1: the science of human beings; especially : the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture

2: theology dealing with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings 

What is Anthropology?

Very simply, anthropology is the study of all people in all places at all times. It is the holistic study of cultures and the inter-workings of all of their parts, as well as human biological variation, human origins, and human interactions with their environments.

Core to anthropology is the concept of culture.  Culture is shared, learned, adaptable, and changing.  It is learned attitudes, beliefs and ideals shared by a group. Anthropology studies cultures as they are—without ethnocentrism—through ethnology and ethnography.  Traditional methods employed by anthropologists are participant observation, surveys, interviews, archival research, life histories, genealogies, and photography.

There are four fields in anthropology:

  • Cultural:  Studies contemporary cultures in an effort to create cross-cultural understanding.
  • Linguistic:  Studies the use of language and communication systems and how they relate to human behavior.
  • Physical:  Studies human evolution from our earliest hominid ancestry to modern human biological variation.
  • ArchaeologyStudies past cultures through the physical remains they have left behind, such as culturally modified objects, cooking hearths, middens, etc'

In addition, applied anthropology is often considered a fifth field.  It applies anthropological methods in a practical way to help solve problems faced by contemporary cultures.

Why an Anthropology Club?

Pacific Lutheran University Anthropology Club brings together people who share a similar interest in learning about humankind.

The events we plan are meant for the entire PLU community. For each event our goal is to enrich the students, faculty and the club itself. Events are planned so that at least one branch of anthropology is explored, whether it be culture, linguistics, biology, archaeology, or all of the above.  

Some of our activities include films, dining and lecture.  We watch anthropological and popular films and discuss anthropological concepts, methods, representations and metaphors.  We dine at local restaurants to sample foods from other cultures.  We attend and put on lectures.  These lectures, either on or off campus, aren’t solely anthropological in nature.  They vary from a myriad of disciplines, because anthropological concepts and methods can be applied to other disciplines, and, furthermore, because a multi-disciplinarily approach provides students with a wider range of understanding and is at the heart of a liberal arts education. 

Within this website you can find information about the club, the officers, our goals, current and upcoming events, and our contact information. 

Mission Statement: The PLU Anthropology Club serves to provide the PLU community with events and insights that lead to a further understanding of anthropological thought and theory. In addition, it also aligns with the PLU ideal of a global education, combating ethnocentrism and providing venues for the expansion of cultural education.

Goals: To eliminate ethnocentrism and encourage cultural relativism in the PLU community, to encourage the asking of anthropological questions and provide opportunities for PLU community members to become involved in anthropological events and discussions.

* Merriam-Webster Dictionary