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Lecture 12

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Patrilineality, Omnipotence, Pastoralism

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Bianca Dahl

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Prof. Howe
The Nuer
1. The Nuer
a. Famous in anthropology long before Hutchinson’s book
i. The Nuer were pacified by the British colonial forces
1. After their pacification anthropologists could study them
2. Much of early anthropology was caught up in colonialism
b. Studied by many, but there can’t be a definitive book on their culture or
any other
i. All ethnographies are “partial and limited”
1. all anthropologists have a point of view
2. There is so much to say about every culture
3. i.e. More than 100 people have written about the Kuna in
the 20th century
ii. Anthropologists come to a culture with questions they want to
2. Evans-Pritchard’s Questions
a. Had questions on “primitive thinking
i. Prevailing belief at the time was that “Primitives thought in
primitive ways”

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ii. 19th century anthropologists Tyler and Frazer explained an
evolution from magic to religion to science in terms of slowly
improving rationality:
1. Magic – man is omnipotent and can control nature to his
2. Religion – man is impotant and must look to gods for
3. Science – the ultimate method of thought
iii. Levy-Bruhl said that people get wrapped up in their collective
ways of thinking such they they can no longer think rationally
b. Studied the Azande for answers
i. EP went in thinking about these notions of thought
1. Found Azande rationality was understandable
2. Thinking was only limited by starting assumptions
c. Another Big Question: How can there be a system of order in life without
centralized authority?
i. Many philosophers worried about this
1. Hobbes – primitives were completely disorganized
2. Rousseau – people had a basic intuitive organization
3. EP wanted to see if there was an order
d. EP’s second question: What’s with the cows?
i. Environmental anthropology asks:
1. What is the interaction with the environment?
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