Anthropology Quotes

Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. -Margaret Mead

 

Anthropology in general has always been fairly hospitable to female scholars, and even to feminist scholars. -Clifford Geertz

 

Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. -Alfred L. Kroeber

 

Anthropology is the science which tells us that people are the same the whole world over - except when they are different. -Nancy Banks Smith

 

Cultural anthropology is more and more rapidly getting to realize itself as a strictly historical science. -Edward Sapir

 

Every historian has informally an anthropology, without ever using the word. -Peter Gay

 

Gender consciousness has become involved in almost every intellectual field: history, literature, science, anthropology. There's been an extraordinary advance. -Clifford Geertz

 

History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology. -W. H. Auden

 

If there were a science of human beings it would be anthropology that aims at understanding the totality of experience through structural context. -Wilhelm Dilthey

 

Learn about the world, the way it works, any kind of science and anthropology, it's really an interesting place we live in. Evolution is a really fantastic idea, even more than the idea of God I think. -Randy Newman

 

The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences. -Ruth Benedict

 

There is no shorter path for joining a neutral existential anthropology, according to philosophy, with the existential decision before God, according to the Bible. -Paul Ricoeur

 

Younger anthropologists have the notion that anthropology is too diverse. The number of things done under the name of anthropology is just infinite; you can do anything and call it anthropology. -Clifford Geertz

 

Gender consciousness has become involved in almost every intellectual field: history, literature, science, anthropology. There's been an extraordinary advance. -Clifford Geertz

 

Learn about the world, the way it works, any kind of science and anthropology, it's really an interesting place we live in. Evolution is a really fantastic idea, even more than the idea of God I think. -Randy Newman

 

Studying anthropology, I developed a kind of holistic view of human existence, in which the dichotomies you listed are all necessary and vital aspects of life. -Joan D. Vinge

 

We need to think more about the nature of rhetoric in anthropology. There isn't a body of knowledge and thought to fall back on in this regard. -Clifford Geertz

 

Anthropology is the only discipline that can access evidence about the entire human experience on this planet. -Michael Brian Schiffer

 

Anthropology was the science that gave her the platform from which she surveyed, scolded and beamed at the world. -Jane Howard

 

Anthropology has always struggled with an intense, fascinated repulsion towards its subject.... [The anthropologist] submits himself to the exotic to confirm his own inner alienation as an urban intellectual. -Susan Sontag

 

In some ways being a parent is like being an anthropologist who is studying a primitive and isolated tribe by living with them. -Lawrence Kutner

 

Anthropologists are a connecting link between poets and scientists; though their field-work among primitive peoples has often made them forget the language of science. -Robert Graves

 

The historical development of the work of anthropologists seems to single out clearly a domain of knowledge that heretofore has not been treated by any other science. -Franz Boas

 

The point of literary criticism in anthropology is not to replace research, but to find out how it is that we are persuasive. -Clifford Geertz

 

The Secret Doctrine is the common property of the countless millions of men born under various climates, in times with which History refuses to deal, and to which esoteric teachings assign dates incompatible with the theories of Geology and Anthropology. -H. P. Blavatsky

 

When the first fossils began to be found in eastern Africa, in the late 1950s, I thought, what a wonderful marriage this was, biology and anthropology. I was around 16 years old when I made this particular choice of academic pursuit. -Donald Johanson

 

A human being is an animal suspended in webs of significance which he himself has spun. -Clifford Geertz

 

Anthropology holds up a great mirror to man and lets him look at himself in his infinite variety. -Clyde Kluckhohn

 

I think feminism has had a major impact on anthropology. -Clifford Geertz

 

People keep asking how anthropology is different from sociology, and everybody gets nervous. -Clifford Geertz

Theology is anthropology. -Anselm Feuerbach

 

Anthropology has always maintained its dirty little secret of ethnographers who crossed into territory where their own bodily experiences made traditional ethnographic modes of representation and interpretation obsolete. -Frank Cushing

 

The awe and dread with which the untutored savage contemplates his mother-in-law are amongst the most familiar facts of anthropology. -Sir James George Frazer

 

Anthropology requires the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. -Margaret Mead

 

Most Kikuyu marriages were arranged on the basis of what is described by anthropologists as the bride price. -Louis Leakey

 

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. -Bob Marley

 

No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking. -Ruth Benedict

 

Racism is an ism to which everyone in the world today is exposed; for or against, we must take sides. And the history of the future will differ according to the decision which we make. -Ruth Benedict

 

Anthropology has always struggled with an intense, fascinated repulsion towards its subject. . . . The anthropologist submits himself to the exotic to confirm his own inner alienation as an urban intellectual. -Susan Sontag

 

