Animals and Culture
Animals and Culture ANTH 4134
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Destini Cassin I on Tuesday October 27, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 4134 at University of West Georgia taught by Marjorie Snipes in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see /class/230240/anth-4134-university-of-west-georgia in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of West Georgia.
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Date Created: 10/27/15
1 Vll metaphoricalanimal a 57 C We have virtually no firsthand knowledge of animals when we visit them in zoo we fall prey to anthropomorphizing in order to make sense i Lockwood anthropomorphism where human characteristics and behaviors are used to describe and categorize animals the only way we can think ofanimals 1 Allegorical anthropomorphism occurs on a species level a the use of animals to betray certain kinds of behavior not intended to be interpreted as biological exaggerated generalization of animal behavior for moralizing or entertainment purposes b eg pigs being dirty mice being energetic and cute horses being quotmasculinequot and virile 2 personification occurs on an individual level a a known animal is used to express personal desires or characteristics for the human b eg our pets they have quotpersonalitiesquot 3 superficial anthropomorphism based on observable physiological characteristics a when we based our interpretation ofanimals on what it looks like can include animal behavior b eg lions look like they re stalking tropical fish look like they re kissing dog s showing their teeth look like they re smiling P explanatory anthropomorphism when we project human psychological characteristics on animal based on behavior events onetime situations not habitual behaviors a eg the dog trashes your house because it s upset that you ve left that cats are smug or manipulative 5quot applied anthropomorphism use of personal perspective to explain how an animal must feel empathic a the attempt to get inside the animal s heads and put yourself in their shoes b eg animals must be sad when they re in cages because I d feel sad if I were in a cage ii anthropomorphism is an evolutionary product Zoo animals are wild but not wild tamed i We do not fear them in fact we want to get closer to them ii We go to the zoo expecting them to conform to prototypes of what we expect it to be like Animals in book oral histories and films companions heroes i Heuristic device something we learn fromabout 1 Eg the trickster animal always has an exaggerated characteristics a Rebellious clever deceitful silly through his mischief some goodness would emerge 57 transmogrification Squot Found crossculturally d Totemism i Emile Durkheim totem religion ii L viStrauss the purpose of totemism was a form of classification of groups of humans nature used as a metaphor of human society and culture 1 Diversity seen in nature used as a model for human society 2 Groups may treat their totem sacredly eg not eating it they would not have that same reverence for the totem s of other groups e Ursa Major important to a variety of societies i The bear is a territorial animal that would have been difficult prey for humans 1 One of the few truly dangerous animals that humans would have come into contact with humans a lot 2 Maternal bear cubs stay with mother for twothree years twice as long as animals of comparable side ii Bears competed with huntergathers for berries and salmon 1 80 of what bears eat is vegetable product similar diet iii Bears share physical similarities to humans 1 Reach with their paws to pick up things a Blackfoot Indians refer to human hand and bear paw with the same word 2 Can stand on their hind legs and walk for extended distances on two legs iv Bear goes underground ever year periodically disappear and reappear 1 Hibernation seen symbolically as a death in the winter and rebirth in a spring 2 Bears associated with healing and initiation rites f Mundkur humans are preconditioned to be afraid of the natural world including animals i 40 ofour dreams are based on fear 1 Mehinaku brazil 30 animalrelated fear dreams venomous insects serpents and jaguars 2 Australian aborigines N Pacific Islanders N Am Indians 2351 anxiety dreams or animal 3 US and Japanese college students 15 parthumanpartanimal dreams 36 wild violent beasts 49 snakes 4 British schoolchildren girls 2 VIII petkeeping a YiFu Tuan the making an keeping of pets is a manifestation