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Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle

Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle



Lecture 2: Strangers Abroad, Origins of the Anthropological Perspective

Lecture 2: Strangers Abroad, Origins of the Anthropological Perspective



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    Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle Presentation Transcript

    • SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 2: “Strangers Abroad” Origins of the Anthropological Perspective Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011
    • Origins of Modern Anthropology
      • Why are anthropologists “Strangers Abroad”?
      • Early Modern Anthropologists
      • American Cultural Anthropology
      • British Social Anthropology
      • Understanding difference and diversity…… from RACE to CULTURE.
    • Strangers, Others, & the Anthropological Perspective
      • Ibn Batt ú ta
        • Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354
      • Ma Huan
        • Survey of the Ocean’s Shores, 1433
      • Franz Boas
        • Expedition to Baffin Island, 1883-1884
      Ibn Batt úta’s Route Admiral Zheng He Ibn Battúta *Follow the hyperlinks for additional information.
    • Survey of the Ocean’s Shores (1433)
      • Zheng He’s voyages, Early Ming Dynasty
      • Ma Huan was Zheng He’s chronicler; making a record of peoples and places
    • Early Modern Anthropologists
      • Franz Boas
        • Founder of American Anthropology
        • Baffin Island (Inuit/Eskimo); American Northwest (Kwakiutl)
      • Bronislaw Malinowski
        • Trobriand Islands (Pacific)
      • E.E. Evans-Pritchard
        • Africa; Azande and Nuer (Sudan)
      E.E. Evans-Pritchard 1902-1973 Bronislaw Malinowski 1884-1942 Franz Boas 1858-1942
    • Richard B. Lee: Anthropology in the mid-20 th century
      • PhD UC-Berkeley, 1965: “Subsistence Ecology of !Kung Bushmen”
      • Man the Hunter (1968) – Evolutionary perspective.
      • See Appendix for revised view.
    • Context of Modern Anthropology 19 th – 21 st centuries
      • European & American Colonialism
      • Scientific approaches to studying people, society and culture.
      • Decline of colonialism, national liberation movements, “native anthropologists”
    • Why are People Different?
      • Geography (“Environmental Determinism”)
        • 19 th century idea; uncommon now
      • Race (“Biological Determinism”)
        • 19 th century idea; still common
      • Culture (“Cultural Relativism”)
        • 19 th to 20 th century idea; popular now
    • Cultural Evolution
      • 19 th C. European Idea
      • All societies progress through stages
      • Europeans = most advanced
      • Justification of European Colonial Rule (The “white man’s burden”)
      Lower Savagery Middle Savagery Upper Savagery Lower Barbarism Middle Barbarism Upper Barbarism Civilization Lewis Henry Morgan’s Scheme of Social Evolution L.H. Morgan
    • The White Man’s Burden (Kipling 1899)
      • Take up the White man’s burden,
      • Send forth the best ye breed.
      • Go bind your sons to exile,
      • To serve your captives’ need.
      • To wait in heavy harness,
      • On fluttered folk and wild.
      • Your new caught, sullen peoples,
      • Half-devil and half-child.
      • Kipling’s poem echoes three European ideas about “natives”:
      • “ Wild” – Non-human, animals (e.g. debate over whether native Americans had ‘souls’)
      • “ Half-devil” – Heathens
      • “ Half-child” – Lower stage of development
    • “ The Shackles of Tradition”
      • Who was Franz Boas ? What was his role in shaping modern anthropology?
      • What did Boas think about “Savages”?
      • How did the idea of CULTURE influence his views?
      • How does Boas compare with other Strangers Abroad?
    • Boas’ Career
      • Born in 1856 to Jewish parents in Germany (Westphalia)
      • PhD in Physics (1881)
      • Post-graduate work in Geography
      • 1883-4 Baffin Island Research (Inuit/Eskimo)
      • Founding of Department of Anthropology, Columbia University (New York) and American Anthropological Association, c.1896-1902
      • 1901 onward – trained dozens of PhD students, who went on to found anthropology departments elsewhere.
      • Department of Anthropology, University of Washington founded in 1920s by Leslie Spier and Melville Jacobs, both students of Franz Boas
      • 1942 – Collapsed at a faculty dinner and died in the arms of Claude Levi-Strauss (French Anthropologist)
    • Boas’ Legacy
      • How Boas shaped Anthropology:
      • Long-term Fieldwork
        • Baffin Island, Inuit (“Eskimo”)
        • Pacific Northwest, Kwakiutl (with George Hunt )
      • Professionalization & Institutionalization
      • Focus on Language and Culture
      • “ Holistic Approach”
      • Cultural Relativism (History vs. Evolutionary Stages)
      • Anti-Racist, Humanistic tradition
    • Culture as Cultivation
      • “ If this trip has … a valuable experience, it lies in the strengthening of the viewpoint of the relativity of all cultivation . And that the evil as well as the value of a person lies in the cultivation of the heart, which I find or do not find here just as much as amongst us. ” – Franz Boas 1883-1884
    • Cultural Relativism, Anti-Racism, Humanism
      • Prior to Boas, the dominant paradigm of anthropology was unilinear evolution.
      Savagery Barbarism Civilization Lewis Henry Morgan
      • Boas rejected evolutionary approaches in favor of cultural relativism .
      • Cultures are not “better” or “worse”; more or less advanced, etc.
      • Cultures must be understood on their own terms , not in relationship to other cultures.
      • “ Each culture has its own theoreticians whose contributions deserve the same attention as that which the anthropologist gives to colleagues.” Claude Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology , 1963 [1958], pg. 282
    • Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemma: Cultural & Moral Relativism
      • Does “cultural relativism” imply “moral relativism”?
      • Are there limits to cultural or moral relativism?
      • Is cultural relativism necessary for anthropological research?
    • Colonial Anthropology (mid-19 th C. to mid-20 th C.)
      • American “Cultural” Anthropology
        • Focus on Native American cultures
      • British “Social” Anthropology
        • Focus on Natives of the British Empire
      • The “Savage Slot”
      • Methodological Alterity
    • Post-Colonial Anthropology
      • American “Area Studies” (Cold War)
      • Soviet Anthropology (USSR, China, Vietnam)
      • Japanese Anthropology
      • Rejection of Anthropology (We are not “Primitive”)
      • National Anthropologies (e.g. Thailand , Korea)
      • Methodological Nationalism
      • “ World Anthropologies”
      • Globalization (e.g. Anthropology of YouTube )
    • Boas’ Basic Questions for Anthropology:
      • “ Why are the tribes and the nations of the world different and how have the present differences developed?”
      • Anthropology , 1907
      We will be addressing this question over the coming weeks.