January 13, 2014.
Lecture 2 – Reviews of Current Work
med-anth journals hold most weight, of all ant
getting a grasp on culture is institutionalized in hospitals; some hire teams to cater to particular
question: why do they do this?
Why is anthro of interest to medicine?
biomedicine not valued in same way in all
many diseases/conditions more prevalent in some peoples than
others; variation in diseases
kuru: a neurological disorder caused by an infectious disease; if not treated w/in days, is fatal;
interesting b/c Papa New Guinea Foré people had it more than any others in the world
females and children x7-8 more likely to get it
kuru = “slow virus” (1970s, Nobel Prize winner for this discovery: Daniel Carleton Gajdusek)
anthrops observed ritual of endo-cannibalism
disease kuru = neurological; foray custom = eat a small part of the relative, out of
respect/reverence; body prepared by the relatives, fires while men were in the field; first part
women ate was brain & gave to the young (brain is where kuru is concentrated)
Identity politics: emerges out of left vs. right politics
Worthng class labour rights
20 century gives way to people asserting identity based on gender, race, sexuality, religion, etc.
Human rights: UN Declaration of Human Rights post WW2
Ideas surrounding humans having inherent rights, who is human, etc.
Pre WW2 literature on the topic of “race” was a big deal, the idea of race in general was a big
Now anthropology is concerned with going after “racial” thinking, everyone is the same race,
same species, etc. Some indigenous communities rejecting this, claiming they must be a different species from the
rest of us
Behaviour affected and shaped by culture
Unique and diverse history to different cultures
Anthropologists were important to SouthAfrican (anti)apartheid movements
Counterculture: culture not conforming to status quo
Beat poets, hippies, punks, goths, etc.
Consumption habits help define counter cultures; music, clothing, literature
Social movements arise in opposition to something, whether a specific event or general issue