Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle

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Lecture 2: Strangers Abroad, Origins of the Anthropological Perspective

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Sc2218 lecture 2 (2010) ivle

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 2: “Strangers Abroad” Origins of the Anthropological Perspective Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011
  2. 2. Origins of Modern Anthropology <ul><li>Why are anthropologists “Strangers Abroad”? </li></ul><ul><li>Early Modern Anthropologists </li></ul><ul><li>American Cultural Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>British Social Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding difference and diversity…… from RACE to CULTURE. </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. Survey of the Ocean’s Shores (1433) <ul><li>Zheng He’s voyages, Early Ming Dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>Ma Huan was Zheng He’s chronicler; making a record of peoples and places </li></ul>
  5. 5. Early Modern Anthropologists <ul><li>Franz Boas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founder of American Anthropology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Baffin Island (Inuit/Eskimo); American Northwest (Kwakiutl) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bronislaw Malinowski </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trobriand Islands (Pacific) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E.E. Evans-Pritchard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Africa; Azande and Nuer (Sudan) </li></ul></ul>E.E. Evans-Pritchard 1902-1973 Bronislaw Malinowski 1884-1942 Franz Boas 1858-1942
  6. 6. Richard B. Lee: Anthropology in the mid-20 th century <ul><li>PhD UC-Berkeley, 1965: “Subsistence Ecology of !Kung Bushmen” </li></ul><ul><li>Man the Hunter (1968) – Evolutionary perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>See Appendix for revised view. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 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>
  8. 8. Why are People Different? <ul><li>Geography (“Environmental Determinism”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19 th century idea; uncommon now </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Race (“Biological Determinism”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19 th century idea; still common </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Culture (“Cultural Relativism”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19 th to 20 th century idea; popular now </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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>
  11. 11. “ 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>
  12. 12. Boas’ Career <ul><li>Born in 1856 to Jewish parents in Germany (Westphalia) </li></ul><ul><li>PhD in Physics (1881) </li></ul><ul><li>Post-graduate work in Geography </li></ul><ul><li>1883-4 Baffin Island Research (Inuit/Eskimo) </li></ul><ul><li>Founding of Department of Anthropology, Columbia University (New York) and American Anthropological Association, c.1896-1902 </li></ul><ul><li>1901 onward – trained dozens of PhD students, who went on to found anthropology departments elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Anthropology, University of Washington founded in 1920s by Leslie Spier and Melville Jacobs, both students of Franz Boas </li></ul><ul><li>1942 – Collapsed at a faculty dinner and died in the arms of Claude Levi-Strauss (French Anthropologist) </li></ul>
  13. 13. 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>
  14. 14. 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>
  15. 15. 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>
  16. 16. <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>
  17. 17. 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>
  18. 18. 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>
  19. 19. 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 are 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>
  20. 20. Boas’ Basic Questions for Anthropology: <ul><li>“ Why are the tribes and the nations of the world different and how have the present differences developed?” </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology , 1907 </li></ul>We will be addressing this question over the coming weeks.

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