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ANTHROPOLOGY STRATEGY (Marks 339, CSE-2017): By Sachin Gupta Rank – 3 UPSC CSE-2017, Part-2



By Sachin Gupta Rank – 3 UPSC CSE-2017



This is my second article (First Article) regarding strategy for Anthropology Optional and overall 4th article. We will be discussing extensively on “How to study Syllabus and makes notes”. It’s a long article, please be patient, here I have divided note making into basic level, value addition, case studies and diagrams.  Let’s start then:

How to Study Particular Topic

  • Definitions: Prepare definition on each of the sub-topic given in the syllabus given by renowned anthropologists along with their books or platforms with year where they have given that definition.


  • Conceptual Understanding: Try to build good conceptual understanding for each of the topic. Along with the previous year questions, enhance your preparation level by value addition from current debates of anthropology . for instance:
    • Meaning, scope and development of Anthropology:
      • Basic level: What is anthropology, What are the branches of anthropology, Methods/techniques used in studying anthropology, how the discipline evolved over the period of time
      • Value Addition: How does the field of anthropology is a interlink sciences and the humanities.

Quotes by Anthropologist:  “Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.” – Alfred L. Kroeber”

  • Archaeology:
    • Basic Level: Short notes on each of the stage of cultural evolution: a) Paleolithic
      b) Mesolithic 
      c) Neolithic
      d) Chalcolithic 
      e) Indus Civilization
  1. f) Vedic and post-Vedic
  • Value Addition:
    • What does the archaeological record tell us about Past societies
    • How we study them?
    • Interlinking them with other topics (Ecological Anthropology, Neo-Evolution)
    • What are the transformations in human subsistence and culture implied by the term Neolithic?
    • What are some artifacts and features that are associated with the origins of agriculture?
    • What were the major consequences of domestication for prehistoric peoples?
    • In what ways have the ability to produce food through agriculture and the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle affected the human experience?
    • Discuss specific ways that these changes affected human health and reproduction


  • Evolution:
    • Basic Level: Theories of evolution , comparison between them, Principles of Mendel and short notes on all the sub topic given in the syllabus
    • Core of Evolution: Try to build a clear understanding and interlinking factors of evolution:
      • Mutation
      • Gene Frequency
      • Natural Selection
    • Linking these concepts with other sub-topics of syllabus
      • Primatology
      • Genetic Drift
      • Gene pool
      • Gene Flow
      • Genotype/Phenotype
      • Founder’s Effect
      • Hardy-Weinberg
      • Genetic Load
      • Genetic imprinting
      • Gene Mapping
      • Population Genetics
      • Chromosomal Aberrations and so on!
    • Value Addition:
      • Social Behavior in primates
        • Non-Verbal and Verbal Communication
        • Social Grooming
        • Parent-Child linkage
      • Molecular Genetics
      • Molecular Clock
      • How social adaptation played crucial role in our evolution ( Watch the above documentaries for the same)
      • Punctuated and Gradual Evolution
      • Principal trends in hominid evolution within genus Homo
      • What are some of the different theories regarding the relationship of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis to Homo sapiens
      • What are the different perspectives regarding the evolution of anatomically modern Homo sapiens?
      • How can physical variations in human populations be seen as indicators of adaptations to varying environmental conditions
      • What were some of the technological and cultural developments of the Neandertals?
      • In what ways did modern Homo sapiens cultures of the Upper Paleolithic represent advancements in comparison with Neandertals?
      • How race is socially constructed?
      • Comparison between race and racism


  • Socio-Cultural Anthropology
    • Basic Level: Prepare short notes on each of the topic given in the syllabus. Here it is very important to cram the verbatim of definition given by renowned anthropologists.
    • Value Addition
      • How does nonhuman animal behavior differ from human behavior?
      • What are the major trends associated with globalization?
      • Does globalization have positive or negative consequences for simple societies?
      • What is it that makes human languages unique in comparison with nonhuman animal communication?
      • Cultural Relativism and Ethnocentrisms
      • What is the relationship between language and culture?
      • What other forms of communication do humans use aside from language?
    • Applied Anthropology:
      • Basic level: Short notes on each of the topics( Link with core of biological and social anthropology)
        • Anthropological perspective on Anthropology
        • Epidemiological Anthropology
        • Ecological Anthropology ( Bio-cultural Approach, Cultural Ecology)
        • Human Growth Pattern and its variations
        • Sports Anthropology
        • Forensic Anthropology
      • Value Addition:
        • Recent Case-studies/ Application
      • Demographic profile of India


  • Tribal India
    • Basic Level
      • Here one needs to study extensively and I believe examiner expect well aware intelligent answer from us.
      • Specifically go through the XAXA report and find some important case studies
      • While compiling multi-dimensional case-studies try to take those which can be utilized in different topics.
    • Value addition


  • Tribal Sub Plan:
  • Pseudo Tribalism

sachin gupta

anthropology strategy

  • Diagrams
    • Try to prepare diagrams and flow chart on each of the sub topic. It helps in revising at the end.
    • Secondly one should try to make diagrams or flowchart if one can in that topic. Especially for topics like
      • Primatology
      • Anatomical changes in evolution
      • Pedigree Analysis
      • Human Growth Pattern
      • Prehistory
      • Jajmani System
      • Sanksritization/Westernization and so on!

It has been a very long article; I will be writing 3rd part of Anthropology Strategy in which we will be covering “Art of Writing Answer”!


Till then, Goodbye, Wish all of you Good Luck!

If you are not yet bored of this already long saga, do not hesitate to contact through mail or facebook page . I would love to help all of you and understand very well the tough phases of struggle in preparation. I will try my best to revert you back answering your queries in a week( at max). I will be updating optional and GS specific newspaper articles on facebook page atleast till FC starts!