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ladislav_k
01-28-2018, 09:34 PM
Greetings! My name is Vladislav, I am 17 y.o boy from Russia interested in Indo-European problem and Evolution of Human. I know my questions are inappropriate here but I don't know where I can ask it anywhere else. What can you say about academic or any other kind of career in Biological (Evolutionary) Anthropology? Can you give me any advices about it? What are the prerequisites to study Evolutionary Anthropology and become a scientist in this field? I look forward to your answers! Thank you!

J Man
01-28-2018, 09:54 PM
Greetings! My name is Vladislav, I am 17 y.o boy from Russia interested in Indo-European problem and Evolution of Human. I know my questions are inappropriate here but I don't know where I can ask it anywhere else. What can you say about academic or any other kind of career in Biological (Evolutionary) Anthropology? Can you give me any advices about it? What are the prerequisites to study Evolutionary Anthropology and become a scientist in this field? I look forward to your answers! Thank you!

Welcome to the forum Vladislav! It is definitely possible to have a great career as an anthropologist but you have to be willing to go the distance and obtain University degrees in the sub-field of anthropology that you are intetested in and this requires much work, time and money. You can research which Universities are the best to study at when it comes to Evolutionary or Biological anthropology and maybe go from there. Good luck!

ladislav_k
01-29-2018, 05:36 PM
J Man, thank you for your answer! What can you say about scientific prerequisites for studying Biological Anthropology?

J Man
01-29-2018, 05:43 PM
J Man, thank you for your answer! What can you say about scientific prerequisites for studying Biological Anthropology?

You are welcome. Well likely you would need biology, and some sort of social sciences plus maybe more but to be honest I am not 100% sure. That would be something you should ask at your school or the universities you are looking to apply at.

ladislav_k
01-29-2018, 05:47 PM
Yes, I am actually going to get Bachelor's degree in General Anthropology after highschool

ladislav_k
01-29-2018, 05:50 PM
And do you know how chemistry is used in Anthropology?

MikeWhalen
01-29-2018, 09:25 PM
Hi Ladislav and welcome to the forums

I dont know much about the academic requirments of the degree you asked about, so out of curiosity, I checked out one of my old universities, University of Toronto, and found this

It should give you a ball park idea of what they are looking for and what they do

http://anthropology.utoronto.ca/home/about/evolutionary-biological-anthropology/

anyway, good luck to you

Mike

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 07:26 PM
Greetings! My name is Vladislav, I am 17 y.o boy from Russia interested in Indo-European problem and Evolution of Human. I know my questions are inappropriate here but I don't know where I can ask it anywhere else. What can you say about academic or any other kind of career in Biological (Evolutionary) Anthropology? Can you give me any advices about it? What are the prerequisites to study Evolutionary Anthropology and become a scientist in this field? I look forward to your answers! Thank you!

Hi Ladislav,

I have the following advice to give you:
1) Evolutionary anthropology exists, at the current stage, as a group of theoretical frameworks (mainly 2: I. behavioural ecology and II. cultural evolution) which can be applied in many contexts in social science and exists at the "interstices" between several other fields, including Microeconomics and Game Theory (see work of Herbert Gintis, J Bednar etc), Population Genetics (Feldman and Cavalli-Sforza, Boyd and Richerson, Richard Klein), Archaeology (Stephen Shennan, but really evolutionary Archaeology is the oldest form of archaeological theory, I would go as far as to say that evolutionary archaeology is the original archaeological theory and exists ever since the colonial greats such as Pitt-Rivers and Flinders Petrie and then disappeared but is now reappearing), traditional Ethnographic Anthropology, Physical and Biological Anthropology, and even Paleoanthropology (see great work on tools, cultural evolution and development of language by Oren Kolodny for example). EvoAnth as a framework is spreading into Psychology, especially for the 1) psychology and behavioural anthropology of Religion, and 2) childhood learning processes (see work of Christine Legare, Ara Norenzayan etc), both involving a lot of experimental Psychology. It is also spilling over into Political Economy and Economic History (see work by Avner Greif, Spolaore, Tabellini on culture in economics). Overall the field is extremely new and absolutely bursting with possibility. Evolutionary anthropology makes up for much of the problems posed by the original idea of "sociobiology" posed by E O Wilson and Evo-Psych by Tooby and Cosmides, as is a much more faithful model of the actual social process of mankind I feel.

