Dr. Nick Pearce
What is ‘human’?
The anthropological paradigm
4 sub fields
What is culture?
Is the human body cultural?
Are humans unique?
What makes us
different to other
Week Theme Assignment (there are formatives each week)
1 Welcome and overview What is it to be human?
2 Biological Anthropology
3 Linguistic Anthropology
4 Cultural Anthropology Summative Assignment: Observing Culture
5 Cultural Anthropology 2
6 Archaeological Anthropology
7 Birth and mothers’ experiences Assignment 1 deadline
8 Coming of Age: from child to adult
9 Death: making sense of death
10 Revision: Sex, Death and Monkeys Mock Test
Reading pack is textbook
Second hand market
Online, ebay.co.uk, abebooks
Be careful about currency of book (edition
Also some topics are contentious (ie evolution)
Duo teaching materials
Pinterest and YouTube
Formative – each week
– 40% Observing Culture, report
– 60% Test
The Anthropological Paradigm
anthropos (man or human) and logia (study of).
Observation & Participation
Anthropology has four major sub-
Biological anthropology is the study of human biological origin and diversity
Biological anthropology (sometimes called physical anthropology) is divided into two
(1) Evolutionary anthropology is the study of the evolution of the human species, the
relationships between Homo sapiens and other primates, and the fossil record of
primate evolution (paleoanthropology).
(2) Contemporary biological anthropology, the study of living populations, details the
biological variation of human populations, their genetic structures, and the way they
adapt to varying environments (deserts, the Arctic, and high altitude). It also involves
the study of skeletal biology (anatomy), human growth and development, and human
interaction with diseases.
Linguistic anthropology is the study of language and speech in both
contemporary and past cultures
Linguistic Anthropology is composed of four basic branches.
• Historical linguistics deals with the emergence of language and how languages have
changed and diverged over time.
• Descriptive linguistics is the study of the sounds (phones), sound systems, grammar,
syntax, and the meanings that are attached to words in specific languages.
• Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between language and social relations.
As an example, sociolinguists might study how one's social standing affects his or her
• Ethnolinguistics is the examination of the relationship between culture and language
and how the two interact and influence one another.
Cultural anthropology is the study of the lifeways of contemporary
Anthropologists collect data on living peoples by conducting extensive fieldwork
going out into the world's societies and observing people as they interact and live
their lives. This is called ethnography.
Cultural Anthropologists are interested in the extent of variation and in
discovering general cultural principles or patterns. Areas may include
Archaeology is the study of the lifeways of people who existed in
Using cultural remains, archaeologists study the behavior patterns of extinct
peoples. The goal of archaeology is to elucidate the past by asking when,
where, what, and why/how the people in the past did things. Archaeologists
are interested in knowing about cultural patterns such as
adaptation to the environment
evolution of populations
What is culture?
Everyone has a culture. It shapes how we see the world,
ourselves, and others.
“Culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours,
and artefacts that the members of a society use to cope with their
world and with one another, and that is transmitted from generation
to generation through learning.”
(Bates and Plog, 1990)
What is culture?
• Culture is not nature
• Culture is learned
• Culture influences and
• Culture is often
The Human Body: Natural or
• The following images are from a book by Howard
Schatz (2002) “Athlete”
• They are of elite level athletes from various sports
• Make a note of the variety
• How might we think of this variety as
• Now think of variety amongst non-elite
athletes, the rest of humanity
For next week…
Check duo for homework
Human evolution - our bodies and the world around us