Week of Jan 7, 2013
Reading: Chapter 1 pages 1-17
What is Anthropology?
- the systematic study of humankind, past and present
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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?
- 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