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Anthropology Part 2.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Shawn Lehman

ANT100 II Lecture 1 January 19 2012Readings are Online Language Culture Prejudice We will talk aboutNature vs Nurture The value of language and culture for adaptation Human universal and divisionsPrejudice racism ethnocentrismAnthropology and imperialism m historyAnthropology vs ethnocentrism Cultural relativism Language and Culture Nature vs NurtureWhich part of our existence is due to nature and which part is due to nurture o Meaning either from genes or from the people around youIs it a false contrastAll humans have language and all humans have cultureso language and culture are programmed into humans by nature Universals and DivisionsLanguage and Culture are human universals but specific languages and specific cultures are human particularsUniversals language culture are innate Transmitted via genes through sexParticulars languages cultures are learnedTransmitted via society largely through talkLanguage allows us to adapt to new situations Adaptive Value of Social TransmissionSocial transmission much more flexible than genetic transmissionThe major changes can occur within a generation or twoMajor changes can occur without a change of species Differentiation within SpeciesSpecific languages and cultures develop to cope with specific environmental and social contextsWords snow Iphone loveCultures potlatch brides wealthdowry o Potlatch giving away everything prestigeCulture can change the niche itselfResult Adaptation without becoming a new species Changing while remaining homo sapiens Difference Conflict PrejudiceWithin all species groups can come into conflict often over resourcesIn homo sapiens these groups may be adapted to different nichesAndor have different cultures and languages And this may be accompanied by prejudices about the otherPrejudice does not come from difference but from its context Origins of AnthropologyModern anthropology developed in the West to explain the Rest thth The age of Imperialism late 19 to mid 20 centuryThe west North was becoming dominant all over the world More than ever was known in the West about the nonWest Anthropology and the nonWestAnthropology was largely the discipline for explaining the nonWestThe general public and early anthropologists understood the nonWest in terms of three kinds of difference o A linguistic language linguistic ant o B cultural social cultural ant o C physicalracial physical bio ant o D material cultural ant And archaeology This is also how most western nations understood themselvesLanguage and Prejudice All languages have the same general form eg words sentences nouns verbsBut were ranked on an evolutionary scale from primitive to advanced And the IndoEuropean languages were considered to be the most Advanced Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel 17721829 Cultures and Prejudice A False evolutionary scheme Primitive cultures have supposedly not changed since the beginning of time savages uncivilizedNomads or barbarians Agricultural civilizations
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