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The Anthropology Handbook

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The Handbook of Anthropology
Anthropology is the holistic, global, comparative study of humans. It is the comprehensive study of human beings and of their interactions with each other and the environment. The term "anthropology" is pronounced /ænθrɵˈpɒlədʒi/, from the Greek ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, "human", and -λογία, -logia, "discourse" and was first used in English in 1593.

Anthropology has its intellectual origins in both the natural sciences and the humanities. Its basic questions concern, "What defines Homo sapiens?" "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?" "What are humans' physical traits?" "How do humans behave?" "Why are there variations and differences among different groups of humans?" "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" and so forth.

In the United States, contemporary anthropology is typically divided into four subfields: social/cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology and biological anthropology, and this division is reflected in many undergraduate textbooks as well as anthropology programs (e.g. Michigan, Berkeley, UPenn, etc.). Unlike the American system, however, at universities in the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, the subfields are frequently housed in separate departments.