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COMPLETE Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Notes: Part 5 [90% on final]

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Department
Anthropology
Course
CAS AN 101
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
From the Field #4 12/11/2012 Taiwan, China 1970s: Taiwan dissertation in a complex society with vast differences, did they share religious ideas? No institution that would impose a shared interpretation on people Geertz: Interpretation of Cultures (1973) Victor Turner How to understand ritual, if they are shared Ask people what it means, what do symbols mean? Started with something easy, fill in with local details Earth god Rural villages: each has an earth god, divide up territory Temples are all small, no front door, inside there is a deity People burn incense In his village, 2 earth god temples Went door to door asking which earth god they go to, what is the other temple People didn’t know what other temple was Who is earth god? Literature: some historical, local character that was deified Wife of earth god: earth mother Why doesn’t one have a wife? Kept getting answer of I don’t know, I don’t care, but somebody knows (go talk to someone else) Answer: movie about earth god Reading Geertz, reading Turner: idea that informants will tell you everything Not really true Many symbols, but people may not have the answers Birthday Pigs Worked in temple in small town On the birthday of the god, offer pigs in front of temple Space in front of temple was limited Whoever grows the fattest pig will get to display them in front of temple Told gov’t it wasn’t superstitious, it was agricultural competition Victor Turner did analysis of symbols of pig, got a lot of answers, interpretation Optical illusion of pig: paint it, have to cover the pig so there is an illusion that it’s bigger Asked people what’s with the fish, knife, etc. People didn’t know or care Seemed to think someone would know, but didn’t know who would know Changed direction of dissertation Two answers: looks prettier with knife, or we’re Chinese and that’s how we do it Tradition, that’s why we do it No theological reason, matter of doing it right rather than understanding why Wouldn’t look right if they did it some other way What are you praying to outside? Emperor of heaven vs. ghosts They had never thought about it, never asked themselves that questio
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