Anthropology Class 1 Notes
Focuses are: object of anthropology-culture, and method of anthropology-fieldwork
Fieldwork separates anthropologists from other things like sociology (surveys), historians
(history), and biologists (lab).
Anthropologists leave library and live with the people they study in culture for a period
of time this is know as fieldwork.
In order to be anthropologists you need to do fieldwork!
•what we write up based on fieldwork anthropologists do
•description of what you saw and analysis
•thinking why certain cultures do what they do and what they tell us
•answers broader questions
•Description is key in writing good ethnography but Geer said it is important to
write ethnography in native’s point of view so you can see things through their
eyes. The more detail the better you can see there point of view.
In Balinese cock fight he gives thick description to give us the full context without
knowing context you can’t really understand the situation. Ex. Maggie winks at guy in
the class. You presume she’s flirting but she’s not!
Important for thick description and context.
Many levels of description in thick description.
Geer describes the surrounding layers.
You can’t talk about context if you weren’t there.
Context sets ethnography apart from other fields of study.
Anthropology has only been around 150 years, field work started around 100 years.
Closely related to history, geography, and philosophy.
Herodotus- Greek early forerunner for anthropology.
Edward Tyler-Victorian anthropologist who was heavily affected by Charles Darwin. He
took an evolutionary approach at anthropology.
Pg.35 of VSI: Culture or civilization is the complex whole…member society. Tyler’s
definition of culture.
Culture and civilization were almost synonymous for Tyler.
Other cultures were more or less evolved.
People who were more civilized were more close to Victorian life.
•did comparative study of cultural evolution.
•All cultures evolved from magical thinking(spirits, ghosts, etc) to religious
thinking and to rational scientific though.
Victorian anthropologists didn’t do fieldwork.
Around last century more adventurous anthropologists went out but didn’t interact with