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Lecture 1: Invitation to Anthropology

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ANTH 1002
Eric Henry

Lecture 1: Introduction to Anthropology Biological Anthropology  The field of anthropology that looks at human beings as biological organisms and tries to discover what characteristics make us different from other organisms, and what characteristics we share.  This can include the study of people: o At the genetic level o Through comparison with related species, specifically primates o Through fossilized remains  Humans are biocultural organisms – our defining features are co-determined by both biological and cultural factors  Loss of body hair is related to the adaptation of clothing  High cranial capacity is related to development of complex technologies and social networks  Form of the larynx is related to the development of speech  “What this means is that culture, rather than being added on, so to speak, to a finished or virtually finished animal, was ingredient, and centrally ingredient, in the production of that animal itself” (Geertz 1973:47)  Biological anthropologists today often work in primatology (the study of non- human primates such as chimpanzees or gorillas), or paleoanthropology (the study of fossilized human remains from our earliest ancestors). Archaeology  The study of the human past, involving analysis of material remains left behind by earlier human societies  Interests range from the earliest stone tools to twentieth-century garbage dumps  Material artifacts can tell a “story” almost as well as a human being, by allowing the archaeologist to understand the life of an object from the point it was made, to how it was used, and ultimately how it was disposed of. Linguistic Anthropology  The study of how humans use language in social interacti
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