Introduction to Anthropology.


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Introduces the field of anthropology, covers basic concepts, and covers subfields of the discipline.

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Introduction to Anthropology.

  1. 1. Introduction to Anthropology Culture as a Central Concept
  2. 2. By Way of Introduction: Cheeseburger Ecology <ul><li>How many cheeseburgers did you eat this week? </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon footprint: how much carbon dioxide we emit per time unit—day, week, month, year. </li></ul><ul><li>Class Exercise: What is the carbon footprint of a Quarter Pounder? </li></ul><ul><li>List the ingredients </li></ul><ul><li>What is the carbon footprint of each? </li></ul><ul><li>For our first online discussion, get ready to address those questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Findings of One Study <ul><li>1 Cheeseburger averages 130 g. </li></ul><ul><li>Amount per serving: CO 2 equivalent is 3.06 kg. </li></ul><ul><li>Energy Sources: 243 kg. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Energy Sources: 264 kg. </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon/Product Ratio: 23.8 </li></ul><ul><li>Local Rating: C- </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon Code: Orange </li></ul>
  4. 4. Meaning of Cheeseburger Consumption: SUVs <ul><li>Assume 3 cheese-burgers per week </li></ul><ul><li>300 m people consume 3 cheeseburgers/wk </li></ul><ul><li>Total footprint: 195.75 milllion metric tons of CO 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Equivalent to 19.6 million Hummers’ CO 2 output </li></ul><ul><li>Source:Cascio, Jamais: Cheeseburger Footrprit </li></ul>
  5. 5. A Holistic Analysis of a Carbon Footprint <ul><li>Cattle, Feed, Transportation, Meat Processing—all consume fuel </li></ul><ul><li>These all increase output of carbon dioxide </li></ul><ul><li>So do Hummers </li></ul><ul><li>They all add up, regardless of source—cheeseburgers or gas guzzlers </li></ul><ul><li>This approach is holistic, and thus is very anthropological </li></ul>
  6. 6. Scenario: Oil Exhaustion <ul><li>Here’s another scenario: </li></ul><ul><li>You may have noticed that the price of oil has gone up from $1.50 to $5.00 a gallon over the past four years </li></ul><ul><li>Again, we need a holistic explanation </li></ul><ul><li>Hubbert’s Peak and the Olduvai Theory are two parts of this explanation (next two panels) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Hubbert’s Peak: Olduvai Theory <ul><li>An engineer by the name of M. King Hubbert predicted that cheap oil would reach a peak around the 1970s </li></ul><ul><li>After that, oil deposits would be scarcer and more expensive to exploit </li></ul><ul><li>Richard Duncan forecast a post-industrial stone age (next slide) </li></ul><ul><li>He called it the Olduvai Theory, after the stone tools found at Olduvai Gorge in Africa like these ones (left) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Olduvai Theory: Peak Oil <ul><li>Another scenario: Long term effects of fuel exhaustion (see next slide for written timetable) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Explaining the Olduvai Theory <ul><li>This is Duncan’s timetable: </li></ul><ul><li>A: Tool making begins (3 m.y.a.) </li></ul><ul><li>B: Fire use begins (1 m.y.a.) </li></ul><ul><li>C: Neolithic Revolution (10 k.y.a.) </li></ul><ul><li>D: Watts steam engine (1765) </li></ul><ul><li>E: Industrial Civilization Begins (1930) </li></ul><ul><li>F: Industrial Peak (1978) </li></ul><ul><li>G: Average Energy Consumption Falls (1996) </li></ul><ul><li>H: Industrial Civilization. reaches 1930 level (2025) </li></ul><ul><li>I-L: Postindustrial Stone Age (by 3000) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Questions on Olduvai Theory <ul><li>How would we handle the oil collapse? </li></ul><ul><li>Could we just go back to foraging? </li></ul><ul><li>What would the environment be like? </li></ul><ul><li>What other scenarios can you think of? </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to discuss these issues this week </li></ul>
  11. 11. What Does This Have to Do with Anthropology? <ul><li>What is anthropology all about? </li></ul><ul><li>Your syllabus defines it as “The Comparative and Holistic Study of Humankind” </li></ul><ul><li>These examples are exercises in holism </li></ul><ul><li>Global warming is a reality </li></ul><ul><li>So is resource exhaustion </li></ul>
  12. 12. Holism: First Order of Business <ul><li>From cheeseburgers to SUVs: </li></ul><ul><li>Every part affects the whole environment </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology: Holism has long been essential to fieldwork </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologists have to study everything </li></ul><ul><li>From language (above) </li></ul><ul><li>To kinship to the supernatural (below) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Comparison: Second Order of Business <ul><li>Why are cultures so different? </li></ul><ul><li>From etiquette to religion </li></ul><ul><li>Yet why are there so many similarities? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do the Yanomamo of South America fight? </li></ul><ul><li>Why and how do the Semai of Malaysia avoid warfare? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does this Semai kid just want to learn to play music? </li></ul>
