Anthropology lecture #1 – Wednesday Jan 8 2014 th
For next week: Autobiography on an anthropologist
• What is anthropology?
• What do anthropologists do?
Everybody interprets the world in their own way, every person’s reality is different. Typically due
to your cultural background.
The History of Anthropology – generally a test question
Herodotus the Greek 5 century BC
• Wrote the first to write a book
• First to apply comparative perspective
• He discussed marriage laws, and death
Ibn Khaldun 14 century AC
• Culture is a characteristic of humans
• Cultural is full of different things that all link together (like a pie)
• Society is made of many different parts that are all dependent on one another
• His work wasn’t translated until the 19 century
Imperialism 15 century
• Finding a lot of people in the world but they are disadvantaged technologically
• Ethnocentrism is the idea that we all believe the same thing within a culture
• First time racial profiling and discrimination came into play
Montaigne 16 century
• Exploring the world and finding different kinds of people – wanted to classify them
• He developed typology – putting people into groups where he thought they belonged
• If they didn’t fit into typology they must be deviants
• As a result of his (^) work; enlightenment came into play – use of rational thought to
understand plants and animal, why can we not rationally explain human beings. Logical
• The beginning of the questioning of the bible.
• Different stages of human progress around the world (western is more developed)
Jean Jacques Rousseau vs. Thomas Hobbes
• Defining the nature of human beings. • Thought that the only way to stop war like human beings was to have a government.
• Rousseau created the idea of the noble savage (indigenous tribal people) what ruins
people is the development of civilization. If you left humans alone they wouldn’t become
• Rousseau studied with the carb Indians in the Caribbean and based his studies on the
peacefulness of their culture. First to back-up his thinking with real data.
Comte 17 Century
• Subjected humans to scientific discoveries.
• Used hypothesis to study human
• Did illegal research; wanted to dissect human beings
• Found that there was a big relationship between primates and humans.
• He would grave rob for bodies to test his research on.
• Brought up the idea of environmentalism
• You have to understand how the environment has impacted the human being
• Their history and sociocultural framework developed who they were as a human being
• He believed that humans went through a 3 stage process:
o Savages – tools and living off the land
o Using metal tools
o Civilization – current
Cuvier 18-19 century
• Developed the idea of catastrophism because of creatures he found in the ground that
are no longer around.
• The planet