social anthropology

What can I do with an Anthropology degree

“What can you do with an anth degree?”…everything.

I am constantly seeing posts in the the anth tag about how anth students will never have a career other than being a prof… .um no.

If you are in your final years of your degree and you still don’t know what you can do with an anth degree then you are not communicating with your profs/chair of dept enough. Or maybe you haven’t thought about it? 

Here is an extensive list of what you can do with your anth degree…

In Education
• teaching
• curriculum design and planning
• multiculturalism heritage curricular materials
• museum exhibitions & educational programs

In Health Care
• disease control
• delivery of health knowledge
• rapid assessment of disease outbreaks
• disaster planning and intervention
• cross-cultural health research
• cultural sensitivity training and research in health care

In Development
• globalization issues
• environments issues
• NGOs, UN agencies

In Government
• foreign affairs (e.g. Foreign Service Officer)
• justice (e.g. expert witness)
• immigration
• First Nations affairs
• multiculturalism heritage policies
• social services
• CIDA and other foreign aid

In Business
• technical writing
• journalism (e.g. reporting, writing, editing)
• advertising (e.g. copywriting)
• publishing (e.g. copyediting)
• market research (e.g. international markets)
• human relations
• intercultural communications expert

In Academia
• anthropology
• cultural geography
• cultural studies
• health sciences
• social work 

Careers in Archaeology

In Museums
• administration
• exhibition curation
• collection management
• artifact conservation
• archive management

In Governmet • cultural resource management • historic resource planning • multiculturalism & heritage issues • First Nation Affairs • environmental impact assessment • Parks Canada • federal land management • cultural resource management   In Business • cultural resource management • consulting • public/salvage archaeology     - for engineering firms     - for environmental resource assessment firms     - for cultural resource assessment firms • journalism (e.g. reporting, writing, editing) • technical writing

In Academia
• anthropology
• classical archaeology
• historical archaeology
• human geography

Careers in Biological or Physical Anthropology

In culture history museums
• outreach & educational programs
• exhibition curation
• collections management

In zoological gardens
• primate care and management
• primate conservation

In the public sector
• First Nation affairs
• policy making in the area of environmental
impact (re: primates)
• forensics – medico-legal investigations
- human rights investigations
• cultural resources management

In industry
• applied anthropometry
• human engineering
• biomechanics
• ergonomics
• scientific writing

In health related fields
• epidemiology
• human adaptation
• history of disease
• nutrition
• genetics counseling

In academia (research & teaching)
• anthropology (biological anthropology)
• Bioarchaeology
• evolutionary anthropology/human paleontology
• forensic anthropology
• kinesiology – biomechanics
• gross anatomy

Careers in Linguistics

In Education
• teaching, languages, tesol, literacy
• curriculum design and planning
• language and literacy policies
• museum exhibitions & educational programs

In Health Sciences
• speech pathology
• audiology
• speech analysis / forensic linguistics

In Computational Linguistics
• speech recognition programming
• multilingual programming & translation
• corpus linguistics (e.g. concordancing programs)
• computer-assisted linguistic analysis

In Government
• foreign affairs
• justice (e.g. courtroom interpreting)
• immigration
• First Nations affairs

In Publishing
• translation
• technical writing
• lexicography

In Business
• technical writing
• toy industry
• literacy in the workplace
• advertising
• telephone companies (Bell Canada)

In Academia
• anthropology (anthropological linguistics)
• computer science (computational linguistics)
• language departments
    - French, German, etc. linguistics
    - English (Old English, Middle English)
• psychology (psycholinguistics)
• writing

-Lakehead University

From the aaanet site…

Contract Archaeologist
Corporate Analyst
Corporate Anthropologist
Educational Planner
Forensic Specialist
Government Analyst
High School Teacher
Medical Researcher
Museum Curator
Park Ranger
Peace Corps Staffer
Social Worker
Technical Writer
University Administrator

Do you have an anth degree? What are you doing for your career??

As scholars trained in anthropology, we argue that the discipline should be at the forefront of transforming raced and gendered inequalities, given its emphasis on self-reflexivity. Anthropology possesses tools - such as a willingness to look inwards - that may prove invaluable in dismantling oppressive environments. The work that remains to be done is applying these tools to the discipline itself, looking starkly at its embedded assumptions and hierarchies. Beginning this difficult work of critically examining the discipline will allow for not only the validation of more diverse research and researchers, but a radical transformation of the field of anthropology.

Sitting at the Kitchen Table: Fieldnotes from Women of Colour in Anthropology. Cultural Anthropology. Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 443-463.

This article, written by anthropologists Tami Navarro, Bianca Williams and Attiya Ahmad, brings a very important, yet often obscured, discussion to the fore, and should be read by anyone interested in anthropology as a discipline. 

I initially planned to quote from this as I do from other articles, however this would not give the message its due justice. These three women discuss the challenges faced by academic women of colour, particularly in the anthropology departments of university. The challenges they discuss include the expectations by both their students and colleagues, that they must, as women of colour, serve as ‘native’ anthropologists, or otherwise somehow justify their positions of authority in such a manner not required by their white, male colleagues. They discuss the issues of binary modes of thinking in anthropology, and how a break from these would help the movement towards true inclusivity. They speak from both personal and from well researched professional experiences.

