Biological anthropology can, and should, matter in the Anthropocene. Biological anthropologists are interested in human biology and the human experience in a broader ecological, evolutionary, and phylogenetic context. We are interested in the material of the body, the history of the body, and interactions of diverse bodies, communities, ecologies, and evolutionary processes. However, the cultural realities of bodies, histories, communities, livelihoods, perceptions, and experiences are as central to the endeavor and inquiry of biological anthropology as are their material aspects. Biological anthropology is a constant dialectic between the cultural and the biological. In this essay, I argue that Biological Anthropology has much to offer, a history to contend with, and a future that matters. To illustrate this, I highlight theoretical and methodological issues in genomics, evolutionary theory and connect them to the study of Race and Racism to emphasize specific arenas where Biological Anthropology has a great capacity, and a strong obligation, to play a central role. However, Biological Anthropology also has substantive internal issues that hinder our ability to do the best possible science. If we are to live up to our potential and make a difference in the 21st century we need to ameliorate our structural shortcomings and expand our voice, and impact, in academic and public discourse. The goal of this perspective is to offer suggestions for moving us toward this goal.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- biological anthropology
- evolutionary theory