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Chapters 1-3 Elements of Culture

by: Rachel Fuqua

Chapters 1-3 Elements of Culture HSS 138

Rachel Fuqua
GPA 3.54

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About this Document

These are notes for the first three chapters of the Elements of Culture Textbook by Susan Andreatta
Introduction to Anthropology
Susan Andreatta
Class Notes
Anthropology, Culture, Andreatta, Archaeology
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rachel Fuqua on Monday January 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HSS 138 at University of North Carolina - Greensboro taught by Susan Andreatta in Winter 2015. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of North Carolina - Greensboro.


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Date Created: 01/04/16
● What they do  ○ travel to study little known cultures and languages  ○ unearth fossil remains/artifacts of people who lived long ago  ○ Purpose ­ Scientific study of humans  ● Definition of Anthropologist  ○ Study of people (origins, development) where/whenever found  ○ Broadest scope of study (skeletal remains → culture)  ○ Wolf (1964) ­ anthropologists span the gap between humanities, social and natural  sciences  ○ Diverse studies increase the accuracy in theories about human nature  ● Physical (humans as biological organisms)  ■ What it means to be human physically (ancestors → apes)  ○ Paleoanthropology  ■ Anatomical/behavioral record of humans (homineida) based on fossil  remains (evolution); Ex ­ Lucy  ■ Compare cranial capacity, teeth, hands, pelvic shape, etc.  ■ Helps to identify people in situations of crime  ○ Primatology  ■ Evolutionary study of nearest relatives (apes and monkeys)  ■ Helps gain clues about human evolution (Ex. Tool making chimpanzee)  ○ Variation (influence on skeletal anatomy)  ■ How and why physical traits of humans vary throughout the world  ■ Race was used as a sorting method, but became irrelevant during the late  20th century  ■ Ex. Melanin, body fat, sickle cell  ● Archaeology  ○ Excavating/analyzing material culture left behind  ○ Purpose is to understand culture adaptations of ancient peoples  ○ 3 Kinds of material remains  ■ Artifacts = manmade that can be removed from site (ex. tools, pottery)  ■ Features = manmade but not easily removed (ex. house foundations,  postholes)  ■ Ecofacts = non­manmade but used by humans (ex. seeds, wood)  ○ Data is restricted because of lack of material  ■ Uses garbage dump to guess values of society  ○ Historical = reconstruct cultures with written pieces/documents  ○ Prehistoric = human record beyond writing  ○ Cultural resource management = identify/protect historical landmarks from being  bulldozed  ● Linguistics (Speech/Language)  ■ Examines whether language determines our world view  ○ Historical  ■ Emergence/Divergence of language over time  ■ Glottochronology = helps tell when two related languages split off  ■ Accurately trace population movements  ○ Descriptive  ■ Sound/grammatical systems; word meaning  ■ Goal = compile dictionary/grammar books for unwritten language  ○ Cultural (ethnolinguists)  ■ Relationship between language and culture  ○ Sociolinguistics  ■ Relationship between (body) language and social relationships  ● Cultural  ■ Ethnography = specific contemporary cultures  ● Lasts 1­2 yrs; researcher lives within culture  ● Describes reason for patterns and relation with one another  ■ Ethnology = Comparative study of contemporary cultures  ● Objective ­ uncover “rules” that govern behavior  ■ Extremely time consuming  ○ Areas of specialization  ■ Urban = focuses on elements of urban life, problems, and interactions with  rural life  ■ Medical  ● Biological = role of disease in human evolution  ● Sociological = how belief systems affect health  ■ Environmental  ● Traces cultural development through natural environment  ● 21st century = environment and social issues (ex. biodiversity)  ■ Psychological  ● Relations between culture and psychological makeup of  individuals and groups  ● Benedict = Japanese national character; Rickman = Russian  National character  ● Guiding principles  ○ Holism = looks at all parts of system and relation  ■ Evidence  ● Bio and socio comprehensive  ● Longest possible time frame  ● Studies all varieties of people  ● Many aspects of culture  ○ Ethnocentrism = belief that one’s culture is superior to others  ■ Ex. Blowing nose (US v India)  ■ Can be disabling and also helpful to enhance solidarity  ○ Cultural Relativism = Traits best understood when viewed in context  ■ Helps to understand reasoning behind certain traditions  ● Contributions to Anthropology  ○ Enhancing understanding  ■ Globalization has caused international knowledge to be necessary  ■ Puts our own culture into perspective with others  ○ Building 21st century skills  ■ Helps us cope with change and operate on a wider scale socially  ■ Develop broad perspectives, appreciate other perspectives, nbalance  contradictions, Emphasize global teamwork, develop cognitive complexity  and develop perceptual acuity  ● Bottom Line  ○ To function more effectively  ■ Understand culture­specific info about other cultures  ■ Understand our own culture  ■ Understand how culturally different people view us and our cultural  patterns  ● Cultural Resource Management  ○ Identifying before roads/structures built  ○ Protection of cultural heritage  ○ Called Public Archaeology or Contract Archaeology  ○ Landscapes, industrial heritage, folklife, spiritual places  ● Human Cultural Ecology  ○ Interplay between humans and environment and incorporates bio and cultural  processes for adaptation   


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