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Chapter 1

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ANTH 1150

Chapter 1: The Nature of Anthropology Pp.1-15 What is Anthropology?  The study of humankind in all times and places. Anthropologists seek to produce reliable knowledge about people and their behavior, about what makes them different and what they all share in common. Anthropologists are interested in all aspects of humanity; the difference is they are concerned with everything that has to do with humans. (human nature)  They espose the fallacies of racial and cultural superiority  “Anthropology has much to say about human destiny” –Laura Nader (2006:10) The Development of Anthropology Two examples are the accounts of other people by Herodotus the Greek and by the Arab Ibn Khaldun, written in the 5 century B.C. and 14 century A.D. Until recently people have been restricted in their geographical horizons by this we mean having limited modes of traveling to distinct places  Adequate modes of transportation and communication were essential in order to study foreign peoples and cultures Another significant element that contributed to the slow growth of anthropology was the failure of Europeans to recognize that beneath all the differences, they shared a basic “humanity” with people everywhere Colonialism: When one nation dominates another, through occupation (colonies), administration (military presence), and control of resources, thereby creating a dependency  political control and economic gain were the major impetus for colonialism Cultural Imperialism: Promoting one nation’s values, beliefs, and behavior as superior to all others. Often associated with the Western world inundating other cultural groups with technology, religion, and ways of living (most often via the media), but also through missionism (see Chapter 12), education, and economic control, thereby strongly influencing how people will live. The Development of Anthropological Thought “Cultural progress”- all cultures passed through evolutionary stages until they reached the technologically advanced level of Western societies.  A time whthe the concept of race was put forth  These 19 century cultural evolutionary theories were proposed by American anthropologists EDWARD TYLOR and LOUIS HENRY MORGAN  Most famous empiricist was FRANZ BOAS (1858-1942), who argued that each culture is unique, with a unique history, and is neither superior nor inferior to another o he rejected racism and promoted cultural relativism (Ch.12), a belief that all cultures are equally and must be studied on their own terms o Boasians also developed the “Four Field Approach” British anthropologists A.R. Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski turned their attention to the functions of economic, social, religious, and political institutions that are found in every culture  MALINOWSKI argued that anthropologists should consider how the various systems of a culture work to meet the needs of its members o one of the first anthropologists to pay close attention to his key informants’ point of view  RADCLIFFE-BROWN concentrated on how culture as a whole functions to maintain itself 1950s-60s; study of culture change  LISA WHITE proposed that culture changed in direct response to technological “progress” eg. Industrial Revolution  JULIAN STEWARD built on the idea of technology as a cultural mover, suggesting that societies evolve to fit a particular ecological niche and that the environment influences the way of life  Culture change also comes about through population density, trade networks, and warfare  CLAUDE LEVI STRAUSS held that FREE WILL and the ability to make choices based on ideas and desires influenced culture. He identified a universal pattern of human thinking in all peoples CLIFFORD GEERTZ took a more particularist approach, studying the uniqueness of each culture and the actions that have meaning for them Canadian Anthropology Three major influences are evident in the development of Canadian Anthropology: museums, academic departments (second stronghold for Canadian Anthropology), and applied research  National Museum of Canada in Ottawa MARIUS BARBEAU, DAVID BOYLE, DIAMOND JENNESS conducted ethnographic, linguistic, and archaeological research into aboriginal cultures  were early advocates for aboriginal rights to religious and cultural freedom 1960s- Harry Hawthorn (Canadian Anthropologist) was actively involved in aboriginal policy issues  he examined the sociocultural reasons for tensions between local residents and the Doukhobors who had moved to British Colombia from Saskatchewan MARC-ADELARD TREMBLAY; helped shape gov’t policies that have strengthened Quebec’s identity and self-determination P.7 Father Joseph-Francois Lafitau (1681-1746) & Sir Daniel Wilson (1816-1892)  Two early contributors to Canadian Anthropology A Note about Terminology Eskimos = “eaters of raw meat” First Nations, Inuit, Metis are used today in Canada to identify aboriginal peoples collectively In US, Native American or Indian are preferred terms Indian is used in Central & South America The Discipline of Anthropology Anthropology is traditionally divided into FOUR fields: 1. Biological Anthropology- concerned primarily with humans as biological organisms  Paleoanthropology; the study of
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