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What is Anthropology?
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What is Anthropology?

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  1. What is Anthropology? • Anthropology is the broad study of humankindaround the world and throughout time.  • It is concerned with both the biological and the cultural aspects of humans.

  2. There are four main subdivisions (areas) in the study of Anthropology: • Physical Anthropology • Archeology • Cultural Anthropology • Linguistic Anthropology

  3. Physical Anthropology: Cultural Anthropology: Definition and Aspects of Culture Race as a Social Construct Race and Adaptation Participation/Observation Anthropologists: Jane Goodall Franz Boas Margaret Mead • Theory of Evolution • Origin of Humans • Primatology • Evolutionary Timeline • Genetic Inheritance • Physical Adaptations • Anthropologists: • Darwin • Leakey's

  4. Physical Anthropology: • How the human species has changed physically over time (hundreds of millions of years) – called Biological evolution • Study of Primatology – primates (apes, chimps as ancestors of humans) • Why we have certain physical characteristics from our ancestors (i.e. skin colour…) - called Genetic inheritance • Evolution refers to change or transformation over time - how have humans changed and adapted over time – called Adaptation • Fossil record of human evolution

  5. Archaeology: • Prehistory and early history of cultures around the world • Major trends in cultural evolution • Techniques for finding, excavating, dating, and analyzing material remains of past societies – used to help prove theories, i.e. evolution, artifacts… • Archaeological Field Methods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m9wq_mtY4Q

  6. Cultural Anthropology: • Culture and traditions of a group of people • Ethnocentrism – • comparing other cultures to your own, believing that one’s own culture is superior to others • based on lack of knowledge and understanding • leads to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination

  7. Linguistic Anthropology: • The human communication process • Verbal and nonverbal communication • The structure, function, and history of languages

  8. Linguistic Anthropology Linguistics studies: • The human communication process • Verbal and nonverbal communication • The structure, function, and history of languages

  9. Linguistic Anthropology: Communication • Communication allows us to express feelings, describe tasks, argue or discuss a position or ideas • Communication was an essential skill for our ancestors • Co-operation during the hunt • Warning of potential danger

  10. Skills and Methods used by Anthropologists • Participation-observation • Collection of statistics • Field interviews • Rigorous compilation of detailed notes • Fieldwork on anthropologists is know as “ethnography”: the scientific study of human races and cultures

  11. Examples of Famous Anthropologists Louis, Mary Leaky Jane Goodall Franz Boaz Margaret Mead

  12. Louis and Mary Leakey • Credited with discovering physical evidence to support the evolutionary timeline • Much of their discoveries were throughout Africa • Short Biography: http://www.leakey.com/origins

  13. Jane GoodallBorn:3 April 1934, Birthplace:London, England, Died:n/a • Worked directly with the Leaky family • Her specialty was living with and understanding the language and behaviour of chimps • Her famous work is an example of the participation/observation method • View the short interview with Jane Goodall: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Q6-hh49mU • Documentary: Wild Chimpanzees

  14. Franz Boas Born:9-Jul-1858, Birthplace: Minden, Germany, Died:22-Dec-1942 • Studied and widely collected information on race, linguistics, art, dance, and archaeology. • From these studies he developed his theory of relativism, debunking the prevailing beliefs that Western Civilization is superior to less complex societies. • Short Biography: • http://www.biography.com/people/franz-boas-9216786

  15. Cultural Relativism • Cultural relativism is the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context. • In other words, “right” and “wrong” are culture-specific; what is considered moral in one society may be considered immoral in another, and, since no universal standard of morality exists, no one has the right to judge another society’s customs. • Cultural relativism is widely accepted in modern anthropology. • Cultural relativists believe that all cultures are worthy in their own right and are of equal value. • Diversity of cultures, even those with conflicting moral beliefs, is not to be considered in terms of right and wrong or good and bad. • Today’s anthropologist considers all cultures to be equally legitimate expressions of human existence, to be studied from a purely neutral perspective.

  16. Margaret MeadBorn:December 16, 1901 , Birthplace:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Died:November 15, 1978 • Proposed that culture and gender roles play just as strong a role as biology in influencing adolescent behavior— • Short Biography: • http://www.biography.com/people/margaret-mead-9404056 • Much of her research was completed via participation/observation in Samoa and New Guinea • published Coming of Age in Samoa • presented the idea that the individual experience of developmental stages could be shaped by cultural demands and expectations • published Growing Up in New Guinea • she demonstrated that gender roles differed from one society to another, depending at least as much on culture as on biology