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AN101 Week 1-2

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Anne- Marie Colpron

 Anthropo -: human being  -logy: science  Science of human being Comparative discipline  Anthropology is not western focused  Anthropology studies humanity in its diversity  When you study another culture, you become more aware of your own culture Anthropology studies what it means to be human Diachronically - over time   Synchronically - across space Four subfields of anthropology  Archeology o Study the human past through the analysis of material remains  Biological anthropology o The study of the biological evolution of humanity o The different stages of human evolution o How we became from apes to human o Subfields of biological anthropology  Primatology - the study of primates who are the closest living relatives of human beings  Paleoanthropology - the study of fossilized bones of our early ancestors  Linguistic anthropology o The study of the relationship between language and culture o Use language to organize one socially to transmit ideas and communicate o Language gives many hints to its culture  Sociocultural anthropology o Focuses on learned behaviors and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society Fieldwork  An extended period of close involvement with the people in whose way of life anthropologists are interested and during which they collect most of their idea. Participant observation  The method anthropologists use to gather information by living as closely as possible to the people whose culture they are studying while participating in their lives as much as possible Differences between anthropology & sociology  Comparative approach: anthropology compares different cultural settings (not western focused).  Methodology: Through fieldwork and participant observation, anthropologists get immersed in a specific group of peoples' everyday life and try to understand their point of view from the inside. Ethnography  A form of anthropological writing that describes the main social practices and ideas of a specific group of people.  It is a synonym of sociocultural anthropology -> ethnologists Holist Approach/Global Approach  The idea that all aspects of culture are interrelated: religion, politics, economics, art, etc., cannot be studied without reference to each other and to the culture as a whole. o Ex. Some religions had to do with their hunting practices, etc. Culture  British Anthropologist Edward Tylor (1832-1917) classic definition  Culture is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired (…) as a member of society" Enculturation  The process by which we learn a culture and we acquire the values and behaviors proper to that culture  Learn a culture like a child; do not learn based on your own culture; non-biased o Ex. Some parts in Africa can sleep while standing up; all these behaviors are learned at the early stage of life o As an adult, you already possess your culture and you constantly compare between your own culture and the culture that you're learning Ethnocentrism  The act of judging other peoples' cultures from one's own cultural standards.  Do no judge because there is always a reason to why people behave certain ways. It is our job to analyze and try to understand WHY they behave the way they do.  Anthropology is all about resisting the ethnocentric impulse: by recalling "that if what we observe appears to be odd or irrational, it is probably because we do not understand it and not because it is a product of a "savage" culture in which such nonsense is to be expected" Cultural Relativism  Involves understanding another culture in its own terms sympathetically enough so that the culture appears to be a coherent and meaningful design for living  Trying to understand the insider's point of view Josh [email protected] Film: Cannibal Tours  Documentation of bunch of white tourists and documenting the visits in the Africa  You see many private interviews in the film  You get to think what they think of the native people  German says they admire the native people's way of life  Talks to the aboriginal group a lot  Film is set up to show that the tourists are looking down on the natives  The native people display in a different way than they normally would in private life  Native people understands what is going on around them  There is a condescending view existing even today o Eurocentric, ethnocentric
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