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COMPLETE Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Notes: Part 18 [90% on final]

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Department
Anthropology
Course
CAS AN 101
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
Personhood 10/02/2012 What is a person? A person is living organism that has the ability to think cognitively and experience specific feelings. Fusion of mind, body, and spirit When do we become a person? When a fetus develops the capacity to think, use organs on its own ? When do we cease to be a person? When we lose the ability to think, breathe, use vital organs on our own energy. Until the last time people use your name Personhood in RELATION to something else, something you are a part of That can continue after biological, physical demise Drawing boundaries to what a person is Hindu Personhood Individual subordinated to the group Membership in group Reincarnation When you’re born, you are not “new” You came from something else Caste Already attached to social group when born Karma and dharma Karma: your fate, life is dictated by karma Dharma: destiny as you begin to make decisions, determines where based on your destiny you are reborn  in ongoing cycle Destination: aiming to reach self­realization Sociocentric Not about individual African Personhood Ancestral spirits play an active role Upon death, one becomes an ancestral spirit Don’t have a “soul,” but embodiment of ancestral spirit (resides in you, drives your course in life) Children = partial persons Children who die don’t become ancestral spirits How might this affect your life if you thought of yourself as an embodiment of an ancestral spirit? Animals = kin Humans are distinct from animals, but not radical distinctions See that they share many attributes Both physical, social Humans have characteristics to a greater degree than other animals (feeling, talking, etc.) On the other hand, in Bali they don’t allow children to crawl b/c too close to animals No dualism between material and spiritual or animal and human Melanesian Personhood Personhood is gradually gained Personhood continues (even after death) until all debts paid Relational  Ojibwa Personhood Communication with ancestors and spirits through dreams Winds, sun and moon = persons Personhood extended to non­humans and objects Buddhist Personhood Rejects idea of “self” Let go of “selfish” desires and attachments Reach state of enlightenment Reincarnation… but goal is to break the cycle and enter nirva
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