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week 1- what is anthropology.docx

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Tracy Prowse

Week of Jan 7, 2013 Reading: Chapter 1 pages 1-17 What is Anthropology? - the systematic study of humankind, past and present - historical - anthropos = humankind - logia = study of Anthropology is Comparative - how do we differ? - what do we have in common? - what are the reasons for this difference? Anthropology is Contexual - what circumstances, environments, and beliefs shape human behaviour? - social, political, religious, economic Anthropology is Holistic - how can we understand the entire picture of the human condition, both biological and cultural? The Four Subfields of Anthropology (Page 2) - physical anthropology - studies all aspects of the biology and behaviour of the human species (and our closest relatives), past and present - Dr. Megan Brickley - archaeology - Dr. Andy Roddick, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia - the study of past societies and their cultures using material remains (tools, ceramics, sites) - what does the production and use of pottery tell us about social organization? - cultural anthropology/ethnography - the study of contemporary cultures and societies - culture is defined as transmitted, learned behaviour - studying a different culture in that society - methodology: participant observation pg 7 - ethnography: a description of an aspect of culture … - local, regional, global - linguistics - studies the construction and use of language by human societies - Dr. John Colarusso - structural linguistics: how language works - difference between language and thought - sociolinguistics: the relationship between language and social behaviour in different cultures - historical linguistics: how are languages related to each other? How have they changed over time? Summary - no anthropologist is an expert in all four branches of anthropology - many do research that crosses over the subfields (interdisciplinary) - anthropology investigates the diversity of human in all contexts - view that humans are both cultural and biological beings ------------------------------------------- Osteology (Subfield of Physical Anthorpology) - study of the structure and function of the human skeleton - how our bodies adapt - central to physical anthropology - important for understanding: - changes in fossils - how we lived in the past Example: How do we know if an organism is bipedal (walks on two feet)? - hole where spine meets brain is large, whereas in animals that walk on all fours, the hole is further back in the head - can be seen on the skeleton through the head, back (spine), pelvis, and legs
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