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Lecture 1.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
James Stinson

Lecture 1 What is Culture? st  1 writing assignment=linguistic anthro. 5 pg double spaced essay response  exams are multiple choice  Conservation in belize, central America o 94 terrestrial and marine protected areas which cover 36% of terrestrial and 13% of marine territory o this is what the prof did his research on o present day mayan ppl o impact of oil exploration and conservation on indigenous ppl  4 sub-fields in anthropology o biological o archeology o linguistic o cultural  cultural anthropology is the study of human society and culture, the subfield that describes, analyses, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences. It is particularly concerned with exploring cultural adaptation  wheras biological anthropologists explore how humans evolve and adapt biologically, cultural anthropologists focus on cultural adaptation  all humans share certain bio features and engage in similar biological processes (eating, sleep, have sex) but the way they do these things differ  all humans share similar bodily functions, physical needs but the way we go about doing these things around the world diversifies  sullens argues that its culture that determines how we go about using our bodies and how we live our lives. Its culture that played a role in creating the physical body that we have right now o “the imp point is not that all cultures have sex, but that all sex has culture, that is, social norms that specify with whom, how, where, and when sex relations are appropriate or inappropriate. Culture preceded modern human physical form by million yrs or more. The body of the modern human species, homo sapiens, was formed under the ageis of culture. These needs had to be subordinate to and encompassed by their cultural forms of expression, otherwise how could the same needs or dispositions be realized in the thousands of different ways known to history and ethnography-the various cultural ways of having sex, eating, being aggression, and the like?”  As Clifford Geertz put it, we “all begin with the natural equipment to live in a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one” that can only be if our natural dispositions were subject to cultural ordering rather than the source thereof o There are thousands of ways we can live in the one, but each of us have 1 culture. The fact there is a lot of cultures shows us that it is our culture that makes us unique  Rate of cultural adaption rapidly accelerating during the last 10K yrs  Food production: cultivation of plants and domestication of animals developed 12K-10K yrs ago o Lowered death rates and increased growth rates  First civilization developed 6000-5000 BP (before the present)  Spread of industrial production and take-off of population  One of the primary goals of anthro is to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange o Anthro is about learning about other societies that may be strange and thinking critically about what is familiar to us such as our own way of life and culture. Look at our culture is other ppls eyes o Cultural anthropology developed historically as the study of “Other” (non-European) cultures (making the strange familiar) o It has also served to help Europeans question and think more critically about their own societies and cultures (making the familiar strange)  What is culture o Latin: cultura-“cultivation” o European usage began in 1700-1800s o Implied process of improvement or betterment of the individual, especially through education. Improving oneself  E.G.=The European Grand Tour. The elite young men travel around Europe visiting cultural sites like rome, learning about these cultures o Those with culture were deemed “civilized” o Those lacking culture were seen as uncivilized and living in a state of nature o Non Europeans originally viewed by Europeans as lacking “culture” (civilization)  Euros thought that non euro didn’t have the capacity to be civilized. Euros saw culture in what made them different from others o “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by m
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