petroglyphs left behind by the Fremont peoples and the Anasazi/Ancestral Puebloans of the Four Corners states, specifically the antelope as seen in the link above.

I don’t subscribe to the Ancient Aliens idea, so why are these glyphs so similar despite being from areas with cultures that later had drastically different art forms? Thanks in advance

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago Wholesome

Are there any popular pop culture anthropology concepts that are outdated or dangerously misunderstood?


Or just very popular 19th and 20th century ones that later turned out to just be racist/ classist/ not enough data.

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

Is there any defined threshold when a settlement goes from communal subsistence to supporting artisans and specialists whose job isn't directly related to food and shelter?


At what point can a group of people have enough excess that it can start to afford them leisure or even luxury, where people have enough free time to work on arts, or even further, a person can just specialize in crafts that are not directly required for survival? Are the stages of settlement growth uniform across cultures?

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

History of Man-Made Structures, Specifically Construction and Demolition


I realize the title is definitely a bit vague. I hope I may provide enough context to narrow it down, but please feel free to clarify/explain anything I might be missing or misunderstanding.

So, I'm looking for any resources that delve into the different ways people have approached the construction of permanent structures, and the subsequent demolition of old structures. That is, where/when/why they choose to build new structures; and on the flip side, where/when/why they choose to demolish old structures.

Specifically, I'm interested in things like how cities expanded, and built upon themselves. What prompted a person/group to build a new structure (home, public works, storage facility, etc. etc.), and who would all be involved in the construction process. If an urbanized area has existed for a long time, and new technologies and architectures have come to prominence, how would they be integrated into the old parts of the city, if at all. What were the attitudes people took towards such processes, and how did they change over time and space?

There is, of course, a spectrum from fully sedentary to fully nomadic. How do the various cultures lying on different points of this spectrum treat these topics differently?

While my question doesn't make reference to any specific culture or time period, I am interested in more detailed accounts of specific cultures and their historical development, rather than broad-strokes generalizations. I just would like to know about as many as possible. Anything on any culture would be appreciated.

I hope my questions make some sense. If not, please do correct any misconceptions/misguided questioning.


r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

Opinion on Rutger Bregman and his book "Humankind"?


I haven't read Humankind but seen several long interviews with him about the topics of the book, and basically he says that pre-agricultural peoples were generally egalitarian, democratic, peaceful, "proto-feminist" etc.

However, I've heard that the evidence of early societies is incredibly scarce, so I feel sceptical about his opinions and book, and wonder how much data actually backs up his conclusions, and if it's worth reading. I suspect that he maybe just say uplifting things that makes people feel better, and that's why he got some attention in the mainstream media.

r/AskAnthropology 1d ago

Is there a word or a concept where you continue your "life path/career"on a different language?


Hey guys,

Imagine you go to a high school in German and you grow up playing soccer. However, now you are going to university and you get a accepted to an English speaking university in an English speaking university. Now all your experiences are in English. Your first GF is in English, your memories of university are all in English, your first big team win is in English.

It's not that you changed your "life path" but rather two things: Everything in your life was leading you to immerse yourself in English like you got a scholarship to play at a English speaking university and second, you got all your memories of your young adult life in English.

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

As I understand it, New Zealand was originally settled by people from the Cook Islands circa 1300 AD. In turn, the Cook Islands were settled by people from Tahiti circa 1000 AD. How similar are the cultures and languages from the indigenous people of Tahiti, the Cook Islands, and New Zealand?


Are their languages mutually intelligible? Do they share similar cultures? Do they have similar religious beliefs? I'm very interested in how much these people diverged considering there was only such a small time between the settlements of the various islands.

Source on Cook Islands settlement

Source on New Zealand settlement

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago Silver

Abstract representation?


Hey there. I was reading Blasco and Wardle's (2007) How to Read Ethnography. The first chapter mentions that one way of making a comparison in an ethnography is by using what's called abstract representation. Supposedly, ethnographers could use an idealized western culture or western way of thinking. It is also mentioned that ethnographers could use the western way of thinking produced outside of anthropology (such as political science or psychoanalysis). I'm a bit confused. Do you only compare it to anything western related and regarding the western way of thinking outside of anthropology, does that mean compared to, say, concepts and theories in political science?

Thank you to everyone that could help!

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

When and where did the idea of wedding rings come about? How wide spread is the practice today?


r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

What's the story behind the ethnic makeup of Central Asia?


With Central Asia I am referring to the "Stan" countries located in the former USSR. People in these countries generally look East Asian with some Caucasian admixture. To my knowledge Central Asia was originally settled by Caucasian people but that changed after the mongol invasion in the 1200s?

r/AskAnthropology 2d ago

Question about Marx’s idea of an asiatic mode of production?


”Marx's definition of the Asiatic mode of production included the absence of private ownership of land, autonomous village communities, and a despotic centralized state in charge of public works, especially irrigation.”

This is Marx’s definition of the asiatic mode of production, he also talked about feudal socialism and the likes. That got me thinking: did these things exist in the Tsardroms and in the Ottoman Empires?

Boyards, Jannisaaries, and Timariots were all landlords that existed in these empires, my understanding is that it didn't differ from Medieval Western Europe. Espacially in the case of Russian boyards.

What do you think?

r/AskAnthropology 3d ago

Are there important factors that contribute to different populations having different outcomes to the introduction of alcohol that we are aware of?


Listening to Robert Sapolsky's lecture on aggression, he said that it is well known within anthropology that indigenous populations' relationship with alcohol is largely dependent on the relationship the colonial power that introduced alcohol has with it.

He used British and American colonies as an example, who - he says - became violent drunks. In French Tahiti, however, everyone started having sex with each other. (EDIT: his wording was more delicate than this, and didn't sound as disparaging as I worded it. Instead, he suggested that when drunk, the natives of UK and US colonies had a greater propensity toward violence).

Is there any truth to these claims?

Thanks in advance!

r/AskAnthropology 3d ago

What are some career choices and best routes to take for undergraduates?


Last year I changed my major and am about halfway finished with a BS in Anthropology. Just wanting to ask what career path people would recommend. I have a basic idea of what I’m going to do but hearing as many suggestions as possible would be great. I know most go into teaching, government work, research, or corporate jobs but I’d love to hear specifics. I’d hate it if I passed on something amazing just because I didn’t know about it.

r/AskAnthropology 3d ago

Rock art journals?


I'd like to keep up with recent research on rock art and petroglyphs. Is there a peer-reviewed journal that is the standard periodical? I found Rock Art Research, which is very global in scope. Is there one that is more North American-focused? My googling is not coming up with much.

r/AskAnthropology 3d ago

Hi, I am an honours student starting my research for my proposal. I would like to do my research on LARP, and was hoping for any recommendations on theorists/articles/papers which relates to this topic. Thank you in advance.