Anthropology optional: Tips & book list
Are you considering taking anthropology as an optional subject in the UPSC civil services mains exam? It is a popular choice among aspirants, particularly those with a science or engineering background. Anthropology is also an interesting subject and is considered to be scoring by many.
In this blog, we will delve into all you need to know about anthropology as an optional subject in the UPSC Mains exam. We will cover the syllabus, strategy, and booklist. However, before we dive into the specifics of anthropology, it is essential to consider the pros and cons of taking this subject as your optional. On average, about 500 candidates take up anthropology as their optional, including those without any background in the subject. Like any other optional, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking anthropology as your optional subject. Therefore, it is crucial to go through a checklist before making a final decision. Read along.
Anthropology optional advantages
Anthropology has several advantages as an optional subject. Its approach to questioning is straightforward. Therefore, it is considered more scoring in comparison to other humanities subjects. Consequently, the use of diagrams and flowcharts can make the answers more appealing. Also, saves time and increases marks. Additionally, the syllabus is relatively short and can be completed within four months with the right strategies.
Anthropology is an excellent choice for candidates who have a science or engineering background. Moreover, it is an engaging and easy-to-understand subject with consistent performance. While there is some overlap with General Studies, it is less compared to political science, public administration, and economy.
Studying anthropology helps in writing about society, social justice, the welfare of weaker sections of society, tribal dimensions, internal security issues, biotechnology, and biology. This subject provides a different perspective that can help in writing better answers on current events. Furthermore, in Ethics case studies, tribal issues can be dealt with more effectively.
Disadvantages of Anthropology
- There are some disadvantages to choosing anthropology as an optional subject. Firstly, guidance is limited when compared to political science, geography, and history. So, students may struggle to find proper guidance and support to prepare.
- Additionally, proper guidance is necessary to complete the syllabus effectively through self-study. So, it may take a lot of time and effort to cover the syllabus thoroughly.
- Finally, anthropology requires conceptual clarity rather than rote learning. Mugging up information will not help in scoring marks in this optional subject. Therefore, students must have an understanding of the concepts.
Essential tips for Anthropology optional
- Thoroughly go through the UPSC syllabus for Anthropology. Also, study previous year’s question papers to understand the most important topics.
- Divide the syllabus into manageable sections and focus on conceptual clarity. Paper, I topics include Social Cultural Anthropology and Biological Anthropology, while Paper II covers Indian Society and Tribal India.
- Relate each chapter with others as they are interrelated, making it easier to understand the subject as a whole.
- Take notes and incorporate relevant diagrams and flowcharts wherever possible. Consequently, this will help in revision and scoring good marks in the exam.
- If you are new to the subject, start by attempting questions from Physical Anthropology. Also, it provides ample scope for diagrams, and the questions are largely static, making it easier for beginners to grasp the subject.
- Structure your answers into sections, such as definitions, introductions, explanations, criticisms, etc.
- Mention the name of the researcher/anthropologist whose work you are referring to, along with its criticisms by other scientists.
- Quote multiple thinkers on the subject to add depth to your answer.
- Use side headings to structure your answer and make it presentable.
- Include relevant diagrams and flowcharts in your answers to save time and convey your point effectively.
- Practice drawing diagrams regularly to improve your skills.
- Manage your time well in the exam hall and practice answer writing to complete the paper on time. Also, remember that every question is important.
Anthropology UPSC Books list
- Introducing Sociology NCERT Class XI
- Biology NCERT book For Class Xll (Chapters 5, 6, 7)
- An Introduction to Social Cultural Anthropology – N.K Vaid
- An Introduction to Social Anthropology – D.N. Majumdar and T.N. Madan
- Anthropological Theories – Makhan Jha
- Measuring Time (Chapter 2) of Indian Prehistory – D.K Bhattacharya
- Biology NCERT Class XII
- Physical Anthropology – P. Nath
- IGNOU MA Course for Anthropology
- Indian Anthropology – Nadeem Hasnain
- Indian Society – NCERT Class XII
- Social Change and Development in India – NCERT Class XII
- Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain
- Xaxa Committee Report
- Tribal Culture Of India – L P Vidyarathi
- Tribal Ministry Website
- IGNOU MA Course For Anthropology