Essay on What Is Anthropology? How Is It Done?

2374 Words Invalid date 10 Pages
What Is Anthropology? How Is It Done?

People enter the field of anthropology for a variety of reasons. Some people enter the field by accident. This means that they did not intend on becoming an anthropologist. Some people were interested in the field from the start. One person married a social anthropologist; and, after living with a group of people for two years wrote an ethnography about the people.

The first story is about Adrienne Zihlman. She is a paleoanthropologist. She collects all kinds of bones; so, she can "contrive and test ideas about the origins of humans by studying the remains of living things" (Shell 1991:37). Zihlman went to Miami University of Ohio, where she decided to major in anthropology after reading
…show more content…
The second story is about Barbara Smuts. She is a primatologist. Smuts decided to be a primatologist after seeing Jane Goodall's first article about chimpanzees in National Geographic (Rosenthal 1991:23). She graduated from Harvard in 1972; so, she started her graduate studies in biology at Stanford (Rosenthal 1991:24). While doing her graduate research, she flew to Goodall's Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania to study foraging patterns and social relationships in female chimps (Rosenthal 1991:24).

During her first few years of research, Smuts had a lot of problems (Rosenthal 1991:24). On her first expedition, she and three other students were kidnapped (Rosenthal 1991:24). They were returned safe, but no one was allowed to research in Gombe except for Jane Goodall (Rosenthal 1991:24). Smuts decided to change the focus of her study to olive baboons (Rosenthal 1991:24). Her first baboon project fell through because of problems in Masai Mara, Kenya (Rosenthal 1991:24). She found that baboons are the perfect species to study because they are very social; and, she was interested in social relationships (Rosenthal 1991:24). She followed the baboons everywhere throughout the day (Rosenthal 1991:24). She thinks that she had a lot of success with the baboons because she was small and female (Rosenthal 1991:24).

In the late 1980s, Smuts started to study