In the weeks leading up to the publication of Through the Lens of Anthropology: An Introduction to Human Evolution and Culture by Robert J. Muckle and Laura Tubelle de González, we posted four separate excerpts from the book on the main University of Toronto Press blog. We would like to round them up here for interested instructors. Enjoy!
Excerpt #1: Becoming Bipedal
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 4: Human Biological Evolution. While we were tempted to highlight sections from this chapter such as “The Killer Ape Hypothesis” or the description of the newly discovered Homo naledi, we decided that walking upright is, in many ways, just as interesting. If you have ever wondered why and how humans began walking on two feet, this excerpt is worth a read.
We would also suggest listening to the following CBC Ideas episode on the anthropology of walking and bipedalism: Walking Matters, Part 1.
Excerpt #2: The Transition to Food Production
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 6: Cultural Evolution from 20,000 to 5,000 Years Ago. Both of the feature boxes included in this excerpt (Box 6.2: Why Did People Domesticate Plants and Animals? and Box 6.3: Was Alcohol a Driving Force of Human Evolution?) ask very good questions, and of course they are visually supported by the cartoon of an early human keg party (Figure 6.1).
If you have ever wondered about the history of human subsistence, or when humans began consuming alcohol, check out these few pages to learn more.
Excerpt #3: Language Change and Loss
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 9: Language and Culture. If you have ever wondered how many languages are currently spoken in the world, and how many of those are considered to be “in danger” of extinction, you should be able to find some answers in this excerpt.
Excerpt #4: Environmental Inequality: Access to Water
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 12: Politics: Keeping Order. Water is the focus of these two pages, and in particular inequality of access to water. This is just a small portion of the book’s section on social inequality, but it provides a good indication of how the book incorporates its twin themes of food and sustainability into all areas of anthropology.
Note: If you are scheduled to teach an introductory anthropology course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an examination copy of Through the Lens of Anthropology. This is a textbook that is interesting to read, manageable to teach, and that succeeds at igniting interest in anthropology as a discipline.