Anthropology is the multidisciplinary and holistic study of human beings in historical and contemporary contexts. Anthropology courses explore the following questions: what makes us human?; how are we biological and cultural creatures?; how can we interpret our own as well as other cultures?; how do we work for justice in a multicultural world in which people have different levels of access to power and resources?; and how can anthropology offer us tools to make the world a better place? One of the most exciting things for me about teaching anthropology is entering into dialogue with students during which we come up with new and creative ways to understand and improve our world.
The academic discipline of anthropology is comprised of its five interconnected subfields: cultural, physical, linguistic, archaeological and applied anthropology. A broad field of study, anthropology bridges the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. Today, anthropology is an especially powerful tool through which we are able to seek an understanding of all people and cultures, in all of their complexity. Encouraging students to delve into the hands-on methodologies of ethnographic fieldwork, anthropology courses at Gavilan College offer students opportunities to design independent research projects so that they can get involved with local communities of their choice. Addressing today's cultural, political, and economic challenges on local and global scales, anthropology courses teach students to analyze inequalities between and among nations and cultures of the world.