of power and authority even though it can be affectionate The relationship of pets explores issues of dominance relationship of cruelty versus kindness Western petkeeping is more sentimentalized than petkeeping in other societies 1 Westerners are divorced from nature we do not build interpersonal relationships with farm animals 2 Accelerated development of veterinary science and animal husbandry 3 Families in the West live more isolated and privatized than they did in the past loss of companionship 4 Families in the West are producing less children 5 Rising middle class 6 Animals stopped quotworkingquot for us and thus became available as playthings b Problems with Anthropological Pet Research The idea of petkeeping as a Western thing is an establishing a bias in the literature quotpetquot as a term has not been standardized Assumption that all cultures have the same use for pets have the same value iv dea that petkeeping is normal human social behavior c PetKeeping in the United States i Three effects on American society 1 2 3 d Dogs Historical circumstances shift from animals being seen as utilitarian things to animals as llsimply there a Urbanization Emotional orientation a We see animals as part ofunnatural habitats b Image of animals through the Am West c We see animals as childlike we elevate neotenized animals Intellectual climate i The first animal to be domesticated 1 2 3 Predates goats and sheep we would not have found a way to herd goats and sheep without dogs Between 12000 and 14000 BP a Palegawra Cave 12000 BP mandible found that shows clear domestication of the dog small jawbone and compacted teeth Some scientists believe dogs to be a mix of two subspecies of wolf a Canis lupus pallipes quotIndian wolfquot b Canis lupus lupus quotN American wolfquot c Due to the breeding plasticity and genetic variation of the dogs other scientists believe that more subspecies of wolf were involved 4 Others believe that there is an intermediary between wolves and dogs modern domesticated dogs descended from wild dogs 5 A less popular theory is that all dogs originated from Asia ii Over 150 breeds of dogs about 400 breeds recognized worldwide tremendous amount of variation in subspecies 1 Many dog breeds are close to extinction domesticated species are facing the loss of biodiversity iii Wolves jackals and dogs can all interbreed 1 Variation between dogs and wolves is twopercent 2 Wolves were easily domesticated because a Wolves are excellent scavengers hung around humans to collect garbage for food b Have a very defined hierarchy the most social of canids very sophisticated communication systems 3 Dogs the quotfingerprints of man a What are the primary advantages of domesticating dogs Herders dogs used to guide and protect flocks of goats and sheep Guardians Retrieverbeast of burden iv Meat 7400MP evidence of dog consumption in Romania 1 Still occurs today in the Philippines China Korea v Hunter S Key symbol 1 Frequently associated with the afterlife a Dog seen as a guard and guide to the soul to the afterlife iv Primary domestication characteristics of the dog 1 Body dwarfism a distinct gait forelegs are turned outward much less threatening than wolf 2 Shortened muzzle a canines are highly reduced 3 reduced brain size and enlarged skull 4 curly tails 39 Iwith a 39 39 39 r seen in prey such as whitetailed deer 5 placid temperament 6 large eyes 7 diverse pelage white coat perhaps selected for because it made dogs more visible to human shepherds 8 bark 3 VIII animals as food a Good to think i Conpane quotwith breadquot9people with whom we share meals ii What makes something llgood to eatquot 1 Taste can be acquired 2 Socially acceptable 3 Texture 4 Health and nutrition benefits 5 Tradition and customs 6 Availability and proximity 7 Status iii LeviStrauss says 1 All humans prefer meat 2 Meat is the most highly valued because of its texture and taste 3 Cooking is the intersection of nature and culture a Types of meat preparation crossculturally i Raw quotroastedquot nature symbol highly valued ii Cooked quotsmokedquot and quotgrilledquot cultural symbol highly valued iii Rotted quotboiledquot mediated state lowly valued 4 Veggies versus Meat why a Religion b Handling c Acquisition d Costavailability 5 Offal the innards a Generationally we re moving more and more away from the consumption of offal increasingly less valued in American society i Various cannot be seen as a group 1 Offal is identifiable after preparation These innards