Letters to My Tutor…

My dearest Simone,

I don’t know much about the College Confidential website, but while browsing the net for “physics and anthropology” I came across a posting on the site from a freshman considering anthropology and physics as majors and asking for advice. I thought the response from ABC260 was a good one and it spoke to some of my thinking on the matter.

The original poster liked that anthropology is a broad field, as do I, but felt that it wasn’t as analytically challenging as physics. ABC260 pointed out that while at the freshman level physics classes may seem more analytical and anthropology classes more descriptive, later level anthropology classes that delve more into the theoretical side of anthropology may provide the analytical challenge the poster appears to be seeking. ABC260 also cautions that undergraduate study for either major may not give the best idea of the level of thinking required for graduate level study saying, “Sadly, intro courses in math and physics belie the theoretical sophistication required for higher level studies, and most undergraduate anthro courses(not just the intro ones) do the same.”

It seems to me that too many people think that all that’s required to be a good anthropologist is being able to read and write at the college level. The need for dogged analytical skills as applied to both outer environments and the inner environment of one’s own mind is daunting. If I may out myself as a Trekkie… I love Captain Kirk as much as the next Trekkie, but I think many would mistakenly place anthropologists in a camp with Captain Kirk when really anthropologists would be more accurately placed in a camp with Spock. Or perhaps I should say that when I think about the type of anthropologist that I would want to be, I see myself as more Spock than Captain Kirk.

Back to the books,