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Paperback 576 pp.
54 figures; 12 tables; 170 photos; 58 maps, 8.5" x 11"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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What Does It Mean to Be Human? Canadian Edition

Robert H. Lavenda, Emily A. Schultz and Cynthia Zutter

Anthropology asks what it means to be human, incorporating answers from all four major subfields of anthropology - biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology - as well as applied anthropology. Fully conveying the richness of the discipline, this detailed yet accessible introduction helps students gain a deeper understanding of the human condition by looking at themselves and the world around them through an anthropological lens.

Readership : Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? Canadian Edition is a core text intended for introductory anthropology courses offered out of anthropology and sociology departments at universities and colleges.


  • "The emphasis on Canadian anthropology, and on First Nations and multiculturalism in Canada, sets this book apart."
    --Michael Gregg, St. Francis Xavier University

  • "Extremely engaging, very thorough, and enjoyable to read. The vast array of examples presented throughout the text is a definite strength."
    --David Hopwood, Vancouver Island University

  • "This text does a very good job of showing the relevance of anthropology in the twenty-first century."
    --Mark Prentice, Vanier College

Note: All chapters end with:
- Chapter summary
- For Review sections
- Key terms
- Suggested readings
1. What Is Anthropology?
- What Is Anthropology?
- What Is the Concept of Culture?
- What Makes Anthropology a Cross-Disciplinary Discipline?
- Biological Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Linguistic Anthropology
- Archaeology
- Applied Anthropology
- Medical Anthropology
- The Uses of Anthropology
2. Why Is the Concept of Culture Important?
- How Do Anthropologists Define Culture?
- Culture, History, and Human Agency
- Why Do Cultural Differences Matter?
- How Can Cultural Relativity Improve Our Understanding of Controversial Cultural Practices?
- Does Culture Explain Everything?
- The Promise of the Anthropological Perspective
3. Why Is Evolution Important to Anthropologists?
- What Is Evolutionary Theory?
- What Material Evidence Is There for Evolution?
- Pre-Darwinian Views of the Natural World
- What Is Natural Selection?
- How Did Biologists Learn about Genes?
- Genotype, Phenotype, and the Norm of Reaction
- What Does Evolution Mean to Anthropologists?
4. What Can Evolutionary Theory Tell Us about Human Variation?
- What Is Microevolution?
- Skin Colour
- Intelligence
- What Is Macroevolution?
- Can We Predict the Future of Human Evolution?
5. What Can the Study of Primates Tell Us about Human Beings?
- What Are Primates?
- How Do Anthropologists Classify Primates?
- What Do We Know About the Kinds of Primates Living Today?
- Are There Patterns in Primate Evolution?
- How Do Paleoanthropologists Reconstruct Primate Evolutionary History?
6. What Can the Fossil Record Tell Us about Human Origins?
- What is Hominin Evolution?
- Who Were the First Hominins (6-3 mya)?
- Who Were the Later Australopiths (3-1.5 mya)?
- How Can Anthropologists Explain the Human Transition?
- What Do We Know about Early Homo (2.4-1.5 mya)?
- Who Was Homo Erectus (1.8-0.3 mya)?
- What Happened to Homo Erectus?
- How Did Homo Sapiens Evolve?
- Who Were the Neanderthals (230,000-27,000 Years Ago)?
- What Do We Know about the Tool Tradition and Culture of the Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age?
- What Do We Know about Anatomically Modern Humans (200,000 Years Ago to Present)?
- What Do We Know About the Upper Paleolithic/Late Stone Age (40,000?-10,000 Years Ago)
- What Happened to the Neanderthals?
- How Many Kinds of Upper Paleolithic/Late Stone Age Cultures Were There?
- Where Did Modern Homo Sapiens Migrate in Late Pleistocene Times?
- Two Million Years of Human Evolution
Focus on Four Fields: Biological Anthropology: Bioarchaeology and the Analysis of Human Remains
7. How Do We Know about the Human Past?
- What Is Archaeology?
- How Do Archaeologists Interpret the Past?
- Whose Past Is It?
- Plundering the Past
- Contemporary Trends in Archaeology
Focus on Four Fields: Archaeology: Dating Methods in Archaeology and Paleoanthropology
8. Why Did Humans Settle Down, Build Cities, and Establish States?
- How Is the Human Imagination Entangled with the Material World?
- Is Plant Cultivation a Form of Niche Construction?
- How Do Anthropologists Explain the Origins of Animal Domestication?
- How Do Anthropologists Explain the Development of Domestication?
- How Did Domestication, Cultivation, and Sedentism Begin in Southwestern Asia?
- What Were the Consequences of Domestication and Sedentism?
- How Do Anthropologists Define Social Complexity?
- What Is the Archaeological Evidence for Social Complexity?
- How Can Anthropologists Explain the Rise of Complex Societies?
9. Why Is Understanding Human Language Important?
- How Do We Communicate without Language?
- How Are Language and Culture Related?
- What Makes Human Language Distinctive?
- What Does It Mean to "Learn" a Language?
- What Happens when Languages Come into Contact?
- What Is Linguistic Inequality?
- How Do Issues of Language Use and Gender Intersect?
- What Is Lost If a Language Dies?
- How Are Language and Truth Connected?
Focus on Four Fields: Linguistic Anthropology: Components of Language
10. How Do We Make Meaning?
- What Is Play?
- What Is Art?
- What Is Myth?
- What Is Ritual?
- How Are World View and Symbolic Practice Related?
- What Are Symbols?
- What Is Religion?
- World Views in Operation: Two Case Studies
- How Do People Maintain and Change Their World View?
- How Are World Views Used as Instruments of Power?
11. Why Do Anthropologists Study Economic Relations?
- How Do Anthropologists Study Economic Relations?
- How Do Anthropologists Study Production, Distribution, and Consumption?
- How Are Goods Distributed and Exchanged?
- Does Production Drive Economic Activities?
- Why Do People Consume What They Do?
- The Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
12. How Do Anthropologists Study Political Relations?
- How Are Culture and Politics Related?
- How Do Anthropologists Study Politics?
- How Are Politics, Gender, and Kinship Related?
- How Are Immigration and Politics Related in the New Europe?
- Hidden Transcripts and the Power of Reflection
13. Where Do Our Relatives Come From and Why Do They Matter?
- What Is Kinship?
- What Is the Role of Descent in Kinship?
- What Roles Do Lineages Play in Descent?
- What Are Kinship Terminologies?
- What Criteria Are Used for Making Kinship Distinctions?
- What Is Adoption?
- How Are New Reproductive Technologies Changing Western Concepts of Kinship?
- How Do We Define Marriage?
- What Is a Family?
- How Are Families Transformed over Time?
- How Does International Migration Affect the Family?
- How Are Sexual Practices Organized?
- Sexuality and Power
Focus on Four Fields: Cultural Anthropology: Ethnographic Methods
14. What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Social Inequality?
- Inequality and Structural Violence in Haiti
- Gender
- Class
- Caste
- Race
- Ethnicity
- Nation and Nationalism
15. What Can Anthropology Tell Us about Globalization?
- What Happened to the Global Economy after the Cold War?
- Cultural Processes in a Global World
- How Does Globalization Affect the Nation-State?
- Are Human Rights Universal?
- Cultural Imperialism or Cultural Hybridity?
- Can We Be at Home in a Global World?
- Why Study Anthropology?

