Skip to main content


Anthropology For Dummies

Cameron M. Smith, Evan T. Davies (With)

ISBN: 978-0-470-50769-8 February 2009 388 Pages


Covers the latest competing theories in the field

Get a handle on the fundamentals of biological and cultural anthropology

When did the first civilizations arise? How many human languages exist? The answers are found in anthropology - and this friendly guide explains its concepts in clear detail. You'll see how anthropology developed as a science, what it tells us about our ancestors, and how it can help with some of the hot-button issues our world is facing today.


  • How anthropologists learn about the past
  • Humanity's earliest activities, from migration to civilization
  • Why our language differs from other animal communication
  • How to find a career in anthropology

Part I: What Is Anthropology?

Chapter 1: Human Beings and Being Human: An Overview of Anthropology.

Chapter 2: Looking Into Humanity’s Mirror: Anthropology’s History.

Chapter 3: Actually, Four Mirrors: How Anthropology Is Studied.

Part II: Physical Anthropology and Archaeology.

Chapter 4: The Wildest Family Reunion: Meet the Primates.

Chapter 5: My Career Is in Ruins: How Anthropologists Learn about the Past.

Chapter 6: Bones of Contention: The Fossil Evidence for Early Human Evolution.

Chapter 7: It’s Good to Be Home: Homo sapiens sapiens, Our Biological Species.

Chapter 8: Hunting, Fishing, Sailing, and Sledding: The Spread of Humanity Worldwide.

Chapter 9: Old, Old McDonald: The Origins of Farming.

Chapter 10: The Development of Civilization.

Part III: Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics.

Chapter 11: The Spice of Life: Human Culture.

Chapter 12: From Kalahari to Minneapolis: How Cultural Anthropologists Work.

Chapter 13: Can We Talk? Communication, Symbols, and Language.

Chapter 14: Types of Types: Race and Ethnicity.

Chapter 15: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Identity, Family, Kinship, and Gender.

Chapter 16: Not at the Dinner Table! Religion and Politics.

Part IV: So What? Anthropology, the Modern World, and You.

Chapter 17: Kiss or Kill? Diversity, Conflict, and Culture.

Chapter 18: Looming Disasters? From Overpopulation to Space Debris.

Chapter 19: Eve and the Iceman: The Cutting Edge of Physical Anthropology.

Chapter 20: Stonehenge and You: Why Archaeology Matters.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 21: Ten Things to Remember about Anthropology, Whatever Else You Forget.

Chapter 22: Ten Great Careers for Anthropology Majors.

Chapter 23: Ten Great Anthropologically Themed Movies and Books.