Anthropologists, like many other scientists, study people. However, anthropologists are not specifically concerned with the physiological aspects of our biological existence (medical doctors); nor are they concerned with the structures and mechanics of the human mind (psychologists); not with the demographic shifts in societal institutions (sociologists); nor with the machinations of political entities (political scientists). What then is distinctive about anthropology and, specifically social and/or cultural anthropology?
Perhaps most importantly, social and cultural anthropology is unique among the social sciences in that it brings a comparative approach to the study of human societies and culture through ethnography—the scientific study of human societies and cultures in situ and through prolonged interaction (participant-observation), working in the subject’s language and the ongoing attempt to privilege local understandings and meanings.
Drew Anthropologists conduct fieldwork in North America, South America and West Africa on a variety of topics including: environment contamination of aboriginal fisheries; resource extraction in the American West; hunting and representations of masculinity; creolization and identity in Afro-Brazil; chiefship and religion in the West African sahel.