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Lecture

Lecture 3

7 Pages
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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH 2110
Professor
Carlota Mc Allister

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THEORY INANTHROPOLOGY THE COLONIAL CONTEXT Colonialism -understand that people have always moved around -every since the state has existed, people have tried to exercise control over one another -power and exercising control and exercising control over people distanced from one is not totally new -European colonials stands out from these other processes 1. unlike previous imperial endeavours (Rome, Ottoman Empire), European colonialism managed to go all the way around the globe Queen Victoria, the sun never set on her empire 2. live in an era shaped by European colonialism (Roman Empire, not the same way) Theory -a formal description of some part (or aspect) of the world that explains how, in terms of cause and effect, that part of the world works" -are theories understood as proving truths or as producing convincing accounts of the workings of phenomena on a broad scale? -do the so-called "hard sciences" and the social sciences produce different kinds of theory? law, gravity -in social sciences lot of debate, don't have as much "prestige", try to emulate the hard sciences -19th century this was a powerful current, trying to produce law-like explanations about how cultures worked -isn't possible for the social world, might not be possible for the physical world -relationship between cause and effect applies to everything - positivism Understanding the World Commonsense model Observe world --> understand world -Westerners tend to believe is true Empiricism -knowledge is only acquired through sensory experience John Locke -the human mind is a "tabula rasa" blank slate, and our perceptions are the source of all our ideas -everything we know is acquired from our senses over a lifetime -the empirical is accessible to the senses -possible to produce law like accounts of human behaviour Evolution Charles Darwin (1809-1882) The Origin of Species (1859) -positivism highly informed by notion of evolution -how are we to understand and create law like accounts of human behaviour, that means all human beings have something in common -yet human beings are different -answer was governed by the notion of evolution -widely accepted theory of how human beings came to be today -associate this theory with Darwin (even though he didn't come up with, became site of various controversies about whether evolution is a law or another theory of how human beings came to be who they are) -all of life is connected by the process of natural selection Unilineal Evolution -Civilization (higher more complex) to -Primitive savagery (lower, simpler) -imagined that every group of people were savages at one point and move up to become civilized -unity of people, but different stages -positivism linked to evolution because it gives a law-like account of the differences and similarities between people Positive laws "scientists" --> Division of Labor (fair, market, world) Metaphysical nature "lawyers" --> Territory (city, nation, empire) Theological will "priests" --> Kinship (family, clan, tribe, nation -people have always wondered about other people, common universal human trait -anthropology turned this into a science in the context of universities in the west (England and France, empiral powers at the height of their strength) and at a time of European Imperialism and colonialism -context of a rapid and often violent encounter of meeting other people -evolution was the first lens of understanding the Other -found evidence among the peoples living in Europe's new colonies (convenient laboratory) Columbus arrives in the "New World" (1492) -early beginnings of colonialism -Marco Polo, Chinese explorers (more about trade routes rather than establishing formal control) -marks the beginning of European strategy of dealing with other peoples by bringing them under their control -lands are claimed by European powers as their own, territories belonging to the Spanish, French, English control -short process -enforced their claims on the lands through forced conversion, violence, disease, enslavement, etc. -within the first century of European occupation, the indigenous population was reduced to a 10th of its size -25 million to 2.5 million -wasn't until the 19th C that native populations stopped declining -representation that life for natives was "nasty, brutish, and short" because they didn't have "states" -they were actually highly complex societies; they weren't perfect -Europeans were confronted with a strange, unexplainable world and were trying to get something out of it, get the inhabitants to do what you want them to do and so that you don't kill them anymore -need to know who they are, "what" they are, how they make food (so you can survive), needs for knowledge -this combination with the need for knowledge with a need to what "kind" of people these are Valladolid debates (1550-51): Bartolome de las Casas -priest in Guatemala, direct experience of indigenous peoples -recounts some of the horrible things the Conquistadors did to the indigenous populations -tries to get the Spanish king to pull back the Conquistadors -need to care for their souls, couldn't convert them if they were being killed -they're not savages but barbarians, because they had markets, roads, complex societies, rulers and priests, and they believed in a "god" -he's a lot like Jesus, notion of a god makes them sufficiently non-savage; much more like barbarian peoples of ancient Rome -won his argument Juan Gines de Sepulveda -argued they were savages, had to souls, wasn't worth thinking about who they were or how to protect them because you couldn't Christianize people who had no souls -lacking science, written laws, private property, therefore bringing them Christianity through violence was fine -this sets up the scheme within european colonialism in how we understand differences -different attributes in each of these stages that sets up the differences between people -out of this debate emerges a particular vision of Europe as a Christian Europe whose past lies in Greece and Rome or barbarians, and this became the standard against all other people in the world are measures -intellectual scheme becomes through the process of colonialism becomes a political reality -Africans are depicted as savages and it's ok for them to be slaves -killed off too many "barbarians", needed labour -new generations of slaves every time (killed them off before they could reproduce) -not until the slave trade in 1808 that slaves are treated well enough to reproduce (before they were killed off) -brings slaves to N. S. and CaribbeanAmerica -contemporary capitalism comes fro
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