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ANTH 2170
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Sex, Gender and the Body: Cross-Cultural Approaches to the Body, Gender, Sexuality and Kinship ANTH2170 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Karen McGarry Lecture 3 – The Animal Body – Sept 21 Last Week: - Nature/nurture debate in anthropology. o Nature theories were helped by evolutionary thinkers at the time. - Problematic role of science in promoting the body and human behaviours as natural. Researchers Attempt to ‘Prove’ the Naturalness of Human Behaviours and Bodies: - By using evolutionary paradigms to explain human behaviour. - Through animal studies. - Evolutionary paradigms to ‘prove’ the naturalness of gender. Franz Boas - Cultural relativism. - Historical particularism. Physical Anthropology - Family hominidae. o i.e. humans. o Often time, within this family, we include humans, human ancestors, fossils, chimps, gorillas, etc.  Primates that don’t have tails. o Habitual bipedalism – walking at least some of the time on two feet. - ‘Man the hunter’; ‘woman the gatherer’ (published 1968). o Around the 1970’s people started asking things along the lines of gendered role distinction. o They felt and assumed that there was a gendered distinction in terms of labour in most societies.  Men seemed to be the one’s doing the hunting in any given society. • They felt this was a cultural universal – this lead them to believe that there must be a genetic evolutionary reason for this – that this was adapted in an evolutionary sense.  Women seemed to be the gatherer – collecting wild fruits, plants and supplementing the main diet of meat.  They argued that hunting by many of our early ancestors stimulated the evolution of hominids. - Washburn and Lancaster in 1960s – 1970s. - Argued that hunting stimulated hominid evolution. Washburn and Lancaster argued: - That bipedalism led to: o Hands free. o Tools can be made, which increased brain size.  Tools can be used for hunting and for slaughtering animals. o Large animals can be hunted/slaughtered. o Hunting parties – needed language to communicate as a group.  A great degree of planning and communication skill.  You need a plan and everyone would have a specific role.  Human like sort of traits. Critique by Feminist Scholars against Washburn and Lancaster - Sally Slocum o Believes that Washburn and Lancaster composed a theory that is very male oriented and gives females and inferior role in human evolution. o It’s just as probably, that if women were out gathering, they would need to be bipedal because they would need to develop and use tools and be hands free. o Argues that Washburn and Lancaster underestimated the use of protein consumption. o Chimps and gorillas are known to eat meat but it’s a very small proportion of food. Washburn and Lancaster are assuming that our ancestors were simply mostly eating meat. o Projecting contemporary ideas of food habits into the past. o A lot of human evolutionary models that try to root gender roles in human evolution seek to create essentialist or universalizing narrative.  Over simplifying explanation that overarches.  An explanation that ignores a lot of human diversity. • Example: Washburn and Lancaster were assuming that men in all societies are the ones who do the hunting. o Women do hunt in different societies around the world. o E.g. Agta (Philippines); aka Central African Republic; some Australian aboriginal groups. o In North American today, hunting
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