The Anthropology Song

By Dai Cooper.
Lyrics after the jump.

UPDATE: Lorenz interviews Dai Cooper

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 …

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

10 thoughts on “The Anthropology Song

  1. Thank you Ms. Cooper. One more bit of powerful evidence that anthropology is bigger, more awesome and easier to circulate than the latest consultant’s report might suggest.

    When asked to explain the difference between folklore studies and anthropology, one good illustration is that it is hard to imagine Ms. Cooper singing her fine song in the lobby of a Hilton during a AAA meeting. Whatever other differences there are, the American Folklore Society sets aside time and space for such things. (This Saturday in Boise, from 9-12 to be exact.)

  2. Great song!!! My partner is a cultural anthropologist PhD candidate, I’m so happy the world is filled with people like you!

    Good luck!

  3. Superb!!!!
    That one’s going straight on my Intro to Anthropology course website. Just in time to have them all be humming it all at the mid-term exam!

  4. Hi — this is Dai (the Anthropology Singer). It’s pretty great (and flattering!) to see my video posted to Savage Minds, wow, thanks! As for the chord progression, it’s available in the written commentary section of the video on the actual YouTube site, at You’re welcome to learn/use/change/play the song; I’m just glad people are enjoying it 🙂

  5. Awesome! Loved it- you’re a great composer and lyricist. The song is really clever.

    I’ll add that I love your bedroom decor too, while I’m at it- very anthro-crunchy 😉

  6. Dai,

    I’m finishing my undergrad in cultural anthro and am coming to the AAAs this year for the humanistic anthropology awards…I think your performance could fit very nicely somewhere between ethnographic poetry and the photography competition?? Anyways, it’s always great seeing other anthropology students I relate to. Please let us know when and where if you’re going to sing!

    Peace and sunshine,
    Brynn Champney

  7. You totally said it. Well technically you sang it 😛
    I’m so showing my relatives over the holidays. No one ever seems to really understand what anthropologists do or why i want to be one. Now i have an awesome song that says it all. Thanks for giving us ANTH peeps another voice.

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