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ANT 2000 Lecture Notes - American Anthropological Association, Ethnobiology, Ethnocentrism

Course Code
ANT 2000
Elyse Anderson

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Essence of Anthropology
Anthropology = the study of humankind in all times and places; divided into four subfields
(cultural, linguistic, physical/biological?, and archaeology)
Cultural anthropology = the study of patterns of human behavior, thought, and feelings; focuses
on humans as culture producing and reproducing creatures
Culture = a society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions, which are
used to make sense of experience and which generate behavior and are reflected in that
behavior; the unconscious and conscious standards by which society operates
Case study = Jackson (2011) Scents of Place: The Dysplacement of a First Nations Community in
Canada (first nations = equivalent of Native Americans in Canada)
Linguistic anthropology = the study of human languages; preserve languages on the brink of
extinction, history of languages and interactions between linguistic groups, the effect of language
on worldview
Case study = Suslak (2011) Ayapan Echoes: Linguistic Persistence and Loss in Tabasco, Mexico
Physical anthropology = the study of humans as biological organisms (paleoanthropology =
focuses on human evolution; molecular anthropology = the study of genes and genetic
relationships; forensic anthropology = the identification and study of human remains for legal
purposes; primatology = the study of living and fossil primates, not zoology because they are
more closely studied since they are so close to humans)
Case study = Kiyamu (2012) Developmental and Genetic Components Explain Enhanced
Pulmonary Volumes of Female Peruvian Quechua
Archaeology = the study of the ancient and recent human past through material remains, not
just about finding objects (now used more for understanding humans); draws from and informs
cultural and biological anthropology
Case study = Pauketat (2009) Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi
Outside of academia, anthropologists are employed in the fields of business, education,
government, and the military
Anthropological methods =
o fieldwork-term for on location research (each subfield of anthropology definitely spends
time with the people/sites they are studying and being out with the field)
o participant observation (living among and interacting with the participants of your study)
o preliminary research (literature and language) and study design (have to have a question
in order to know what you are there for/what you are finding out)
o consultants = individuals within the culture of study who help the anthropologists
understand what they are observing
o ethnography = a detailed description of a particular culture primarily based on fieldwork
(anthropologists conduct interviews and observe events)
o excavation = the physical act of uncovering material culture in a precise and systematic
way (material culture = the durable aspects of culture like pottery, beads, art, structures,
etc. (focus on action, not objects))
o laboratory analysis (doesn’t end in the field, have to come back and analyze it)
Anthropological ethics (REALLY IMPORTANT!) =
o ethnocentrism = the belief that the ways of one’s own culture are the only proper ones
o culture-bound = theories about the world and reality based on the assumptions and
values of one’s own culture
o ethics code of the AAA (American Anthropological Association) = 1.) primary ethical
obligation to people/material they study, 2.) must do no harm, 3.) must receive prior
consent, 4.) can profit, but not exploit
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