Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is the study of humans and humanity as uniquely related to or engaged in culture, i.e. of homo sapiens as a species and the complex values, norms and beliefs which make them distinctive as a species. Generally, cultural anthropology functions as a scientific field, although it gains its motivations from the traditional project of a philosophical anthropology in antiquity which looks to discover the possible gamut of norms, values or beliefs enacted and held by humanity in order that the unique human purpose or function of these norms, values or beliefs is elucidated. Or, a modern project that looks to simultaneously naturalize the propagation and emergence of culture and evaluate the normative privileging of humanity by the human subject, as well as the relationship between human culture and this privileging. Given these projects, anthropology often involves archeological, historical and ethnographic methods to excavate the origins and inklings of culture as distinctive to homo sapiens, model the relationships among artifacts and cultural practices, and speculate about the objective conditions of possibility for the emergence of a human culture as such.