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Review for exam 2

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  1. Review for exam 2 • This exam covers weeks 5 through 10 and the following topics • Week 5: Race, sex, and gender • Week 7: Cultural evolution • Week 8: Language and culture • Week 9: Status, role and kinship

  2. Race • Race is a social construct. • There are historically two very different modes of thinking: • (1) typological thinking and • (2) population thinking • Both are wrong.

  3. In the U.S. the one-drop rule continues to prevail, all scientific information to the contrary notwithstanding. • Other societies, like Brazil, have different rules for assigning social race labels. • This does not mean that other societies lack racism.

  4. Human biological variation • Humans do vary across populations in things like skin color and susceptibility to certain illnesses …and the kind of ear wax they have. • There is no evidence for population level differences in intelligence.

  5. The race and IQ myth • Every generation for the last hundred years has seen attempts to promote racist ideologies about intelligence through science • These attempts have always been refuted successfully by science • Why is this myth so persistent?

  6. Variation in skin color • While race is a social construction, skin color is a phenotypic variable. • In tropical latitudes, increased melanin minimizes the danger of hypervitaminosis D and the danger of skin cancer.

  7. Sickle cell anemia • It is the result of a mutation in Central Africa. • Heterozygotes have some protection against malaria. • This produces a selective advantage for this balanced polymorphism. • This happened only a couple of thousand years ago.

  8. Sex and gender • Just as race is a social construct, so is gender. • Gender roles are social constructions that differ across time and place. • Some gender roles are nearly universal, while others are extremely plastic. • Margaret Mead’s studies in New Guinea

  9. Cultural Evolution – The Paleolithic, the Neolithic, and the Rise of States • Cultural evolution parallels biological evolution for six million years, until the Late Paleolithic and what Marvin Harris called the cultural takeoff. • Biological evolution continues, and we see it the distributions of skin color and lactase deficiency. • But since the Late Paleolithic, most of human evolution is the story of rapid cultural change, independent of biological change.

  10. We reviewed the cultural prehistory of humankind, from the earliest tools of the Paleolithic, through the Mousterian complex of the Neanderthals, and up to the broad spectrum adaptation of the Mesolithic, with the retreat of the glaciers and the disappearance of the Pleistocene megafauna. • Humans had a role in that disappearance.

  11. The Levallois breakthrough • The transition to Archaic H. sapiens during the Middle Paleolithic, around 300kya, brings the Lavallois technique of producing flake tools. • With the Levallois method, humans get a first crack at mass production and we find sources as far as 200 miles from the tools. • Note the experiment on making Levallois tools: Only those with language were able to make the tools. • More cutting edge/kg or rock through time

  12. Upper Paleolithic • During the Upper Paleolithic, there is a florescence of hunting culture with new technologies, including the bow and arrow and the atlatl. • The Upper Paleolithic horizon occurs in North America several thousand years later because the glacier retreated there later: • Clovis and Folsom Paleo-Indian cultures.

  13. Mesolithic transition • With the disappearance of the megafauna, we see a transition to broad spectrum gathering. • The Natufians learn to harvest wild wheat: settled villages without agriculture by 10kya. • Flannery asks: Where do you go with a ton of wheat?

  14. Cultural horizons • The same horizon in Peru at 6kya, in Japan at 13kya, Southern Africa at 6kya, Southern U.S. at 5kya.

  15. Transition to the Neolithic • Food production creates surplus. • It also creates hardships, like increased infant mortality. • The type sites of Ali Kosh and Tehuacan show the transition and similarity of horizons in two parts of the world.

  16. From villages to states • The Neolithic brings settled agricultural life and eventually, states. • Two theories to account for primary states: circumscription and hydraulic • Primary states, too, arise all over the world, again showing the same cultural horizons in different times and places. • This happened at least five times, perhaps more.

  17. The sequence in the Americas • There are parallel sequences in Mexico and Peru, from early Neolithic villages to fully developed states: • Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec in Mexico • Chavin, Tihuanaco, Inca in Peru • The Aztecs and the Incas were the last of a long line of states Mexico and Peru.

  18. Theories of the Neolithic • V. Gordon Childe and regions of refuge • Robert Braidwood and the hilly flanks • Kent Flannery and the plants-plant-people theory • Carrying capacity and Boserup’s observation

  19. Neolithic evolution • There was no revolution in the usual sense of that word. • The first demographic transition • Fertility goes up when people shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture.

  20. Hydraulics and the state • States develop along the Yellow River in China, in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, in the Nile valley and in the Indus valley. • They also develop in the Mexican highlands, without rivers, but with control of water. • Hydraulic and circumscription theories

  21. Writing and the state • Writing was invented several times. • It is always associated with trade and the development of the state. • However, it is not a necessary condition for the development of the state.

