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Anth101.111 SPR16 Wk 4
Transcript of Anth101.111 SPR16 Wk 4
The Birth of Anthropology, Cannibalism & Human Zoos
The Great Chain of Being
-earth unchanged since creation (state of stasis)
-hierarchy/ scale of "perfection"
theory of change
-influenced by Erasmus Darwin & Charles Lyell
-change occurs through natural selection
process by which those most adapted to survive and reproduce in a given environment do so in greater numbers than others in that population.
-random genetic drift
"race" as a way to signify human variation
--positioned "races" on a hierarchical scale of "closeness to God"
substantial effort to classify people into racial categories based upon arbitrary phenotypical characteristics
Examine how biological evolution relates to cultural institutions
Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman
Ota Benga - 1906
Cincinnati Zoo- 1896
Birth of Anthropology
Henry Lewis Morgan
Social or Cultural
Idea that cultures 'evolve' through stages
Henry Lewis Morgan
Focus on technology and materials
Savagery: Hunting & Gathering, Fire, Pottery, Bow
Barbarism: Domestication of Animals, Agriculture, Metal Working
Civilization: Industrialization, Adoption of alphabet and writing
Argued that humans’ evolution was not just about technology & materials
-physicist & geographer
-migrated to United States in 1886
Critique of Cultural/Social Evolution
Culture is not just about materials & technology… about complex system of meaning
Each culture has to be understood in its own terms- not in comparison to Europe or the U.S.
Different environments, different needs, develop different technologies
Different cultures, unique set of histories
Critique of Social Darwism & Race
If race is not a biological fact, what is it?
Race is not a biological fact:
--physical variation associated with populations originating in specific environments
-but does not produce discrete categories of people
--biologically/genetically meaningless classification
a construction of reality- a way of classifying people
"culturally constructed label (classification) that crudely and imprecisely describes real (human) variation" (Relethford).
but..."race" is real in shaping our interactions & our political & economic institutions
--we make it meaningful as a unit of classification
-Why do we have different skin tones?
-How does the process of classifying humans into racial categories relate to health?
-Does 'race' give athletes a competitive advantage?
During the 70's a form of cannibalism gained popularity in the U.S.
Constructing Signifiers of Difference
Age of Discovery & the Renaissance
Who are they?
Who are we??!!
Religion as signifier
Who is Christian?
common way of talking about who wasn't Christian
Human body parts used in medicine throughout Europe until the 17th C
Age of Enlightenment or Reason
Political comparisons as signifier
Hobbes- 17th C
Rousseau - 18th C
Industrial Revolution, Colonialism, & Science:
'survival of the fittest'-
most intelligent members of society would survive
idea mapped onto class and race
--those in less 'evolved' societies were mentally and biologically inferior
We face the danger of coming up with theories about differences that are shaped by the way Americans or Europeans perceive the world—in terms of race or progress.
We face the danger of misrepresenting the complexity of other groups of people
We face the danger of losing our objectivity.
-Give an example of the tourists speaking of the PNGs as 'brutish savages' and 'noble savages'.
-Is this different from the human zoos of the 19th & 20th centuries? How, Why, Why Not?
-Who are the cannibals? Why?