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The study of humankind in all times and places

Holistic Perspective

A fundamental principle of anthropology, that the various parts of human culture and biology must be viewed in the broadest possible context in order to understand their interconnections and interdependence.


The belief that the ways of one's own culture are the only proper ones.


Theories about the world and reality based on the assumptions and values of one's own culture.

Applied Anthropology

The use of anthropological knowledge and methods to solve practical problems, often for a specific client.

Medical Anthropology

A specialization in anthropology that brings theoretical and applied approaches from cultural and biological anthropology to the study of human health and disease.

Physical Anthropology

Also known as biological anthropology. The systematic study of humans as biological organisms.

Molecular Anthropology

A branch of biological anthropology that uses genetic and biochemical techniques to test hypotheses about human evolution, adaptation, and variation.


The study of the origins and predecessors of the present human species.


Focusing on the interaction of biology and culture.


The study of living and fossil primates.

Forensic Anthropology

Subfield of applied physical anthropology that specializes in the identification of human skeletal remains for legal purposes.

Cultural Anthropology

Also known as social or sociocultural anthropology. The study of customary patterns in human behavior, thought, and feelings. It focuses on humans as culture-producing and culture-reproducing creatures.


society's shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and generate behavior and are reflected in that behavior.


detailed description of a particular culture primarily based on fieldwork.


The term anthropologists use for on-location research.

Participant Observation

In ethnography, the technique of learning a people's culture through social participation and personal observation within the community being studies, as well as interviews and discussion with individual members of the group over an extended period of time.


The study and analysis of different cultures from a comparative or historical point of view, utilizing ethnographic accounts and developing anthropological theories that help explain why certain important differences or similarities occur among groups.

Linguistic ANthropology

The study of human languages


An extended communication on a particular subject.


The study of human cultures through the recovery and analysis of material remains and environmental data.


The archaeological study of human remains emphasizing the preservation of cultural and social processes on the skeleton.

Cultural resource management

branch of archaeology concerned with survey and/or excavation of archaeological and historical remains threatened by construction or development and policy surrounding protection of cultural resources.


Based on observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith


A tentative explanation of the relationships between certain phenomena


In science, an explanation of natural phenomena, supported by a reliable body of data.


An assertion of opinion or belief formally handed down by an authority as true and indisputable.


Any object fashioned or altered by humans

Material culture

The durable aspects of culture such as tools, structures, and art.


The preserved remains of plants and animals that lived in the past.


Worldwide interconnectedness, evidenced in global movements of natural resources, trade goods, human labor, finance capital, information, and infectious diseases.

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