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Difference Between Anthropology and History

anthropologyAnthropology Vs History

Anthropology, by mere definition, is the study of human beings. On the contrary, history is the study of history, period! Basically, studying history is learning about the past of human civilizations. Everything that has occurred in the past is history and every event that is bound to happen will eventually become a part of it. This includes the oral and written accounts of history, although there is more emphasis with written records.

History is definitely broader than anthropology. The latter can be part of history because in actuality anthropology is indeed a sub component of history. Viewing history itself won’t make you focus into much detail about man’s culture as opposed to how specific anthropology can be when it comes to studying man’s religion, shared myths, and even folklores. History will not go into that much detail. However, you cannot avoid studying anthropology when you delve into history because you will eventually bump into anthropology when you deal with the study of past events.

The one who studies history or writes something about a piece of history is called a historian whereas the one who studies anthropology is called an anthropologist.

In an objective manner, the study of history involves finding out the cause and effect of certain events. In anthropology it is only about defining an entity, for example what defines humans and who are their ancestors? In the anthropologist’s view, answering such a question will only lead to more questions on how the answer will affect the trait, behavior and associations of human beings. Thus, anthropology is specific to studying human beings alone across all periods of time.

Overall, the general goal of history is to know what have happened including all events that involved the humans. Conversely, anthropology has only one central goal and that is holism. It envisions a holistic view of what humans are and what human nature really is.

Summary :
1.History is the study of ‘history’ whereas anthropology studies about most facets of human beings.
2.History has a broader scope compared to anthropology.
3.The one who helps in writing accounts about history is a historian whereas the one who studies about anthropology is called an anthropologist.
4.History seeks to discover the answers of the cause and effects of certain events whereas anthropology primarily deals with homo sapiens (the humans).
5.The key objective of history is to know and understand the past whereas anthropology is geared towards discovering the true nature of human beings.

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  1. This is by far the worst comparison I have ever seen on the net. Whoever wrote it deserves a Darwin’s award. Julita, you probably failed your college entrance test, because you could not compare apples to oranges.

    Quote: History has a broader scope compared to anthropology.

    How is that even possible? What do you think is more complex, the study of the past or the study of a human being and all the ancestors of a human being who has actually made this past? Anthropology involves not only acquiring the knowledge of human history (which is in fact is much shorter time wise than those millions of years that are covered by anthropology) but also biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology!!!

    Quote: .History seeks to discover the answers of the cause and effects of certain events whereas anthropology primarily deals with homo sapiens (the humans)

    Just so you know: anthropology seeks to discover the answers of the cause and effects of certain events that even historians themselves cannot explain. Anthropology looks for biological causes of certain events in history. Anthropology does not only categorizes events in human history, it also looks at them from an evolutionary prospective.

  2. Who gives you the authority to use terms like ‘definitely’ or to put ‘period’ at the end of a sentence? You are totalising, generalising and you don’t have bibliography. Not a very good try. 🙂

  3. “Everything that has occurred in the past is history and every event that is bound to happen will eventually become a part of it.” This is laughable. Find me a single historian that is an expert on the early universe or star formation. Where are the historians that specialize in early eukaryotes or even early hominids? Where are the history departments offering these specialties.

    The word ‘history’ as a general reference to past events is acceptable in certain contexts, but in no way should it be defined as such when discussing the discipline and comparing it to another discipline.

    The author of this vomit needs to have his or her ability to post online removed till he or she grows up, gets a real education, and learns to read books without pictures.

  4. For anthropologists the story of man is considered a science where empirical truth, gleaned from a hypothesis, is the basis for all information disseminated to the public. Because history as a field of study is a social science, anthropology and history are not that different in their desire to tell the story of mankind. History and anthropology are both concerned with finding out and uncovering facts. Where historians do differ is where they have primarily acquired their information. The stories, whether they are oral, written, or filmed are the basis of the historical. Anthropologists on the other hand have used science to discover the story of humans. But there is a significant overlap of history and anthropology that make them more symbiotic than competitive. History tries to put a name and face to the story. Anthropology is concerned with keeping names and sources anonymous. History tells a story and anthropology wants to prove it.

    Anthropology has a much broader scope than history because anthropology uses history and science to tell a more holistic story of mankind.


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