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Introduction to Anthropology
 

Introduction to Anthropology

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Introduction to Anthropology and Sample of Cultures

Introduction to Anthropology and Sample of Cultures

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    Introduction to Anthropology Introduction to Anthropology Presentation Transcript

    • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Culture as a Central Concept
    • Have you ever wondered why. . .
      • Some cultures are warlike like these Vanuatu tribesmen? (Top photo)
      • Who have guests over for dinner—and the guests are the dinner?
      • Of course, were much more civilized that that, aren’t we?
      • (Our boys in action over there in Iraq)
      • We use high tech—much cleaner than all that gore)
    • Hasn’t It ever occurred to you. . .
      • Why polygamy is practiced?
      • (You were maybe expecting two women married to one man?)
      • Guess what! The upper photo does portrays polygamy of a kind.
      • It’s called polyandry—one woman married to two men
      • So does the lower photo of this ethnic Tibetan coup—I mean trio
    • Haven’t these things piqued your curiosity. . .
      • How it is that people practice sorcery (above)
      • And actually believe all that stuff?
      • Or how half a million would go halfway around the world
      • For the sake of a rock called the Kabala Stone?
    • Or how about these. . .
      • Why is it that, to some peoples, this witchetty grub is like a steak dinner?
      • Or why is it that, instead of using pigskin for football games,
      • These Afghan horsemen prefer to use a goat’s carcass for their version of polo?
    • Human Diversity: A Fact of Life Despite our Funny Ideas
      • We have funny notions about “primitive” cultures (cartoon)
      • Caption: “Let’s contact that professor who wanted to study us
      • And eat the students he sends to do the research”
      • But many cultures are peaceable (such as this Semai man of Malaysia)
      • They abhor war and avoid violent behavior, suppress anger
      • Even Semai children avoid games that are competitive
    • On Human Diversity: Making a Living
      • Some cultures hunt and gather, such as the !Kung women bringing in edible roots (upper photo)
      • Our ancestors did the same for up to 200,000 years ago
      • Other peoples farm, such as these Iroquois women (lower drawing)
      • Still others may raise only cattle, horses, or other large animals
      • Nowadays most of us do nonfarm work full time (sound familiar?)
    • On Human Diversity: Marriage
      • Take marriage:
      • Some cultures are monogamous—like ours
      • Serial monogamy is one subtype—as suggested in this cartoon
      • Q: Why are men attracted to women who smoke?
      • A: “Serial monogamy: when she dies, I go to the next one”
      • Others don’t wait—they practice polygyny, as in this Nigerian household
      • You’ve already seen that others practice polyandry (in Tibet)
    • On Human Diversity: Economics
      • Most economies are built on gift exchange called reciprocity ’
      • Among the !Kung (above), the unlucky hunter could still count on meat
      • He would return the favor when he bagged an animal
      • Other societies rely on open air markets
      • Such as this one in Chichicastenango, Guatemala
    • On Human Diversity: Politics, Law, and War
      • Most non-Western societies manage social control without government
      • Above: Nuer leopard skin chief , who mediates disputes, usually over cattle
      • But he cannot force parties to agree nor can he enforce existing agreement
      • Often, mediation fails leading to warfare (Dani of Western New Guinea, below, prepare for battle)
      • Revenge is often obligatory out of fear of vengeful spirits
    • On Human Diversity: The Supernatural
      • Different peoples perceive the unseen world in different ways
      • Islam and Christianity have the same prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ
      • Both call for the triumph of good over evil
      • Hindu/Buddhist Balinese see the concepts as forces cancelling each other out
      • Gods are the forces of creation
      • Demons (right) are the forces of decay and destruction
      • Human role: to keep the forces in balance or else the world will come to an end
    • What Anthropologists Do
      • Explaining diversity and similarities is the job of anthropologists
      • Why do some peoples have one spouse while others have many?
      • Why do some cultures have governments and their codified laws while others manage without them?
      • Why do some peoples share their resources while others do not?
      • These are all questions that anthropologists address .
    • Welcome to Cultural Anthropology
      • This term, you will be looking at the different cultures around the world
      • You will find out why some marriages are arranged
      • And make perfect sense to East Indian families
      • Even if this woman and man
      • may never have met each other before. . .
    • So What is Anthropology?
      • Glad you asked!
      • Let’s look at the etymology. . .
      • “ Anthropology” is derived from two Greek terms:
      • Anthropos: “man” or by extension “human”
      • Logos: “study of” or “science of”
      • But any field from medicine to law to history is about humans
      • So we have to narrow the term down a bit
    • Anthropology: Study of Culture
      • We might define anthropology as the holistic and comparative study of humankind and its culture
      • Anthropologists observe people’s behavior of a culture in the field (As in Quintana Roo, SE Mexico)
      • Or reconstruct their behavior in archeological sites (As at this Inca site near Macchu Pichu, Peru)
      • Or study people’s language that carries their culture
      • Or study their biological capacity for culture. . .
      • But what is culture? That is up next,