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UW-Madison Cultural Athropology Notes

by: y-chen9

UW-Madison Cultural Athropology Notes ANTHRO 104

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About this Document

Covers all lecture and reading info from ethnographic fieldwork chapter to language chapter. Also includes lecture guest speaker who talked about Amawaka people.
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Falina Enriquez
Class Notes




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by y-chen9 on Monday March 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTHRO 104 at University of Wisconsin - Madison taught by Dr. Falina Enriquez in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Wisconsin - Madison.

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Date Created: 03/28/16
Anthropology 104 Notes #2 Lecture 5 Ethnographic fieldwork: “. . . living with a community of people over an extended period to better understand their lives” (Guest, 64). History of ethnographic fieldwork Early anthropologists in the mid 19 century did not conduct ethnographic fieldwork Armchair anthropologists: Anthropologists like James Frazer relied on texts on questionnaires Cultural evolutionism was ethnocentric and inaccurate However, Lewis Henry Morgan did some fieldwork among Seneca (Iroquois) people in NY, but did not live with them for long periods. Franz Boas set the standard/pattern for ethnographic fieldwork o He lived on Baffin island for a year; returned to British Columbia 5 times from 1888-1894, staying for months at a time  He experienced cultural relativism  He conducted salvage anthropology  Salvage anthropology: Documenting as much cultural, linguistic, material, and biological information from “disappearing” indigenous groups o S.A made sense given the U.S. and Canada’s western expansion  Environmental (logging, fishing) etc.  S.A. reinforced and reduced culture as a static, quantifiable object people could possess  S.A. also prioritized description over interpretation  Bronislaw Malinowski formalized ethnographic fieldwork o Participant observation  Rooted in own opinions  Not skewed  Balances out what people say and what they actually do  It helps get a more holistic perspective  Like culture, fieldwork is an experience, not an object  It situates the anthropologist as the research instrument o Focused on daily life of people  Who you are shapes your research o Ethnographic fieldwork  Boas and Malinowski studied men, not women o Reflexivity  Annette Weiner versus Malinowski. Trobiand women have important economic roles and accumulate wealth o Learning by doing = becoming  Who you are affects what you study and what kinds of conclusions you can make  Reflexivity and anthropological writing o Reflexivity happens during fieldwork and AFTER fieldwork through writing and interpretation o Anthropologists have to acknowledge and explain how their own social position, biases, strengths/weaknesses affect their interpretations o “Writing Culture” movement during the 1980s and 1990s o Globalization is widening anthropology’s audience, cultural consultants are more important  Tourist vs. Anthropology Lecture 6:  Ethnographic fieldwork preparation o Take courses in anthropology, area studies o Learn the local language o Conduct literature review o Start to make contacts with locals o Consult with experts o Assemble your toolkit: notebook, pen, camera, laptop, audio recorder o Think about whether you want to collect quantitative and/or qualitative data Establishing good rapport o Do no harm o Anthropologists have to conform to institutional rules to work with human subjects o Informed consent  Children need consent from parents o Anonymity is often necessary  Ex - criminals o Different kids of consent depending on the context  Written/oral o It is not always easy to explain to locals what you are doing or they might be hesitant to work with you Choosing strategies o Interviews: One-on-one or with a group? Open-ended or structured? Life history? o Surveys/statistical analysis Will a quantitative survey be relevant? Will a written document be appropriate? o Mapping: What kinds of spaces are important? o Kinship analysis: Who counts as family? Is this relevant? o Field notes: What should be written down? Why? o Social network analysis: How are people associated with one another? Culture is not always the best explanation as to why others are different. History, economics, and politics are often more relevant Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping (1992) cited in Guest, 63-64 o Research on “the Altho” (hillside neighborhood) in a town in Pernambuco, Brazil for over 20 years. o Formula vs. Breast milk  Political changes impacted formula becoming the norm from breast milk  Infant mortality is a symptom of deep problems of inequality and injustice. Chapter 4: Language Language: “A system of communication organized by rules that uses symbols such as words, sounds, and gestures to convey information” (Guest, 95). All animals communicate in some way Productivity: “The linguistic ability to use known words to invent new word combinations” (Guest, 97). Displacement: “The ability to use words to refer to objects not immediately present or events occurring in the past or future” (Guest, 97). Gene important for verbal communication of cognitive understanding of language: FOXP2 Extensive language use among early humans is estimated to have started around 50,000 years ago when art, tool making, etc, required language to pass down transmission from one generation to the next Descriptive Linguistics: “The study of the sounds, symbols, and gestures of a language, and their combination into forms that communicates meaning” (Guest, 98). Phonemes: “The smallest units of sound that can make a difference in meaning” (Guest, 118)  Phonology: “The study of what sounds exist and which ones are important for a particular language” (Guest, 118).  Morphemes: “The smallest units of sound that carry meaning on their own” (Guest, 98).  Morphology: “The study of patterns and rules of how sounds combine to make morphemes” (Guest, 98).  Syntax:  Grammar: “The specific patterns and rules for constructing phrases and sentences” (Guest, 99).  Kinesics: “The study of the relationship between body movements and communication” (Guest, 99).  