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Lecture 3

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Donna Young

ANTB19 Lecture 3 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Ishi the Last Yahi The beginning of the American Anthropology – aka Cultural anthropology 1. Why were anthropologist so interested in discovering a ‘real and completely wild’ Indian? - Kroeber wanted to study a native North American that was uncontaminated by the west - He had this idea of culture as fixed, pure, and whole - Prehistorical: ‘People without history’ – In this view, history belongs to Europeans, who set history in motion through power and conquest  Native – without history??  History in motion of power and conquest  Pre-historic figures - The problematic ideas of social evolution still very strong ( not to be confused with biological evolution) - Native North Americans were considered to be primitives who could teach us something about out prehistory, once they had been conquered, clothed, etc, they were no longer of interest to the early anthropologists, no longer interesting for science. 2. What was salvage anthropology - Salvage anthropology was an attempt to record and collect the languages and artifacts of cultures that might disappear - American anthropologists in the early 20 century collected languages, stories, tool, artifacts to be stored in museums  Problem becomes when everything reduce into just object, objectify and put in a museum, language, culture  - But sometimes this approach led to the reification of culture, meaning cultural processes were turned into objects,or things, that could be easily classified  Reification objectifies cultural processes e.g. Getting the stories from Ishi, yet they cannot translate it; objectify Ishi, making him a display in the museum when he is getting ill  Dangerous to - Reification is a problem if the things become more valued than the people who owned or used the things - Cultural forms are not frozen in time, they are shaped by historical forms and relationships - Rather than studying ‘ culture’, one needs to study cultural processes - Anthropologists need to attend to both synchronic relationships( the ethnographic present: the anthropologist is here and describe the place) ( the ways in which various social and cultural institutions work together at a particular time and place. ANTB19 Lecture 3 Wednesday, September 26, 2012 And diachronic relationship ( the ways that social and cultural institution change over time) - Reification CAN BE DANGEROUS IF YOU FAIL TO SEE THE OTHERS HUMANITY OR FAIL TO COMPREHENDED 3. Was Ishi ‘uncontaminated ‘ before 1911? - Ishi had been ‘’hunted’ and in hiding for 40 years, since the 1860s, because of European conquest settlement, violence and theft - His way of life had already been completely ‘contaminated’: Brutalized, threatened with
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