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Comparing How Various Anthropologists Discovered Anthropology As A Career

2256 words - 9 pages

Comparing How Various Anthropologists Discovered Anthropology as a Career

Anthropologists have reasons for entering a field of work just like any other person has reasons for Choosing science over music or medicine over business. The reason a person may enter a particular career can be from stumbling upon a field that they knew little. Once discovering it they have ambitions of being the best they can be. It could also stem from a desire as a child to know more about a specific subject. Reasons may be distinct or similar to another person's in the same field. I will compare various anthropologists to how they started in anthropology and how they are different from one another.

Anthropologists have stumbled upon or discovered the world of anthropology in their own ways. Barbara Smutts decided that she would study anthropology at the age of 13 (Rosenthal, 23). After reading Jane Goodall's first article about chimpanzees and with her love of animals and science she knew that anthropology would be her career (23). Adrienne Zihhnan, like Smutts, stumbled upon anthropology after reading an article. She read a book by Margaret Mead for a course at Miami University (Shell, 38). After reading it she changed her major and transferred to a college with the major (38). Zihhnan has made Paleoanthropology her specialized area. The origination of the two­legged gait has been her focus (Shell, 40). Smutts has studied Primatology and observed olive baboons and the bottle­necked dolphin (Roshenthal, 24 & 26). The discovery of a career through reading an article makes a person wonder if all big decisions could be that simple.

Aslihan Yener discovered anthropology after transferring to Robert College to study art history (Bass, 64). Through this she visited Roman ruins, which sparked her interest in finding out the systems and context that produced the art (64). Her focus then went towards archaeology and studying the Bronze Age metals (64). Mary Leakey's interest in anthropology also came from viewing art (www.primate). Her father had taken her to visit cave paintings of the Dordogne, which led to her desire to study anthropology (www.primate). As a child viewing such paintings, Leakey probably wanted to know all the reasoning behind the paintings and what each meant. It could have been perceived as viewing a storybook to discover the meaning of the pictures.

Ruth Benedict, Alfred Kroeber and Hortense Powdermaker all discovered anthropology through a college lecture. Benedict had become a high school English teacher, social worker, writer and poet (Mead, 7). After attending a lecture by Alexander Goldenweiser and Elsie Clews Parsons, Benedict knew that this career would keep her interested and she would enjoy it (7). Alfred Kroeber majored in English, like Benedict, but after hearing Franz Boas in a seminar on American Indian Languages he switched to studying anthropology (Steward, 4). Hortense Powdermaker was not happy with her desk­job...

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