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Hannah Christensen

12/10/14
Anthropology
ePortfolio Essay

Anthropology is the study of culture. This entails how people make a living, the way families
and societies are organized and the way that people view the world around them. In this course
we have explored all of these aspects of anthropology in great depth. The course began with
defining anthropology and what an anthropological view is. Looking at things critically but with
no bias is cultural relativism. This approach is more scientific because it is value neutral and
strives to understand a culture according to its own terms. In my own life I have appreciated
learning about this approach because there are so many deeply embedded behaviors and ideas
in our society (also known as naturalized concepts) that it is difficult to view things objectively
unless we are aware of it. This will influence the way I respond to the people I work with
because I will be more sensitive to cultural differences. I work as the marketing coordinator for
Career Services at the University of Utah. This entails figuring out the best ways to market our
office and events to students and employers as well as actually producing the marketing
material and carrying out printing and disbursement of the materials. Because of the diverse
student/staff population my office caters to, it is vital that I produce materials that are nonoffensive and do not stereotype groups that are culturally different.
We learned a lot about different tribes and cultures that are vastly different from Western
Civilization. The Canela believe that women should be married at age 11 and then be given to
other men while in marriage. The Dani people of New Guinea practiced some unique rituals
with animal slaughter. The Baka Pygmies were foragers and risked their lives to climb a tree for

bananas. And the Etoro people had extremely different views on sex. Throughout learning
about all these different cultures and seeing how different they are from my own, the thing
that I took away from it all is that we are all human and we do what we deem necessary to
survive. When you look at culture from that perspective it is easier to be open-minded. I hope
that I am able to continue to view the world this way so that in the future I can teach my
children to view the world with open minds and open hearts.
I am grateful that I took this course and not only have I gained a good foundation of
Anthropology, but also gained a newfound respect for people around me. Before this class
there were people in my life that I didnt understand and didnt like at all. I still dont like or
understand them really, but I am also able to see that they came from very different cultures
than I did even though we all grew up in the same place. This has helped me to not hold what
they do and say against them, because they are living in a different world.
I would take this class again if I had the choice. Learning about different cultures was very
interesting, but also learning how to view and respond to culture that is very different from
ours has been immensely helpful. The study of anthropology helps us make the world a better
place because we can understand why and how the world works.