Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology - 2nd Edition

January 22, 2021 | Updated: July 6, 2022
Author: Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González

This textbook is a collection of chapters on the essential topics in cultural anthropology. Different from other introductory textbooks, this book is an edited volume with each chapter written by a different author. Each author has written from their experiences working as an anthropologist and that personal touch makes for an accessible introduction to cultural anthropology. The authors' approach to cultural anthropology is holistic. They see the interconnectedness of cultural practices and, in all of the chapters, they emphasize the comparison of cultures and the ways of life of different peoples.

Subject Areas
Social Sciences, Anthropology

Original source
perspectives.americananthro.org

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Perspectives cover by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, and Laura Tubelle de González is under a CC BY-NC 2.0 Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/).

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Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology - 2nd Edition by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 4.9 / 5

Robert Muckle

Institution:Capilano UniversityTitle/Position: Anthropology InsttructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

This text is an edited volume designed for use in introductory level cultural anthropology courses, usually taught as a first year course in colleges and universities. There are a total of 19 chapters, authored by more than a dozen different teaching anthropologists from Canada and the United States.

The text takes a normative approach in covering the major areas of topical interest in an introductory level cultural anthropology. This includes separate chapters on the concept of culture, fieldwork, language, subsistence, economics, political systems, family and marriage, and religion. Coverage of these topics is covered in a similar manner to most other competing textbooks. In addition to the chapters on the key topics listed above the book as additional chapters on race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, globalization, health and medicine, sustainability, performance, media, applied anthropology, and public anthropology. The topics are covered in a manner suitable for use in introductory level cultural anthropology courses.

There is no index, but each of the chapters includes a glossary.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The book is well-illustrated with many images and diagrams. Supplementary material includes an Instructor's Manual, Power Points, test bank, and links to videos. No inaccuracies or bias were identified in the review.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

The content is up-to-date and written in such a way that the book will likely be useful for several years. Updates to future editions in regards to additions, deletions, or rearrangment of chapters, as well as changes ot content in individual chapters, should be easy and straightforward.

Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The text is well-written. Given that there are more than a dozen different authors contributing to the 19 chapters, there is some inconsistency in writing styles, but overall, each chapter is highly readable by students. The differences in writing styles are not so great that they would be troublesome to students. Jargon and technical terminology is contextualized well, and each chapter has a good glossary. Many terms in glossaries of different chapters use the same definition, which should give students and instructors some comfort.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Regarding terminology, each chapter has its own glossary, but definitions of the same terms in the glossaries of different chapters are consistent. The framework of each chapter is consistent. Each chapter has approximately the same number of pages, and structure. Chapters open for example with Learning Objectives, follow a similar pattern of headings and subheadings. Each chapter also has a glossary, references, and a short section "About the Authors." The listing of referencing is a bit inconsistent, with some chapters including a bibliography while others list the sources in "Notes." The range of references in the list of references at the end of each chapter range from several to several dozen.

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections, especially at the level of chapter - where students can read or download each chapter separately.
There are also effective use of headings and subheading in each chapter to make reading in short sections easy. If an instructor chooses, they could easily re-order or delete some chapters from the book with no affect on the reader.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The topics are presented in a clear and logical manner. The 19 chapters are divided in two major parts. Part 1 covers the key topics covered in most introductory level cultural anthropology courses, beginning with an introductory chapter on the nature of anthropology, followed by separate chapters on culture, fieldwork, language, subsistence, economics, social and political systems, family and marriage, and religion. Part 1 also covers topics sometimes taught in introductory courses, including chapters on race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and globalization. Part 2 includes topics that are not standard in introductory books for cultural anthropology, but may be incorporated into a course depending on instructor and student interest. Topics covered in separate chapters in Part 2 include the history of anthropological thought,
sustainability, performance, media, health and medicine, and public anthropology.

Organization Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The text is free of significant interface issues. The reviewer had no problem opening, reading, viewing, or downloading any of the text. There were no navigation problems, distortion, or anything else that may distract or confuse the reader.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

No spelling or grammatical errors were identified in the review.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The text reflects diversity and inclusion. The reviewer identified no evidence of insensitive or offensive language. Chapters typically provide overviews of diversity, supported by cultural relativism. There are also separate chapters on ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and religion.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

This book is strongly recommended. It provides a normative approach to teaching introductory level cultural anthropology courses, and enough options with extra chapters on topic of specialized interest to appeal to instructors who want to cover those extra topics. The chapters are well-organized, engaging, and cover core content well.