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Unit 1. Introduction to Anthropology. What is anthropology?. Anthros=man, human Logos=study of Discipline of infinite curiosity about human beings Comparing humans from all areas and all time periods Tends to be a focus on non-Western cultures.

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unit 1

Unit 1

Introduction to Anthropology

what is anthropology
What is anthropology?
  • Anthros=man, human
  • Logos=study of
  • Discipline of infinite curiosity about human beings
  • Comparing humans from all areas and all time periods
    • Tends to be a focus on non-Western cultures

Holistic approach to anthropology—we study all aspects of humanity

  • Forms of study:
    • Physical anthropology—study of humans and their evolution and biological variations between populations
    • Archaeology—study of prehistoric populations and cultures through material remains (bones, tools, etc.)
    • Linguistics—study of language
    • Cultural anthropology—study of cultural variation and universals (religion, economics, social order, sex, art, etc.)

Culture—set of learned values, behaviors, and beliefs that are characteristic of a particular society

  • Cultural relativism
  • Ethnocentrism
    • Often referred to as a hatred/fear of other cultures (XENOPHOBIA)
noteworthy anthropologists
Noteworthy Anthropologists
  • Franz Boas (1858-1942) German-American
    • Father of American Anthropology
    • Famous for applying scientific method to cultural studies
    • Studied the Inuits in Canada
    • Appealed to all anthropologists to not treat studied cultures with a bias/disdain
  • Jane Goodall (1934-) English primatologist
    • Has led study of chimpanzee social and family life for last 45 years in Africa
    • Advocate for chimpanzees and environment
    • Discovered tool-making abilities in chimpanzees
  • Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American
    • Studied problems adolescents in US face by living with and studying Samoans
      • Does our civilization cause adolescent angst or is it natural across culture?
      • She concluded that transition from childhood to adulthood lacks the emotional or psychological distress our teenagers face
noteworthy anthropologists1
Noteworthy Anthropologists
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English naturalist
    • Created natural selection
  • Mary (1913-1996) & Louis Leakey (1903-1972) English archeologists
    • Followed by son Richard
    • She discovered “Laetoli footprints” in Tanzania
    • Pushed hard in research to prove Darwin’s theories correct
    • Both studied and found evidence of human evolution
  • BronislawMalinowski (1884-1942) Polish
    • Studied reciprocity and Melanesia (Papua New Guinea)
    • Began use of direct study of day-to-day research instead of simply interviewing subjects or use of limited contact—live amongst the subjects
      • Goal of anthropologists should be “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world.”
some assumptions about culture
Some assumptions about culture
  • Culture is adaptive—New Guinea tribes often view women as unclean—they need to adapt or go extinct
    • Maladaptive behavior
    • Adaptive behavior
      • Tropical cultures often have a post-partum sex taboo
more assumptions
More assumptions
  • Culture is integrated into a society—traits of a culture are not just thrown into a society; it’s there for a reason
    • This means we cannot just think of things from other cultures we could apply to us.
    • How would a post-partum sex taboo affect us?
3 rd assumption
3rd assumption
  • Culture is always changing
  • Change in environment can cause a change in culture
    • EX: global warming—how will that change our culture?
evolution v creationism
Evolution v. Creationism
  • Evolution—change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation
  • Charles Darwin—rejected belief that all creatures were created independently
    • Published The Origin of Species in 1859
    • Detailed findings from research during the 1830s during a long sailing voyage on The Beagle—most notable was his studies of the finch on the Golapagos Islands off Ecuador
      • Finches had characteristics depending on the island they were on

Natural Selection —Darwin’s belief that the genes of strong individuals will be passed on more often than the genes of weaker individuals (Survival of the Fittest)

    • Adaptation—ongoing natural selection as populations change in response to environmental changes
    • Speciation
    • Mutation
specific human ancestors
Specific Human Ancestors
  • A. Afarensis(Lucy)—3-4 million years ago
    • Eastern Africa (Ethiopia)
    • Small brain
    • Long arms—good climber
    • Bipedal
    • Lived in small social groups with one dominant male and several breeding females
specific human ancestors cont
Specific Human Ancestors (cont.)
  • A. Africanus—2-3 million years ago
    • Southern Africa
    • Larger head=larger brain
    • More human-like facial features
    • Ape-like curved fingers
specific human ancestors cont1
Specific Human Ancestors (cont.)
  • Homo Habilis (“handy man”)—1.75-2.25 million years ago
    • Eastern Africa (Tanzania)
    • Very short and very long arms
    • Brains were half the size of modern humans
    • Remains found with tools
    • Human-like face with smaller teeth
specific human ancestors cont2
Specific Human Ancestors (cont.)
  • Homo Neanderthalensis—30,000 years ago
    • Europe and Western Asia
    • Stone tool users (axes & spears)
    • Did not discover fire, but harnessed it
    • Adapted to colder climates (shorter but bulky bodies and larger noses)
      • Men were about 5 ½ feet
      • Suffered from sever arthritis
    • Could create sounds and differentiate between vocal sounds (language?)
    • Performed some sort of ritualistic burial ceremonies
    • Some evidence that cannibalism may have occurred
specific human ancestors cont3
Specific Human Ancestors (cont.)
  • Homo Erectus (“upright man”)—30,000-1.25 million years ago
    • Eastern Africa, Europe & Asia
    • Believed to be the first hominid to have left Africa
    • Brain size = 75% size of our brains
    • Less sloped forehead and smaller teeth
    • Males averaged 5’10” tall
    • Used mostly advanced stone tools (i.e. double edged axe)
    • Hunter-gatherer society
specific human ancestors cont4
Specific Human Ancestors (cont.)
  • Homo Sapiens (Modern Man)—200,000 years ago
    • Cro-Magnon man—Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa
    • Anatomically modern
    • Used sculpture, engraving, painting, body ornamentation, and music
    • Complex languages developed
    • Given credit for causing the extinction of Neanderthals
    • Modern man has created rituals, traditions, ethics, social norms, and laws (SOCIAL ORDER)