  14. 14. What is Anthropology? <ul><li>What is anthropology so far as you know? </li></ul><ul><li>What are your expectations of an anthropology course? </li></ul><ul><li>This course is labeled “cultural anthropology? </li></ul><ul><li>What does “culture” and “cultural” mean to you? </li></ul><ul><li>What components make up a culture? </li></ul>
  15. 15. A Starting Answer: The Study of Humankind <ul><li>Derived from the Greek Anthropos (“man” or “human”) and </li></ul><ul><li>Logos (“logic of” or “science of”) </li></ul><ul><li>Study of man (humankind)? </li></ul><ul><li>Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) contributed a lot to our philosophy and science— </li></ul><ul><li>Not to mention our lingo! </li></ul>
  16. 16. Cultural Anthropology <ul><li>We call this course Cultural Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>It is about the study of humankind as cultural beings </li></ul><ul><li>Next question: What is culture? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Culture: Anthropology’s Main Concept <ul><li>Edward Burnet Tylor founded anthropology in Great Britain </li></ul><ul><li>His definition: “That complex whole which includes </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, custom </li></ul><ul><li>And any other capabilities and habits </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired by man (both genders) </li></ul><ul><li>As a member of society? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Generally Accepted Definition of Culture <ul><li>Learned (not genetic) human behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Shared by a group </li></ul><ul><li>As members of society </li></ul><ul><li>What are the features of culture? </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s get down to cases </li></ul>
  19. 19. Concept of Culture <ul><li>All cultures have at least five characteristics in common: </li></ul><ul><li>Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Shared </li></ul><ul><li>Patterned (Integrated) </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptive </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic </li></ul>
  20. 20. Culture is Learned <ul><li>All we do, say, or believe is learned, as these photos show. </li></ul><ul><li>Yanomamo mother is about to teach her daughter gardening </li></ul><ul><li>Yanomamo boys learning to hunt by shooting a lizard </li></ul><ul><li>Enculturation: learning the ways of a culture </li></ul>
  21. 21. So What’s the Big Deal About Learning? <ul><li>Our behavior is not genetically transmitted, unlike ants/bees </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is not just conditioning like trained dogs </li></ul><ul><li>We learn the skills and values of our society </li></ul><ul><li>And apply them to new situations </li></ul>
  22. 22. Culture is Shared <ul><li>A group with common language and custom shares a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Groups may be as small as 50 (African !Kung band, above) </li></ul><ul><li>They may comprise a nation of millions (e.g. Japan, shown by these schoolgirls, below) </li></ul><ul><li>There may be subcultures in a culture (e.g. Amish in Pennsylvania) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Culture is Patterned/Integrated <ul><li>One aspect of culture reflects other aspects </li></ul><ul><li>They all fit into a pattern as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of integration </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme example: Mexico’s Teotihuacan pyramid (above) </li></ul><ul><li>Probably weren’t built by tribesmen (below) </li></ul><ul><li>But pig feasts did fit in with New Guinea tribal culture. How? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Culture is Generally Adaptive <ul><li>Technology generally reflects features of environment </li></ul><ul><li>Settled communities: usually indicate stable food supply, such as the Aztec chinampas </li></ul><ul><li>Grasslands are best for pastoralism, such as this Mongolian camp </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures can become poorly adapted during rapid change </li></ul>
  25. 25. Culture is Based on Symbolism <ul><li>Definition : Bestowing meaning to a thing or event </li></ul><ul><li>Inherently unrelated to the thing or event itself </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Stop, yield traffic signs (above) </li></ul><ul><li>Language, such as these Maya </li></ul><ul><li>Sign or Signal: Sounds or gestures with self-evident meaning </li></ul><ul><li>(Arrow-shaped traffic sign) </li></ul>
