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What is anthropology?

What is anthropology?

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Week 1


What is anthropology?



Haviland, W. (2005)

Anthropology: The Challenge of Knowing Humanity

This reading deals with the study of anthropology. Anthropology studies humans of the past, present, and future. It is split up and studied in different subfields, yet all knowledge is shared. The four subfields are Physical, Archaeology, Linguistic, and Cultural.

Physical anthropology is the study of the biology of humans of all time. They are concentrated on human evolution, primatology, growth and development, and human adaption. Paleoanthropology is part of physical anthropology, and it deals with great time spans of time and investigating human evolution depend principally upon analysis of the fossilized skeletons of our ancestors. Primatology is also a part of physical anthropology, and is the study of living and fossil primates.

Archeology is a branch of anthropology that studies material remains in order to describe and explain human behavior. Archaeologists study the tools, pottery, and other enduring features such as hearths and enclosures that remain as the testimony of earlier cultures. They also study historic documents. Linguistic anthropology studies human languages. They may deal with description of a language, history of a language, or the relation between language and culture.


Why japanese women didn't experienced menopause?



Don't forget about the age old question of sdfjklsdf

Cultural anthropology, sometimes referred to as socio-cultural anthropology, is the study of customary patterns in human behavior, thought, and feelings. It focuses on humans as culture-producing and culture reproducing creatures. The two components are ethnography and ethnology. Ethnography is a detailed description of a particular culture primarily based on

fieldwork. It’s studied inside the culture (can cause problems) and involves interviews or discussions with those in the culture. Ethnology is a cross-cultural research that allows anthropologists to develop anthropological theories that help explain why certain important differences or similarities occur between groups.

Medical anthropology is a specialization that brings theoretical and applied approaches from cultural and biological anthropology to the study of human health and disease.


What is platonic?



Tieffer, 2004

“Am I Normal?”: The Question of Sex

Dramatic changes in broadcasting and publishing rules about explicit language and imagery has opened the door to public discussion of issues that have been on people’s minds forever. Sexual norms that have been pressed onto people have influenced their actions and thoughts on sex. The five meanings of normal are: subjective (I am normal, so anyone who is the same as me is normal too), statistical (Whatever behaviors are most common, are normal), idealistic (Normal means perfect, an ideal to be striven for), cultural (How our notions of normal don’t always agree with everyone due to their difference in culture), and clinical (Sexual habits and preferences that do not conform to a procreative model for sex are the ones considered abnormal in medicine and clinical psychology). If you want to learn more check out metha klock

The three reasons people care about being normal are: (1) centuries of religious injunctions now transferred to medical language have convinced people that “abnormal” sexual desires, actions, or interests are always signs of mental or physical illness - in spite of the limited evidence for this assumption, (2) idea that connects adequate sex to a successful relationship, and (3) social conformity.

Week 2

De Waal, F. (1995)

Bonobo Sex and Society

This reading challenges the assumptions of male supremacy in human evolution. The bonobo is a species characterized as female-centered and egalitarian and as one that substitutes sex for aggression. Unlike other species, bonobo’s enact in sexual acts when they become happy, or want to avoid conflict, or seek approval. It is calm and relaxed, as opposed to aggressive. It is more of a celebration act than purely sexual desire act. For example, after fighting, they rub their genitals together, as a coming together, like a hug or handshake might do for humans. The females are more dominant and depended on by other males, and run the bonobo communities. Females use sex on males in order to have some of their food, as the act stands for an approval.

Week 3

Castro-Vasquez, G. (2013)

The Beauty of Male Circumcision in Japan

“This article presents an aspect of ongoing research exploring male circumcision in Japan. Grounded in the ‘social semiotics of gender’, the essay explores the social construction

of male circumcision in Japanese media and academic reports, which encompass the main source of information for those considering the procedure”

Many Japanese men undergo circumcision in order to maintain their socially expected masculinity. This occurs commonly when working men retire, for they feel they have nothing left to maintain their masculinity. Some also do it for the (not so accurate) comments on that it prevents penile cancer. We also discuss several other topics like ch3chclch2ch3

The main things to take away from the study is: (1) social and sexual culture influence the want for the procedure, (2) change sexual construction in order to establish greater social status through greater confidence, and (3) poorly developed sex education and inaccurate knowledge the media presents influences men who opt for circumcision. If you want to learn more check out ess 106 uw

Week 4

Lock, M. (1998)

Menopause Lessons from Anthropology

It is assumed that biological changes associated with menopause are essentially universal and that differences in the subjective experience of individual women can be accounted for by variation among psychological, social, and cultural factors. In the study, many Japanese women experienced little to no side effects of menopause. This may be due to their different culture. They eat healthier than Americans and genetics may have to do with the little side effects. Also, the idea of “local biologies” comes into play. It is the idea that if you believe and expect to have many bad side effects, you will have them. Or, if you do not expect or know of them, like the Japanese, you have a greater chance of not having them.Don't forget about the age old question of What does the family and medical leave act 1993 cover?

