What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the holistic and comparative exploration of what it means to be human. 

In the United States Anthropology has historically been comprised of four sub-disciplines:  Cultural Anthropology, Physical (Biological) Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology and Archaeology.  The goal of integrating these diverse areas of study into one discipline has been to gain the most comprehensive knowledge possible—across cultures and across time—about humanity. 

The Anthropology minor at Bradley focuses primarily on Cultural Anthropology, with the inclusion of an introductory course in Physical Anthropology.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology studies social patterns and practices across cultures, with an emphasis on how people live in particular places, how they organize families and societies, and how they create meaning.

Through the study of other cultures, we develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.  Anthropology enables us to comprehend values and practices different from our own; to develop an appreciation of, and sensitivity to, cultural diversity; and to better understand our own lives relative to larger global and historical processes.

Physical Anthropology

Physical anthropology is the anthropological study of humans as biological organisms.

In order to place humans in a comparative perspective, this part of Anthropology examines the physical variability and biological adaptations of humans and other primates and explores the origins of humanity from the appearance of the earliest hominids up to the development of anatomically modern Homo sapiens.   Physical Anthropology also includes forensic anthropology, which is the application of the science of physical or biological anthropology in criminal investigations and humanitarian contexts.