Sing a Song of Anthropology

Anthropologists are often the first to make fun of themselves, many have quirky or dark senses of humour, and some even love to sing.

The Anthropology Song by Dai Cooper became a YouTube hit after it was released in 2009 and has since amassed over 165,000 views. It is shown in first year anthropology classes, distributed by teaching assistants and continues to be a relevant and engaging way to introduce students to anthropology. At one, or many, points of an anthropologists life the question of why study anthropology arises. This is a good answer. If you’re interested in learning more about Dai and why she wrote the song, an interview can be found here.

Another unique contribution to “singing” anthropology is the hominid rap by L.W. Hasten, for those with an interest in Biological Anthropology. Added in 2012, it has over 35,000 views!

What is your favourite? Have you come across any other anthropology songs?

Lyrics to the Anthropology Song


Hey Mom & Dad, I’ve got to come out and say,
I’ve got to tell you, it’s the only way
Something I’ve learned about myself since I was away (at college)
I really think that I might be a little bit — of an Anthropologist

Mom & Dad, I’ve been led astray,
I’ve been experimenting with archaeolog(a)y
On an excavation, tried C-14 dating
And ground penetrating radar for the first time — (if you know what I mean)

I see the visions in your head of me digging up dino bones
Or do I study insects in a laboratory all alone?
But I’m just looking for the story of our people as a whole
Wanting to learn about and understand all cultures as our own …

[Chorus] The World seems to increasingly need, Anthropology
Now we’re exploring, asking Who Why and How we be People
The difference between us, is not so much
Tell me your story, your piece of what is Humanity.

Mom & Dad, I think you should know,
I do fieldwork, everywhere I go
I want to travel, see Peru and Vietnam
My heroes are Margaret Mead and Barack Obama’s mom
— (did you know she was an Anthropologist?)

If you think of natives on an island painted up singing war songs
It’s misleading though historically you’re not totally wrong
But you can do Anthropology reading graffitied bathroom stalls
Or in a war zone … or a December shopping mall.

Then there’s Linguistics — I think that’s how we use our tongues;
Physical Anthro says what body parts we all have in common,
You can even study monkeys, I hear that part’s really fun
All these fields tell us part of what it means to be human …


Hey Mom & Dad, it wasn’t how you raised me.
Anthro professors, they’re all kinda crazy
Got their agendas, trying to recruit our P-O-Vs
Deep down inside they’re all in love with — Malinowski

At the same time, I think it’s what my heart has always known
Do you remember Hallowe’en when I was Indiana Jones?
The other kids they stopped coming around, I had to play alone
I guess they didn’t like my kinship charts, of all their homes.

Some cross-cultural connexions might just help us all relate
Misunderstanding’s at the root of so much global hate
How many wars, metaphors or literally,
Could be avoided if the world was “us”, instead of “you” and “me”?

[Chorus] x2

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