What is the role of culture in human experience? Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective helps students understand and discern this crucial issue from a Christian perspective. The book covers standard cultural anthropology topics with special attention given to issues of concern to Christians, such as cultural relativism, evolution, and missions. It offers a fresh, contemporary approach to cultural anthropology, incorporating the most recent theory and language in the discipline.
This concise yet solid introduction represents the authors' years of experience in the classroom (more than twenty years combined) and fits a variety of courses, including anthropology, sociology, Christian ministries, intercultural studies, and missions. It will also be useful for current or future missionaries. Each chapter includes learning objectives, text boxes, terms, and discussion questions. In addition, plentiful maps, photos, and sidebars are sprinkled throughout the text. A companion website will feature numerous ancillary support materials and teaching aids.
What is the role of culture in human experience? This introductory cultural anthropology textbook helps readers explore and understand this crucial issue from a Christian perspective. The book covers standard cultural anthropology topics with special attention given to issues of concern to Christians, such as cultural relativism, evolution, and missions.
This concise yet solid introduction represents the authors' years of experience in the classroom and offers a fresh, contemporary approach. Each chapter includes objectives, text boxes, terms, and discussion questions. In addition, plentiful maps, photos, and sidebars are sprinkled throughout the text.
Resources for professors using this text are available at www.introducinganthropology.com.
Brian M. Howell (PhD, 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 (PhD, 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.
Introducing Cultural Anthropology has much to offer. Each chapter includes clear learning objectives, chapter outlines, brief but clear presentations of complex anthropological concepts--including culture, the nature of descent, and cultural theory--mixed with a biblical perspective on all these issues.
The authors also bring themselves to the text, sharing their cultural experiences in dispersed fieldwork sites, their Christian values, and even their families--a true mix of culture and life. 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,
professor of anthropology and translation, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies
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,
director, PhD Program in Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Finally--an anthropology textbook with a balanced Christian approach that covers all the basic anthropological topics in a captivating yet academic manner. Professionally written and well presented to enhance learning, I eagerly await this new textbook and plan to use it in my introductory anthropology classes.
professor of anthropology, Houghton College
For Christian students just starting their journey into anthropology, this is a good place to start. Written to be a text for undergraduate courses, Introducing Cultural Anthropology is short, readable, interesting, and covers the territory quite well. The final chapter will be especially helpful for those wondering whether or not anthropological study is helpful as a part of preparation for life.
senior professor of anthropology and intercultural communication, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
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.
adjunct associate professor of anthropology, visiting research scholar, Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame
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. Quite honestly, each chapter was my favorite until I read the next one!
-J. Nelson Jennings, professor of world mission, Covenant Theological Seminary; editor, Missiology
"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. One of the most definitive ways that such integration manifests itself is through the authors' strategic placement of biblically based devotions at the conclusion of each chapter that help to facilitate further reflection on the major concepts discussed within the particular chapter from a Christian perspective.
In addition, the inclusion of field and research illustrations from the authors' experiences as anthropologists as well as highlights from the experiences of other Christian anthropologists contribute depth and transparency to the systematic discussion of anthropological theory, concepts, and practice in the text. This is a needed resource within Christian higher education, and I highly recommend its use in introductory anthropology courses."
-Katrina T. Greene,
associate professor of anthropology and intercultural studies, Biola University
Introducing Cultural Anthropology provides an exceptional resource for helping students contextualize sometimes difficult anthropological topics such as culture, sexuality, and power with Christian faith. This integrative book updates previous offerings in anthropology, and does so in a way that is eminently readable and accessible to the student. Each author brings a distinct voice to the text which helps the reader feel they are on a collegial journey with excellent guides. Highly recommended!
-Matthew S. Vos,
professor of sociology, Covenant College
Howell and Paris have provided an introductory text for cultural anthropology that is not only well-written, informative, and interesting, but also unique in bridging the gap between this secular discipline and Christianity. Theological excursions into subjects relevant to Christians, devotional exercises for contemplating the full significance of human life in biblical terms, and personal accounts of the paradoxes of the working life of Christian anthropologists are interwoven with clear and penetrating explanations of anthropological concepts. In all this, the authors are faithful both to Christianity and anthropology. This book will provide much food for thought to Christians interested in discovering the value of anthropology for life, ministry, and practice.
--Eloise Hiebert Meneses,
professor of missions and anthropology, Eastern University
The authors provide a concise and clearly written text that examines cultural anthropology from a Christian standpoint. Each chapter presents the subject matter in a form that preserves conventional scientific perspectives while viewing the subject through a Christian lens. This book fills a niche not previously addressed by the panoply of anthropological textbooks currently available.
program director, anthropology, Biola University
Howell and Paris's text is neither an introductory anthropology text with a bit of Christianity sprinkled on top nor a Christian devotional dabbling in cultural anthropology. Scholarly, critical, and passionately Christian, this text is a rich dialogue growing out of the life and work of particular Christians who have found great value from the lessons to be learned in the discipline of cultural anthropology.
It is at once confessional and professional, reflexive as well as capturing succinctly the special contributions of the discipline of cultural anthropology. Special kudos for tackling head-on the tensions and difficult points of contact between Christian communities and anthropological theory and research while simultaneously highlighting strong examples of synergy. This book should be in widespread use in all institutions of Christian higher education serious about the study of culture.
cultural anthropologist; director, Center for Justice and Reconciliation, Point Loma Nazarene University
Introducing Cultural Anthropology is a cogent, up-to-date, and well-crafted survey of the field. Students are challenged to think anthropologically about the human condition and to comprehend the important contribution the discipline makes to faithful Christian witness. Foundational anthropological concepts are presented lucidly alongside engaging stories of real-life anthropologists working in the field. This text is an invaluable resource for students who are committed to advancing the public good through the diverse vocations they pursue beyond the classroom.
-James G. Huff Jr.,
associate professor of anthropology, Vanguard University
Howell and Paris offer a compelling introduction to cultural anthropology from a Christian perspective, addressing theory, modern and postmodern ideas, globalization, and the practice of anthropology. This is an important book for Christians studying cultures and I recommend it to academics, missionaries, and NGO workers alike.
-Calenthia S. Dowdy,
associate professor of anthropology and youth ministry, Eastern University
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