2) This means that, as an evolutionary anthropologist, you are better off NOT studying anthropology (take my word for this!!!) which, as a discipline, has been completely wrecked by the overwhelming dominance of subjective, narrow approaches such as autoethnography and interview-based qualitative studies and Foulcauldian and Bourdieauan "narrative is everything"-type theoretical frameworks, focusing on a very culturally narrow segment of the world (LGBT youth in the West, fashionistas in New York, and other navel-gazing of this type). The best approach is to have a solid grounding in biology first--very solid grounding!--in genetics, ecology and maybe some human bio, then after that gain as much historical and cross-cultural knowledge as possible, be at least familiar with the stages of human history and social organisation and their differences as they occurred in different regions. Also gain some basic microeconomic knowledge, especially the way the analytic interpretation of human behaviour occurs in that field (utility functions, general equilibria etc.), and its overlap with sociology, which brings networks as a theoretical tool. Get basic grounding in math, specifically linalg, calculus and especially stats. Everything else--ethnographic skills, computational skills, archaeological skills, paleoanthropology, writing, more math and computational skills--all of this can come later, you can even teach yourself or in graduate school.

3) Read very widely in the fields mentioned above, most people who end up in evoAnth do so because of breadth of exposure in social science, which they pursued out of their own curiosity; a scientist I know for example paid a price for studying and reading so much outside the field of psychology and doing research on cultural differences and influences on cognition, which literally no one in her field was working on at the time. But this has paid off immensely for her, and she can count herself as the progenitor of an entire field (cultural cognition). Focus on important questions, not on science as your day job; cross fields whenever you need to; disagree and overturn the orthodoxy whenever it is necessary to do so.

4) Seek out expertise and allies who share your theoretical approach in as many fields as you can, you will find yourself collaborating with them a lot.

5) Know that most of publicly visible academic career as a scientist will occur most likely after undergrad; there is a period when you must just absorb, like a sponge from many fields at once.

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 07:41 PM
Ryukendo, thank you, you're amazing! Is it necessary to learn biology completely?

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 07:43 PM
So, what should I do then? I have to choose between Bachelor's degree in General Anthropology (in our country, it is only single program) or Linguistics but you said that I sohuldn't study Anthropology by itself

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 07:49 PM
Ryukendo, thank you, you're amazing! Is it necessary to learn biology completely?

No, high school biology is sufficient, get a good AP high school level biology textbook that covers the theory of evolution (make sure you understand this totally, through and through, no fallacies and misconcepts!!), genetics and genetic expression, some population genetics (concepts such as drift, linkage, epistasis etc), ecology and basic models such as lotka-volterra, and maybe knowledge of human bio, such as hormones and the functioning of various systems, e.g. reproductive system, circulatory. All this can be found in a good high-school level or AP level bio textbook. The "medicine core" or "human bio core" courses of whatever university you are in may help.

Once you join the anthro department, even one that is specifically dedicated to bio anth or evo anth like MikeWhalen's link in his post above, you will realise that the field is still too constricted and focused on excessively narrow, technical research questions; for true scientific breakthroughs and real insight and career progression a wider knowledge base in multiple fields is definitely necessary.

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 07:49 PM
So, what should I do then? I have to choose between Bachelor's degree in General Anthropology (in our country, it is only single program) or Linguistics but you said that I sohuldn't study Anthropology by itself

Are you in Russia?

