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Exploring human experience and well-being

With pedagogic experiences enriching anthropology, one is not always restricted to the academic domain

education Updated: Jun 12, 2012 19:00 IST
SL Malik

Anthropology is the study of human beings in time and space.

Understanding human variation in totality, be it biological or cultural, of past or present, its application in human welfare is the focal aim of anthropology. It also examines the processes, reasons and factors that cause such a variation. Morphologically, no two persons look alike except monozygotic twins. Genetically, the differential arrangement of the two base pairs in our DNA sequencing is the basis of our differences. We differ in our culture and language. Notwithstanding these glaring differences, we still are human, which makes this science worth exploring. It allows studying and serving one's own kind.

Significant in the course of development, there have been disciplines that have prospered in such a way that certain majesty has been associated with them.

Anthropology as a discipline has prevailed, complete with its realm of practice within the academic dominion of the world.

Anthropology, as a career option, provides an opportunity to sift through an abundance of sub-disciplines of interest, such as:

Physical/biological anthropology: Deals with biological and genetic aspects of human beings that encompass its origin, diversity and adaptations.

Socio-cultural anthropology: Seeks to understand the inter-relationship between humans through ethnographic explorations.

Prehistoric archaeology: Establishes human culture in the past and its relevance in the present with the retrieval of evidences of human existence.

The application areas of anthropology include ergonomics, criminal investigation and forensic anthropology, tribal and rural development, disaster management, tourism promotion, health and disease, human population genetics, human ecology, economic anthropology, sports and governance.

With pedagogic experiences enriching anthropology, one is not always restricted to the academic domain, but is very likely to develop the expertise and experience which enables him or her to serve mankind in a variety of ways.

Institutes at a glance

In India:
* University of Delhi
* Punjab University, Chandigarh
* University of Calcutta, Kolkata
* NEHU, Shillong
* University of Pune

Globally
* University of Cambridge, UK
* University of Oxford, UK
* University of Pennsylvania, USA
* New York University, USA
* University of Hamburg, Germany

Indicative list

The author is head, department of anthropology, University of Delhi


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