Anthro 1AB3 September 6,2013
• Need new textbook*
• Anthro is the systematic study of humankind
• Anthropologists study everyday aspects of our culture and far away people( anyone
anywhere is fair game)
• Late 1800s anthro began to emerge into universities/places of study
• Anthropology is comparative
-What do all humans have in common and how do we differ?
• Society is constantly changing
• Anthropologists want long term engagements with different societies ( they spend a year
or more in the field interacting with people)
• How did we come to be the way that we are? What forces in the past have shaped us?
• Anthropology is contextual
- What circumstances, environments and beliefs shape human behaviour and
• Anthropology is Holisitic (Trying to get a complete picture by using different methods )
- How can we understand the entire picture of the human condition both biological and
• SUBFIELDS OFANTHROPOLOGY:
- Physical (human evolution)
• The study of contemporary cultures and societies anywhere in the world.
• Methodology- participant observation,inteviews
• Culture is defined as transmitted, learned behaviour.
• Study people intensively and when they’re done they produce an Ethnography: a
description of an aspect of culture within a society. It is a type of book Archaeology
• The study of past societies and their cultures using material remains/culture (tools,
ceramics, sites. Refers to anything made or modified by humans)
• Studies the construction and use of language by human societies
• Structural linguistics- how language works
• Sociolinguistics- the relationship between language and social behaviour in different
cultures. Ex. Looking at the relationship between language and class
• Historical linguistics- how are languages related to each other and how have they
changed over time?
• Studies all aspects of the biology and behavior of the human species ( and our closest
relatives) past and present
• Specialize in a variety of areas like: primatology- study of primates like gorillas, chimps,
orangutans or osteology- study of human skeletal material/bone.
• From skeletons you can determine age, health and cause of death.
-No anthropologist is an expert in all four branches of anthropology but many do research
that crosses over subfields (interdisciplinary)
- Anthropology investigates the diversity of humans inALL contexts
- Anthropologists view humans as both cultural and biological beings
• Highlights the diversity of anthropology
• Incorporates techniques of all four subfields
• Means the application of anthropology to everyday situations (Marketing/business – Try
to see how to sell a product , Law- Native land claims. They try to achieve strategies to
have the natives keep their land , Forensics)
KEY TERMS Ethnocentrism – The belief that your way of life of beliefs are “ right” or superior to
those of someone else.
^Anthropology wants to fight against ethnocentrism
Cultural Relativism- The attempt to understand a group of people from their point of
view. What anthropologists preach/practice
Goal: Not to judge other people but ask the question, why do people do what they do?
Long term fieldwork (One year or more)
• Defining feature of anthropology
• Cultural anthropologists and linguistics deal with everyday people/present day fieldwork.
- Armchair anthropology – mid 1800s to 1914 (earliest anthropologists that did no
fieldwork. They sat in their armchairs in the libraries and read about other people’s
descriptions of cultures. They wanted to compare cultures. What they read was bias.)
- Verandah Anthropology – late 1800s to 1914 (They went out and lived with particular
groups of people but at a distance. They often went as guests of colonial administrators
and lived in their grand colonial houses away from the indigenous groups that they were
studying. They would invite native people to come and sit on the front porch of the house
for an interview. It was very limited engagements)
- “Modern fieldwork” – around 1915
Bronislaw Malinowski invented modern fieldwork. He invented participant observation
* Living with people
* Learning the language
* Participating in their everyday life
SEE PAGE 18
* He thought fieldwork was about “non-western” contexts
* He thought fieldwork should only be in one location
* He saw fieldwork as objective (scientific or replicable)
Changes since Malinowskis time
• Multi sited Fieldwork
• Informed consent/permission is necessary
• Any group of people is fair game
• Not objective!! • Our Identities impact the fieldwork experience
• People’s perceptions of your social class/status, gender, sexual orientation can
- Rapport with people
- The information you obtain
- The types of questions you ask
September 12, 2013
• Field methods in archaeology and physical anthropology
1) Excavation of ancient sites
2) Analysis of evidence found at sites ( material culture/artifacts, skeletal and faunal
• ^Artifacts are a portable type of material culture
• Skeletal material is the bones of proto-humans or humans
• Faunal material is the bones of animals
• Site = a place where various forms of human activities have taken place. There are
different types of sites based upon their function.
- “Head smashed in, buffalo jump” – Kill site ( Evidence of where animals were
killed/slaughtered for human consumption )
- Domestic/Habitation site (Anywhere people lived )
• Evidence at sites: (features- Evidence of non-portable human activities in layers of
earth. They can show up as stain in soil. IE. Hearths/housing foundations )
- Anthropologists need to interpret data
- They question “What does this all mean? What conclusions can we make about
- All of our interpretations are subject to change and are influenced by culture
• All research is positioned research • We are constantly redefining existing ideas and theories, so it’s not the methods
themselves that are the problem.
• Venus Figurines: Highlight how anthropologists are impacted by their culture. 20-
25000 years ago. Found all throughout Europe and parts of Russia. 2-3 Inches high.
They are always female with much exaggerated sexual characteristics (Big boobs or
ass). No arms/ no feet. These objects of fertility were important as people lived
through the ice age. Used as good luck charms.
• Most archaeologists up to 1960s were males.
• 1970s when female archaeologists were prevalent, they noticed the males only
reported the figurines with big boobs/ass.
- We can learn that all researchers are informed by their own cultural experiences and
- In this case, gender biases inform their interpretations of the past.
Example from physical anthropology:
• “Man the Hunter” 60s/70s
- Washburn and Lancaster came up with this hypothesis.
- Idea that hunting (by men) was the primary instigator of human evolution. ( Using
tools, being bipedal)
-Requires good communication skills, group effort and that you are bipedal that you
are able to use tools.
- Hunting was a mechanism that led to social/physical changes.
- Men were solely the ones who were hunting.
- Proto-humans primary diet was actually around 85% nuts/fruit etc not meat.
• We can learn that we need to adopt cultural relativism.
• If content appears in the text as well as in lectures, STUDY**
• Any content in the text is fair game.
Nature vs Nurture-Identities
• Identity is learned personal and social types of affiliation that help us belong in
Ex: age, sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, • Are our identities biological? (Nature) or are they a result of culture? (nurture) We
learn our identities.
• Our identities are culturally constructed: the bi-product of cultural forces.
• Enculturation- the process through which individuals learn an identity
• We think about our identities as natural- Naturalizing discourse and this is dangerous
• We believe there is a biological bond between relatives – Blood is thicker than water
• Mosou – tribe where no bond between father/child is present
• Mothers form a bond by visualizing their baby when they use ultrasounds.
• Identities of Hawaii being “pristi