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Lecture 2

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York University
ANTH 2110
Carlota Mc Allister

INTRODUCTION TOANTHROPOLOGY - acceptable, not acceptable - limits the beliefs we have - anthropology is a social science - exceeds disciplines in its scope; tries to coverALL aspects of the human social - discipline is a holistic approach - how do you study the whole? where do you start? - study of human condition, past and present - understanding similarities and differences between societies and cultures - what makes us human? - language, culture, social, rules morals - how did we become human? - parenting socializing child to become a member of a group - what makes us different? - biological factors, sex/gender, racial features, cultural context - these categories are produced by social institutions and are constantly produced, changes, and contested Europe's Other - Historically rooted in colonial context - as European travellers, colonizers and missionaries were travelling and come across different people, they wanted to understand the differences - Early explorers and missionaries who first came in contact with Europe's Other - much of early anthropology had to do with those who were Europe's Other, in sync with the colonial operation/exercise - Interested in 'discovering' 'primitive societies' tribes - had to rethink some of its assumptions and exercises, how to research, critical analysis of the field itself - natural/stable assumptions in anthropology have come to be questioned - complex, multilayered unit provides anthropology its approach to understanding social institutions Holistic (anti-reductionist) Comparative approach Evolutionary? - we are at a stage of society in which we are 'evolving' constantly, one path - the Other would evolve to become like Western people Physical/Biological anthropology - how humans adapt in environments, past and present - human biological origins, evolution, and variation - work closely with primatologists, biologists, palaeontologists, etc to understand the human condition Archaeology - focus on material culture and remains of societies and cultures - look at pottery, stone tools, animal bones, structures, and formations of social groupings, ideologies, belief systems, subsistence patterns, etc Linguistic anthropology - how to people speak, interact, and how to languages change? - idioms, metaphors, expressions, through which language shapes social interaction Social-Cultural anthropology - think of structures of governance, how people organize themselves and relate to one another, create meaning, negotiations, practices Bronislaw Malinowski - Social anthropology (British tradition) - Fieldwork in Melanesia -Argonauts of the Western Pacific - moved off the veranda and lived with the Other - transformed how anthropology was done and introduced the idea of fieldwork Franz Boas (1858-1942) - The concept of "culture" as a dimension of human variation independent of race, language, and technology - cultural anthropology (American tradition) CanadianAnthropology - Social-cultural anthropology - Museums as first institutional base - Focused on First Nations (cultural Other) -Anthropologists as advocates for aboriginal peoples Fieldwork - core anthropological method, emersion of the context and site of research for a long duration of time -"Rite of passage" for anthropologists - One site - Multi-sited Ethnography - accounts anthropologists write based on fieldwork - discern patterns in information gathered from informants - participant observation - interviews - life histories - everyday practices -collaborate ethnographies Reflexivity - Critically evaluating how knowledge is produced - role of the researcher/anthropologist in generating 'truth' and 'facts' - re-evaluating the dimensions of truth - how do we think of objectivity and knowledge? -Situated Knowledges (Donna Haraway) - all knowledge comes from experiential knowledge and who we are as people; access to knowledge changes depending on if you're a man or woman - many ideals of knowledge was embedded in a patriarchal system of objectivity - anthropologists are willing to take into account our own biases, assumptions, etc. and understand that they themselves change the way they can gather information THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE - culture is the anthropological explanation for why humans are different from one another and what makes them human - "exotic people doing exotic things" FALSE - culture is not exotic because every human being engages in it, medium we exist in as humans Franz Boas - German Jew - hostility towards Jews in Germany, came to the U.S., started working on different aspects of human life - studied dances, shape of skulls, hand gestures, languages, archeologi
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