Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology

We are delighted to bring to you this novel textbook, 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. Our approach to cultural anthropology is holistic. We see the interconnectedness of cultural practicesand, in all of the chapters, we emphasize the comparison of cultures and the ways of life ofdifferent peoples. We start with Laura Nader's observation that cultural differences need not be seenas a problem. In our complicated world of increasing migration, nationalism, and climate challenges,cultural diversity might actually be the source of conflict resolution and new approaches to ensuringa healthier world. Indeed, as Katie Nelson reminds us, anthropology exposes the familiarity in theideas and practices of others that seem bizarre. Robert Borofsky advocates for anthropology's abilityto empower people and facilitate good. Borofsky calls on anthropologists to engage with a widerpublic to bring our incredible stories and important insights to helping resolve the most critical issueswe face in the world today. This book brings Nader, Nelson, Borofsky, and many others together todemonstrate that our anthropological understandings can help all of us to improve the lives of peoplethe world over. We need you, as students, to see the possibilities. As instructors, we want to help youshare anthropological knowledge and understanding easily. We want all readers to be inspired by theintensely personal writings of the anthropologists who contribute to this volume.