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Archaeological record provides unique opportunity to look at changes in social complexity over time
Archaeologists use paleoecological studies to establish ecological and subsistence parameters within which given groups lived
Archaeologists study the past cultures of people, to infer info about beliefs, religion, social organization, etc.
Just as modern dog lovers pamper their pets with morsels from the table and space on the bed, it seems that ancient Peruvians also treated their dogs like members of the family. -Nat’l Geog.
Study of human biological variation in time and space
Includes evolution, genetics, growth and development, and primatology
Draws on biology, zoology, geology, anatomy, physiology, medicine, public health, osteology, and archaeology
Biological Anthropology: Specialties
Paleoanthropology – Human evolution in the fossil record
Human growth and development
Human biological plasticity – Body’s ability to change
Primatology – Study of primate biology, evolution, behavior, and social life
Example: Human Genographic Project
Deep ancestry (10kya+)
Y chromosome allele mutations/differences
Historical linguists – reconstruct ancient languages and study linguistic variation through time
Sociolinguistics – Studies relationship between social and linguistic variation... discovers patterns of thought in different cultures
Study of language in its social and cultural context across space and time
Historical Linguistics: Indo-European Langs 1,500 yrs ago
IE Languages Today
Applying the data, perspectives, theories, & methods to real situations
Helping solve contemporary social problems
E.g., in Public health, cultural resource management, & business
Tongva (Gabrielino) seed beater of willow & redbud boughs; used to collect seeds for pi ñole (sage, tarweed, acorns, Madia flowers, cherry stones
Anthropology Interacts with Other Academic Fields
Sociology shares an interest in social relations, organization, and behavior
Originally, sociologists focused on industrial West
Sociologists use surveys extensively
Anth & Soc are converging
Anthropology as a Science
Systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena with reference to the material and physical world
Anthropology as an Art
Encompasses study of and cross-cultural comparison of languages, texts, philosophies, arts, music, performances, and other forms of creative expression
Science, Explanation, and Hypothesis Testing Research methods are the techniques that investigators use to formulate meaningful questions and to collect, analyze, and interpret facts in replicable and reliable ways. Carefully define variables Associations – observed relationships between two or more measured variables
1st level of abstraction
2nd level of abstraction
Research Q: Is there a relationship b/n Education & Experience?
What testable framework?
What 1st level abstract concepts?
Define/operationalize our terms: family, parent, college experience
2nd level: Are there associations?
What is the significance?
Theories are never proved, only disproved
Theories “build” & expand
Theories are never “true,” only verified
A “law” is a highly verified theory
Models and explanations are high level theories
Science & Validity
Methods of Collecting Data in Cultural Anthropology
Operationalize or define terms
Independent & dependent variables
Anthropologist K. Narayan (right) with U. D. Sood doing Oral Folklore project in India