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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What’s In A Major: Anthropology

After a 1970 stint as a Peace Corps volunteer, anthropology professor Timothy Finan knew that he wanted to work to resolve international poverty.

“”I wanting to solve problems around the world, so anthropology seemed to be the best fit for me,”” he said.

Finan said he was drawn to learning a new language and culture after being stationed in northeastern Brazil and interacting with farmers in an isolated community.

Anthropology is the study of man and human diversity, he said, adding that diversity can be measured in terms of peoples’ values and cultures, physical differences or archeological origins.

The School of Anthropology comprises 320 undergraduate anthropology majors with an additional 100 minors, as well as 160 graduate students, said Barbara Mills, director of the school.

The school has been ranked fifth in the nation “”for several decades,”” Mills said.

Mills said she hopes that students gain an appreciation of human diversity after studying anthropology and its various sub-disciplines within the school.

“”Anthropology is one of the most interdisciplinary majors,”” Mills said. “”Anthropologists are involved in everything from the analysis of genetics to human health around the globe.””

Finan has been teaching at the UA for 25 years. His current research focuses on climate change and how people will adapt in different parts of the world — particularly in areas faced with chronic environmental challenges, like drought in northeastern Brazil or flooding in Bangladesh.

The nature of his discipline requires close interaction with people, Finan said.

“”Because of that I’m able to come up with ideas and insights on how people will adapt to changes that are anticipated regarding climate change around the world,”” he said.

Anthropology junior Joel Kanter recently switched from his Judaic studies major. He was “”ready for a change,”” he said.

Now Kanter learns about the principles of archeology — which explain the basics of how to study prehistory and the history of humans.

He is not sure what he plans to do with his degree, but he knows that he wants to eventually visit excavation sites in Israel and the Middle East. 

Learning about the past is an amazing experience, Kanter said, adding that he loves “”being one of the first people to discover something old.””

What kind of jobs do Anthropologists get after they graduate:

*International organizations that deal with poverty issues

*Health — quality of health care delivery in minority groups or internationally

*Government jobs in education and health

*Economic development ­— we got people working NGO (non-government organization)

*Greeting card companies — where the greeting card company is trying to come up the writing inside the card relevant to different cultures

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