Anthropology Midterm Notes
Kottak Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Knauft Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Lectures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
Videos 1, 2.
Kottak Definitions Chapter one: What is Anthropology?
Adaptation: The process by which organisms cope with environmental stresses.
Anthropology: The study of the human species and its immediate ancestors.
Applied anthropology: The application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and
methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems.
Archaeological anthropology: The branch of anthropology that reconstructs, describes,
and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through material remains; best
known for the study of prehistory. Also known as "archaeology."
Bio cultural: Referring to the inclusion and combination (to solve a common problem) of
both biological and cultural approaches—one of anthropology's hallmarks.
Biological (or physical) anthropology: The branch of anthropology that studies human
biological diversity in time and space—for instance, hominid evolution, human genetics,
human biological adaptation; also includes primatology (behavior and evolution of
monkeys and apes). Also called physical anthropology.
Cultural anthropology: The study of human society and culture; describes, analyzes,
interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences.
Cultural resource management (CRM): The branch of applied archaeology aimed at
preserving sites threatened by dams, highways, and other projects.
Cultures: Traditions and customs that govern behavior and beliefs; distinctly human;
transmitted through learning.
Ethnography: Fieldwork in a particular culture.
Ethnology: The theoretical, comparative study of society and culture; compares cultures
in time and space.
Food production: Plant cultivation and animal domestication.
General anthropology: The field of anthropology as a whole, consisting of cultural,
archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology.
Holistic: Interested in the whole of the human condition past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture.
Linguistic anthropology: The branch of anthropology that studies linguistic variation in
time and space, including interrelations between language and culture; includes historical
linguistics and sociolinguistics.
Natural selection: Originally formulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace;
the process by which nature selects the forms most fit to survive and reproduce in a given
environment, such as the tropics.
Phenotype: An organism's evident traits, its "manifest biology"—anatomy and
Racial Classification: The attempt to assign humans to discrete categories (purportedly)
based on common ancestry.
Science: A systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment,
observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with
reference to the material and physical world.
Sociolinguistics: Study of relationships between social and linguistic variation; study of
language in its social context.
Tropics: Geographic belt extending about 23 degrees north and south of the equator,
between the Tropic of Cancer (north) and the Tropic of Capricorn (south).
Chapter 2 Definitions: Culture
Acculturation: The exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into
continuous firsthand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may
be altered, but the groups remain distinct.
Core Values: Key, basic, or central values that integrate a culture and help distinguish it
Cultural Relativism: The position that the values and standards of cultures differ and
deserve respect. Anthropology is characterized by methodological rather than moral
relativism: In order to understand another culture fully, anthropologists try to understand
its members' beliefs and motivations. Methodological relativism does not preclude
making moral judgments or taking action.
Cultural Rights: Doctrine that certain rights are vested not in individuals but in
identifiable groups, such as religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous societies.
Diffusion: Borrowing between cultures either directly or through intermediaries.
Enculturation: The social process by which culture is learned and transmitted across the
generations. Ethnocentrism: The tendency to view one’s own culture as best and to judge the behavior
and beliefs of culturally different people by one’s own standards.
Generality: Culture pattern or trait that exists in some but not all societies.
Globalization: The accelerating interdependence of nations in a world system linked
economically and through mass media and modern transportation systems.
Hominid: A member of the taxonomic family that includes humans and the African apes
and their immediate ancestors.
Hominins: A member of the human lineage after its split from ancestral chimps; used to
describe all the human species that ever have existed, including the extinct ones, but
excluding chimps and gorillas.
Human rights: Doctrine that invokes a realm of justice and morality beyond and superior
to particular countries, cultures, and religions. Human rights, usually seen as vested in
individuals, would include the right to speak freely, to hold religious beliefs without
persecution, and not to be enslaved.
Independent invention: Development of the same culture trait or pattern in separate
cultures as a result of comparable needs and circumstances.
