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Topic: Anthropology

anthropology book recommendations

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#1    Coyote Speaks

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:48 AM

Knowing that some of you are active within the field, and others have been following it from the fringes for decades, I was curious to inquire what books one would take as classics of the field.  I am interested in books on all four fields of anthropology.

Text books are always fine, as are anything else.  

Thank you all in advance! :)


#2    Conrad Clough

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:13 AM

Each of the subfields covers a vast amount of territory in themselves... is there anything more specific you are looking for?


#3    Swede

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:00 PM

View PostCoyote Speaks, on 01 May 2012 - 01:48 AM, said:

Knowing that some of you are active within the field, and others have been following it from the fringes for decades, I was curious to inquire what books one would take as classics of the field.  I am interested in books on all four fields of anthropology.

Text books are always fine, as are anything else.  

Thank you all in advance! :)

As Conrad noted, the field is quite vast. In addition, while there are a certain few works (such as Wormington) that may be considered "classics", the field moves quite rapidly. White papers are often one's best source.

There is also the aspect of anthropological theory. The following is a reasonably good text in this regard and you may find it to be of interest:

Bentley, Alexander R., Herbert D.G. Maschner, Christopher Chippindale
2009 Handbook of Archaeological Theories. Altimera Press, Lattham, New York, Toronto, Plymouth UK.

Do not be mislead by the "handbook" appellation. This work is nearly 600 pages in length.

If you could narrow your points of interest somewhat, it may be possible to direct you to further references. Realize that this may be rather difficult, but simply pick a time period/culture/focus and the various contributors will likely attempt to assist.

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#4    Conrad Clough

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:38 PM

I find Archaeology: Thoeries, Methods, and Practice by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn to be a good resource for people that do not know a lot about archaeology in general but would like to learn more (the one I normally loan people is the 5th edition, 2008).


#5    Purifier

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 12:06 PM

View PostCoyote Speaks, on 01 May 2012 - 01:48 AM, said:

Knowing that some of you are active within the field, and others have been following it from the fringes for decades, I was curious to inquire what books one would take as classics of the field.  I am interested in books on all four fields of anthropology.

Text books are always fine, as are anything else.  

Thank you all in advance! :)


Well if your interested in Cultural Anthropology, I have two books I'd personally recommend:

Cultural Anthropology (2nd Ed) by Paul G. Hiebert  ISBN: 0-8010-4273-9
Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction To Cultural Anthropology (sixth Ed) by Conrad Phillip Kottak  ISBN: 978-0-07-340524-7

Although I'm pretty sure there are later editions out now, and those would probably have more information in them, that  really depends on how much your are willing to spend because the earlier editions I recommended may be a lot cheaper. Unless your local library just happens to have those particular books, I'd check there first.

Edited by Purifier, 02 May 2012 - 12:08 PM.

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#6    Coyote Speaks

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:33 PM

The trouble is that most of the topics interest me.  I'm very interested in Irish history, as well as in most prehistoric history.  That sounds like an oxymoron.

Archaeology interests me, as it explains a lot of the ancient cultural  connections and the like... I'm not certain if this is really clearing it up any more!


#7    Swede

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:57 PM

View PostCoyote Speaks, on 04 May 2012 - 06:33 PM, said:

The trouble is that most of the topics interest me.  I'm very interested in Irish history, as well as in most prehistoric history.  That sounds like an oxymoron.

Archaeology interests me, as it explains a lot of the ancient cultural  connections and the like... I'm not certain if this is really clearing it up any more!

Here are a series of sites that provide access to quite a number of quality papers, articles, and resources related to Irish archaeology. Hope that you find some of these to be of interest.

http://irisharchaeology.ie/articles/

http://scholar.googl...1,24&as_sdtp=on

http://irisharchaeol...-archaeologist/

.


#8    Purifier

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:05 PM

View PostCoyote Speaks, on 04 May 2012 - 06:33 PM, said:

The trouble is that most of the topics interest me.  I'm very interested in Irish history, as well as in most prehistoric history.  That sounds like an oxymoron.

Archaeology interests me, as it explains a lot of the ancient cultural  connections and the like... I'm not certain if this is really clearing it up any more!