It is a piece of great importance. A work which reflects upon the discipline of anthropology itself which is, as much as we may like to think otherwise, just as subject to our embedded assumptions and hierarchies as any other. Racism and sexism are still rife within our society, and only through allowing discussions such as these to come to the fore, do we have any hope of finding real lasting solutions, which will help us achieve true inclusivity in all walks of life.

Resources for Anthropology Students

To Request a resource list for your discipline, you can request HERE. My resource list for classics can be found HERE

See disclaimer at base for sources. This is a brief list of the thousands of resources available to Anthropology Students, please add to it if something is missing.

Professional Associations:

Smithsonian Museums: 

Web Resources: 

Pacific Studies:

African Studies:

Gender Studies:


Anthropology and Technology

Biological/Physical Anthropology

Applied/Practicing Anthropology



Literature and Libraries

Resources for Professors/Teachers

Visual Anthropology

SOURCES: This list includes a condensed list from Anthropology on the Web, but is not limited to that source.

  • My name is Stephany Tang and I need/want your input!
  • I have a BA in Anthropology and I am finishing up a BS of Information, Sciences, and Technology (IST) degree this semester at Penn State Abington. This just means that with my IST degree I have the ability to program various types of applications (both software and web).
  • My interests in IST are solely for Anthropological purposes. I am aiming to break open a discussion about breaking the gap between technology and Anthropology, in addition to creating open source tools that can be utilized in this amazing field. I already have opened the discussion with an Anthropologist at my campus, but I want to gather more input from other individuals to see what is needed and can be tackled immediately.
  • I have one idea already:create an interactive application for students taking Biological Anthropology courses. This application would display most of the hominid skulls found in two ways: in a timeline and geographically. Students would be able filter skull data accordingly and when they hover over specific skull images, a pop up filled with the skull's specific information would appear. This would be a great educational tool for students to use and learn from.
  • If anyone is interest in application ideas, or general ideas of what kind of technology (non-equipment) they would love to have, please comment on this post or message me. I would also like to start a Google discussion group, or something similar, if needed.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems. Historically, anthropologists in the United States have been trained in one of four areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Anthropologists often integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their research, teaching, and professional lives.

  • Sociocultural Anthropology
    Sociocultural anthropologists examine social patterns and practices across cultures, with a special interest in how people live in particular places and how they organize, govern, and create meaning. A hallmark of sociocultural anthropology is its concern with similarities and differences, both within and among societies, and its attention to race, sexuality, class, gender, and nationality. Research in sociocultural anthropology is distinguished by its emphasis on participant observation, which involves placing oneself in the research context for extended periods of time to gain a first-hand sense of how local knowledge is put to work in grappling with practical problems of everyday life and with basic philosophical problems of knowledge, truth, power, and justice. Topics of concern to sociocultural anthropologists include such areas as health, work, ecology and environment, education, agriculture and development, and social change.
  • Biological (or Physical) Anthropology
    Biological anthropologists seek to understand how humans adapt to diverse environments, how biological and cultural processes work together to shape growth, development and behavior, and what causes disease and early death. In addition, they are interested in human biological origins, evolution and variation. They give primary attention to investigating questions having to do with evolutionary theory, our place in nature, adaptation and human biological variation. To understand these processes, biological anthropologists study other primates (primatology), the fossil record (paleoanthropology), prehistoric people (bioarchaeology), and the biology (e.g., health, cognition, hormones, growth and development) and genetics of living populations.
  • Archaeology
    Archaeologists study past peoples and cultures, from the deepest prehistory to the recent past, through the analysis of material remains, ranging from artifacts and evidence of past environments to architecture and landscapes. Material evidence, such as pottery, stone tools, animal bone, and remains of structures, is examined within the context of theoretical paradigms, to address such topics as the formation of social groupings, ideologies, subsistence patterns, and interaction with the environment. Like other areas of anthropology, archaeology is a comparative discipline; it assumes basic human continuities over time and place, but also recognizes that every society is the product of its own particular history and that within every society there are commonalities as well as variation.
  • Linguistic Anthropology
    Linguistic anthropology is the comparative study of ways in which language reflects and influences social life. It explores the many ways in which language practices define patterns of communication, formulate categories of social identity and group membership, organize large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and, in conjunction with other forms of meaning-making, equip people with common cultural representations of their natural and social worlds. Linguistic anthropology shares with anthropology in general a concern to understand power, inequality, and social change, particularly as these are constructed and represented through language and discourse.

Addressing complex questions, such as human origins, the past and contemporary spread and treatment of infectious disease, or globalization, requires synthesizing information from all four subfields. Anthropologists are highly specialized in our research interests, yet we remain generalists in our observations of the human condition and we advocate for a public anthropology that is committed to bringing knowledge to broad audiences. Anthropologists collaborate closely with people whose cultural patterns and processes we seek to understand or whose living conditions require amelioration. Collaboration helps bridge social distances and gives greater voice to the people whose cultures and behaviors anthropologists study, enabling them to represent themselves in their own words. An engaged anthropology is committed to supporting social change efforts that arise from the interaction between community goals and anthropological research. Because the study of people, past and present, requires respect for the diversity of individuals, cultures, societies, and knowledge systems, anthropologists are expected to adhere to a strong code of professional ethics.

