The American Anthropological Association is celebrating anthropology and anthropologists across the world through the declaration of National Anthropology Day. Anthropologists are innovators and creative thinkers who contribute to every sector of society. National Anthropology Day is a day for anthropologists to celebrate and participate in their discipline with the public around them.
Being an anthropologist, and seeing as how I have a particular affinity for American anthropology, I wanted to write a post encouraging everyone to read more anthropology and to engage with the work of anthropologists. As a discipline, we are notoriously awful at engaging the public with our work—but hey, this is celebrate anthropology day, not how-anthropology-fails day!
Anyway, seeing as I’ve written on Skepchick before about what American anthropology is and what makes it different from anthropology in other places (see link above), I wanted to share some of my favorite anthropological work, both old-school and contemporary, from all four subfields. This list includes a few works from each subfield that I really like and think non-anthropologists can read and enjoy (in other words, they’re not too full of academic jargon).
Feel free to share your favorite anthropology in the comments section, or to ask questions about anthropology if you are curious about anything!
Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead
The Interpretation of Cultures by Clifford Geertz
Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment by João Biehl (Hands down my favorite ethnography of all time.)
The Pastoral Clinic by Angela Garcia
Writing Women’s Worlds by Lila Abu-Lughod
Wayward Women: Sexuality and Agency in a New Guinea Society by Holly Wardlow
The Silent Language by Edward T. Hall
The Everyday Language of White Racism by Jane Hill
Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage by William Rathje and Callen Murphy
Origins by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin
Disclosing the Past by Mary Leakey
In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall
Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature by Augustin Fuentes
The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Franz de Waal