Also sounds like what you may want to do, is really pay a visit to a large library then; or at least the closest one to you. You may be suprised on what you will find in the library upon many subjects, but be wary and critical of the sources the information is coming from. You could look into World History books first and start from there, then maybe specific history books that deal with what you just mentioned (Irish History). If the library doesn't have it, some times they can borrow books from another library at your request.

(And not to mention this will save you money in the long run when doing the research on anything you desire to know. ;) )

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#9    Purifier

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:18 PM

View PostSwede, on 04 May 2012 - 06:57 PM, said:

Here are a series of sites that provide access to quite a number of quality papers, articles, and resources related to Irish archaeology. Hope that you find some of these to be of interest.

http://irisharchaeology.ie/articles/

http://scholar.googl...1,24&as_sdtp=on

http://irisharchaeol...-archaeologist/

.


Wow! Those are some damn good links/info Swede, makes me want to take an interest and read a little myself.

Very good links.

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#10    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:53 PM

I like the works of E. E. Evans-Prichard, one of the founders of modern anthropology. Emile Durkheim is also a good read.

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#11    Swede

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:55 AM

View PostPurifier, on 04 May 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

Wow! Those are some damn good links/info Swede, makes me want to take an interest and read a little myself.

Very good links.

Pleased that you found such to be of interest. While the internet is not optimal, some degree of qualified information is available.

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#12    Swede

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:57 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 04 May 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

I like the works of E. E. Evans-Prichard, one of the founders of modern anthropology. Emile Durkheim is also a good read.

One could also add the works of Franz Boas into this category.

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#13    Coyote Speaks

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:07 PM

View PostSwede, on 06 May 2012 - 12:57 AM, said:

One could also add the works of Franz Boas into this category.

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Is Margaret Meade still considered good as well?  Is Darwin also thrown into this category, or is he considered too dated now?  Similarly, are Diamond (Guns, Germs, Steel, etc.) and Dawkins worth a look as well?


#14    Swede

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:26 PM

View PostCoyote Speaks, on 06 May 2012 - 05:07 PM, said:

Is Margaret Meade still considered good as well?  Is Darwin also thrown into this category, or is he considered too dated now?  Similarly, are Diamond (Guns, Germs, Steel, etc.) and Dawkins worth a look as well?

The following responses are inherently rather subjective, so please do not necessarily take them as the "final" word on the various authors.

Meade - Cultural anthropologist/ethnographer - While quite popular during her day, more recent research by the likes of Freeman and Caton have cast rather serious doubts on the credibility of Meade's Samoan research. You may wish to look into this aspect.

Darwin - From an historical aspect, On the Origin of Species would certainly be a "classic" and worth reading. Just keep in mind that more current research has refined, added to, and, in some cases, corrected some of Darwin's initial understandings. That said, his contributions were of notable significance.

Diamond - As most of my personal/professional research generally involves more specialized reading, have not personally read Diamond, though am somewhat familiar with Guns, Germs, and Steel via associates. His basic concept regarding the environmental impact on cultural change/development is one that would be in agreement with my own research/understandings/interpretations. He has, however, been criticized for technical data errors. Cultural anthropologists have also criticized his "environmental determinism" approach. Am not personally supportive of this critique.

Dawkins - Have only read segments of his work. My thought would be that, while quite controversial, he has produced some well-argued research that may worth reading for, if nothing else, the addition of different perspectives.

One of the aspects that you will encounter in your reading is that there can be quite an amount of "internal" debate in the anthropological field. For example, bio-anthropologists and archaeologists are not always in agreement with cultural anthropologists on a number of matters including the basics of methodology. My best advice would be to read as much as you can in order to both develop a broader understanding of the varying positions and also to assist you in formulating your own position(s) in regards to the various schools of thought.

With this concept in mind, you may wish to investigate the writings of such cultural anthropologists as Clifford Geertz, David Schneider, and Marshall Sahlins. You may also enjoy the works of Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus. Do not consider these recommendations to be reflective of personal support on my own part. Merely an attempt to expose you to the range of thought.

You may also wish to procure a copy of:

Johnson, Matthew
2010 Archaeological Theory: An introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, UK.

As a final note - In regards to books dealing with "historical synthesis", have found the works of Daniel Boorstin (such as The Discoverers) to be pleasurable and interesting reading.

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