Anthropologists are employed in a number of different sectors, from colleges and universities to government agencies, NGOs, businesses, and health and human services. Within the university, they teach undergraduate and graduate anthropology, and many offer anthropology courses in other departments and professional schools such as business, education, design, and public health. Anthropologists contribute significantly to interdisciplinary fields such as international studies and ethnic and gender studies, and some work in academic research centers. Outside the university, anthropologists work in government agencies, private businesses, community organizations, museums, independent research institutes, service organizations, the media; and others work as independent consultants and research staff for agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank. More than half of all anthropologists now work in organizations outside the university. Their work may involve building research partnerships, assessing economic needs, evaluating policies, developing new educational programs, recording little-known community histories, providing health services, and other socially relevant activities. You will find anthropologists addressing social and cultural consequences of natural disasters, equitable access to limited resources, and human rights at the global level.


Without context, meaning does not exist.

ViHart (YouTube) - Twelve Tones [Quote at 18:25]

When is a table a table, and when isn’t it? The dictionary says “a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed” but what if we place a cup on a stool. Is that stool now a table? Throw in a level of cultural variation, for example in Japan, where traditionally one sits upon the floor. The tables are much lower, often sunk into the floor. Would we recognise the table immediately? And what about places where such furniture doesn’t exist, where objects are placed upon the floor or on mats. Do we say they have no tables or that they use the floors and mats as tables? Is the meaning ‘table’ attached more to the object or the usage? How can we be sure when we travel, that we are seeing other people’s tables, and not other people’s stools with cups on them…

Now while this could be seen as a very pedantic argument the thing to focus on is this; if the meaning of a clear, solid and simple object is subject to such questions, imagine the questions that could be asked of colour, emotions, poetry, art, religion, ethics, politics and family. 

Meaning requires context, context is subject to social, cultural, political, and individual variations (and not only these…). Anthropology is one attempt at unpicking this context, to try to penetrate into a true meaning, rather than a poor translation. 

Success is far off and potentially impossible, but the discoveries made on the journey are well worth it. 

At the end of each year, a user always outlines all the memes that rose up the past 12 months. However, to assume that we can construct a singular timeline in which one can chronicle the history of memes each year is a blatant form of Tumblr-centrism (the practice of viewing the interweb through a tumblr blurred lens). Which then begs the question: what meme communities have developed their own culture and own sense of humour? How many are there? Do these meme communities parallel the meta-social justice humor that Tumblr has developed so awfully? In this thesis, I explore…



This is my first proper day back in Cambridge. I came up from London on the train yesterday - and I had a real “oh god, what am I doing?” crisis re: returning to the bubble so ridiculously early. Even the porter felt sorry for me. 

I ended up oversleeping quite a bit this morning, but I’m not too distressed as I’m trying to take this weekend easy anyway. 

Bonjour Tristesse is the book I’m reading for fun, as I refuse to let my degree crush my love of reading and ‘My Dysfunctions’ is the book I use to vent. I haven’t actually written in it for the last few days, which is a good sign for spending the weekend alone I suppose. 

My moleskine diary contains my plan for this month, along with what I’m hoping to get done this weekend - an outline of social anthropology part IIA because I was so disorganised in Michaelmas and Lent. 

Late breakfast of cereal and mint tea is over, so it’s time for the library. 

Calling all anthropologists! (An updated version)

For those of you who had expressed interest in a video conference call with fellow anthropology students from around the world, I have more information for you!

This will be taking place on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 5PM CST. We’re hoping to host an online chat via tinychat, so that those without video/audio capabilities will still be able to participate and ask questions. 

It will be a password protected room located at I’m hoping that password protection will keep the group limited to those who are truly engaged. If you’re interested in participating, please send me an ask or an email (uofrcasa at gmail) so I can send you the password!


I’m a 4th year student studying Cultural Anthropology at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. I’m the President of our Cultural Anthropology Students’ Association. 

It is our hope at the University of Regina to engage anthropology students from around the world in a discussion related to our fields of interest. We are interested in expanding our academic bubble by contacting undergraduates, graduates and Ph.D students with interests in other branches of anthropology. 

We don’t want this to be an intimidating discussion, but one that allows students who are interested in anthropology to find out about other educational institutions, professors, grad programs etc.

There is a certain bias in everyone’s perspective that has been named, by the French, déformation professionnelle: the tendency to look at every context from the point of view of one’s profession.

On Looking: A walkers guide to the art of observation - Alexandra Horowitz (pp. 3)

I certainly do this. One great thing about conversing with a bunch of students is that they each bring their own unique perspective to any conversation. This leads to the daily aspects of life being pitted and annotated with a random array of extra information. I have found anthropologists to be particularly prone to this.