Social and Cultural Anthropology

The earliest humans to settle Australia arrived at least 45,000 years ago. At the time of British colonization in 1788 there were two hundred or more Aboriginal language communities within the continent. In areas of intense colonization, the Aboriginal economy was rapidly destroyed andit is only through the reports of explorers that we have records […]

Adoption and fostering (Anthropology)

Conventionally, fostering involves a parent or set of parents looking after someone else’s child, often on a long-term basis, whereas adoption involves in addition the acquisition of a ‘kin’ relationship between such parents and their (adopted) children. Both practices involve the assumption of parental roles by individuals who are not the child’s biological or birthparents, […]

Aesthetics (Anthropology)

We can identify two issues which are important with respect to anthropology’s approach to aesthetics in non-Western societies: first, are we obliged to consider the anthropology of art and the anthropology of aesthetics as inseparable? We are first confronted by the problem of those societies which either do not produce material objects of art or […]

Affect (Anthropology)

In the mid-1990s a new interest in the body, the senses and other non-discursive forces in social life became prominent in cultural anthropology. This interest was in part inspired by the growing popularity of the work of "fGilles Deleuze, and in part inspired by a desire to get beyond dominant paradigms in the discipline, such […]

Africa: East (Anthropology)

Definition and influences Historically, the definition of this region can be linked to colonial and geopolitical factors rather than a coherent ethnographic space. The East African Community, first established in the colonial period, was limited to Kenya, Tanganyika (now United Republic of Tanzania) and Uganda. After a sporadic existence, the EAC was re-established in 2000, […]

Africa: Nilotic (Anthropology)

The term ‘Nilotic’ is used in various senses. First, it describes the geographical region of the upper Nile basin as in The Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan, the title of the Seligmans’ (1932) comprehensive ethnography of the region. Second, it refers to a set of cultural traits shared by some, but not all, of […]

Africa: Southern (Anthropology)

Historical and political background The ethnography of Southern Africa is intensely bound up with the politics of the region. Colonial powers included Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, and South Africa itself. The region comprises hunter-gatherer and pas-toralist societies, small-scale agriculturalists and industrial and mining-based economies. It also includes every kind of political organization, from communities […]

Africa: West (Anthropology)

Generalization about West Africa is made difficult by the size (roughly 3,000 miles west to east, and half that north to south) and diversity of the region, as well as by the problematic character of the terms available to describe it, and the significance that regional scholarship has played in national traditions of anthropology outside […]

Age (Anthropology)

Age, like sex, is basic to the human condition universally, though with different implications in different cultures. Primarily conceived as a chronological measure for reckoning the physical development of human beings, the concept of age has its social significance through the concurrently changing status of a person. While anthropologists have conducted field research on, for […]

AIDS (Anthropology)

Probably more than any other disease in the contemporary world, AIDS has both revealed and precipitated major social, cultural, political changes in society in general as well as in science and medicine more specifically. As such it has been a challenge for anthropologists, who have had a difficult time situating their work in relation to […]