Week 5

Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000)

The Five Sexes, Revisited

Platonic is the “ideal” two genders, when males and females have certain biologies and personality characteristics. Intersex is when a male or female is born with a different internal or external that doesn’t fit one gender. We also discuss several other topics like neil sehgal

Physicians have been the ones to define children as intersexual, and provided the remedies to “fix” it. Many intersex born children have grown to reject their assigned gender at birth and have transitioned to the other.

Author believes treatment should combine some basic medical and ethical principles with a practical but less drastic approach to the birth of a mixed-sex child: surgery should only occur if the child’s life is at stake, should understand that the child may reject their assigned sex, parents should have full access to the full range of information and options available to them.

Author believes it would be better for intersexuals and their supporters to turn everyone’s focus away from genitals. We need to acknowledge that people come in an even wider assortment of sexual identities and characteristics than mere genitals can distinguish. A step to this is to eliminate category of gender from official documents.

Week 6

Jaspal, R. (2012)

I Never Faced Up to Being Gay

This reading deals with the differences and influence of the community on coming out for British Pakistani and British Indian gay men.

The identity process theory suggests that when identity processes cannot comply with psychologically salient principles, identity is threatened and the individual will engage in coping strategies to alleviate the threat. It acknowledges the importance of social representations in shaping how elements of one’s social and psychological worlds will impact identity.

For British Indian gay men, the fear of coming out roots from backlash from the community. For British Pakistani gay men, the fear of coming out roots from disconnect from their religion.

Results suggest that the intersection between sexuality and religion is more relevant to British Pakistani participants, while the intersection between sexuality and ethnicity is more relevant to British Indian participants. For British Indian participants in particular, homosexuality seems to be socially problematic, posing potential obstacles for interpersonal and intergroup relations. For British Pakistanis, homosexuality is both socially and psychologically problematic, affecting intrapsychic as well as interpersonal levels of human independence.

Week 7

Moore, K. (2010)

Sexuality and Sense of Self in Later Life

The reading provides a nuanced analysis of the transformation of sexuality that occurs with age, and focuses on Japanese men and women. It provides insight into gender-specific experiences of marital sexuality, the impact of extra-marital sexual activity on marital relationships, and the development of “sibling-like” relationships as couples grow older. It highlights the continuing importance of sexual desire in later life, especially to men’s sense of self. It shows the complex relationship between gender, sexuality, and aging.

The focus is to explore subjective sexual well being, feelings of satisfaction with the emotional aspects of sexual relationships, and sexual functioning in late life. The themes of the Japanese men’s narratives are: the presence of infidelity in early stages of marriage and its decline as men grew older, a conviction that sexual desire continues to be an important barometer of wellbeing in late life even if it is not channeled into sexual acts, and the increased thoughtfulness men expressed toward their wives and new partners in later life, a thoughtfulness spurred in part by a sense of regret about their extra-marital relationships at earlier stages of their lives.

The themes of the Japanese women’s narratives are: performance of restraint was an integral part of women’s construction of a feminine sexuality in their early married years, the experience of men’s infidelity may have accelerated the women’s disinterest in sexual activity, over time the marital relationship became one of siblingship, and the few women who spoke about the continuing presence of sexual desire were either divorced or single and were not in a marital relationship.

Author would argue that the performance of a sexually active and interested self is an index of the far higher level of public sexual expression permitted to men than to women. While men of this generation were encouraged to express their sexuality quite publicly through consumption of sexual services and commodities, and tacitly through extramarital affairs,

women were encouraged to perform their sexuality through restraint. There are stricter moral codes given to women’s expression of sexual desire in public influence opinions and acts of going about sex. Men are expected to engage with multiple sex partners over course of lives, and women expected to only have sex with husband. The incidence of extra-marital sexual relationships declines as men grow older from decline in masculinity and free time after retirement. Women are not into sex in marriage because of social expectations and teachings, and their husbands cheating reduces any desire even more.

Week 8

Tiefer, L. (2006)

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual life has become vulnerable to disease mongering for two main reasons: (1) a long history of social and political control of sexual expression created reservoirs of shame and ignorance that make it difficult for many people to understand sexual satisfaction or cope with sexual problems in rational ways, and (2) popular culture has greatly inflated public expectations about sexual function and the importance of sex to personal and relationship satisfaction. FSD is female sexual dysfunction.

(conclusion) Sexual life and its pleasures, problems, and satisfactions are subject to changing demands and expectations. Recently the pharmaceutical industry has taken an aggressive interest in sex, using public relations, direct- to-consumer advertising, promotion of off-label prescribing, and other tactics to create a sense of widespread sexual inadequacy and interest in drug treatments. Public finds medicalization attractive because the notion of simple but scientific solutions fits in with a general cultural overinvestment in biological explanations

and interventions, and promises to bypass sexual embarrassment, ignorance, and anxiety. The New View Campaign to challenge the disease mongering of FSD can be seen as part of a widespread new arena of public-health advocacy that deals with corporate practices that affect health, such as those in the tobacco, automobile, and food industries. Activism on behalf of women’s sexuality leads also to coalition with sexual-rights, sex- education, and reproductive-rights organizations

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