Anthropology is a study of humans in all places and across time. Anthropology contributes to the liberal arts curriculum by providing the holistic and comparative perspectives to our understanding of the human condition. Humans are seen, holistically, as social, biological, economic, political, psychological, and cultural beings. The whole person, however, is more than the sum of these inclinations. Human motivations and behaviors, thus, cannot be reduced to a single variable or trait.
What is human can also be discerned through the comparative perspective. This perspective asks that we examine people from different cultures and historical/pre-historical moments. It is through cross-cultural comparisons that we can understand the universals (present in all human societies) from the generalities (present in some human societies) and particularities (present in only one society) of the human experience.
Anthropology meets Rockhurst University’s guiding values of learning, leadership, and service.
Courses in Anthropology directly address the University Learning Theme of International and Cultural Understanding. Courses in anthropology also partially fulfill CORE requirements toward graduation.
Anthropology teaches skills that are immensely useful in the contemporary world where contacts and exchanges of people, materials, and information occur with increasing speed. Students of anthropology understand, for example, that their “personal decisions have economic and moral implications for themselves and others” (Rockhurst University Vision, Mission, Values and History)
Anthropology students learn to become leaders who are effective in service for others because they are social scientists who apply their intellect to solve contemporary problems and inequalities and work toward social justice. Anthropology also teaches students to understand the values, contexts, and motivations behind the behaviors of people they wish to serve. Without this knowledge, effective leadership is not possible. In short, anthropology helps students learn to become better global citizens who respect and celebrate both the similarities and differences in our shared humanity.
Some further resources:
American Anthropological Association (www.aaanet.org)
Central States Anthropological Society (http://groups.creighton.edu/csas/)
National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (http://www.practicinganthropology.org/)