Commentary: What is a Good Life?

Written by Dr. Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Since 2007 I have been teaching Introduction to Cultural Anthropology to small groups of First Year Experience (FYE) students at Western Illinois University.  For the vast majority of students, this is the first time they have ever heard of anthropology and for many it may be the only anthropology class they ever take.  As professors and parents we ask young humans to make significant decisions about the trajectory of their lives from the moment they begin college.  Pick a major, find a job, all while they are simultaneously figuring out what brings them meaning and purpose in a world in which meaning and purpose are not guaranteed. Alfred Kroeber, one of the founding fathers of anthropology said that “Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.”

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