Review of Conrad Kottak's 'Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity'
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Conrad Kottak's Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity (12th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008), having gone through 12 editions since its first publication in 1974, deserves its reputation as a widely-used comprehensive introduction for undergraduates to the field of anthropology. As with other recently published textbooks, it is a multifaceted, colorful production that includes an 'ebook' version, a CD-ROM, and supplementary Website material. With this extensive array of material it applies the latest pedagogical techniques to systematically introduce the student to the issues that are critical to the field.
As a general introduction, this textbook represents a highly instructive 'snapshot' of anthropology's own self-image as it views itself today. A primary text in anthropology education, it includes a distinguished editorial board of practicing anthropologists and academics who review the text and provide the author with substantive feedback. Though the book betrays its own biases and views (the author is a cultural anthropologist from the American Midwest), Professor Kottak is careful to outline the field of anthropology in as broadly useful and neutral manner as possible for American students. The book is truly global in its context, and it is careful to avoid any of anthropology's past failings relating to Eurocentric bias by including all countries within the scope of anthropology.
Though not a critical instructional component for beginning students,