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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT200Y1
Professor
Christopher Watts
Semester
Fall

Description
ANT200 Lecture Notes 3 Term test 1 on Dec. 5 will be held in EX200 from 6-8pm Next week’s reading is Boast (1997) “A Small Company of Actors”. See website or syllabus for details Paradigms for the Past What is a paradigm? • A philosophical and theoretical framework within which theories, laws, and generalizations are formulated • E.g. Paradigm: Darwinian Evolution • E.g. Scientific school: Biology, Zoology, etc. Why study paradigms? • To understand the historical development of the discipline  What trajectory led archaeologists to discuss the past in a specific way? • To understand epistemological bases for interpretations  Allows for contextual interpretation of past works (e.g. archaeological papers from the 60s-80s would possibly be written in the framework of processual archaeology) • Because conceptual frameworks are inextricably linked to the ‘doing’ of archaeology  Cannot divorce methodology from theory Key Paradigms in Archaeology Early Evolutionary Thought (mid to late 19 century) Culture History (after 1920) Processualism (after 1960) Post-Processualism (after 1980) Early Evolutionary Thought • Tied to Victorian ideals (e.g. ‘scientific rationalism’ – the world can be understood through scientific principles) of the mid to late th 19 century • Thoroughly ‘Modern’  Though there were interests in the physical remains of old since ancient times, archaeology did not become a scholarly discipline until then • Thoroughly Eurocentric  The rest of the world and the past world could be put on a scale of their overall prowess and fitness; this was based on the European standard (hunter-gatherer societies  industrial modernity) - Key tenet: Uniliear evolution Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society (1877) • Unilinear evolution • Savagery, Barbarism, Civilization (The stages of evolution of peoples) • Key technological inventions were associated with each stage - Savagery: fire, bow and arrow, pottery - Barbarism: domestication, agriculture, metallurgy - Civilization: alphabet and writing The Birth of Culture History • Emerged in the late 19 century • Replaced emphasis on evolution as historical ‘prime mover’ (Reaction?) • New emphasis on time and place (peoples); replaced ‘flat’ view of culture - New emphasis on mechanisms of change (e.g. diffusion and migration) - No longer believed that technological innovation alone pushes humanity forward, with culture being static - How do groups change? How do peoples adopt technology? How is culture transmitted from place to place and generation to generation? • Based on two fundamental principles: - Descriptive Research Methods  Numerous specific observations > generalizations  Must actually go out and do fieldwork; describe the process and methods; - “Normative” View of Culture  Normal behaviour governed by abstract rules  Artefacts are products of the shared culture; this shared culture dictated the norm by which the people produced things like pottery, homes, etc.  reconstruct people’s minds through analyzing their material culture • Descriptive approach rooted in artefact ‘styles’ • Key works: - V. Gordon Childe’s The Dawn of European Civilization (1925)  Introduced concept of “archaeological culture”(saying something about these groups based on their material inventory; these cultures are no longer “living”, therefore it cannot be considered as ordinary culture)  Stressed that each culture had to be delineated and defined individually  Led to the birth of regional cultural chronologies in European ‘prehistory’ - Alfred Kidder’s An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology (1924)  First culture-historical synthesis of American archaeology (US Southwest)  Archaeological materials described in terms of successive periods: Basketmaker, Post-basketmaker, Pre-pueblo and Pueblo Processualism or the ‘New’ Archaeology • Replaced Culture History as the dominant paradigm in North American archaeology after the 1960s • Brand of Neo-Evolutionary thought associated with Lewis Binford • Appealed to a generation of archaeologists disillusioned with the descriptive nature of Culture Historical research • Binford was critical of the normative conception of culture associated with Culture History • Recast culture as an integrated system – “man’s extrasomatic means of adaptation” to the environm
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