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Lecture

Anthro 1AA3 NOTES.docx


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Tracy Prowse

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What Is Anthro? 9/7/2012 8:31:00 AM
TA
Madelenie Mant mantml@mcmaster.ca
Becky Gilmour gilmourj@mcmaster.ca
Katherine Bishop bishopkg@mcmaster.ca
Myriam Nafte naftem@mcmaster.ca
Peer Scholar Inquiries: Lori D‟Ortenzio dortenl@mcmaster.ca
Pages 1-12
Anthropos = humankind
Logia = the study of
The systematic study of humankind
HISTORICAL
Looking back at our history (evolution) how did we become who we are?
What forces in the past have shaped us? (environmental change)
COMPARATIVE
We are all the same species but we are very diverse. More then
superficially.
What makes the human race similar and different from other primates?
WHY? Anthropology looks for the answer to why
CONTEXTUAL
What circumstances, environments, and beliefs shape human behaviour
and understanding?
HOLISTIC
Both biologically and culturally, how can we understand humans
Biology and culture impact each other. Humans are very influenced by
culture, not most primates are.
The Four Subfields of Anthropology
PHYSICAL ANTHRO
ARCHAEOLOGY
LINGUISTIC ANTHRO

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CULTURAL ANTHRO/ETHNOLOGY
Most anthropologist are not experts in all subfields
Many research crosses between the four (interdisciplinary)
Anthropology investigates the diversity of humans in ALL contexts
Humans are both cultural and biological beings
Cultural Anthropology
The study of contemporary cultures and societies
Culture is defined as transmitted, learned behaviour
Chimpanzees were recorded to be teaching their offspring how to dig,
drink, etc. Before this, no primates were noted to have culture except
humans
Methodology participant observation (p7)
Cultural anthros used to just sit back and observe, but by sitting and
watching, you are immersed and a part of it
Ethnography a description of an aspect of culture within a society
Archaeology
The study of past societies and their cultures, by using their material
remains (tools, ceramics, sites)
Linguistic Anthropology
Studies the construction and use of different languages in human
societies
What are the different factors that are influencing the language dialect to
change
Structural linguistics how language works. How are they
similar/different. What happens in our brains when we are processing
language. How do babies acquire languages in different cultural groups
Sociolinguistics the relationship between language and social behaviour
in different cultures. Even in the same country, you are speaking the
same language but with different variations. Why does that happen

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Historical linguistics how are languages related to each other? How
have they changed over time?
Physical Anthropology
Studies all aspects of the biology and behaviour of the human species
(and our closest relatives), past and present
Some subfields of anthropology:
Osteology
study of the human skeleton
central to physical anthropology
structure and function of the skeleton
important for understanding changes in fossil material and adaptations in
living populations
paleoanthropology
evolution of humans in deep evolutionary past
study of the human fossil record
what does it mean to be human? How do we distinguish humans in the
archaeological record?
More subfields of physical anthropology:
primatology (jane goodall, chimps)
study of nonhuman primates
- social behavior, communication, infant care, reproduction
- understand natural forces that have shaped human evolution and aspects
of human behaviour
human biology
- human growth and development
- adaptation to environmental extremes (extreme climate conditions)
- human variation in modern populations (how/why does variation arize?
Body size, shape)
forensic anthropology
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