  22. Who discovered America? • Bering Straits • Paleolithic seafaring along the Northwest Coast of North America • Neolithic seafaring from Africa and the Pacific • Pleistocene overkill hypothesis

  23. Language evolution • Language may have developed along with the capacity for making stone tools. • Physical evidence – the hyoid bone and thorax in Neanderthal.

  24. Cultural evidence • Berlin and Kay’s work on color terms shows that lexicon evolved with socioeconomic complexity. • Comparative studies of creole languages • Study of nonhuman primate language • The lithics experiment

  25. Generative grammar • Human language is generative. • There are four components to the grammar: phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. • Speech and writing are not the same things. • We have 46 phonemes in English, and 26 characters in the alphabet.

  26. English phonology • The phonemic difference between [big] and [pig] is a single distinctive feature called ‘voicing’ that produces a change in the meaning of the words. • English has word-initial, aspirated voiceless stops. Spanish does not.

  27. Kissinger effect • The Kissinger effect refers to the embeddedness of the phonology and the difficulty of acquiring a native speaker’s accent as an adult.

  28. Some rules for morphology • The rules for forming the past tense and plural in English are phonologically related • Plural s z ez • Past t d ed • part parts, bag bags, rose roses • slip slipt, bag bagd, want wantƏd

  29. Gender and speech • Gendered register in Japanese • Gendered speech in American English

  30. Dialects and languages • Dialects are mutually intelligible varieties of a language. • Ebonics is a dialect of American English. • No dialect of any language is better, in any linguistic sense, than any other. • Dialects do, however, have social consequences. • Note Labov’s study of the r’s in New York

  31. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis • The remains controversial, but there is evidence that the structure of language effects the way people think in general.

  32. Historical linguistics • Glottochronology (lexicostatistics): the study of change in nonwritten languages by applying known rates of change for written languages. • English is part of the Germanic language subfamily (is related closely to Dutch, Swedish, German, etc.). • English is part of the Indo-European language family that includes Hindi (via Sanskrit).

  33. Dual lexicons • English has a dual lexicon: Germanic and Latin. • Note the difference in feel in cogitate vs. think or in expectorate vs. spit. • village, garage, collage

  34. Writing • Writing was invented at least twice, perhaps three or four times • Spread through trade, proselytizing, and schooling • Middle East 3200 BCE (Uruk, S. Iraq) • Indus Valley 2500 BCE • Olmecs 600 BCE

  35. Logographic vs. alphabetic scripts • Some alphabetic scripts: • Arabic • Cyrillic • Roman • A syllabic script: • Hiragana • An ideographic script: • Kanji (Japanese) • Chinese

  36. Status, role, and kinship • Roles comprise the set of rules for acting out statuses properly – within limits that can be more or less rigid • The limits of these rules for role behavior are a source of debate in many societies

  37. Note the difference between ascribed and achieved statuses and the ratio of achieved/ascribed statuses in different societies

  38. Kinship • Kinship is important for understanding social relations in all societies • Kinship rules define how social ties of descent and marriage are established and elaborated and how these ties relate to all other areas of behavior

  39. Fuzzy edges of kinship systems • Kinship systems are based on recognition of distinctions in things like generation, sex of relative, and consguineal vs. affinal relation • We see the fuzzy edge of American kinship in the rules for the term “brother-in-law” • The rules for this are clearer in traditional Spanish and Greek kinship, but these rules are changing now

  40. Unilineal and bilateral kinship • Note the difference between unilineal and bilateral kinship • About 70% of the kinship systems in the world are unilineal • Matrilineal is much rarer than patrilineal

  41. Marriage systems • Monogamy: 24% of the world's cultures • Polygyny: 70% • Polyandry: 1% • Note the case of fraternal polyandry in Tibet

  42. Postmarital residence • Neolocal • Matrilocal • Patrilocal • Ambilocal • Carol and Melvin ember tested the hypothesis that residence should follow the gender that produces the most food. Distant vs. close warfare was the intervening variable

  43. Restrictions on sexuality • Societies differ on the kinds of sexuality that are permitted, restricted, or encouraged • Abortion, famine, war, colonization, and homosexuality restrict reproduction • Accounting for differences in emphasis on virginity and tolerance for homosexuality • Note Alice Schlegel’s cross-cultural study of virginity and economic transactions at marriage

  44. Dowry • Occurs where women contribute little to subsistence, there is a high degree of social stratification, and monogamy • These are necessary but insufficient conditions • The burning bride case in India