  26. 26. So How Do We Define Anthropology? <ul><li>The Comparative and Holistic Study of Humankind </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic: Asks two questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic Holism : Asks if, and if so how, all parts of a culture fit together </li></ul><ul><li>Disciplinary Holism: Ask how all the four subfields of anthropology fit together </li></ul><ul><li>Comparative: Tries to answer the questions of why cultures are the way they are </li></ul>
  27. 27. Anthropology is Holistic <ul><li>Ethnographic Holism: The “fit” between different parts of a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Warfare and feasts among the Yanomamö to mitigate warfare </li></ul><ul><li>Disciplinary Holism: Ask why we include the following under “anthropology” </li></ul><ul><li>Physical Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistics </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeology </li></ul>
  28. 28. Holism: The Fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant <ul><li>The blind men describe the elephant </li></ul><ul><li>One touches the body and describes it as a wall </li></ul><ul><li>Another touches the trunk and calls it a snake </li></ul><ul><li>They cannot see the whole animal </li></ul><ul><li>So they argue endlessly what an elephant is </li></ul>
  29. 29. Blind Men as Metaphor of the Social Sciences <ul><li>Economics focuses on economic man (and woman) </li></ul><ul><li>Political science is about humans hungry for power </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology is about human with various drives: sexual, hunger, prestige </li></ul><ul><li>Sociology is about social humans </li></ul>
  30. 30. The Problem of Specialization <ul><li>And so like blind men’s descriptions </li></ul><ul><li>The social sciences suffer from overspecialization </li></ul><ul><li>We get this caricature of an elephant </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing metaphor with reality </li></ul><ul><li>The body is not a wall </li></ul><ul><li>Nor the trunk a snake </li></ul>
  31. 31. Anthropology as Holistic <ul><li>Culture is intangible , so in a sense </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologists (and everyone else) </li></ul><ul><li>Has a blindness of sorts </li></ul><ul><li>And so all disagree what culture is. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures, like elephants, cannot be described </li></ul><ul><li>Without understanding how their parts fit </li></ul><ul><li>Both elephants and cultures are more than the sum of their parts </li></ul>
  32. 32. Social Science as Caricature of Humankind <ul><li>Economists see us as money-grubbing economic man </li></ul><ul><li>Political scientists see us as control freakish political man </li></ul><ul><li>Psychologists see us as neurotic driven, sex crazed humans </li></ul><ul><li>None of these describe us as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>Just as the blind men could describe the elephant </li></ul>
  33. 33. Where the Subfields Come In: Disciplinary Holism <ul><li>Physical Anthropology: The comparative study of all aspects of human biology, fossil hominids, and contemporary human variation </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistics: The comparative study of spoken language and its relationship to culture </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Anthropology: The comparative study of culture and of cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeology: The comparative study of past cultures from their material remains. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Tying the Four Fields Together: Culture <ul><li>Physical Anthropology : Our biological capacity for culture </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistics: the communication base of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Archeology: The reconstruction of cultures of the past from our trash and ruins </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Anthropology: Cultures of the recent past, present </li></ul><ul><li>And of the future </li></ul>
  35. 35. Tying The Subfields to Culture: Physical Anthropology <ul><li>Our brain: </li></ul><ul><li>Source of our language </li></ul><ul><li>Source of our tool-making ability </li></ul><ul><li>Our Lungs and Mouth: Our ability to speak </li></ul><ul><li>Our Arms and Hands: Our ability to make and use tools </li></ul><ul><li>Our Bipedal Skeleton: Our ability to stand, walk, and ability to do all of the above </li></ul>
  36. 36. Tying the Subfields to Culture: Linguistics <ul><li>We learn everything through language: </li></ul><ul><li>Even the blind and deaf (Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan) </li></ul><ul><li>We can think of things not tangible: math equations, things not present or nonexistent </li></ul><ul><li>We can produce new words, from blip to iPod </li></ul>
  37. 37. Tying the Subfields to Culture: Archaeology <ul><li>Comparative study primarily of cultural remains of human societies </li></ul><ul><li>Even stone tools are hard to identify (above) </li></ul><ul><li>Human and prehuman physical remains are also important </li></ul><ul><li>(Did Neanderthals mate with humans? (below) </li></ul>
