Join me in my interview with the author! To be posted later today!
When I heard about this book, I did not truly understand what it would be and how profoundly it would affect my view and understanding of topics from religious beliefs to how and why Anthropology is for me. Humans: Perspectives on our Evolution from World Experts by Sergio Almécija is an amalgamation of sage advice from over one hundred anthropologists worldwide. I may be a little biased when I say this, but I do not think there is a better group of people to learn life lessons from. But who am I to say? This is not a storybook; there is no happy ending or climax. It is a book of advice on how Anthropologists have discovered and viewed our evolution—the lessons our ancestors have imparted upon them and the constant search for our origins.
In Humans, the author has interviewed 103 Biological Anthropologists to obtain their thoughts on various subjects. He asked the anthropologists a series of questions to prompt them to discuss a topic, such as their beginnings, views on religion, driving factors, inspirations, and so much more. We get insider views on these people that many views as untouchable in the ivory tower. I think that this book does many great things. Still, the most critical thing that it accomplishes is that it brings the scientists and researchers down to a level that other humans can understand and feel that they can, hopefully, on some level relate. Humans get humanity back into the science that, for so long, has been askew. This science is about people; Anthropology is the study of human beings and our ancestors. It would be unfortunate if those who contributed to science were too hard to relate to modern humans. This book gives us the insight that they are not as separate from the rest of us as we once thought. Knowing this, the average Jane and Joe can participate in science in a whole new way, not feeling that they do not belong and that there is a place for them and their ways of thinking.
Anthropology is a science of welcoming differences, competitive spirits, and more questions than answers. It is good to hear some of our questions cause these great minds to pause and think, and their solutions, while sometimes abrasive, give us different ways to think about these issues than we may have prior. For many, they will be able to find solace in knowing they are not the only ones to believe in such ways. Big questions like, ‘can one be an anthropologist and still believe in god?” This is a question tackled by many of the participants. You will expect some of the answers, but you will be pretty surprised by others.
The wide range and diverse group of anthropologists that the author brought in for these interviews provide a healthy look at the anthropological community. If you want to know who anthropologists are and how they think, this will be a fun and excellent read for you!