1. Adaptation Variation, and Change
Through Time, social and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important for human
Humans have devised diverse ways of coping with a wide range of environments
The rate of this cultural adaptation has been rapidly accelerating during the last 10,000 years.
Food Production developed between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago
The first civilizations developed between 6,000 and 5,000 years ago
More recently, the spread of industrial production has profoundly affected human life
Variation in “time”: Diachronic research
Variation in “space”: Synchronic research
All knowing is comparative; any conclusions about human nature must be pursued with a comparative,
2. Examples: Bio Cultural interactions in sports
Cultural traditions promote certain activities and abilities, discourage others, and set standards for physical
wellbeing and attractiveness.
Participation and achievement in sports is determined by cultural and historical factors, not racial ones
Swimming US vs. Latin females
Representation of African Americans in basketball rather than ice hockey; Puerto Ricans and Cubans in
baseball rather than soccer.
3. Example 2: Intelligence Tests
There is no conclusive evidence for biologically based contrasts in intelligence related too gender, “race” or
The best indicators of how well any individual will perform on an intelligence test are environmental, such as
educational, economic, and social background.
All standard tests are culturebound and biased because they reflect the training and life experiences of
those who develop and administer them.
4. Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology combines ethnography to study human societies and cultures for the purpose of
explaining social and cultural similarities and differences.
Ethnography produces an account of a particular community, society, or culture based on information that is
collected during fieldwork.
Participant observation: living or spending a lot of time with the subjects of the ethnography
Ethnographic fieldwork tends to emphasize the “local” versus the “regional” or the “national”. Emphasis on
small groups. However, ethnographers must also consider the local, regional, national, and global systems of policy,
economics, and information contexts. January 31 ,2014st 01/30/2014
Ethnology examines, interprets, analyzes, and compares the ethnographic data gathered in different
societies to make generalizations about society and culture.
Ethnology uses ethnographic data to build models, test hypotheses, and create theories that enhance our
understanding of how social and cultural systems work.
Ethnology works from the particular (ethnographic data) to the general (theory).
2. Cultural Anthropology
Look at differences between ethnology and ethnography
3. Archeological Anthropology
Archaeological anthropology reconstructs, describes, and interprets past human behavior and cultural
patterns through material remains
The material remains of a culture include artifacts (e.g. potsherds, jewelry, and tools), garbage, burials, and
the remain of structures.
Archaeologists use paleoecological studies to establish the ecological and subsistence parameters within
which given group lived.
4. Biological Anthropology
Biological, or physical, anthropology investigates human biological diversity across time and space.
Some special interests within biological anthropology:
Paleoanthropology: human evolution as revealed by the fossil record
Human genetics, growth and development
Human biological plasticity: the body’s ability to change as it copes with environmental stresses
Primatology: The study of the biology, evolution, behavior, and social life of primates.
5. Linguistic Anthropology
Linguistic anthropology i