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ANTHRO 150 Entire Term Notes

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Francois Larose

Anthropology 150 Dylan FeistIntroduction to AnthropologyAnthropology is the study of humans at all times and places It is interested in both the present and the past It is a holistic discipline meaning that it studies all aspectsof humanity in relation to each other It means you must study many details and put them into perspective Anthropology uses a comparative perspective in order to understand similarities and differences There are many subdisciplines of Anthropology One such example is biological anthropology which is the study of humans as biological organisms This studies where humans originated from The origins of natural selection are studied In this course we will look at the biological concept of race Cultural Anthropology is the study of variations in the beliefs and behaviors of different human groups as well as how they are learned and acquired as members of society Archaeology is the study of the human past involving the analysis of material remains left behind be earlier societiesAnthropology and the Concept of RaceAnthropology was born in the nineteenth century in response to discoveries of human groups previously unknown It was initially based on Greek philosophies and it sought to explain the nature of the world The earliest anthropological theories were based on the theory of natural selection but often confused the idea of evolution with that of progress For example they thought that natural selection made Europeans better because the strongest were expected to flourish and survive Early theories were racist and ethnocentric with Europe at the center of civilization and human achievement These theories were used to justify the exploitation of foreign cultures It was commonly believed that they evolution could be sped up by making them more EuropeanSome Anthropologists supported these claims while some did not Technological achievements were also used to justify the concept of race Religions were also involved in this Some religions were considered supreme polytheistic multiple gods and monotheisticone god Tyler argued that monotheistic beliefs were more advanced which furthered a Eurocentric positionLewis Henry Morgan proposed a unilateral evolution held that all humans go through a similar sequence of development a form of cultural determinism An order was created that ranked cultures from lower savagery to barbarianism to civilization Technological innovations such as the bow and arrow pottery domestication and smelting metals were used to rank the cultures These rankings were biased as not all cultures required all these innovations The bow and arrow would not be necessary for fishers and foragers while pottery is not useful for nomadic peopleThis classification was ethnocentric as it implied that only a culture that has a writing system is civilized The entire system was based heavily on Europes own developmentNot all anthropologists believed in this classification For example Franz Boas Historical Particularism argued that each culture is the unique product of all the influences that it was subjected to in the past which made crosscultural generalizations very suspect He argued that we have to look at the past to evaluate the culture The idea of cultural relativism grew which mean that a society should be understood in terms of its own cultural practices History of RacismRacism as Colonialism y By 1890 90 of Africa was under the control of foreign powers most predominantly Europe of the Americas were under the control of European powers y Also in 1890 allor the United States Racism as Warfare y WWI and WWII killed over 60 million people y Ethnic cleansing is defined as removing a cultural group from a particular regiony The IranIraq war of the 1980s killed 1 million people y Gulf War and its aftermath killed 1 million peopleRacism as Civil Rights y Apartheid in South Africa led to repression segregation murder and a loss of human rights for the black majority y Civil rights movement in North America continues today y Caste system in India denies basic civil rights to approximately 200 million peopleRacism as Statelessness y The United Nations estimates that there are approximately 15 million people affected worldwide y It occurs in both rich and poor countries ex KuwaitRacism as Genocide y 15 million Armenians killed in Turkey 19151923 y Between 1 3 million killed in Cambodia 19751979 y WWII killed 6 million Jewish people 6 million Poles etcy Sudan2 million killed 1983present y In Rwanda 800 000 Hutus and Tutsis were killed in three months This genocide was easily prevented we will talk about it laterRoot Causes of RacismTerritorial or Economic Expansion y Colonization where resources are taken and civil rights revoked or not granted to inhabitantsy Economic Imperialism is the way a nationstate can control resources in another countryExample Through economics George W Bush used religious imperialism to prevent abortions in parts of the worldXenophobia y The fear of strangers and other people especially the strangeness of their culture or actionsOppression y Both real and perceived Fear of Change y Related to Xenophobia it is sometimes linked with immigrants Immigrants are often used to scapegoat problems or issues Governments may use this to transform them into the enemy Social and Economic Inequalities
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