Intellectual property rights (IPR): Each society’s cultural base – its core beliefs and
principles. IPR is claimed as a group right – a cultural right, allowing indigenous groups
to control who may known and use their collective knowledge and its applications.
International culture: Cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries.
National Culture: Cultural experiences, beliefs, learned behavior patterns, and values
shared by citizens of the same nation.
Particularity: Distinctive or unique culture trait, pattern, or integration.
Subcultures: different cultural symbolbased traditions associated with subgroups in the
same complex society.
Symbol: Something, verbal or nonverbal, that arbitrarily and by convention stands for
something else, with which it has no necessary or natural connection.
Universal: something that exits in every culture.
Chapter 3 Definition: Doing anthropology Complex societies: Nations; large and populous, with social stratification and central
Cultural Consultant: Someone the ethnographer gets to know in the field, who teaches
him or her about their society and culture, aka informant.
Emic: The research strategy that focuses on native explanations and criteria of
Etic: The research strategy that emphasizes the observer's rather than the natives'
explanations, categories, and criteria of significance.
Genealogical Method: Procedures by which ethnographers discover and record
connections of kinship, descent, and marriage, using diagrams and symbols.
Informed Consent: An agreement sought by ethnographers from community members to
take part in research.
Interview Schedule: Ethnographic tool for structuring a formal interview. A prepared
form (usually printed or mimeographed) that guides interviews with households or
individuals being compared systematically. Contrasts with a questionnaire because the
researcher has personal contact and records people's answers.
Key cultural consultant: An expert on a particular aspect of local life who helps the
ethnographers understand that aspect.
Life history: Of a cultural consultant; provides a personal cultural portrait of existence or
change in a culture.
Longitudinal research: Longterm study of a community, society, culture, or other unit,
usually based on repeated visits.
Participant Observation: A characteristic ethnographic technique; taking part in the events
one is observing, describing, and analyzing.
Random Sample: A sample in which all members of the population have an equal
statistical chance of being included.
Sample: A smaller study group chosen to represent a larger population.
Survey research: Characteristic research procedure among social scientists other than
anthropologists. Studies society through sampling, statistical analysis, and impersonal
Variables: Attributes (e.g., sex, age, height, weight) that differ from one person or case to
the next. Chapter 4 Definitions: Language and Communication
Black English Vernacular: A rulegoverned dialect of American English with roots in
southern English. BEV is spoken by African American youth and by many adults in their
casual, intimate speechsometimes called Ebonics.
Call system: Systems of communication among nonhuman primates composed of a
limited number of sounds that vary in intensity and duration. Tied to environmental
Cultural transmission: A basic feature of language; transmission through learning.
Daughter languages: Languages developing out of the same parent language; for
example, French and Spanish are daughter languages of Latin.
Descriptive linguistics: The scientific study of a spoken language, including its
phonology, morpholohy, lexicon, and syntax.
Diglossia: The existence of “high” (formal) and “low” (familial) Dialects of a single
language, such a German.
Displacement: A linguistic capacity that allows humans to talk about things and events
that are not present.
Focal vocabulary: A set of words and distinctions that are particularly important to certain
groups (those with particular foci of experience or activity), such as types of snow to
Eskimos or skiers.
Historical linguistics: Subdivisions of linguistics that studies languages over time.
Kinesics: The study of form; used in linguistics (the study of morphemes and word
construction) and for form in generalfr example, biomorphology relates to physical
Phoneme: Significant sound contrast in a language that serves to distinguish meaning, as
in minimal pairs.
Phonemics: The study of the sound contrast (phonmes) of particular language.
Phonetics: The study of speech sounds in general; what people actually say in various
Phonology: The study of sounds used in speech. Productivity: The ability to use the rules of one’s language to create new expressions
comprehensible to other speakers; a basic feature of language.
Protolanguage: Language ancestral to several daughter languages.
SapirWhorf hypothesis: theory that different languages produce different ways of
Semantic: A language’s me