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ANTH 2170 Lecture Notes - Sociocultural Evolution, Social Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology

Course Code
ANTH 2170
Sonja Mac Donald

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ANTH 2170 Lecture January 17th, 2013
Brief History of Anthropology
The study of humanity across time and space
Arm-chair anthropology
Early anthropology dominated by physical evolutionary perspective
Anthropometric studies
Louis Henry Morgan social evolutionism
Great deal of human diversity, this became a curious question to the public and a social policy
People needed to make sense of the land and the inhabitants
There was a lot of cultural, political and social concerns with regards to non-whites and white
Natural historians (biological diversity, geographical data, etc)
Anthro domain studies the nature of human beings
o Tried to find answers to the differences of hierarchy, and social actions this was the
first through and domain that was encountered in anthropology
o How can you explain the differences in which people behave, what are the proper
behaviours of men and women, how can this be explained
Prior to the 1800’s = pre scientific era
o How can racial and other factors be explained
o The world was considered god’s creation, not a part of evolition
o Science and religion weren’t different identities at the time
After the acceptance of science the questions of human diversity became a more scienfitic
Armchair anthropologist
o First kinds of anthropologists scholars, medical doctors, sat in their studies in England
and Belgium, etc, and studied
o They never met the people that they studied
o The distance created a lack of understanding
o They had a moral hierarchy over others in terms of their findings knowledge
o European society as superior and that everyone is measured against them
o This was considered the evolutionary perspective
Evolutionary perspective
o Idea of hierarchy, European man was on top, the idea that you could rank other races
based on European dominance
o This fit well with the doctrine of creationism (God)
o This was advantageous for colonial power to think of others as lesser then human kind
o Some thought that non Europeans were not considered humans
o Darwin survival of the fittest, adaptation, reproduce the most successfully
Anthropometric studies
o Great age of classification
o Classifying by characteristics
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