How to Ace Anthropology Optional: Deep Dive into Paper I

By | June 20, 2018

Note: On Anthropology, there are a total of three blog posts, of which this is the second one. The first one primarily talks about my book list and the basic approach. This is the second article among the series and it deals with topic wise detailed plan for Paper I. The third article talks about the detailed plan for Paper II.

 

Our Chimp cousin contemplating the origin of life, universe and the cosmos.

Syllabus and the Strategy

1.1 to 1.3 – Meaning, Scope; Relationship; Branches

1.4 – Human Evolution

  • Core material: P. Nath
  • Value Addition: Ember & Ember
  • For answer structure and diagrams, refer Anthropology Simplified
  • Get a solid grasp of evolution and its concepts such as: Genetic recombination, directional selection, Adaptive radiation, Darwinism, Parallelism, Neo-Darwinism etc (Given well in Ember. Use internet as well)
  • Innovate in your answers. Ex: You can depict genetic recombination through a diagram and adaptive radiation through a flowchart. Quote examples for topics like adaptive radiation.

1.5 – Primates

  • Primary Source: P. Nath
  • For better diagrams/sketches – Use Ember & Ember, Google, Anthropology Simplified and notes of Kirthi (AIR-14, CSE 2015) published in this Insights article.
  • Go through previous years question papers and prepare notes for most important topics. It’s static and highly scoring
  • Must draw diagrams with proper labelling. For example, when you draw skulls of ape and human, you should comparatively point out changes in parts such as Zygomatic arch, Foramen magnum, Sagittal crest etc.  Practise diagrams to show evolutionary changes not just in the skull but also foot, spinal cord, pelvis, dentition etc
  • Dedicate adequate time to practise neat drawings. Your aim must be to attempt as many questions as you can from topics like these and max out your scores.

1.6 – Fossils et al

  • Primary Source: P. Nath
  • Use Ember & Ember and Anthropology Simplified for value addition and diagrams
  • Practise diagrams for: Australopithecus, Homo Erectus, Rhodesian man, Neanderthal man, Cro Magnon, Grimaldi, Chancelade
  • Prepare thoroughly on each and every fossil mentioned in the syllabus.
  • Focus on:
    • Phylogenetic Status (i.e. its place in the evolution tree, who are its ancestors/successors, etc.)
    • Characteristics (physical, cultural aspects, time-span of the fossil)
    • Geographical distribution
      • Who discovered the first fossil, where & when
      • Distribution of the fossil in other parts of the world
      • Draw map depicting site names

1.7 – The biological basis of life

  • I prepared this unit entirely from the Khan academy YouTube channel
  • Refer to PDF Slides for diagrams and value addition
  • DNA replication, translation, protein synthesis must be illustrated with diagrams
  • Highly scoring

1.8 (1) – Dating methods, etc.

  •      Ember & Ember

1.8 (2)  Cultural Evolution

  • I skipped this subtopic for lack of time.

2.1 & 2.2 – Nature of Culture and Society, etc.

  • Primary Source: BrainTree
  • Value addition: Ember and Ember

2.3, 2.4, 2.5; 3, 4 and 5 – Marriage, Family, Kinship, Economic Organisation, Political Organisation, Religion

  • Most important chapters of Socio-Cultural Anthro.
  • Primary Sources: Braintree
  • Use Ember & Ember for value addition, especially for world tribe examples. Note down all of them in an A4 sheet and memorise.
  • For all the terms (marriage, religion, magic etc), definitions must be a scholarly one. Cram word to word and replicate in your paper.
  • Always include names of relevant Anthropologist’s name, publication year, name and the tribe on which the study was done. Eg: If you talk about Kula Ring, your answer will be incomplete without quoting Malinowski and his work on Trobriand Islanders. Same goes with Totemism and Durkheim.
  • Also, your answer will stand out only when you quote many examples. Just quoting Indian tribe examples won’t be enough. For instance, if you are explaining Balanced Reciprocity, you must quote at least a couple of world tribes (Eg: trade between !Kung and Tswana Buntu) that practice it and the significance of such a system in the tribe. Source these examples from Ember and the internet.
  • Diagrams and schematics for marriage, kinship, descent are absolutely crucial. Ember & Ember has some good diagrams (Eg: Kula ring exchange map) and tables. Practise.
  • For economic anthropology, memorise examples such as that of potlatch: Chinook of Northern Pacific, Kwakiutl of British Columbia. Also mug up examples for tribes for each of fishing/pastoral/horticulture etc. More the examples, better it is. Also practice rough diagrams of tools used by these communities.
  • For political organisation chapter, source examples from Ember and Ember. As I had mentioned, quote anthropologists, their works and tribe’s names.
  • Religion: Same approach as above

