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Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective Paperback – December 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Howell and Paris have done us a huge favor. Their timely Introducing Christian Anthropology will be a tremendous help to Christian educators and students alike. This textbook covers a comprehensive spectrum of contemporary anthropological topics ranging from conceptual considerations of 'culture' to concrete examinations of power structures, and it does so in an attractive and understandable format that will facilitate fruitful learning."--J. Nelson Jennings, Covenant Theological Seminary; editor, Missiology

"This engagingly written book is the most up-to-date introduction to cultural anthropology for Christians currently available. The authors summarize contemporary social theory and offer their own research and experiences on the field as an invitation to see the world anthropologically. Readers are helped to reflect on biblical themes in the light of anthropological realities and are encouraged to apply what they learn to a wide variety of work and ministry settings around the world."--Robert J. Priest, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"This unique text will help students understand our increasingly interconnected world, while also giving them the tools to deal with the practical and ethical issues that this world presents. It also gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of a little-known species--the Christian anthropologist."--Michael Jindra, Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame

"Introducing Cultural Anthropology has much to offer. The chapters on religion and globalization are brilliant and all chapters are informative and challenging. I happily commend this book for use in college classrooms as well as missional training--students and all who anticipate ministry, whatever the context, will benefit."--R. Daniel Shaw, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies

"This clearly written and well-organized text provides an insightful examination of cultural anthropology in a manner that encourages the integration of faith and learning. This is a needed resource within Christian higher education, and I highly recommend its use in introductory anthropology courses."--Katrina T. Greene, Biola University

About the Author

Brian M. Howell (Ph.D., Washington University) is associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. His books and articles have focused on ethnography of the Philippines, anthropology of religion, faith integration, and Christian missions. Jenell Williams Paris (Ph.D., American University) is professor of anthropology and sociology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She formerly taught at Bethel University. Both authors regularly teach introductory anthropology courses.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801038871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038877
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Okay, normally I despise introductory textbooks. They're stale, painfully dull, don't prepare students to actually think like an anthropologist, and make people memorize a bunch of quaint people groups and concepts that were last hot in the 1950s. However, this is more readable than most (aside from the small font... I know, I sound curmudgeonly!). This one's definitely worth reading as a Christian interested in anthropology, whether or not it's for a specific class.

So -- short story -- I like it and recommend it. In the sections below, I'll give you an overview of the contents and offer a few thoughts on the book as a whole.

Overview:

I found the intro and first chapters on the discipline of anthropology to be broad and dull, as usual, but really enjoyed the second chapter ("the concept of culture"), which helps students see a number of ways in which anthropologists think about culture. This was a great overview even for me as a graduate student in anthropology. "Language" was okay, and "social structure" had good application to American anthropology. "Gender and sexuality" may present a challenge for some of the more conservative, but is well-handled overall.

Chapter 6, "Production and exchange," was fairly well done, although I'm always frustrated with how intro textbooks spend so much time overviewing the concepts of foraging, horticulture, pastoralism, and agriculture, which I've never found of any use in life or in the field.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Howell and Paris's intro text book on cultural anthropology gives an adequate account of the major themes and topics at the heart of the discipline. The book is very accessible for novices and helpfully explains the more complex concepts and theories. While there are a few areas that could have been done better (the theoretical sections as well as discussions of stratification could have been better developed), it still works great as a base text.

Given its Christian perspective, however, this is obviously not a book for a normal course (if you are considering it as a textbook for a class) nor for someone simply wanting general knowledge in the field. It is filling a niche and does it well.

That being said, Howell and Paris offer one of the few quality attempts at something sorely lacking in Christian publishing: thoughtful and rigorous social scientific works. Christians can often (and usually for good reason) exhibit a phobia toward the social sciences, but this book helps to move past that. As such, it makes for a great textbook for Anthro course at a Christian college (I assigned it in my last course).

Lastly, another huge advantage is the price. Cultural Anthropology textbooks often cost three times as much. That makes the Howell and Paris text an affordable alternative.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had never before discovered the subject of Anthropology
But the book introduced the subject in such a good way, and also again again was it done in a practical and nice way, that make it easier for all people to understand.
The subject came alive, and I was able to look at my own life, and feel challenged to do things differently.
It has made my own life in Korea easier, as I was able to look at my life also and question some of the ways I was living my life.
A great book with so many powerful and important truth for all of us.

Please read it and get ready to learn
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very easy read, this book would work wonderfully for any high school anthropology class. Furthermore, it's detailed handling of the subject would also make it helpful in collegiate level introductory courses. It has weaknesses in chapter organization, and the authors can lapse into a rather "Sunday school" tone when they attempt to tie Christianity into anthropology (which they do sufficiently), often seeming to over stress/over teach rather simple concepts. Nevertheless, overall, this is an excellent text.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My high school students are using this, and like itso far. They really enjoy the real case studies and included images.
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great good on this topic if you look to learn more on Christianity :)
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