A method that has been often used to reconstruct historical sequences from the purely descriptive material of cultural anthropology is one that may be termed seriation of cultural elements in order of complexity. -Edward Sapir

 

It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good. -Margaret Mead

 

Man's role is uncertain, undefined, and perhaps unnecessary. -Margaret Mead

 

The time when we could tolerate accounts presenting us the native as a distorted, childish charicature of a human being are gone. This picture is false, and like many other falsehoods, it has been killed by Science. -Bronislaw Malinowski

 

The magnificent title of the Functional School of Anthropology has been bestowed on myself, in a way on myself, and to a large extent out of my own sense of irresponsibility. -Bronislaw Malinowski

 

In the field one has to face a chaos of facts, some of which are so small that they seem insignificant; others loom so large that they are hard to encompass with one synthetic glance. But in this crude form they are not scientific facts at all; they are absolutely elusive, and can be fixed only by interpretation, by seeing them sub specie aeternitatis, by grasping what is essential in them and fixing this. Only laws and gerneralizations are scientific facts, and field work consists only and exclusively in the interpretation of the chaotic social reality, in subordinating it to general rules. -Bronislaw Malinowski

 

Has feminism made us all more conscious? I think it has. Feminist critiques of anthropological masculine bias have been quite important, and they have increased my sensitivity to that kind of issue. -Clifford Geertz

 

Gender consciousness has become involved in almost every intellectual field: history, literature, science, anthropology. There's been an extraordinary advance. -Clifford Geertz

 

Here I was into astronomy, and here into anthropology, and there I go into geology. It was much more fun to be able to research and write about whatever I wanted to. -Octavia Butler

 

I hope I may have succeeded in presenting to you, however imperfectly, the currents of thought due to the work of the immortal Darwin which have helped to make anthropology what it is at the present time. -Franz Boas

 

I learned much more about acting from philosophy courses, psychology courses, history and anthropology than I ever learned in acting class. -Tim Robbins

 

I've often been accused of making anthropology into literature, but anthropology is also field research. Writing is central to it. -Clifford Geertz

 

In my introductory course, Anthropology 160, the Forms of Folklore, I try to show the students what the major and minor genres of folklore are, and how they can be analyzed. -Alan Dundes

 

We need to think more about the nature of rhetoric in anthropology. There isn't a body of knowledge and thought to fall back on in this regard. -Clifford Geertz

 

If two people stare at each other for more than a few seconds, it means they are about to either make love or fight. Something similar might be said about human societies. If two nearby societies are in contact for any length of time, they will either trade or fight. The first is non-zero-sum social integration, and the second ultimately brings it. -Robert Wright

 

All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer. -Robert Owen

 

Cultural analysis is intrinsically incomplete. And, worse than that, the more deeply it goes the less complete it is. -Clifford Geertz

 

Marriage," "mating," and "love" are socially constructed phenomena that have little or no transferable meaning outside any given culture. The examples we've noted of rampant ritualized group sex, mate-swapping, unrestrained casual affairs, and socially sanctioned sequential sex were all reported in cultures that anthropologists insist are monogamous simply because they've determined that something they call "marriage" takes place there. No wonder so many insist that marriage, monogamy, and the nuclear family are human universals. With such all-encompassing interpretations of the concepts, even the prairie vole, who "sleeps with anyone," would qualify. -Christopher Ryan

 

One-third to one-half of humanity are said to go to bed hungry every night. In the Old Stone Age the fraction must have been much smaller. This is the era of hunger unprecedented. Now, in the time of the greatest technical power, is starvation an institution. Reverse another venerable formula: the amount of hunger increases relatively and absolutely with the evolution of culture. -Marshall Sahlins

 

The more individual we become, the more we long for. -Mike Wesch

 

It may be in the cultural particularities of people — in their oddities — that some of the most instructive revelations of what it is to be generically human are to be found. -Clifford Geertz

I chose cultural anthropology, since it offered the greatest opportunity to write high-minded balderdash. -Kurt Vonnegut

 

Anthropology has been compared to a great region, marked out indeed as within the sphere of influence of science, but unsettled and for the most part unsubdued. Like all such hinterland sciences, it is a happy hunting-ground for adventurers. -Herbert George

 

Geneticists believe that anthropologists have decided what a race is. Ethnologists assume that their classifications embody principles which genetic science has proved correct. Politicians believe that their prejudices have the sanction of genetic laws and the findings of physical anthropology to sustain them. -Lancelot Hogben

 

I am perhaps more proud of having helped to redeem the character of the cave-man than of any other single achievement of mine in the field of anthropology. -Henry Fairfield Osborn

 

The remarkable thing about man is not that he is an ‘upright’ ape, but that he ‘stands’ for some things and not for others. -Unknown