Anthropology 2255E Lecture Notes - Ethnography

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Unit One:
On page 13, they speak of the Marxist-inspired evolutionist paradigm
for understanding the roles of women cross-culturally that is done by
directly comparing the status of women with the situations of women in
cultures with "simpler economic and political systems". I find it hard for
me to get past thinking that we are almost doing ourselves a disservice
by comparing women like this. While yes, women can relate on a more
basic and biological levels, but I myself would have a hard time
identifying with a woman from a different culture, political system and a
completely different set of historical backgrounds. Although I do see
the point in cross-cultural studies to see if there are patterns, I would
be wary of too many comparisons that are hiding the unique sets of
characteristics that makes women 'women' in all different cultures. After
reading this, I found myself siding more with the universal asymmetry
approach towards the study of women.
Unit Two:
Up until I started to take more anthropology courses and become more
aware of specific research, I had thought of the field of anthropology as
a very neutral one; with lots of ground-work in equality and unbiased
research as well as an unbiased thought process. As much as the field
appears to be neutral, it is quickly learned that that is not the case. This
introductory chapter really opened by eyes to how it feels to be a
minority woman in a field so known for its patriarchal fathers. On pg.
15, they write about the anxiety women anthropologists felt when trying
to put out their research and thoughts. I find it to be quite ironic that a
field that is supposed to be encompassing of a wide range of cultural
characteristics, is creating the notion of "the other" right within itself.
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