Lecture 1 July 9 2013
Introduction to Sociocultural and LinguisticAnthropology
Origins to contemporary applications
1. Seven key concepts
1. Holism- take the whole picture into consideration, is there a
biological approach? Agenetic component to behavior, a learnt
component or ecological. Take all perspectives possible.
2. Fieldwork- anthropologists have to produce data, produce primary
research which is based on fieldwork, you collect the data. This
fieldwork is long term
3. Comparison- inherent in anthro and science, compare the anatomy of
let’s say mammals or societies. When you compare you can highlight
similarities and diff.
4. Cultural relativism & ethnocentrism- very important to anthro
understand other cultures before passing judgement. Relativism is a
tough thing you have to deal with, because you are bound to run into
practices that you don’t deal with. But it’s their culture and you cannot
do anything about it. Ethnocentrism- closely analyzed, it’s built in us,
and this is normal thing, its normal for ppl to think they are better than
other ppl. There are almost 6-7 thousand languages.
5. Scientific anthro- related to 6. Is anthro a science, do we have laws?
No we don’t. the subject matter of anthro is different than physical
sciences, anthro has to do with interpretive anthro
6. Interpretive anthro- says even science itself is embedded in a
cultural concept. Try to understand what the ppl are saying first,
translate their language, there is no science of anthropology. This is a
branch of philosophy.
7. Basic vs. applied research- basic research – most anthropologists use
this, pursuing research just for knowledge.Applied- research oriented
towards reaching specific results.
2. Five subfields of anthro
1. Biological anthro
1. Paleoanthropology – looks at the fossils records,
dentitions, zoology, idea of timeline of existence, physical
anthropologists have evolutionary timelines.
2. Primatology- study of non-human primates, why do we
study this because we are part of primates, we share an Lecture 1 July 9 2013
evolutionary history, look at comparison anatomy, let’s
compare things. Comparing pelvis of chimpanzee, A.Africanus
and Humans. The pelvis becomes more basin like for humans.
We have the biggest brains. We have big heads because of
culture. The human pelvis is becoming smaller and brain is
becoming bigger. Who is going to look after the kids- this is a
Also we can look at reproductive behavior, primates have
seasonal sexuality ex: baboons (swelling of butt), for humans
the sexual cues are gone
Subsistence & Locomotion- how they move around, prehensile
tails (NWM), feeding and movement are interrelated in terms of
anatomy. How we get food (subsistence) another major theme
3. Contemporary human variation- map of human history
1. Cts Traits- E.g. height, skin color
2. Discrete Traits E.g. blood types, earlobe shape
Anthropometry- scientific data of the measurements and
proportions of the human body
2. Archeology- deals with cultural anthro a lot. Deals with human
artifacts, things created by humans, they looked at tools
1. Prehistoric- Archeology of culture that left no written
records, earliest artifacts- Oldowan tools (homo habilis) 2.5
2. Historical- all artifacts can be put in a written context-
ex: Gates of Shalmaneser- can see this was captured here,
different cities conquered. This gives you a lot more context.