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Intro to Anthropology.pdf

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University of Alberta
Darren De Lorey

21A100Professor James HoweWELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONSeptember 9 2004 Welcome to the course which is an introduction to cultural or sociocultural anthropology We will have two lectures and one discussion a week Most of the requirements a final exam series of six papers adding up to about twenty pages at least an hour a week of discussion is set by the MIT Humanities Distribution systemThis lecture will be devoted to briefly introducing the field of anthropology For really serious introductions to the field you should consult a textbookAnthropology was called the science of man We now avoid the assumption that the human species is entirely male might say insteadthe science of humanity Still pretty nervy to make that claim as if sociology economics history etc werent sciences of humanity Anthropology is different in that it has the broadest scope Over time covers several million years from the first protohuman ancestors to the present Widest range of societies from small huntergatherer bands to modern countriesUntil recently anthropology was less concerned with modern complex societies than with socalled savages or primitivesAnthropologists might claim that they also covered modern society but they actually didnt typically study itStudied ancient past societies ancient humans and prehumans and contemporary primitivesthAs a recognized discipline anthropology mostly developed in the 19 centuryIt was a child of colonialism imperialism and the expansion of the WestIt was the means by which we studied them Anthropologists now try to live down that past but we cannot deny itMany academic disciplines act as if they were established by God that their boundaries with other disciplines and their internal foci were established by God or pure logic But many are the product of accidents or historical peculiaritiesThat is certainly the case for us There is a unity to what we do but also mess and complications Anthropology has traditionally been said to have four fieldsEarly anthropologists were expected to be able to work in at least two maybe all fourNo one today does that 4 fields are physical or biological anthropology archaeology anthropological linguistics cultural anthropology
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