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Chapter 1: What is Anthropology?
∙ Anthropology studies everything about human being and it´s culture. ∙ It also explores human diversity across space and time, and seeks to understand human condition.
∙ It´s particular interest: how diversity comes with human adaptability to different environments and cultures, studying adaptation*, variation and change. ∙ Anthropology is a Comparative and holistic science.
Study of Human Species
∙ Holism: study of past, present and future of human kind, it´s biology, nature and culture.
∙ Compares and examines all societies (ancient and modern), simple and complex, local and global. –Crosscultural perspective –
“ Cultures are traditions and customs, transmitted through learning rather than biological inheritance.”
* Adaptation: process in which organisms cope with the environmental forces and pressures, changing in order to fit the particular environment. Ex: humans adapting to high altitudes by developing a more efficient respiratory systems through decades, and adapting a specific diet and clothing. We also discuss several other topics like In which ways is reality considered when it comes to perception process?
Types of adaptation 1.Genetic: over generations.
2. Long term: occurs during growth and development. 3. Short term: occurs spontaneously.
Anthropology is divided in four subfields:
o SocioCultural: focuses studying culture and human behavior. Explains, describes and analyses social and cultural similarities and differences, using two kinds of techniques: Ethnography (gathers data in the field) and
If you want to learn more check out What do linking verbs connect?
We also discuss several other topics like What refers to uniform distribution among society's members?
Don't forget about the age old question of What are examples of abiotic organisms?
ethnology (interprets the data obtained by the ethnographer).
o Archaeology or “public anthropology”: Tries to understand the present of human kind by studying remains of our ancestors and all kinds of ancient structures. Don't forget about the age old question of Which plate boundary creates new lithosphere?
o Biological: studies human biological diversity (evolution, genetics, growth and development, biological plasticity and primatology).
o Linguistic: focuses on ancient and modern languages in its social and cultural context.
FACT: Every subfield considers variation of time and space, the complex relationship between biology and culture (biocultural perspective). A comparative and crosscultural approach is essential. Don't forget about the age old question of When did homo sapiens emerge?
Two dimensions: academic and applied.
Applied anthropology is the application of anthropological data, theories, perspectives, and methods to identify and to solve current social problems. The four subfields can work in several areas, such as family planning, public health, economic development, businesses, cultural resource management, etc.
Some examples of applied anthropology can be medical anthropologists (study sociocultural and biological context and implications of disease and illness) and archaeologists, working on educational programs, historic preservation programs, contract archaeology, etc.