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Anth101/111 Lec 4 SPR14

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Julie Jenkins

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of Anth101/111 Lec 4 SPR14

Perspectives on Culture:
The Birth of Anthropology, Cannibalism & Human Z00s

Birth of Anthropology
E.B. Tylor
Henry Lewis Morgan
Social or Cultural
Evolution
Argued that cultures evolve through stages
Simple
Complex
Unilineal Evolution
Misunderstood the principle of biological evolution
Henry Lewis Morgan
Focus on technology and materials
Savagery
Barbarism
Civilization
Savagery: Hunting & Gathering, Fire, Pottery, Bow

Barbarism: Domestication of Animals, Agriculture, Metal Working

Civilization: Industrialization, Adoption of alphabet and writing
Social Darwinism
Argued that humans’ evolution was not just about technology & materials
But that peoples categorized as savages or barbarians were mentally & biologically inferior

Biological Determinism

Connected to peoples’ race
Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman - 1810
Ota Benga - 1906
Modern Anthropology
Franz Boas
German born, migrated to United States
Critique of Cultural Evolution
Culture- not just about materials & technology… about complex system of meaning
Has to be understood in its own terms- not in comparison to Europe or the U.S
Different environments, different needs, develop different technologies
Critique of Social Darwism & Race
Differences between people not because of biology-
but culture
Without Relativism...
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.
Herbert Spencer
Fun Fact:
During the 70's a form of cannibalism gained popularity in the U.S- Placentophagy
Constructions of Difference
Age of Discovery & the Renaissance (14-17th C)
Columbus, other explorers, traders & missionaries
-Finding about others, and Europe's own past
Difference via religion
'pagan' vs Christian
Human body parts used in medicine throughout Europe until the 17th C
Age of Enlightenment or Reason (17-18th C)
Shifting away from religious comparisons
Shifting towards political comparisons
Hobbes- 17th C- "Brutish Savage"
Rousseau - 18th C- "Noble Savage"
About Tahiti:
"I thought myself transported to the Garden of Eden"
-Bougainville
Industrial Revolution, Colonialism, & Science:
18th-19th C
difference based on perceptions of technology & evolution
cataloging peoples into groups:
How does a group of people relate to evolution & technological advances?
Idea of 'progress'
--Does 'evolution' mean progress?
--Does 'evolution only go in one direction?
If race is not a biological fact-- what is it?
a construction of reality- a way of classifying people

"culturally constructed label (classification) that crudely and imprecisely describes real (human) variation" (Relethford).
Different cultures, unique set of histories
Historical Particularism
Relativism
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
Question of "Who is Christian?"- important in the context of the Reformation
Cannibalism--
common way of talking about who wasn't Christian
--debates about the Eucharist
Human Zoos of 19th & 20th C
Cincinnati Zoo- 1896
How are images of the 'brutish savage', 'noble savage', social evolutionism and social darwinism reproduced today?
-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?
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