Instructor's Manual:
For each chapter:
- Chapter summary (brief and detailed versions)
- 5-10 discussion/debate questions
- 3-5 activities and assignments
- 10-14 annotated list of readings
- 10-15 relevant web links
Focus on the Four Fields features:
- Activities
- Critical thinking questions
- Film suggestion with related questions
Test Generator:
For each chapter (all include answer key and page references):
- 35-90 multiple choice questions
- 15-20 true-or-false questions
- 10-13 short answer questions
For each Module/Focus feature:
- 12-18 multiple choice questions
- 3-7 short answer questions
PowerPoint Slides:
For each chapter:
- 20-25 lecture outline slides to reflect Canadian content
For each Module/Focus feature:
- 10-12 slides to reflect Canadian content
Image Bank:
- All images, tables, and figures from the text
Student Study Guide:
For each chapter:
- Chapter outline/summary
- 5-10 learning objectives
- Key terms and definitions
- 10-15 multiple choice questions
- 10-15 true-or-false questions
- 2-5 essay topics
- List of relevant websites
- List of films
- 10-15 suggested readings
- Video links
For each Module/Focus feature:
- 2 annotated web links
- 5 multiple choice questions
E-Book (ISBN 9780199012879)

Robert H. Lavenda is professor of anthropology and co-chair of the Department of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.

Emily A. Schultz is professor of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.

Cynthia Zutter is professor in the Department of Anthropology, Economics and Political Science at MacEwan University. She has taught anthropology courses for the past seventeen years at the university and also has over two decades of research experience in the Arctic.

Reading Cultural Anthropology - Pamela Stern
Gangsters Without Borders - T.W. Ward
Listen, Here is a Story - Bonnie L. Hewlett
Paradigms for Anthropology - E. Paul Durrenberger and Suzan Erem
Labor and Legality - Ruth Gomberg-Munoz
Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha - L. Kaifa Roland
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • Incorporates Canadian content throughout while retaining an overarching global approach, giving students a balanced overview of anthropology at home and abroad.
  • Four-fields perspective covers main concepts in each of the four-fields of anthropology - cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology - giving students a comprehensive introduction to the discipline.
  • Question-oriented approach provides an alternative to traditional encyclopaedic texts by structuring chapters around questions that are designed to spark curiosity and help students understand how anthropology is relevant to their lives.
  • Impacts of globalization discussed throughout helps students understand its implications in light of a variety of topics.
  • Coverage of current anthropological approaches to power and inequality incorporated throughout the text - including issues of nationalism, racism, class, caste, and human rights - explores how power is manifested in different human societies, how it permeates all aspects of social life, and how it is deployed, resisted, and transformed.
  • Coverage of gender and feminist anthropology is tightly woven throughout the text, including material on gender and feminist archaeology, controversies over female genital cutting, supernumerary sexes and genders, varieties of human sexual practices, language and gender, women and electoral politics, gay marriage, women and colonialism, and contemporary forms of social inequality.
  • In Their Own Words boxes offer diverse perspectives on key anthropological concerns as well as insiders' perspectives on what it's like to participate in anthropological research.
  • Anthropology in the Contemporary World boxes clearly demonstrate the relevance of anthropology in today's world through examples such as orangutan conversation projects, the study of youth dating practices, and the creation of a Kryptonian alphabet for the latest Superman film.
  • Focus on Four Fields feature provides students with an introduction to the various methods, approaches, and concerns relevant to each of the four main fields - including topics such as dating methods, ethnographic methods, and the analysis of human remains.
  • EthnoProfile boxes offer essential information on cultural groups, providing an overview of relevant geographic, linguistic, demographic, and organizational data.
  • A map of the world on the inside front cover marks the locations of cultures featured in EthnoProfile boxes.
  • Cross-chapter marginal notes direct students to other parts of the text for further reading, encouraging readers to make connections between topics, issues, and subfields of anthropology.
  • Visually appealing full-colour design, featuring an abundance of photos, illustrations, maps, and tables throughout, helps bring anthropology to life.