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Chapter Textbook Notes - Introduction

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Esteban Parra

Notes From Reading INTRODUCTION :A NTHROPOLOGY 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 beha
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