anthropology

Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Marin Wicks

Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Marin Wicks

Primates captures the fascinating study of several great ape species in the 1960's and 70's. Three women—Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas—found their calling and approached their research in very different ways.

Jane Goodall revolutionized animal study with her focus on the chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park. She discovered the chimps using tools such as sticks to reach termites, a tasty snack. Before that discovery, the use of tools was thought to be only a human characteristic. Becaue of her work, our definitions have since changed.

The English: Portrait of a People

By Jeremy Paxman

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"...a probing, irreverent, and immensely colorful look at the meaning of Englishness.

"Not so long ago, everybody knew who the English were. They were 'polite, unexcitable, reserved, and had hot-water bottles instead of a sex life.' As the dominant culture in a country that dominated an empire that dominated the world, they had little need to examine themselves and ask who they were. But something has happened.

"A new self-confidence seems to have taken hold in Wales and Scotland, while many try to forge a new relationship with Europe. The English are being forced to ask what it is that makes them who they are. Is there such a thing as an English race? What inviolable English traits remain to win the affection of Anglophiles, raise the ire of Anglo-critics, and pique the curiosity of Anglo-watchers here and abroad?

"Witty, surprising, affectionate, and incisive, The English traces the invention of Englishness to its current crisis and concludes that, for all their characteristic gloom about themselves, the English may have developed a form of nationalism for the twenty-first century."

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My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

By Rebekah Nathan

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After more than fifteen years of teaching, Rebekah Nathan, a professor of anthropology at a large state university, realized that she no longer understood the behavior and attitudes of her students.... Nathan decided to put her wealth of experience in overseas ethnographic fieldwork to use closer to home and apply to her own university. Accepted on the strength of her high school transcript, she took a sabbatical and enrolled as a freshman for the academic year.

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Mountains Beyond Mountains

By Tracy Kidder

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This biography of physician and medical anthropologist Paul Farmer focuses on his work to fight TB in Haiti, Peru, and the countries that used to be part of the USSR. A driven and dedicated man, Dr. Farmer fights obstacles virtually every day of his life on behalf of the people he is trying so hard to help.

Also available in large print.

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I Want That! How We All Became Shoppers

By Thomas Hine

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"Choosing and using objects is a primal human activity, and I Want That! is nothing less than a portrait of humanity as the species that shops. We shop to nourish our bodies and to feed our fantasies. We shop to belong to groups. We shop to define ourselves as individuals. We shop to be powerful. We shop to be responsible. We shop to celebrate. We shop because we don't want to miss out on the excitement of life. I Want That! shows how these fundamental desires play out in today's malls, Web sites, boutiques, and superstores.

"The book also offers a lively, fast-paced history of finding, choosing, and spending. It makes stops in the crossroads markets in which prehistoric merchants traded gold, amber, and obsidian; in the agora in Athens, where sharp setters wet their wool to make it weigh more, and everyone came to buy, talk, eat, and get their hair done."

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Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft

By Thor Heyerdahl

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Am going to cross Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? Reply at once.

That is how six brave and inquisitive men came to seek a dangerous path to test a scientific theory. On a primitive raft made of forty-foot balsa logs and named Kon-Tiki in honor of a legendary sun king, Heyerdahl and five companions deliberately risked their lives to show that the ancient Peruvians could have made the 4,300-mile voyage to the Polynesian islands on a similar craft. On every page of this true chronicle from the actual building of the raft through all the dangerous and comic adventures on the sea, to the spectacular crash-landing and the native islanders hula dances each reader will find a wholesome and spellbinding escape from the twenty-first century. Actual film from the expedition is available on an Academy Award-winning documentary.

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Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn

Neither Wolf Nor Dog Cover

Sometimes a book tells a wonderfully enchanting story. Sometimes it is nonfiction and conveys information. There are a few books that are able to do both. Out of those few books that do both, there are a handful that can really cause you to question the reality that you have known as truth. Neither Wolf, Nor Dog, by Kent Nerburn, is one of those special books. 

Nerburn’s book is a true story. When he was a young anthropologist who specialized in Native Americans, he was invited to meet with an Indian Elder in order to write down his thoughts and memories. After Nerburn accepts the challenge, he and Dan, the Lakota elder, begin to go across the Black Hills on a spiritual journey that is both mystical and enlightening.

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture

By Ruth Benedict

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A recognized classic of cultural anthropology, this book explores the political, religious, and economic life of Japan from the seventh century through the mid-twentieth, as well as personal family life.

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Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour

By Kate Fox

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A bestseller in the UK, Watching the English is a biting, affectionate, insightful and often hilarious look English Society. Putting the English national character under her anthropological microscope, Fox finds a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and bizarre codes of behavior. Through a mixture of anthropological analysis and her own unorthodox experiments-even using herself as a reluctant guinea-pig-Fox discovers what these unwritten codes tell us about Englishness. (from the publisher's description)
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Unfinished Conquest: The Guatemalan Tragedy

By Victor Perera

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Spanning thirty years of civil war in Guatemala, Unfinished Conquest portrays an embattled country and traces the subjugation of the Maya population from the Conquest to the present. Victor Perera weaves personal narrative with reportage and oral testimony to reveal a society torn apart by violence, poverty, and injustice. (From the summary)

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