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Midterm

ANTH100 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Eskimo Kinship, Iroquois Kinship, Kinship Terminology


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH100
Professor
Gotz Hoeppe
Study Guide
Midterm

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Alisha Dhanji ANTH 100 Jan, 6th 2017
Anthropology 100 Week 1, Jan 7th 2017
Four-Fields of Anthropology (four perspectives on being human)
- Biological Anthropology/Physical Anthropology
o The study of human evolution, variation and biocultural adaptation
- Archaeology
o The study of past human material culture
- Linguistic Anthropology
o The sociocultural study of language
- Sociocultural Anthropology/Cultural Anthropology
o The study of human society and culture
** Note: See Figure 1.1 - The Four Fields of Anthropology; The divisions between them are not sharp,
indicating that their boundaries overlap (see p.5 of text)
E.g., Why is organ transplant accepted in Canada but rejected in Japan?
**Note: Philosophers, psychologists, medical doctors, religion scholars, sociologists, SMF students,
political scientists, modern language experts, and legal experts also study humans. What is
special/different about anthropologists? Anthropologists take a holistic, comparative, evolutionary,
and field-based approach to human study.
Holistic adjective
1. Having regard for the whole of something rather than just to parts of it: a holistic approach
to life. 2. (medical) treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a disease:
holistic medicine
Anthropology 100 Week 2, Jan 9th 2017
- Anthropologists are good at looking at other perspectives as well as their own
- Neanderthals language has changed over the years and has been reconstructed this is the
work of linguistic anthropologists as well as the help of others
- Not all anthropological studies involve all four fields
o BUT, Culture and social life are always relevant
A Holistic Approach is also a Tool
- It is like a checklist to think: (ave ) missed an important connection?
- Again: Not every anthropological study involves all subfields
- But all are concerned with how matters are shaped by people living in groups, having a
history, sharing a culture
Anthropology: Where is our topic?
- Usually in the field All subfields involve fieldwork
o In the field looking at old teeth or fossils and determining their identities
Methods in Fieldwork
- Biological Anthropology
o Observing primates, forensic investigations
- Archaeology
o Excavating sites (documenting artifacts & ecofacts)
- Linguistic Anthropology
o Descriptive linguistics, record naturally occurring situations…
- (Socio-)cultural Anthropology
o Ethnography: Participant observation, interviews, censuses
- Two influential anthropologists that have employed many of the fieldwork methods
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Alisha Dhanji ANTH 100 Jan, 6th 2017
Bronislaw Malinowski (most famous in all fieldwork)
- 1884 1942
- 1915 1918: Fieldwork on the Trobriand Islands (New Guinea)
- Professor at London School of Economics
- Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1992)
- Invented the modern style of fieldwork
Bronislaw Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific
- The goals of ethnographic field-work must be approached through three avenues:
o The organization of the tribe, and the anatomy of its culture must be recorded in
firm, clear outline
o The imponderabilia of actual life, and the type of behaviour have to be filled in
o A collection of ethnographic statements, characteristic narratives, typical
utterances, items of folk-lore and magical formulae has to be given as a corpus
inscriptionum, as documents of native mentality
Margaret Mead
- 1901 1978
- Fieldwork on Samoa, Manus, New Guinea (South Pacific), Bali (Indonesia)
- Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)
o First fieldwork in Samoa in Teenage Women
- Growing Up in New Guinea (1930)
o Studying children
- How do people grow up in a different culture?
Culture (One has a culture)
- A society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions that are used to
make sense of experience and generate behavior and are reflected in behavior. p. and
p.167) … and material artifacts, and bodies!
Values:
- Principles or standards of behavior (often moral: to help the poor, to not have sex before
marriage,..)
Perceptions: (In respect to shared classifications)
- Is this edible? Is this dirt? Was this a friendly greeting? Am I late?
Material Artifacts
- Dinner table (to sit at with family), cutlery (to eat with properly), a bed big enough to share
(with partner, kids…
Bodies: Being circumcised, appropriately tattooed
Society (One belongs to a society)
- An organized group or groups of interdependent people who generally share a common
territory, language and culture and who act together for collective survival and well-being.
(p. 168) … such as by producing descendants
Culture Shock Sense of not belonging in a place, things/people/food are strange to you
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Alisha Dhanji ANTH 100 Jan, 6th 2017
Culture is best seen not as complexes of concrete behavior patterns - customs, usages, traditions,
habit clusters as has, by and large, been the case up to now, but as a set of control mechanisms
plans, recipes,
Modifying the Human Body to what is deemed beautiful is definitely a cultural point
Humans are Unfinished Animals From Lecture
- (umans are not specialized, not optimized for any specific task
- We are all born incomplete, unfinished, but with the capacity to learn and be
formed/cultivated
- Standing, sitting, walking, writing, mimics, and gestures are all cultural techniques
- Although our bodies are given naturally, how we use them is a product of our society’s
culture
- not optimized for any special task
- Young children shape their body (and its uses) according to the control mechanisms of
their society through imitation, controlled guidance,...
- By contributing to the shaping/cultivation of a child the members of a society express that it
is one of theirs
Humans are Unfinished Animals From Discussion
- Humans are slow runners, cant fly, cant hold our breaths for long
- In equipped for so many tasks let down in so many ways if you compare to other efficient
animals
Humans are
One of the most significant facts about us may be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live
a thousand kinds of life but end having lived only once. - Cliford Geerts
Culture is… p. -175)
- Lecture
o Learned
o Shared
o Based on symbols
o Integrated
o Dynamic
Cultural Relativism
- Unlike scientific knowledge, cultural values are relative, not universal laws
- Values and aesthetic criteria are largely understandable in their own terms, relative to their
own cultures
- What is true on one side of the Pyrenees may be error on the other side. Blaise Pascal,
philosopher)
- We can have no objective basis to claim that one worldview is superior to another
Cultural Relativism
- Cultural relativism of taste is one thing, but what about infanticide, or genital mutation?
- Is it possible to accept universal human rights and cultural relativism at the same time?
- Is there a boundary between cultural relativism and moral nihilism?
What is the opposite of cultural relativism? Ethnocentrism
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