are seen to carry more life force than flesh iquot Begin as food often eaten raw not easily preserved iv Most cuts of organ meats are smaller 1 Not easy to share since portion sizes are small not enough to go around b Not so good to eat i Sacred cow India 1 In the Hindu tradition cows are considered quotsacredquot and cannot be killed Hinduism is a state religion Proselytizing quotconvertiblequot 75 Cowmother goddess once associated with cults now associated with two other deities i Lord Shiva Destroyer or Dissolver 1 Often depicted with a cow or as a cow ii Lord Krishna Creator 1 Depicted as a cow c Many Hindus practice ahimsa nonviolencequot with prohibits the eating of meat i Meateating Hindus eat jhatka meatquot meat obtained by killing the animal with a single stroke there s a right way to kill d Marvin Harris The Cultural Ecology of India s Sacred Cows i Why are cows highly valued from an ecological perspective 1 Zebu cattle very little milk production 2 Conceptualized more as a work animal than a meat animal bulls are more highly valued than cows 3 Dung useful as fuel 4 Poorly developed leather industry 5 Beef is not available to the majority of people a people who adhere to their caste status in India do not eat beef b the dalitquot eat beef allows one food source for a starving group of people ii KashrutKashruskosher Judaism 1 Torah first five books of the Old Testament a LeviticusDeuteronomy contains the kashrut i Eat only land animals that are cloven hoofed and chew their cudquot eg cows okay pigs not okay Eat air animals that have feathers and flyquot eg chicken okay ostrich not okay iquot Eat water animals that have fins and scalesquot eg normalquot fish okay shellfish and eels not okay iv llAll reptiles are unclean and the same will insects except locusts b TalmudMishnah transcribed books based on oral traditions 39 Land animals must have milk that curdles eg giraffes okay Should not eat any kind of predatory bird eg eagles not okay 4 2 Jewish laws regarding what is fit for consumption and what is not a Meat b Dairy c Parve foods that are quotmiscellaneousquot 3 Three schools of Judaism a Orthodox define themselves as following Jewish law to the letter b Moderate follow Jewish law llwithin reason as it relates to modern society c Reformed interpret the laws themselves and sometimes complete disregard them 4 Slaughter a no animal kosher or not can be consumed that dies of natural causes or has a disease at the time of the slaughter or that is killed by another animal b Must be slaughtered by a Jewish person wellversed in kashrus c Animal must be killed by clean cut to the throat with a sharp blade most humane way to kill 5 Food PreparationConsumption a Cannot eat any blood i Only exception is fish ii Rare meat ofany kind is not okay iii Drippings must be discarded b Certain parts of kosher animals cannot be consumed i It s not kosher to eat the sciatic nerve ii It s not kosher to eat the limb of any living animal c Meat and dairy cannot be consumed together except in the case of a fish i Utensils used for meat cannot be used for dairy includes pots and pans 1 You cannot wash your dishes in the sink there should be a basin for meat and a basin for dairy ii Dairy and meat must come from Jewish animals iii Main ideas 1 Humans treat different animals differently 2 Humans place animals in categories of meaning 3 As food items animals are valuable resources we re concerned about them 4 Animal foods form a part of human identity in a very specific way either how we eat or don t eat animals IX mythical animals a concrete prey animals as a frame of reference or signifier i there is no stable meaning we project ourselves onto animals ii we determine the conditions of what an animal is b Franz Boas study of masks i Masks act as transmogrifiers ii Shamans a shapeshifter exists betwixt and between c Revenants reanimated corpses vampire zombie etc d Axis mundi is the center of the world the beginning and end point i Eg in a church this point is the altar e Cats domesticated animals that don t conform well to the quottypequot f Humans are the determinant in how mythical creatures are categorized i What category is this animal in ii Is this animal that is viewed to be close to or antagonistic towards humans iii Is this animal autonomous or wild or domesticated and feral g Four categories of open cases of mythical animals sightings i True anomalies quotweirdnessesquot such as crying statues or UFOs 1 Charles Fort ii Interpreted