6 – Anthropological Theories

  • Primary Source: Ember & Ember
  • Additional Details: University of Alabama’s website, Braintree
  • Prepare short notes on each theory. Expand on:
    • Why it emerged?
    • Main thinkers and their major works
    • Tribes on which the study was done
    • Criticism
    • Balanced conclusion
  • This being a very important chapter, you can go a little deep into each theory and each thinker. You can read on the internet about the most important work of each anthropologist mentioned in the syllabus. For example, if you read a little deeper about Clifford Geertz and his work, you will understand how he described the Balinese cockfight and its relationship to the society at large. These will help you write great answers.
  • The amount of time you invest in this chapter will never go waste. Questions definitely come from this chapter and if you write an in-depth answer, it’s a great chance to outshine your competition.

7 – Culture, Language etc

  • Braintree
  • Ember & Ember
  • Anthropology Simplified

8 – Research Methods in Anthro

  • Primary Source: Braintree
  • Easy and scoring topic
  • Always mention the name of prominent anthropologist associated with a particular method and their works. E.g. Participant-Observation method used by Malinowski for his study on Trobriand Islanders, Genealogical Method by W.H. Rivers, etc.

9.1 to 9.4 – Human Genetics, et al

  • Primary Source: P. Nath.
  • PDF material for value addition
  • Anthropology Simplified for diagrams
  • Use internet extensively to know about technical terms such as Genetic load, genetic drift. Your clarity  of concepts must be impeccable.
  • Go through previous years questions from this chapter and prepare notes for all of them
  • Value addition: You can write about latest advances in Genetics such as Epigenome, methylation and its impact on Gene expression etc to make your answers more contemporary. You can get this content from newspapers and the internet.

9.5 – Race and Racism

  • Primary Source: P. Nath
  • Mug up physical characteristics of major races of the world

9.6 – Genetic Markers, Physiological characteristics etc

  • P. Nath

9.7 – Ecological Anthro

  • Core material: P. Nath
  • You can value add from Ember and Ember: Note down adaptation and acclimatization examples

9.8 – Epidemiological Anthropology

  • I prepared this topic from the PDF material and Anthropology Simplified

10 – Growth and Development

  • Primary Source: P. Nath
  • Prepare short notes for each topic
  • Graphs and examples are indispensible. They will enrich your answers.

11.1 to 11.3

  • P. Nath
  • Practise graphs and diagrams (Eg: Demographic Transition Theory etc)
  • You may use internet to enrich the content. Prepare short notes.

12 – Applications of Anthropology

  • Primary Source: P. Nath
  • Value Addition: Anthropology Simplified, Internet, PDF material
  • Very important topic of Paper I.
  • Practise diagrams wherever appropriate Eg: in DNA technology, Forensic Anthropology, serogenetics and cytogenetics etc
  • Scour the internet to understand about the latest research and developments in various fields wherein Anthropology is being applied for practical purpose. This is way you make your answers stand out from the rest.

 

My best wishes.

 

Until next time,
Anudeep.

 

54 thoughts on “How to Ace Anthropology Optional: Deep Dive into Paper I

  1. Anonymous

    Wow! Just wow! So elaborate!.Anthro is not even my optional lol, but I read the whole post.Can’t bloody wait for more posts on General Studies(all papers).

    Reply
  2. Pingback: ANTHROPOLOGY STRATEGY: By Anudeep Durishetty, RANK-1 UPSC CSE-2017 - How to Ace Anthropology Optional: Topic Wise Plan for Paper I - INSIGHTS

  3. SWAPNA P

    Thank you so much Sir, for elaborated explanation and using your time to explain in detail. Waiting for
    more posts like this way for GS Papers it will be more useful for aspirants who are not able to go expensive coaching. Really Thank you so much sir for your effort.

    Reply
      1. Shashank

        Sir please post your answers which are substituted with diagrams and also eagerly waiting for your GS strategy and books u prepared.

        Reply
  4. Saumya srivastava

    It’s really awesome sir…..such a great detailing about each topic!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    it is really v helpful sir. thanks for the detailed explanation of sources of each topic.

    Reply
  6. Nishchay

    Sir, plz tell me how to cover economics wala part (GS3), i am not getting it.

    Reply
      1. Ankit Kumar

        Sir please will you share your anthropology notes as you have shared for GS.

        Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Thanks a ton sir for such a detailed listing of sources.Now i find this optional really easy. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Pingback: ANTHROPOLOGY STRATEGY: By Anudeep Durishetty, RANK-1 UPSC CSE-2017- How to Ace Anthropology Optional: Book list and Basic Plan - INSIGHTS

  9. Anonymous

    Thank you so much sir… It’s really helpful for beginners like me.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Hi how is muniratnam notes? would like to know if you have used them

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      One of my IRS friends who had Anthropology optional suggested that Muniratnam notes are more in the mould of old pattern, when UPSC used to ask 60 markers. Apparently the notes are too detailed and too vast that it’s not directly in line with the demands of new pattern. So I didn’t buy them.

      Reply
  11. Meena

    Sir can u pls share ur mains booklist & statergy as soon as possible
    Thank you

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    Great Sir! When can we expect your strategy for Mains?? Please include an aspect of Note Making in it.

    Reply
  13. praveen

    thanks a lot sir . The booklist seem to help me a lot .Can u pls list the books to refer for Paper 2 .

    Reply
  14. Dandu Shiva Kumar

    Thanks a lot Anna.
    GS1, 2 ,3, 4 papers ki kuda strategy Shere cheyandi please please sir,
    And once again congratulations Anna💐

    Reply
  15. Veereshwari

    I am such a fan of your writing that though Anthro isn’t my optional couldn’t resist from reading this 😀

    Your tweets,Insta captions and of-course all the articles here, everything grabs the attention of the reader and one keeps looking for the next line, wishing it never ends. You keep the reader in the loop. 🙂

    Sir, your presentation, way of expressing, formation of sentences and the flow in your writing is so damn good that I WISH TO SEE YOU SOMEDAY PUBLISHING YOUR OWN BOOK 🙂

    Would be glad to see some posts from you on other general/random topics ( may be issue based).

    Thanks alot Sir. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      I think this is the best comment I received on my blog. 🙂 It’s comments like these that coax me out of my laziness and motivates me to write more. So, thank you!

      Writing a book is one of my life goals, but I feel I am not good enough for it just yet. Hope to gain enough confidence and credibility before I publish my own.

      And yes, I will soon start writing on topics of general interest.

      Reply
      1. Veereshwari

        Glad to hear this from you Sir.

        It takes lot of efforts,thinking and patience to come up with a final article before publishing. So you deserve such comments from us 🙂

        Thank you Sir!

        Best wishes for your further goals 🙂

        Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Thanks ,but can you clear which book by P. Nath as there are two books on amazon?

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    I want P Nath boom. Where can I get? Plz send link oo PDF if someone have it.

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      I had no time to take a test series for Anthropology. So I don’t have any sample copies for Anthro.

      Reply
  18. Pu

    Sir I have appeared in prelim 2018 but failed even if I did quite well.i v decided to go for a second chance n it must be my final one.i just need ur help n guidance so that I will b able to utilise remaining 300 days left for prelim 19.already completed ncert n going through iasbaba n insights daily for current affairs.one question I have for u that from which date shud I cover the current affairs or from which month I start from?any how I have to clear this time.plz suggest what wil I do extra to get the best .

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Given the pattern of questions asked in recent years, I’d say you should do current affairs from the past two years starting from Jan 2018.

      Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Sir …for family ,marriage,religion etc topics of socio cultural anthropology ~ did u refer to anthropology simplified also ?

    Reply
  20. Xperiac

    Sir I took coaching in paper 2 anthro last year
    So should I take coaching b4 prelims or after
    Plss reply sir

    Reply
  21. Shreekant

    Hi sir..congratulations ..
    It would be of immense help if you provide your Anthropology notes as the sources are scattered

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      I did not have the time to make notes for Anthropology. I read and revised directly from the books mentioned above.

      Reply
  22. vivek jha

    Hi sir….first of all Congrats on the stellar achievement.

    As you have mentioned P. Nath in almost all sections of Physical Anthropology,Is it then fine to read P.Nath thoroughly cover to cover ?

    Reply
    1. Anudeep Durishetty Post author

      Ignore sections in the book that are not in the syllabus.

      Reply
  23. Sunil Yadav

    congrats for such a great achievement sir, i salute u for being yourself down the line and having ur roots still on the ground
    after looking ur plan as a beigner i really get scare is it possible for me as an average student to crack this exam, having such a bulky syllabus???

    Reply
  24. Vasanthalakshmi

    Thank you so much Sir, for helping others. Am very thankful for you.

    Reply
  25. Jolly Mishra

    Do Braintree academy update their content or it remains same?

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Hi sir,,,
    What should be the order ( section-wise) for traversing through the whole syllabus ?
    Especially for Paper-1 where UPSC mandated syllabus has Physical anthropology split in silos sec.1.4-1.7 & 9.1-12….is it ok to read similar sections at one go ?

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Anudeep sir there are many books of ember &ember can you please send me the link

    Reply

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