UPSC aspirants often choose anthropology as their optional subject due to its popularity. The subject is easily accessible for preparation, and its syllabus is straightforward and easy to understand. This is particularly true for science graduates, as the anthropology optional for UPSC includes elements from the sciences.
Over the years, many UPSC toppers, including Anudeep Durishetty (AIR 1, 2017) and Sachin Gupta (AIR 3, 2017), have opted for anthropology as their optional subject. In this article, we will explore the syllabus for UPSC, discuss how to prepare for it, and provide a booklist recommended by previous toppers. So, let’s dive in!
Anthropology UPSC Books
- Introducing Sociology NCERT Class XI
- Biology NCERT book For Class Xll (Chapter 5, 6, 7)
- An Introduction to Social Cultural Anthropology – N.K Vaid
- An Introduction to Social Anthropology – D.N. Majumdar and T.N. Madan (for basic understating of Anthropology)
- 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
Advantages of Choosing Anthropology as an Optional Subject
Anthropology has its roots in the scientific realm, making it an attractive option for UPSC mains aspirants with a science or technology background. This optional is also beneficial for prelims preparation due to its overlap with the General Studies paper. Consequently, it is a popular choice for students who have pursued engineering or medicine.
The advantages of selecting anthropology as an optional subject are numerous. Firstly, the questions asked in this subject are clear and concise. Moreover, due to its scientific nature, it provides students with a better comprehension of concepts and improves their overall conceptual clarity, which is advantageous during UPSC prelims preparation.
It is also a scoring subject, as it covers essential humanities’ topics. Additionally, the subject overlaps with other primary studies, such as General Studies, which helps students write more comprehensive and coherent answers to questions.
Finally, with an efficient strategy, the entire optional syllabus can be completed within three to four months. This attribute is highly appealing to UPSC aspirants as it allows them to allocate their time and resources efficiently.
Strategy for Anthropology Optional
It is a comparatively easier optional subject for the UPSC Main Examination, but it requires a thorough conceptual understanding to write effective answers. Here are some strategies to prepare for the optional syllabus for UPSC:
- Understand and Analyze the Syllabus
It is essential to have a clear understanding of the syllabus for the IAS exam to perform well. Analyze the previous years’ question papers to understand the structure and pattern of the optional paper and determine the core areas that require more emphasis.
- Divide the Syllabus
The optional has two papers, paper one and paper two, with different topics. Divide the major topics into subtopics to ease your preparation.
- Practice Answer Writing
Regular practice of answer writing is crucial in securing marks. An analytical approach and inclusion of facts, figures, diagrams, and charts make answers more impressive. Make sure to write concise and to-the-point answers with proper subheadings.
- Incorporate Case Studies
Incorporating case studies in answers can fetch you good marks. Some common resources for case studies in anthropology are The Hindu newspaper, EPW, Xaxa Committee, and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs website. Use case studies on tribal communities, minorities, development projects, Panchayati Raj, social transformation, and other topics to make your answers insightful.
- Keep up with Current Affairs
Relate static portions to the dynamic section by scanning newspapers for important news on genetics, fossils, or new schemes launched by the government for tribes in the country.
Other tips to ace the anthropology optional include developing conceptual clarity, making comprehensive notes, practicing diagrams and labeling, and revising regularly for maximum retention of the syllabus content. With a scientific orientation, anthropology can be an engaging and interesting subject that can fetch you more marks and help you sail through the final phase of the exam.
Toppers with Anthropology optional
Anthropology has been the optional subject of choice for many UPSC toppers, including Anudeep Durishetty who secured the first all-India rank in the 2017 UPSC exam. The following table provides a list of some other toppers who chose anthropology as their optional subject.
|Koya Sree Harsha||2017||6|
|Raja Gopal Sunkara||2014||49|