anomalies unknown occurrences 1 Cryptozoology the study of hidden or unknown animals studying animals you re not sure exists 2 Operates on the premise that there are things of this world that we have not yet discovered and might not yet know but about the possibility of encountering iii Apparitions apport and teleportation 1 Things that appear out of thin air unnatural iv Narratives folklore myth cycles 1 This sighting is important as a group of phenomena not in and of itself 2 Structured into a cycle of stories and narratives about strange things 3 Conforms to type h In what context does the sighting occur i Specific mythical cases i Unicorn 1 An animal of llmental geography 2 First noted as a distinct animal in India Persia Scandinavia Poland US Canada South Africa and Tibet also have unicorn myth cycles and sightings a The Chinese kilin an omen of good fortune It is one of four idealistic animals in Chinese mythology with each animal being associated with a different directional field Unicorn represented the West First mentioned in the myth of the Emperor FuShi 1 Out walking along the banks of the Yellow River when he spotted the unicorn carrying a package filled with Chinese writing thus associated with intelligence and literacy and wisdom iii Has the body of a deer the tail ofan ox the head of the wolf horse hooves and fish scales single horn that is several feet long b The Indian risharinga unicorn is a human child born of a hermit and a doe a maiden who had been turned into a deer i Mythical beast that brings life to India once during a drought the king begged the unicorn to come out of the forest Upon seeing the devastation of the drought the unicorn began to cry and the rains came back c Arabian karakadann quotlord of the desert Fierce fighter believed to be modeled on the Indian rhinoceros Appears in Indian ancient Persia and northern Africa Bill of the buffalo black scaly skin three yellow hooves short tail lowlying eyes on the cheek and a bent horn on the nose 3 Possible models for the story of the unicorn a Land unicorns i Indian rhinoceros 1 Single horn made of keratin about two feet long a Associated with aphrodisiac and medicinal properties 2 Can move as fast as a horse 3 Aggressive will charge when provoked ii The oryx 1 A type ofanimal found primarily in Africa 2 As two horns rather than one but the horns are straight rather than curved a The shape of the oryx s horn is typically the shape of the unicorn s horn PS Eventempered and easy to tame In early Egyptian paintings the oryx is depicted in profile in such a position that you can only see one horn b Sea unicorn narwhal i Highly endangered animals ii Classed with the beluga whales considered a small whale iii Males have the ivory tusk it is a quottoothquot that pierces the mouth out of the left side iv Graceful movements dive as a group c Mono clonius nasicornus styrasaurus 39 One horned dinosaur of Asia and North America Not found until 1913 most likely did not contribute to myths of the unicorn Possibly an ancestor of the rhinoceros d Narwhal tusks and Indian rhinoceros horns were sold during the Middle Ages as unicorn holds worth several times their weight in gold 4 Western unicorn myths were most likely propagated by Greek philosophers and nationalists a The quotreamquot was translated into the tern unicorn in the Greek translation of the Bible the King s James version still uses the word unicorn though many versions of the Bible translates it as ox b Unicorn frequently depicted in the lap of Mary in religious paintings c Unicorn lore strongly entered popular discourse during the Renaissance i Until the mid 1700s a substance called unicorn horn was sold as powders that defended against illness and infertility By the 1700s a lot of advances in science occur and the medicinal value of unicorn is challenged 1 Respected paleontologist Cuvier provided proof that animals with cloven hooves must have two horns since they have a divided frontal lobe 2 Biologist contested this finding the horns are adhesions to the skull rather than protrusions from the skull d Rockefeller discovers tapestry series llThe Hunt of the Unicorn from the 1500s e In The Glass Menagerie by Tennesee Williams the special figurine broken by the gentleman caller is a unicorn f Unicorns come to represent i Exotic time or place purity sexuality ii Dragon more associated as an elusive animal 1 In both East and West it is a reptilian creature sometimes winged crocodilelike animal sometimes a snake