More on biocultural anthropology

Kate Clancy’s post that I linked to the other day continues to generate wonderful conversation. I would first recommend re-visiting her original post and checking out the comments, which include very thoughtful replies from a number of people, including Greg Downey and Daniel Lende. Lende has followed up with his own lengthy and thoughtful response at his PLOS Neuroanthropology blog. You should check out his entire post, which includes comments on several of the other related commentaries, including my own. But this passage rings true with my thinking and why, despite being primarily a paleoanthropologist, I find myself drawn to the biocultural cause:

Yet what brings many students into anthropology, and still impassions me about the field, is that it does approach the question of “What does it mean to be human?” in the broadest, most interdisciplinary way. And it strikes me that we have some core analytical approaches to that question that matters, and that this style of thinking is what really makes up the holism of anthropology, rather than a particular commitment to four-fields and working across the different sub-disciplines. This human lens includes a comparative approach, an attention to variation across time and space, a recognition that we as researchers inevitably bias our own data, and, yes, a commitment to drawing on multiple strands of research.

This might not be a bad time to link back to my piece from the Fall, “Science and the Ring Species of Anthropology

About Adam Van Arsdale

I am biological anthropologist with a specialization in paleoanthropology. My research focuses on the pattern of evolutionary change in humans over the past two million years, with an emphasis on the early evolution and dispersal of our genus, Homo. My work spans a number of areas including comparative anatomy, genetics and demography.
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