World Anthropologies and Current TrendsThis is a featured page

As the title suggest, World Anthropologies and Current Trends looks at how anthropology has evolved beyond the 20th century and the anthropological traditions that has emerged in countries today. Anthropology in the 21st Century deals with 3 challenges, namely: The Human Challenge, which addresses the question, who does anthropology? Secondly, The Theoretical Challenge, which focuses on the major topics anthropologists are interested in. Thirdly, The Empirical Challenge, which begs the question, how is the world different from what it was a century ago and how different it will be in the future?In Albert Kahn’s Archive of the Planet, one can clearly see that a lot has changed, particularly the emergence of modernity in the early 20th Century.
Who are the anthropologists are, is changing. There emerge 3 models of anthropologists today in the 21st Century. The first model is an integration of anthropology with colonialism, whereby anthropologists study their respective colony countries. However, we have evolved from the colonial world and embarked on an international world where there is a shift in the discipline of study: people are adopting an international discipline now whereby they learn about people in a broad perspective about different people in the world.

The second model of anthropologists is the Post-colonial “Strangers Abroad” as the relationship of who is doing the study and who is being studied is changing. A different kind of relationship is being reported in Amitav Ghosh’s anthropological study – he is an anthropologist from India who did his research in Egypt. This is an increasingly common practice whereby anthropologists today base their research on a less wealthy country (as compared to a wealthy country back then). The third model of anthropologists is the “Native” anthropologist, who studies their own culture from an anthropological perspective. For instance, John Waiko is an native anthropologist who studied his own community in Papua New Guinea.
American Anthropology is the most influential anthropology worldwide today. So what are the recent trends in American Anthropology? Unlike anthropologists who are in the “Venerable Generation”, who are largely Americans, the makeup of anthropologists in the “Recent Generation” is relatively more international. Besides the fact that there is now an international list of anthropologists, other shifts in anthropology includes the gender of the anthropologists, in that there is a more balanced gender composition in recent generations. Additionally, the dominance of American Anthropology in the 1980s has now narrowed the scope of study. Anthropology used to draw on a lot of different influences in the pre-seventies where there were very few anthropologists and not all the influential scholars are anthropologists; in fact, they are trained in other disciplines such as British/French Social Theory, Literature theory, Political Science and Geography etc.

While there is a declining influence of British Anthropology, there is a rising influence of anthropologists and others from former British colonies (India, Malaysia, Palestine, Middle East). This is a very clear influence of immigrant anthropology as while the British have “disappeared”, their empires are still influential. The influence now is not the colonial masters, but the post-colonial subjects.


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