Paralanguage: Laughs, cries, sighs, wells and other noises that convey information about the speaker and their emotions  Linguists: o Ferdinand de Saussure and Claude Levi-Strauss: There is an underlying structure to all languages o Noam Chomsky: Universal grammar. All humans share a similar language ability and ways of thinking o Edward Sapir/Benjamin Lee Whorf: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—Different languages create different ways of thinking  Hopi vs. English  Hamlet in Tiv  Lexicon: “All the words for names, ideas, and events that make up a language’s dictionary” (Guest, 101).  Focal vocabulary: “The words and terminology that develop with particular sophistication to describe the unique cultural realities experienced by a group of people” (Guest, 101).  Sociolinguistics: Study of how language shapes culture and culture shapes language o Particularly the intersection of language  race, gender, sex, age  Words are symbols o The “N-word”  Dialect: Nonstandard variation of a language  Prestige language: Way of speaking/language that is associated with high wealth, success, status, education, power.  Code Switching: “Switching back and forth between one linguistic variant and another depending on the cultural context” (Guest, 107). o Informalformal  Historical linguists: Study how languages develop, vary and change over time  Language continuum: “The idea that variation in languages appears gradually over distance so that groups of people who live near one another speak in a way that is mutually intelligible” (Guest, 110).  Language loss: Extinction of a language because to few people speak it o One language is lost every 10 days!! o Globalization threatens the loss of many smaller languages Lecture 7: Language  Polylingualism for anthropologists o Malinowski—important of language fluency  Participant observation  And for non-anthropologists o More job prospects  What is language? o Rules, words, symbols, sounds, gestures, convey information  Language is a social action o Key to our humanity—its how we participate in and create culture o Not genetically inherited (linguistic socialization) o Multifunctional—when we talk we..  Convey emotion, evaluate people and things, include/exclude people, talk about language  You cannot speak a language well without appropriate knowledge of that culture o Many meanstgs and phrases won’t be found in a textbook, but in culture  1 person pronouns in Japanese  Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis = linguistic relativity ( this how we will refer to this) o Different languages create different ways of thinking (Guest, 100) o Benjamin Whorf and Edward Sapir o Hypothesis has led to misconceptions  Language determines thought  Linguistic relativity o Language has some influence on thought, but does not fully determine it since culture is important o Correlation not causation o Culture provides flexibility between language and thought; these relationships create constraint and possibility o Language does not just reflect the world, it shapes the world (with culture)  Language shapes the world: time o Language impacts our basic assumption about the world o Time  Mass nouns versus count nouns o Whorf Hopi (cyclical, process) versus English (quantifiable)  Language impacts non-linguistic behavior: space o Austrailian aboriginal language, Guugu Yimithirr, Tzetzal (Mayan) uses absolute directionality (North, South, East..) o Distinction between “tight” in “loose”  English: Putting something in or on something  Korean: Tight (kkita) versus loose (nehta) fit  Apple in a bowl (loose fitting)  Eye glasses in a case (tight fitting) o This was hard for older English speakers  Language shapes how we relate to others and ourselves o Informal term/respect term (tu vs usted)  Language and power o No language or dialect is superior to the other in linguistic terms o Everyone speaks with an accent o But, certain language varieties are favored over others for social, historical, and political reasons o “A language is a dialect with an army” o Structures of power impact how we speak, how we think about language  The U.S. context o Standard English is the prestige language (hegemonic)  Seems neutral and “from nowhere” o Stigmatized languages/accents in the U.S. include Southern accent, African American Vernacular English, Spanish, etc.  Standard American English o Began gradually developing in the late 19 C th o NYC was the main cultural and economic center of the U.S. o A massive influx of Eastern European immigrants threated established Americans; anxiety about the “degeneration” of English  Rooted in racism and xenophobia and not by language itself. Motivated those in power to establish a standard  1930s Anti-Semitism  too many Jewish students in Ivy League schools o Not neutral or natural o East Coasters idealized the Midwest as racially pure, Christian, masculine and rugged  Midwestern ways of speaking became idealized o The “right” R  Most East Coasters did not pronounce R within/at end of words  “Fatha”  Father o This was a sign of contamination/degeneration  The R becomes a symbol for racism and the idea of what America should be  Midwesterners did pronounce their R’s o Radio broadcasts Standard American English  Francis H. Vizetelly, dictionary editor employed by Columbia Broadcasting Company trains radio announcers in proper pronunciation. He saw NY pronunciation as impure and emasculated.  Radio announcers—“torchbearers” of liberty o When we put one language “above” another…we are really evaluating people o Can’t have language without culture o Can’t have language and culture without power as well o Language is the way we create culture Lecture 8: Erik Levin: Guest Speaker – Anthropologist who studies Amazonian people Amawaka mom and grandma Monkey cousin o Raised by same grandmother Beads, language, food  literally become Amawaka You can change your ethnicity and your being…very easily o Identity is malleable, you are transformed by what you do o Playing with monkey head while eating monkey  cannibal How do animals see each other and other animals? o “2 dogs see each other as humans.. but see humans as beasts” How can you eat one monkey and raise another? o One monkey is raised as a human...they are different species Hallucinogen  spirits


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