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Anthropology 2A Cultural Anthropology


ANTHROPOLOGY 2A CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Summer 2012 Katherine Schaefers, Instructor Office: 3102 OH: 12:30-1:30p.m. M-Th * * * * * * * * * * CHAPTER 1 THE ESSENCE OF ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Anthropology 2A Cultural Anthropology

Anthropology 2ACultural Anthropology
  • Summer 2012
  • Katherine Schaefers, Instructor
  • Office 3102
  • OH 1230-130p.m. M-Th

Chapter 1The Essence of Anthropology
  • Film Intro to the Millennium Series
  • David Maybury-Lewis, Anthropologist

The Development of Anthropology
  • Anthropology (Anthropos Man, Logy Study
  • The study of humankind in all times and places
  • The discipline of Anthropology is a European
    invention, but the study of people has a long

Early Anthropology
  • Herodotus
  • Greek Historian (5th century B.C.E.)
  • The Histories collections of Herodotus
    encounters with peoples of the Mediterranean
    world. He often emphasized how he faithfully
    recorded stories told to him, but would often add
    embellishments/emphasis to endear his Greek
    readers to the peoples he met abroad.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte and Egypt
  • Self-proclaimed Emperor of France (1769-1821)
  • Anthropology Timeline
  • http//
  • What caused this explosion in the discipline?

In Western History
  • European Exploration/Colonialism
  • Columbus, Napoleon, and

Western Societys past attempts at getting to
know other cultures
  • Modernism Began with the Renaissance and the
  • A reaction to the superstition and hysteria of
    Europes Dark Ages (The Witch hunt era that we
    will get into later).
  • Rationality, objectivity, reason can discover
    knowledge and truth and lead to progress.
  • We can understand everybody/thing everywhere if
    we adhere to these principles of logic.
  • Empirical knowledge Based on observations of
    the world rather than on intuition or faith.
  • Hypothesis A tentative explanation of the
    relation between certain phenomena
  • Theory In science, an explanation of natural
    phenomena, supported by a reliable body of data.
  • People are now freed from the restraints of
    superstitious nonsense and can now grow as
    logical, rational and evolved beings.
  • This is where our modern thoughts of linearity
    come from. In Western Society, time is like an
    arrow, experienced as breach, innovation and
    change we are seen to always improve on what
    came before. The Europeans of the Enlightenment
    saw themselves at the pinnacle of evolution. (The
    era right before this also had maps centering on
    Europe, and the cosmos rotating around Earth).

  • With new discoveries in science (physics,
    chemistry, biology, astronomy, anatomy,
    anthropology!) and cultures being found worldwide
    that seemed similar to the less evolved
    European prehistoric culture, this European
    laudatory attitude persisted for a good 200-300
    years, but then the ideology began to shift
  • Questions arose
  • Were Europeans really more advanced/improved/intel
    ligent than their ancestors?
  • What is Intelligence?

For every movement, there is a counter-movement
  • Post-Modernism No true knowledge, only
    subjective and objective knowledge.
  • 1980s-Today
  • Knowledge as a human construction that we must
  • Science is limited it does not integrate
    multiple viewpoints/truths. One must be aware of
    ones own biases.
  • We cannot remove our cultural lens but we can
    become more aware of it.
  • Both Modernism and Post-Modernism are Western
    Societys Etic ways of viewing other cultures.

The Anthropological Perspective
  • To make the strange familiar, and the familiar
  • Strangeness, the unfamiliar is scary and can lead
    to misguided feelings of anger and hate, which
    may eventually lead to warfare and death.
  • Most interpersonal or inter-group conflicts are
    caused by a lack of understanding.
  • Discovering similarities between ones own
    culture and that of others leads to more
    harmonious relationships.

4 Traditional Fields of Anthropology
  • Physical
  • Human Biology and Evolution
  • Genetics, DNA studies, evolutionary theory,
    primate behavior, paleontology, fossil record.
  • Archaeology
  • Physical and Cultural remains
  • Linguistics
  • Origins and distribution of language
  • Cultural
  • Social organization, economics, technology,
    political organization, marriage, family life.
  • i.e. This Class
  • These 4 fields are rarely mutually exclusive
    todays anthropology scene is very fluid, often
    incorporating techniques from outside disciplines
    like psychology (study of the human psyche/mind)
    and sociology (study of human society).

