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Chapter 1 Notes

by: Jennifer Somtrakool

Chapter 1 Notes ANT 100-003

Jennifer Somtrakool

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These were notes from in class, and also from the text book Elements Of Culture
Cultural Anthropology - SB
Annie Melzer
history, Anthropology
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This 6 page Bundle was uploaded by Jennifer Somtrakool on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Bundle belongs to ANT 100-003 at Northern Kentucky University taught by Annie Melzer in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views.


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Date Created: 08/31/16
Chapter 1 Notes What is Anthropology? Scientific study of human beings. Biologically and culturally, in whatever time period or  region. Study of human origins, development and human variation, physical  (phenotype/phenotypical)  or non physical (genotype/genotypical), and the evolutionary  history of humans. Knowledge of different cultures can affect our everyday lives.  Cross culture awareness is highly relevant  in the interconnected world today.  Linguistic anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of how language influences  social life. Cultural Anthropologists travel to different parts of the world to study little known  cultures.  Physical Anthropologists unearth fossil remains.  Archaeologists unearth artifact remains of people who lived thousands or millions of  years ago. All anthropologists have the same purpose: The scientific study of humans,  biologically and culturally, in whatever form, time period, all over the world.  Anthropology is derived from the words “anthropos” for “human”, and “logos” for “study”. (Study of humans) Anthropology is the study of people­ their origins, their development, no matter where  they are found.  Anthropology is the broadest study of humans in scope.  Subject matters of anthropology: Fossilized skeletal remains of early human, artifacts,  and other material remains from prehistoric and historic archaeological sites. As well as  cultures all around the world.  Goal of Anthropologists: They strive for an understanding of the biological and  cultural origins, and the evolution of species. They are interested in the study of humans in the past and present, as well as their behavior.  To describe what it means to be human.  Anthropologists work with geologists and geneticists.* Anthropology is divided into 4 branches. ●  Physical Anthropology   ­ Deals with humans. Scientific study of humans  biologically. Has 3 broad areas of investigation.  ­ Interested in reconstructing the anatomy and behavior evolution record of  human species from fossil remains. (Paleoanthropology) Paleoanthropologists rely mainly on fossil remains like bones and teeth of humans and  primates. When bones are found, they are compared with other humans or primates. Forensic anthropologists can determine from remains, the age, sex, stature, physical  abnormalities, trauma, and nutritional history.  ­ The study of evolutionary fossil record of our nearest living relatives.  (apes, and monkeys) and their behaviors in their natural habitats, (Primatology)  Primatologists study the anatomy and social behaviors of nonhuman primates such as,  gorillas, baboons, and chimpanzees to try to understand human evolution as a species.  They learn how early humans could have reacted to a environment by studying  primates in similar environments.  ­ How and why physical traits of people are different throughout the world.  (Human variation) Humans are members of the same species. And are capable of interbreeding.  Differences are based off of visible traits and also not visible factors such as blood  types, and diseases.  Race: Group of people who share a greater statistical of genes and traits with each  other more than they do with people outside of the group.  In the early  20th century, physical anthropologists attempted to document physical  variations throughout the world by dividing people by race. But today, no anthropologist  believe that races are fixed biological entities who share all of the same features.  Physical Anthropologists have found that populations with the greatest amount of  melanin in their skin are found in tropical regions, and lighter skin populations are found  in more northern latitudes.  ● Archaeology Anthropology ­ Attempts to reconstruct the cultures of the  past, most have no written records.  Archaeologists study the lives of people from studying the materials left behind. To  understand the cultural adaptations of ancient people by reconstructing their culture.  From material remains, they are able to make inferences about how many non material  characteristics. Like ideas and pattern behaviors. Archaeologists work with 3 types of material remains.  ­ Artifacts: Objects that have been made or modified by humans and can  be removed from the site, and taken to the lab for analysis. (Tools, arrowheads,  pottery) ­ Features: Like artifacts, features are made or modified by people. But  they cannot be carried away from the site. (Houses, fireplaces, postholes) ­ Ecofacts: Objects found in the natural environment that were not made or modified by humans, but used by them. (Bones, seeds, wood) Ecofacts provide archaeologists with data concerning the environment and how people  used natural resources.  Cultural Resource Management: NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and  Repatriation Act) ● Anthropological Linguistics ­ Focuses of the study of language and  speech past and present. Looking at the structure, pattern, origins, how it’s  learned, and the social context.  Linguistics can also tell us whether the language we speak causes us to view the world  differently from others, and how the words we use  can change our experiences. Humans are not the only species that has a system of symbolic communication. But  ours if the most complex form.  Linguistic Anthropology is divided into 4 branches: ­ Historical Linguistics: Deals with the start of language in general and  how specific languages have split over time. ­ Descriptive Linguistics: The study of sound systems, grammatical  systems, and the meaning attached to words in specific languages. Every culture has a language with its own logical structure and rules for putting words  have sounds together. The task of the descriptive linguist is to compile dictionaries and  grammar books for previously unwritten languages.  ­ Cultural Linguistics ( ethnolinguistics): Examines the relationship  between language and culture.  Cultural Linguists explore how different categories can affect how people organize their  experiences, how the think, and how they perceive the world.  ­ Sociolinguistics: Examines the relationship between language and and  social relations. (Ex:sociolinguists are interested in investigating how social class  influences the dialect a person speaks.  