Originally published in German, Christoph Wulf's "Anthropology" sets its sights on a topic as ambitious as its title suggests: anthropology itself. Arguing for an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to anthropology that incorporates science, philosophy, history, and many other disciplines, Wulf examines - with breathtaking scope - all the ways that anthropology has been understood and practiced around the globe and through the years. Seeking a central way to understand anthropology in the midst of many different approaches to the discipline, Wulf concentrates on the human body. An emblem of society, culture, and time, the body is also the result of many mimetic processes - the active acquisition of cultural knowledge. By examining the role of the body in the performance of rituals, gestures, language, and other forms of imagination, he offers a bold new look at how culture is produced, handed down, and transformed. Drawing such examinations into a comprehensive and sophisticated assessment of the discipline as a whole, "Anthropology" looks squarely at the mystery of humankind and the ways we have attempted to understand it.
Christoph Wulf is professor of anthropology and philosophy of education and director and cofounder of the Interdisciplinary Center for Historical Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of over one hundred books and has been translated extensively in numerous languages.