Terms and techniques used by Cultural
  • Participant Observation To truly understand a
    culture, an anthropologist will usually study a
    culture for an extended period of time, sometimes
    taking many years. Oftentimes, the
    anthropologist will live within the community and
    partake in daily life and activities.
  • Ethnography A Cultural Anthropologists work
    usually culminates into something called an
    Ethnography, or a written description of the
    studied society. These are usually published in
    books and journals.

Terms and techniques used by Cultural
Anthropologists cont.
  • Culture Area This class will make use of
    ethnographic material from around the world from
    locations that are termed Culture Areas or
    geographical areas where societies tend to share
    many traits, either because of similar responses
    to the environment or because of cultural
    diffusion (sharing of culture) between these
  • Maps! http//
  • Awesome maps, printer friendly from National

A question of perspectiveThe Fore of New Guinea
  • Problem The Fore are a group of 14,000
    horticulturalists (cultivators of domesticated
    plants without the use of modern agricultural
    techniques) from the Eastern Highlands of Papua
    New Guinea (Melanesia Culture Area) who have had
    about 200 of their members die from mysterious
    causes each year. The locals call it Kuru or to
    tremble with fear. Jerking/shaking/unable to
    coordinate are the main symptoms. After 9
    months, the individual is no longer able to eat
    or drink and soon dies. Women and children are
    mainly afflicted. http//
  • Google Map http//
  • Solution? If you were asked to look into this
    case, what would your first hypothesis be as to
    the cause of the affliction?

A Holistic Perspective solves it
  • We must look to all aspects of the Fores society
    for the answer, specifically, their religious and
    funerary practices
  • Kuru is caused by an infectious agent that is
    ingested by family members when they consume the
    remains of their dead loved ones. To the Fore,
    the holiest, most sacred resting place for the
    deceased is within the bodies of their loved
    ones. The deceaseds remains would be cooked and
    distributed amongst family as a form of utmost
    respect. Women and children, having lower social
    status, were more likely to ingest the brain (the
    seat of the infectious agent).

Etic/Emic Analysis
  • Etic Analysis Viewing and labeling a culture
    with our own words and terms.
  • Advantages Finding patterns that the studied
    group may be unaware of. Applying an Etic
    Analysis to all cultures that you study makes it
    easier to identify Human Universals. Terms and
    categories can be made for new information to be
    nicely organized. Etic Analysis is mainly used
    in Anthropological studies.
  • Etic Analysis Kuru is caused by a virus in the
    afflicteds bloodstream that is later ingested by
    family members.
  • But what are bacteria, germs, diseases, a virus
    to the Fore? These are not only foreign words,
    but also foreign ideas.
  • Emic Analysis Viewing a culture through the eyes
    of the people being studied.
  • Advantages Better understanding of the studied
    culture, but much, much harder to attain.
    Argument is it even possible to see through the
    eyes of another culture? To undo and place aside
    ones own worldview and wholly adopt another?
  • Emic Analysis Kuru is caused by Sorcery. The
    Sorcerer will obtain a personal belonging of the
    individuals, combine it in a bundle with leaves,
    bark and stones and bury it in the cold muddy
    earth. The Sorcerer will then recite a spell and
    let the bundle rot. The individual then develops

Cultural Relativism
  • Cannibalism. Right/Wrong? Does context matter?
    Who gets to make up the rules?

Cultural Relativism cont.
  • The norms and values we grow up with seem right
    and correct
  • We use our own society as a base for judging
  • Thinking of others as simple, primitive, immoral,
    less-than-human or somehow fundamentally wrong
    is how wars start and propaganda is spread.
  • Exploration Americans activity and stereotypes

For Thursday
  • Prepare for Chapter 1 Vocabulary Quiz (boldfaced
    words in Chapter)
  • Write a 1 paragraph analytical response each for
    DeVita chapters 2, 13 27 (Look in your syllabus
    under Homework Policy for tips on what you should
    be writing about)