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Lecture 5

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture 5: SFD

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McMaster University
Andrew Wade

Lecture 1: What is Anthropology? Anthropos = humans Logia = the study of defined as the systematic study of humankind can be examined from: a historical standpoint (biological, social, environmental), a comparative standpoint (between individuals and groups), contextual, and holistic (the big picture of the human condition) Anthropologys main focus is curiosity. It questions characteristics of human population varies throughout the ages. 4 field approach is typical of North American anthropological study: Socio Cultural: studies contemporary cultures and societies. defines culture as transmittedlearned behaviour. Methodology is defined by ethnology and participant observation. Researchers engage in the cultures activities and produce an ethnographic (description of a different aspect of a societys culture) Archaeology: past societies and cultures are examined through materials such as tools, ceramics and sites. Generally divided into prehistoric and historical archaeology (based on when the written word became prevalent). Unfortunately, true archaeological work is clouded by imagery of treasure hunters such as Indiana Jones in the media. Though it is true that digging is destruction, we obtain valuable information by desiccating these sites through the use of systematic excavation and controlled research. Main purpose is to attain deeper knowledge of human history through remains beyond the 5000 year old knowledge of historians based on written records. Linguistics: studies the construction and use of language by humans. Structural linguistics examines how language is formed and looks at the relationship between language and our thought patterns, sociolinguistics describes the relationship between language and culture, and historical linguistics describe how language changes over time. Physicalbiological: very broad field encompassing all aspects of past and present humans from a biological perspective. This includes both evolutionary studies and biocultural studies. Mainly concerned with human populations and how they vary biologically. There are several subfields: osteology (skeleton structure and function, understanding fossils and evolutionary changes), paleoanthropology (human fossil record), primatology (social behaviour, biology, communication and other aspects of primates to understand human evolution and behaviour), human biology (human growth and development, environmental adaptations and modern human variation) forensic (anthropology and the law; applied anthropology used to investigate accidental death, CSI and human rights investigations) Applied Anthropology: debatably a 5th subfield, but really combines info from the other subfields to offer practical solutions to modern issues.
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