Week 1 Day 2 - What is Anthropology?
Raymond Williams Theory of Culture: Culture has a wide range of meanings (i.e. Inhabit, protect, honor
with worship, tending to something, cultivating, etc.). Culture can refer to artists, philosophers, and intel-
lects. The term may also suggest “a particular way of life, whether of a people, or a period or a group.”
Culture can refer to the works and practices of intellectual and artistic activities.
Western culture tends to view itself as more advanced as civilized than others. Civilization vs. Culture
Culture - the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society
use to cope with their daily world and one another and are transmitted from generation to generation through
Ethnocentrism - the opinion that one’s way of life is natural or correct, and reduces the other way of life to a
distorted version of one’s own (see Euro centrism).
Holism - We create culture and culture creates us. Human beings and human societies are open systems that
mutually define or co-determine each other and co-evolve.
Week 1 Day 3
Lassiter tells the story of: the emergence of the concepts of “race” and “racism”
The emergence of the discipline of anthropology (the term race emerged out of ethnocentrism and euro
In western culture evolution was equated with progress. Westerners understood that their culture had pro-
gressed the most
Progress: has been understood as the movement from something worse to something better: or the movement
from more simple to more complex forms.
Westerners thought they were more progressive because they had more technology.
Franz Boas (1958-1942). The founding father of archaeology. Said that race was a concept to discriminate
Cultural Relativism: understanding anther culture in its own terms sympathetically enough so that the culture
appears to be a coherent and meaningful design for living.
What we know shapes how we see and experience the world.
Why does lassiter say that race still matters?
Week 2 Day 1
Dollhouse (Mabou Mines)
It was an explanation of women’s rights in the early 1900s. It was a role reversal where women have symbol-
ic power of being tall and men are very tiny. The set also is made for the dimensions of the men and the
women have to contort to the means world. Week 2 Day 2- Studying Culture: Ethnographic Fieldwork
The role of fieldwork in the production of Anthropological Knowledge
Traditional Approach to field work: Gathering Data, Traveling to remote places. This is a colonial legacy.
Ethnographic fieldwork: the process of an anthropologist’s participatory observing of the daily lives of
Current anthropologists: focus on contemporary issues within their own culture as well as those in foreign
Traditional Approach to ethnography: Influenced by the methods of physical science. Positivist science
separates facts from values, and seeks to produces objective knowledge relevant to all people.
What you are looking for will shape your results because we tend to find what we are looking for.
Week 3 Day 2- Interpreting Culture
Clifford Geertz (1926-2006)
His ideas of culture influenced many other social sciences. He was interested in the study of symbols. Cham-
pion of symbolic Anthropology: he was interested in the role of symbols in society.
What is Culture? Culture is a text that tells us something about the practices of the culture we study. Exp. We
used to rank peoples from more advanced to less advanced. Anthropological fieldwork is a process of read-
ing culture (the spider web, we are trying to interpret a culture that is liken to a book. We are trying to
understand the meaning of each page). Culture is an ensemble of texts with multiple webs of layered mean-
ings... We read a culture by guessing and interpreting its meanings. Thick Description - a detailed description
of cultural symbols and their meanings…”...Not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive
one in search of meaning.”
Anthropological Study as interpretation - what we see is limited by what we know because we don’t have the
Balinese Cockfights - it is a story they tell themselves about themselves. It brings together themes - animal
savagery, male narcissism, opponent gambling, status rivalry, mass excitement, blood sacrifice.
The Rashomon Effect - the unreliability of eye witness testimony.
Week 3 Day 3- The Surrealist Tale of Jean Rouch
Jaguar (1967). They story of three Nigerian men who leave there homeland and seek wealth and adventure
on the guinea coast. (Lam the herdsman, illo the fisherman, and Damoure the tax collector).
Jean Rouch - makes his films from his own subjective view.
Observational Film: the camera is seen as a means of documenting the last flickering lights of dying cultures
Ethno fiction - ethnographic films that incorporate unrealistic images and fictive elements. Jaguar - Exhibits lack of unity between action and narration. Incorporates use o