Anthropology 101 The Study of Pretty Much Everything What is Anthropology? • The study of the human condition • Comes from “anthropos” (Greek for “man”) and “ology”- (the study of) • A branch of the social sciences • Focus is on the development of human form and culture past and present • Split into four sub-disciplines Cultural Anthropology • The study of living cultures • Focus on social behavior and how they identify themselves, both within their society and to the world Linguistic Anthropology ● ● ● The study of human language and communication Includes the physiological relationship of the brain to speech Explores cultural significance of language and the movement of cultural groups Biological Anthropology ● ● The study of human physical form and behavior Includes evolutionary history and population genetics ● Forensics ● Primatology Archaeology ● ● The study of past cultures and peoples through their material remains Studied through careful survey and excavation Huh? All sub-disciplines practice anthropology- which is the governing principle behind the study of mankind But not all anthropologists practice each individual sub-discipline! (You can be an anthropologist without being an archaeologist, but you can't be an archaeologist without being an anthropologist. Get it?) What is Culture? ● ● ● The key concept in anthropology Explains how people's activities, behaviors, and beliefs are linked Makes up our beliefs and assumptions about how the world operates- informs our actions (past and future) Culture is learned ● ● Culture includes all learned behaviors (not genetic) Example: a sneeze is genetic, but your reaction “Bless you” “Salut” or “Gesundheit” is cultural Culture is Shared ● ● ● Core ideas and behaviors are shared within a society Most enculturation occurs in childhood Children learn through imitation, experimentation, and interpretation Culture is Integrated as a Society ● ● The knowledge and values of a people operate together to create and maintain a functioning society Not every person reproduces cultural traits exactly the same, but they tend to work towards the same goals and ideals Culture is Adaptive ● ● Culture is a learned series of behaviors adopted to cope with the natural and social environment Cultural adaptations are fluid and always changing Culture is Symbolic ● ● ● ● Your cultural education teaches you the codes to understanding what your symbols mean Symbolism is one way of communicating information about how to act and theminterpret the world Language and art are both symbolic Symbols may be unique to a culture or shared between ● This picture □ is a symbol, to you it may mean a box or square, but to an Egyptian it means “house” Cultural Relativism ● ● ● Each culture has its own history of development; their values and adaptations are unique to what worked for them Ethnocentrism means interpreting and judging another culture by your own cultural standards Anthropology tries to recognize this bias and view each culture in their own right and from their perspective ● ● The concept was created by anthropologist Franz Boas in the early 20th Century Key concept in anthropology Culture is Patterned and Structured ● Infrastructure • Ways to deal with subsistence, getting and using resources ● Structure • Social and Political organizational systems ● Superstructure • Understanding of supernatural world and symbolic thought Approaches to Anthropology Ideational ● ● Adaptive Cognitive based • Activity based Culture is built from constructions in our subconscious understanding of the world • Culture is a response to the physical conditions in a particular environment History of Anthropological Thought ● ● ● As old as classical philosophy- Nabonidus (538BC) considered first archaeologist Interest in the material remains of the past began after the destruction of Pompeii in 79AD During the Scientific Revolution (1500-1800's) people started collecting and studying relics of the past • The first real scientific inquiry about man's development stemmed from the voyages of discovery and our first contact with indigenous peoples • In the 17-1800's, antiquarians began seriously looking for, collecting and displaying artifacts • This led to the development of scientific theories about the history of man and civilization th 19 Century Significant advances in knowledge of the world ● CJ Thomsen- 3 age system (1819) Stone, Bronze, Iron Age ● Boucher de Perthes- Antiquity of man (1850's) ● Charles Darwin- Origin of Species (1859) ● European interest in Classical archaeology • Schliemann's Troy (1870's) • Napoleon's Egypt (1798) • England in Greece (1800's) ● North American survey of Native American sites and the “mound builders” (Squier & Davis-1850's, Cyrus Thomas1880's) th 19 Century Cultural Evolutionary Theory ● Came from clash of European, Western, and Traditional worlds ● A comparative method of defining humanity ● Unilinear, tied to rise of nationalism and racism ● “Social Darwinism” in contrast to Darwin's evolutionary theory ● Tried to use biological justification to create social order ● 3 stages of man: savagery, barbarism, civilization ● Grouping of current and past societies into bands, tribes, chiefdoms, states ● Polygenesis (multiple origins for human beings, separate species) ● Applied term “progress” to the “evolution” of savages to civilized ● Ranked European Caucasians above all other races ● Resulted in early 20th Century experiments with eugenics Early ● ● ● th 20 Century Culture History In part, a response to culture evolution theory Emphasized method of studying change in cultures; need to chronicle periods in material styles and traits (traditions) and their zone of outside influence (horizons) Focus on reconstructing relationships in time and space between cultures and what causes material change ● Influenced archaeological methodology ● Migration vs. diffusion vs. independent creation ● Flinders Petrie, Franz Boas (cultural relativism), V. Gordon Childe, Oscar Montelius, James A. Ford, Edward Tylor, A.V. Kidder, Gen. Pitt-Rivers, Mortimer Wheeler, Nels Nelson The New Archaeology ● ● ● ● Began in 1960's, made archaeology more of an anthropological discipline than the “handmaiden to history” Leslie White, Julian Steward, and Marvin Harris developed theories of culture as adaptation to environment (culture materialism and neoevolutionism) Lewis Binford developed processual archaeology to make the study scientific and objective. Based on observation of activities and reconstruction from archaeological record. Positivist. Ian Hodder developed postprocessualism, which tried to remain subjective, emphasizes that we cannot understand anything outside of our own experiences, so our study is merely a construction of another's reality. Relativist. Questions? ● ● ● ● What makes more sense to you? (Ideational vs. Adaptive, processual vs. postprocessual) What kinds of circumstances may cause a culture to adapt or create a new technology? Do you think we can really understand a past culture from reconstructing their lives? Anything you don't quite understand?