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         Cultural Anthropology is the study of humans, particularly
the many ways people around the world today and throughout human history have
organized themselves to live together: to get along, to survive, to thrive, and
to have meaningful lives. As I have been reading the book Essentials of Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age by
Kenneth J. Guest, it has introduced me “to the work of anthropologists and the
research strategies and analytical perspectives that anthropologists have
developed.” The ways that help students learning Anthropology better understand
and engage today’s world as we move through it. As I navigate through my
everyday life, I will start thinking about what the world is becoming and
tackle the crucial issues of our time. I will use the skills I have learned to
employ the skills of anthropology in my everyday life. I didn’t notice the
underlying issues that may arise in my life.  At first, I didn’t really care about what goes
on in our world, but as I have learned more about anthropology, I think more
closely about diversity and how it shouldn’t exist. I will now no longer judge
people or try to fit them in a category, they are their own individual person.

Ethnography is the systematic study of people and cultures,
which uses fieldwork. It is “designed to explore cultural phenomena where the
researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study.”
From the first four chapters I have learned that I can use ethnographic study
to learn about our own society and lives by looking into the details. Many
times, we overlook the things we do and we see them as being right but they may
not always be right. It’s always a good idea to take a step back and view
yourself from another person’s shoes because then you will see a totally
different picture than the one you first had. Fieldwork also changes
communication and transportation, which alter the ongoing relationship between
the anthropologist and the community being studied. This shapes the
anthropologist, which transforms us.

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One of the founders of Anthropology, Franz Boas, worked to
undermine racialized views of immigrants. “He conducted studies that showed the
wide variation of physical forms within groups of the same national origin, as
well as the marked physical changes in the children and grandchildren of
immigrants as they adapted to the environmental conditions in their new country”
(Guest 8). Culture
shapes our identity and influences our behaviors, and cultural diversity makes
us accept other cultures. Today, cultural diversity has become very important.
Whether we work or study or even stay at home, our chances of interacting with different
people from various races and cultures is far greater now than it has been ever
before. To create my identity within the greater identity of the culture I live
in, I will learn more about my culture. Interacting with people of the same culture
will help me increase my horizons. Also, by learning about other cultures I
will have “better interpersonal dialogue and communicate more on a personal
level.” If we put aside any prejudices or biases we might have and are open to
other people, it can encourage people to have diverse friend groups that
include people of all different races, ethnicities, religions and sexual
orientations.

         In studying cultural
anthropology, I have learned more than just how to interact with people from
different cultures but have learned more about myself culture wise. When I was
a kid my parents always took me to church every Sunday, but as I grew older and
got busier, I didn’t pay attention to my religion. I now realize that my
religion and culture are very important. They shape every person into what they
are. As I was a child, I was very fluent in my language. I attended school on a
daily basis, speaking English, so I slowly forgot my own. I also have learned
the effects of globalization. “The number of languages shrinks every year under
the pressures of globalization, the remarkable diversity of human language
reflects humans’ dramatically different ways of perceiving, thinking about, and
engaging with the world” (Guest 94). Since languages are culture, my culture
was changed. I never realized how much I can learn in these very few chapters. I
didn’t know how language can change our ways of thinking, how globalization is
transforming culture and the effects of globalization on language. Anthropology
helps me rethink my assumptions about the world and how it works.

 

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