They also study the situational use of language. People communicate differently around different people/groups.  ● Cultural Anthropology ­ Examines similarities and differences among  cultures of the world. Study of specific contemporary cultures. (Ethnography) And the more general hidden  patterns of cultures through comparison. (Ethnology) is Cultural Anthropology.  Ethnography Ethnology Descriptive Comparative Based on direct fieldwork. Based on data collected by other  ethnographers. Focuses on a single culture or subculture. Generalizes across cultures or  subcultures.  Before cultural anthropologists can examine cultural differences, they must first describe the features of specific cultures in as much detail as possible. (Ethnologies) These  descriptions result in extensive field studies. Which usually take 1­2 years, when the  anthropologists observes, lives with, talks to the people they’re studying.  They can  explain why cultural patterns exist, and how they might be related.  Ethnology is the comparative study of contemporary cultures. Ethnologists seek to  understand why people today and in the past have different ideas and behavior  patterns, and what do all the cultures in the world have in common.  Cultural Anthropology, Areas of specialization: ­ Urban Anthropology: In the first half of the 20th century, anthropologists  focused more on rural (farms) societies. After WW2, most switched to study  urban societies because most people were migrating to urban areas (cities).  They followed people that moved from rural to urban areas to study how they  interacted. Urban anthropology focuses on social problems such as  homelessness, poverty, unemployment, crime, and poor public health. ­ Medical Anthropology: Studies the relationship of biological and  sociocultural factors to health, disease, and illness, now and in the past.  Medical anthropologists with the biological focus concentrate more on things  such as diseases as humans evolved, nutrition, growth and development, and  paleopathology: analysis of disease in ancient cultures. Medical anthropologists with the sociocultural focus concentrate on ethnomedicine (belief systems that  affect sickness and health), medical practitioners, and relationship between  traditional and western medical systems.  ­ Development Anthropology: Anthropologist that play a role in the  development process economically. They are consulted, and involved in the  cycle, design, budgetary considerations, and evaluations. They don’t think about  if the project will be successful. They think about if the project benefit the  population. If yes, then they get involved.  ­ Environmental Anthropology: Examines how human populations  interact with their environment. Many environmental anthropologists have said  that culture and environment can’t be treated in isolation because they are so  interconnected. 21st century anthropologists are still interested the relationship  between culture and environment, but they have expanded their interests. Such  as, environmental degradation and scarce resources like water, conflicts over  land use, air and water pollution, deforestation, etc. ­ Psychological Anthropology: The oldest subspecialty of cultural  anthropology. Looks at relationship between culture and psychological makeup  of people. Psychological anthropologists examine how culture affects personality, cognition, attitude, and emotion.  Early practitioners of psychological anthropology: Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, and  Edward Sapir, studied the effects of cultural features of personality such as feeding and  toilet training. Abraham Kardiner was interested on how people’s personality were  reflected in an entire culture.  During and after WW2 some psychological anthropologists wanted to know more about  America’s allies and enemies. They did something called “national character studies”. Geoffrey Gorer and John Rickman studies Russia, and Ruth Benedict wrote her study  of Japanese national character. But those studies are not taken seriously today  because it generalizes such a diverse society. Today psychological anthropology is more focused on other topics such as, symbolism,  cognition, and consciousness  There are many more specializations within cultural anthropology. Such as agricultural,  legal, education, religion, business, economic, political, tourism, work, and nutritional.  Guiding Principles: ● Holism: Anthropology has a holistic approach to the study of human  groups. Anthropological holism is important in many ways. It can’t be broken  down to one thing. There are many things that make it up. It combines the study  of human biology, history , and the learned and shared patterns of human  behavior. ● Ethnocentrism: The belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others.  (Narrow minded) When humans consider their own behavior as right and natural. Judging other cultures from the perspective of their own culture, and that their  culture is superior, beautiful, rational, natural, and perfect. What is natural or right for human beings is not easily determined. Attempts to understand human nature and theories of human behavior cannot be based on our own assumptions. For  our understanding to accurately reflect humanity, they also must be based on  studies of human groups whose collective and socially integrated values, views  of reality, goals, and environmental adaptations are very different from our own.  We can achieve an accurate understanding of humanity by realizing that other  groups of people who behave differently from us and have different  understanding. (Accepting and understanding others) ● Cultural relativism: Belief that cultures should be analyzed with reference  to their histories and values, rather than the values and histories of another  culture.Idea that cultural traits are best understood when viewed by or in the  culture they are a part of. Anthropologists try to understand how cultural practices develop, work, and how they are experienced by the people who live them.  (Embodied experience)  Franz Boas was jewish and experienced racism, and came up with the 3 Guiding  Principles. Skills for the 21st century: ­ Develop a broad perspective. ­ Appreciate other perspectives. ­ Balance contradictions. ­ Emphasize global teamwork. ­ Develop cognitive complexity. Cognitive complexity: Made up of twin abilities of differentiating and integrating. Differentiating: Involves being able to see how a single entity is composed of a number of different parts.  Integrating: Involves the capacity to identify how the various parts are connected.  ­ Develop perceptual acuity.  Involves being attentive to both verbal and nonverbal communication by being an active listener.  Homo Sapien Sapien Learned patterns of human behavior.


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