SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 2: “Strangers Abroad” Origins of the Anthropological Perspective Eric...
Questions about Ibn Battuta and Ma Huan <ul><li>Why were these reading assigned? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have anything t...
Strangers, Others, & the Anthropological Perspective <ul><li>Ibn Batt ú ta </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Travels in Asia and Afric...
Context of Modern Anthropology 19 th  – 21 st  centuries <ul><li>European & American Colonialism </li></ul><ul><li>Scienti...
Cultural Evolution <ul><li>19 th  C. European Idea </li></ul><ul><li>All societies progress through stages </li></ul><ul><...
The White Man’s Burden (Kipling 1899) <ul><li>Take up the White man’s burden, </li></ul><ul><li>Send forth the best ye bre...
“ The Shackles of Tradition” <ul><li>Who was  Franz Boas ? What was his role in shaping modern anthropology? </li></ul><ul...
Boas’ Legacy <ul><li>How  Boas  shaped Anthropology: </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term Fieldwork </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Baffin Is...
Culture as  Cultivation <ul><li>“ If this trip has … a valuable experience, it lies in the strengthening of the viewpoint ...
Cultural Relativism, Anti-Racism, Humanism <ul><li>Prior to Boas, the dominant paradigm of anthropology was  unilinear  ev...
<ul><li>“ Each culture has its own theoreticians whose contributions deserve the same attention as that which the anthropo...
Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemma: Cultural & Moral Relativism <ul><li>Does “cultural relativism” imply “moral relativism”? <...
Colonial Anthropology (mid-19 th  C. to mid-20 th  C.) <ul><li>American “Cultural” Anthropology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focu...
Post-Colonial Anthropology <ul><li>American “Area Studies” (Cold War) </li></ul><ul><li>Soviet Anthropology (USSR, China, ...
“ Bodily Ritual among the Nacirema” <ul><li>Most widely read and reproduced article in anthropology of the 20 th  century....
Questions for the coming week… <ul><li>What is the relationship between Franz Boas’ “anti-evolutionary” approach and the f...
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Sc2218 Lecture 2 (2008a)

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Lecture 2: Strangers Abroad: Origins of the Anthropological Perspective

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Sc2218 Lecture 2 (2008a)

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 2: “Strangers Abroad” Origins of the Anthropological Perspective Eric C. Thompson Audrey Verma, Seuty Sabur Semester 1, 2008/2009
  2. 2. Questions about Ibn Battuta and Ma Huan <ul><li>Why were these reading assigned? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have anything to do with anthropology or social science? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there any relationship between the passages from Ibn Battuta, Ma Huan, and the chapters (1-3) of Lee’s book The Dobe Ju/’hoansi ? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Strangers, Others, & the Anthropological Perspective <ul><li>Ibn Batt ú ta </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ma Huan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey of the Ocean’s Shores, 1433 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Franz Boas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expedition to Baffin Island, 1883-1884 </li></ul></ul>Ibn Batt úta’s Route Admiral Zheng He Ibn Battúta *Follow the hyperlinks for additional information.
  4. 4. Context of Modern Anthropology 19 th – 21 st centuries <ul><li>European & American Colonialism </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific approaches to studying people, society and culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Decline of colonialism, national liberation movements, “native anthropologists” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Cultural Evolution <ul><li>19 th C. European Idea </li></ul><ul><li>All societies progress through stages </li></ul><ul><li>Europeans = most advanced </li></ul><ul><li>Justification of European Colonial Rule (The “white man’s burden”) </li></ul>Lower Savagery Middle Savagery Upper Savagery Lower Barbarism Middle Barbarism Upper Barbarism Civilization Lewis Henry Morgan’s Scheme of Social Evolution L.H. Morgan
  6. 6. The White Man’s Burden (Kipling 1899) <ul><li>Take up the White man’s burden, </li></ul><ul><li>Send forth the best ye breed. </li></ul><ul><li>Go bind your sons to exile, </li></ul><ul><li>To serve your captives’ need. </li></ul><ul><li>To wait in heavy harness, </li></ul><ul><li>On fluttered folk and wild. </li></ul><ul><li>Your new caught, sullen peoples, </li></ul><ul><li>Half-devil and half-child. </li></ul><ul><li>Kipling’s poem echoes three European ideas about “natives”: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Wild” – Non-human, animals (e.g. debate over whether native Americans had ‘souls’) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Half-devil” – Heathens </li></ul><ul><li>“ Half-child” – Lower stage of development </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ The Shackles of Tradition” <ul><li>Who was Franz Boas ? What was his role in shaping modern anthropology? </li></ul><ul><li>What did Boas think about “Savages”? </li></ul><ul><li>How did the idea of CULTURE influence his views? </li></ul><ul><li>How does Boas compare with other Strangers Abroad? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Boas’ Legacy <ul><li>How Boas shaped Anthropology: </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term Fieldwork </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Baffin Island, Inuit (“Eskimo”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pacific Northwest, Kwakiutl (with George Hunt ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Professionalization & Institutionalization </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on Language and Culture </li></ul><ul><li>“ Holistic Approach” </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Relativism (History vs. Evolutionary Stages) </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-Racist, Humanistic tradition </li></ul>
  9. 9. Culture as Cultivation <ul><li>“ 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 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Cultural Relativism, Anti-Racism, Humanism <ul><li>Prior to Boas, the dominant paradigm of anthropology was unilinear evolution. </li></ul>Savagery Barbarism Civilization Lewis Henry Morgan <ul><li>Boas rejected evolutionary approaches in favor of cultural relativism . </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures are not “better” or “worse”; more or less advanced, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures must be understood on their own terms , not in relationship to other cultures. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ 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 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemma: Cultural & Moral Relativism <ul><li>Does “cultural relativism” imply “moral relativism”? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there limits to cultural or moral relativism? </li></ul><ul><li>Is cultural relativism necessary for anthropological research? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Colonial Anthropology (mid-19 th C. to mid-20 th C.) <ul><li>American “Cultural” Anthropology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on Native American cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>British “Social” Anthropology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on Natives of the British Empire </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The “Savage Slot” </li></ul><ul><li>Methodological Alterity </li></ul>
  14. 14. Post-Colonial Anthropology <ul><li>American “Area Studies” (Cold War) </li></ul><ul><li>Soviet Anthropology (USSR, China, Vietnam) </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Rejection of Anthropology (We’re not “Primitive”) </li></ul><ul><li>National Anthropologies (e.g. Thailand , Korea) </li></ul><ul><li>Methodological Nationalism </li></ul><ul><li>“ World Anthropologies” </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization (e.g. Anthropology of YouTube ) </li></ul>
  15. 15. “ Bodily Ritual among the Nacirema” <ul><li>Most widely read and reproduced article in anthropology of the 20 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>A critique of anthropology’s tendency to “exoticize” other cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting back on one’s own culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Making “the strange familiar and the familiar strange.” </li></ul><ul><li>Published in 1956 – point of transition from colonial to post-colonial anthropology? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Questions for the coming week… <ul><li>What is the relationship between Franz Boas’ “anti-evolutionary” approach and the findings/arguments of Wells & Handwerker? </li></ul><ul><li>Are evolutionary theories of culture and “cultural relativism” compatible? </li></ul><ul><li>Hint: Today, evolution is not considered to be “unilinear”; in fact, it is non-linear . </li></ul>

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