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Chapter

Chapter Textbook Notes - Introduction


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT203H5
Professor
Esteban Parra

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Notes From Reading
INTRODUCTION: ANTHROPOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY (PGS. 1-8)
Introduction
- Anthropology has an unusual character and history that defies the typical categorization
of an academic discipline as being natural science or social science or in the humanities
What Is Anthropology?
- Anthropology The science that investigates human biological and cultural variation
and evolution
- Culture Behavior that is shared, learned, and socially transmitted
o Includes social and economic systems, marriage customs, religion philosophy,
and all other behaviors that are acquired through the process of learning rather
than through instinct
- Anthropology is characterized by a concern that both culture and biology are vital in
understanding the human condition
The Biological Approach
- We rely extensively on learned behaviors in virtually all aspects of our lives
- Anthropology is concerned not only with culture and biology but also with their
interaction
- Biocultural Approach Studying humans in terms of the interaction between biology
and culture in evolutionary adaptation
- Holistic Integrating all aspects of existence in understanding human variation and
evolution
Variation
- Variation The differences that exist among individuals or populations
- Anthropologist is interested in differences and similarities among human groups in terms
of both biology and culture
- Comparative Approach Comparing human populations to determine common and
unique behaviors or biological traits
Evolution
- Evolution Change in population of organisms from one generation to the next
- Anthropologists are interested in the origin and evolution of both human culture and
biology
Adaptation
- Adaptation The process of successful interaction between a population and an
environment
- Any aspect of biology or behavior that confers some advantage on an individual or
population can be considered an adaptation
- Cultural adaptations: technological devices such as clothing, shelter, and methods of food
production
- Biological adaptations: physiological in nature and involve metabolic changes when
you’re too hot, you sweat
The Subfields of Anthropology
- Generally, anthropology is concerned with determining what humans are, how they
evolved, and how they differ from one another
- Anthropology is unique in dealing simultaneously with questions of origins, evolution,
variation and adaptation
Cultural Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology The subfield of anthropology that focuses on variations in
cultural behaviors among human populations
- Subjects: Social, political, economic, and ideological aspects of human culures
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