PhD in General Anthropology Faculty of Humanities, Charles University
The broadly conceived doctoral study program of (general) anthropology focuses on human behavior, action, and cognition both in their biological (genetic) aspects and evolutionary, social, and/or environmentally conditioned variability. Its general anthropological approach stems from an assumption that (a) it is only a variety and variability of behavior, action, and cognition that can speak of the character of human existence, and that (b) it is necessary to speak of this existence by way of a synthetizing combination of biological-empirical, cultural-interpretative and reflexively philosophical methods. It is supported by the (Anglo-American) conception of integral general anthropology as a discipline studying both biological and socio-cultural aspects of human beings conceived as complex organisms endowed with language, thought and culture (endowed with a capacity of semiotic, symbolical representation).
This assumption is broadened by certain aspects of (German and French) philosophical and historical anthropology. Such conception of (general) anthropology takes into account both the diversity of human cultures and common characteristic features of humanity (both partial evolutional processes and general qualities of biological and cultural evolution of man).
Doctoral students choose one of the four specializations of this study program:
- philosophical anthropology,
- historical anthropology,
- psychological anthropology and human ethology, or
- social and cultural anthropology.
General anthropology is a basically synthetic (i.e. combines a variety of relatively independent approaches) and comparative discipline as well as a field that is analytically critical and reflexive. This conception of (general) anthropology uses (according to selected specialization) both empirical (or statistical) methods of biological sciences (or bio-medical sciences, empirical psychology or demography) and interpretative methods of social and cultural anthropology (or ethnography) and historical, or analytical and reflexive methods of philosophical and hermeneutic anthropology. A significant nexus of the study program is provided by a theory of culture (seen as a semiotic system transferred by social learning), whether it is applied in mainly cultural and constructivist interpretations, or in interpretations drawing from co-evolution of genes and culture, or in studies of the culturally conditioned frequency of biological and/or neuropsychological manifestations.
The goal of the study program in anthropology is to prepare students for academic research work at the level required by contemporary science. Students will combine knowledge from all fields in a holistic approach to studying man and populations to overcoming ethnic and social differences, and in attempting to observe current processes in their historical and cultural contexts.
Graduates, proficient in methods and practical aspects of scientific research as regards the general anthropological disciplines, are able to conduct field researches into anthropological issues in line with their specializations while observing a scientist’s code of ethics. They are able to accurately formulate the results of their scientific work so as to publish them in high-standard journals or to responsibly popularise them. They are qualified for teaching positions at universities or colleges, responsible positions in scientific institutes, foundations, NGO’s or governmental departments (such as departments of labor and social matters, health and care, home office, and foreign affairs) and the media in terms of popularizing the findings of anthropology, science, and humanities.