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Introduction to Anthropology.
 

Introduction to Anthropology.

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

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

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    Introduction to Anthropology. Introduction to Anthropology. Presentation Transcript

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