In general conversations with acquaintances or people I’m introduced to for the first time, I’m often asked what I study. When I tell them that I study Anthropology, I’m often met with a look of confusion, followed by a question of what the subject actually is. While quite a few people have heard the word mentioned once or twice, not many people actually know what it is. I often get asked whether it’s the study of bones, or history, or if it has anything to do with Archaeology.
Put quite simply, Anthropology is the study of humans. Social Anthropology, which is the course that is offered at LSE, is slightly more niche and involves a wide variety of study that allows students to complete cross-comparisons of different societies and cultures. It’s a very unique subject, and those who study it often enter with their own world views and perspectives, which provides scope for plenty of interesting discussions both in class and outside. Here I’ll be sharing what makes Anthropology such a special subject, and why you should consider it for further study.
Variety of Material
So, what’s so special about Anthropology? If you’re a prospective student looking to apply to LSE for this subject, you may be wondering what differentiates it from the others, and why you should spend three years of your life engaging with the course material. One of the first things that drew me to Anthropology was the breadth of material. The variety of subjects you will cover throughout your three years is almost unmatched by any other department. The subject offers you the freedom to explore a variety of topics from birth customs, to global economic inequalities, to political systems in different parts of the world.
When I joined the department on my first day as an LSE student, I had no idea what to expect. I had never studied Anthropology before, but from the descriptions I had seen online, I had an idea that I would enjoy the course modules. I was overjoyed to see that some of my creative passions could be combined with my desire to write academic essays and read lots of books from different perspectives. One of the compulsory courses I undertook turned out to be my favourite of the three years, because I was able to explore photography and art through the lens of Anthropology, and write responses to the material I had seen. This was a pleasant surprise for me, and I instantly loved the course.
Something else that makes the subject stand out from the rest is that it combines a plethora of different disciplines in the scope of the material that’s covered throughout the various courses. Anthropology is a discipline that overlaps with so many degrees that are offered not just at LSE but at other institutions elsewhere. For example, in the second year of the degree, there are opportunities to expand your knowledge of legal systems, or take a historical look at key events from the perspectives of people who have not previously been recognised by history. This broadens your perspective of the subject and provides you with key skills for future study if that’s of interest to you.
Furthermore, Anthropology takes a holistic look at every area it tackles. Anthropologists are people who are always trying to better understand the world and the people in it. This means that a more comprehensive and universal examination is needed when analysing concepts, frameworks and ideologies. Studying Anthropology won’t just make you a better academic, it will make you a better thinker.
Expanding Your World View
Finally, Anthropology will help you to re-examine how you see people and the lives they live. I find that every class and lecture I attend broadens my perspective on the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis. Because of the complex way that the subject delves into people’s experiences, you gain a new understanding of the world. Within no time at all, you begin to open your mind to new possibilities through the lived experiences of others. You won’t regret choosing this course, and you’ll certainly be a changed person by the time you graduate.