Chapter 1 summary

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University of Rhode Island
APG 203
Professor Garcia- Quijano

Chapter 1 book notes What is anthropology? • Anthropology is the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors • Anthropology is a holistic science o Holism refers to past, present and future; biology society, language and culture • Anthropology is a comparative science that examines all societies- constantly compares the customs of one society with those of another Cultures • Cultures are traditions and customs transmitted through learning, that form and guide the beliefs and behavior of the people exposed to them • Children learn such a tradition by growing up in a particular society, through a process called enculturation • Most critical element of cultural tradition is their transmission through learning rather than through biological inheritance • Culture is not biological, but it rests on certain features of human biology Adaption, Variation and Change • Adaption refers to the processes by which organisms cope with environment forces and stresses • Cultural adaptation o Technology • Biological adaptation o Genetic adaptation  Occurs over generations o Long term physiological  Occurs during growth and development of the individual organism o Short term physiological adaptation  Occurs spontaneously when the individual organism enters a new environment • Social and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important o For millions of years foraging was the sole basis of human subsistence o However, it only took a few thousand years for food production (the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals) to replace foraging o More recently, the spread of industrial production has profoundly affected human life  Now even remote villages experience world forces and events General Anthropology • Also known as “four-field” anthropology, includes four main sub disciplines or subfields o They are sociocultural, archaeological , biological, and linguistic • General anthropology explores the basics of human biology, society and culture and considers their interrelations • Anthropology’s biocultural perspective recognizes that cultural forces constantly mold human biology o Biocultural refers to using and combining both biological and cultural perspectives and approaches to analyze and understand a particular issue of problem Cultural or Sociocultural Anthropology • The study of human society and culture • Subfield the describes, analyzes, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences • To interpret cultural diversity, anthropologists must engage in ethnography and ethnology • Ethnography provides an account of a particular group, community, society or culture • Ethnology examines, interprets, and analyzes the results of ethnography- the data gathered in different societies o Uses the data to compare and contrast and to make generalizations about society and culture o Gets data not only from ethnography, but also from the other subdisciplines, especially archaeological anthropology Archaeological Anthropology • Also known as anthropological archaeology or just “archaeology” • Reconstructs, describes, and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through material remains • Archaeologist find artifacts, material items that people have made, used or modified at sites where people live or have lived • Ecology is the study of interrelations among living things in an environment • Paleoecology looks at ecosystems of the past Biological or Physical Anthropology • Biological Anthropology- the study of human biological variation in time and space • A common interest in biological variation unites five specialties within biological anthropology o Human evolution as revealed by the fossil record (paleo-anthropology) o Human genetics o Human growth and development o Human biological plasticity(the living body’s ability to change as it copes with stresses such as heat, cold and altitude) o Primatology (the biology, evolution, behavior and social life of monkeys, apes and other non human primates) • Osteology- the study of bones o Helps paleoanthropologists, who examine skulls, teeth and bones, to identify human ancestors and chart changes in anatomy over time • Paleontologist is a scientist who studies fossils • Paleoanthropologist is one sort of paleontologist, one who studies the fossil record of human evolution • Paleoanthropologists often collaborate with archaeologists in reconstructing biological and cultural aspects of human evolution • Primatology assists paleoanthropology because primate behavior may shed light on early human behavior and human nature Linguistic Anthropology • Linguistic Anthropology studies language in its social and cultural context, across space and over time • Some linguistic anthropologists also make inferences about universal features of language o Others reconstruct ancient languages by comparing their contemporary descendants and in so doing m
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