  38. 38. Anthropology is Comparative <ul><li>It involves comparison </li></ul><ul><li>Between diverse cultures </li></ul><ul><li>That are still around today </li></ul><ul><li>Of the recent past </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ethnographic present” </li></ul><ul><li>Between reconstructed cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Between related apes and humans (fossil and modern) </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn from comparison? </li></ul>
  39. 39. The Point of Comparison: Science <ul><li>All science involves comparison </li></ul><ul><li>We have money and markets </li></ul><ul><li>Tribesmen have done without money for millennia—and markets </li></ul><ul><li>Yet reciprocity—exchange of goods and services—is everywhere </li></ul>
  40. 40. What Does Comparison Tell Us? <ul><li>Tribesmen usually can produce all they need </li></ul><ul><li>We can get everything we need only by trade </li></ul><ul><li>Trade means markets—and money </li></ul><ul><li>Tribesmen do exchange goods—but they can survive without trade </li></ul>
  41. 41. Comparison: Anthropology Vs. Other Disciplines <ul><li>Economics: Focus is on industrial societies </li></ul><ul><li>Sociology: Social relations in industrial societies </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology: Study of hang-ups in industrial societies </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology provides data on all these aspects </li></ul><ul><li>Across all cultures around the world. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Explaining Cultures <ul><li>Popular Approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Religious Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnocentrism </li></ul><ul><li>Culture Bound Approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific Approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Humanistic Approaches </li></ul>
  43. 43. Field Techniques <ul><li>Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Participant Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Open or Unstructured Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Closed or Structured Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Technological Enhancements </li></ul><ul><li>Audiotape and Videotape Recordings </li></ul><ul><li>Aerial Photographs </li></ul>
  44. 44. Why Cultural Anthropology? Tylor’s Answer <ul><li>E.B. Tylor—again! (1871) wrote that: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Knowledge from remote past </li></ul><ul><li>Helps us to forecast the future and to </li></ul><ul><li>Fulfill our duty to leave the world better than we found it” </li></ul><ul><li>Today we know more than Tylor and his colleagues did </li></ul><ul><li>Can ask more specific research questions than they could </li></ul><ul><li>Provide some insight about the trajectory of our own society—well, we would hope so anyway! </li></ul>
  45. 45. Why Cultural Anthropology? To beat Ethnocentrism <ul><li>We see other cultures through </li></ul><ul><li>Our own 3-D cultural lenses </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone judges other cultures in terms of their own </li></ul><ul><li>This is ethnocentrism </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologists learn to judge a culture </li></ul><ul><li>By that culture’s standards </li></ul>
  46. 46. Why Cultural Anthropology: To apply the ethnographic record <ul><li>To see what has been done about problems besetting all cultures </li></ul><ul><li>To see if addressing problems in the past can be applied to today’s cultures </li></ul><ul><li>To see what will happen if we continue what we are doing now </li></ul><ul><li>To see what could be done to improve society </li></ul><ul><li>(Ignoring the homeless as in this cartoon is not one such solution) </li></ul>
  47. 47. Scope of This Course <ul><li>Characteristics of Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Research Techniques and Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Biological Capacities for Culture </li></ul><ul><li>How we came to be what we are as a species (above left) </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistics and Culture (below left) </li></ul><ul><li>The Components of Culture </li></ul>
  48. 48. Components of Culture <ul><li>Subsistence: How People Make a Living </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage, Family, and Kinship </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Political and Legal Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology of the Supernatural </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization and Culture Change </li></ul>
  49. 49. Conclusion <ul><li>We humans meet basic needs in different ways </li></ul><ul><li>Ways of getting food, shelter, clothing </li></ul><ul><li>Ways of controlling ourselves (and others) </li></ul><ul><li>Ways of explaining the universe (including what happens after death) </li></ul><ul><li>Different cultures have different answers </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropological Job Description: Recording and explaining these differences. </li></ul>