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 07:50 PM
Talking more specifically, I am interested in Paleoanthropology. What can you say about this? Does it requires much of social science?
Yes, I am in Russia now but I can't get Bachelor's degree abroad, only if Master or PhD degree

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 08:01 PM
Talking more specifically, I am interested in Paleoanthropology. What can you say about this? Does it requires much of social science?
Yes, I am in Russia now but I can't get Bachelor's degree abroad, only if Master or PhD degree

To be really honest, I am much more familiar with the American system, where it is unusual to start focusing on Paleoanthropology right at the beginning of your university career. This gives one time to be familiar with some of the human and social sciences before you start. I have two questions:

How prestigious is the university you are at, and will the paloeanthropology degree there in Russia be well-regarded overseas such that you have a spot?

What is the paradigm in anthropology in Russia at this time? Is physical anthropology still quite dominant there? Has EvoAnth established an academic or institutional presence?

My reply is that yes, paleoanthropology is certainly moving in the direction where much more social science is involved in answering questions, e.g. largest human cooperative group size and its changes in human evolution, trade-off between innovation in own brain vs copying from brains of others in social group and how this effects evolution of brain enlargement, effect of ostracism or punishment via killing of most dominant individuals in every group over long time-scales, why is meat shared but vegetable matter private to the family in most hunter-gatherer groups and was this always the case, payoff of language to tool-use transmission improvement etc. etc. At the same time, many new discoveries are made in just digging, and that requires less expertise, but still some, as e.g. the hunter-gatherer landscape of ancient man is turning out to be very complex and full of replacements and introgression from archaics and we have unanswered questions like, if hunter-gatherer replacements and expansions are so common why is only the ~70-50kya Out of Africa event the most successful one??? and so on.

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 08:13 PM
I am going to get undergraduate degree in Russia because it is very hard to study abroad when you only finished school and your English is not very suitable for science. And money, almost all undergraduate students don't have funding. If we talk about PhD degree, of course I want to get it in Germany (Max Planck's school of Human evolution) or in the USA. I don't know much about Russian Anthropology.
I chose RSUH because only this university offers undergraduate program in General Anthropology (only General Anthropology, curriculum includes physical anth, social anth, history). Secondly, exams I've chosen (yes, in Russia you have to choose two exams except Russian language and Mathematics, and where you will study depends on subjects you've chosen, that's why I can't choose Biology for example. Biological programs in Russia require exams - Russian language, Biology, Chemistry; I've chosen history and English. RSUH program in General Anth requires History, English and Russian)

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 08:25 PM
I see that its rank is 37 in Russia. Is this right? I suspect you will need to distinguish yourself on your CV and grades quite a bit given that ranking.

Phys Anth, Soc Anth, and so on will all be good, but it depends on how narrow the approach is going to be. I strongly recommend that, if you find the approach too narrow, you broaden your horizons by reading up on your own. Become an autodidact and teach yourself. Just a question on the syllabus, is the soc anthropology more dominated by the modernist, ethnographic type coming to terms with human diversity, or the postmodern narrative type? Also how much bio goes into the physical anthropology part?

The payoffs can to having a broad knowledge base be really large and you end up contributing to fields even as an outsider. I am currently working on 5 projects spanning Archaeology, Anthropology, Ancient DNA, Networks, Political Economy, cultural Economics, tracking cultural transmission in large-scale societies through DNA testing companies, and Sociology of Dating for example, and approached all these fields as an outsider who had to look for the prerequisite prof.

Send me a private message if you like, we can chat more there.

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 08:30 PM
Thank you, I have no questions anymore. I think I'll have a good questions when I will study at university as I'll meet this field face to face

Ryukendo
02-01-2018, 08:32 PM
Thank you, I have no questions anymore. I think I'll have a good questions when I will study at university as I'll meet this field face to face

No problem and good luck. If you do end up in the US or in Max Planck, we may even meet each other sometime.

ladislav_k
02-01-2018, 08:44 PM
Yes, maybe ;)

Ryukendo
02-11-2018, 07:17 PM
Hi Ladislav,

Just to give a more public face to the use of math and programming in anthropology, here are two papers which are very heavy in these, just off the top of my head:

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1811/20150353
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01043-z