teaching theory

Teaching anthropological theory, especially the history of anthropological theory, can present certain challenges. Students often approach the subject circumspectly, questioning why they need to learn about it and fearing that they are going to find it confusing or incomprehensible. That is too bad. Properly employed, theory infuses, or should infuse, all of anthropology and is central to what anthropologists think and do. Furthermore, history shows how anthropological theories that may appear abstract are deeply embedded in social reality and espoused by real human beings. In fact, theory is much more down to earth than its reputation usually suggests. Counteracting this undeserved reputation is one of the main goals of A History of Anthropological Theory and Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory, written and edited by Paul A. Erickson and Liam D. Murphy.

This section is designed to expand and enhance these two books. We encourage you to not only use this information, but also to actively contribute to it by suggesting new web links, adding new course syllabi, contributing new essays on why theory matters, or even proposing new web features altogether. In this way, our circle of friends will expand, and our community of teachers will grow.

Glossary of Theory Terms

Anthropologists Talk About Why Theory Matters

Sharing Syllabi