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Intro. to Anthropology
Transcript of Intro. to Anthropology
physical or biological anthropology
How are we different from one another?
How are we all the same?
anthropos* = man (more precisely, PEOPLE)
-ology = the study of
SO, anthropos + -ology = ANTHROPOLOGY
... or, the study of people.
Anthropology has 4 main areas or "subfields"
... but what is "culture" anyway?
There are many definitions of culture... but one of my favorites is this one:
"CULTURE" is everything people MAKE...
...as members of a society."
Can you think of anything people do that ISN'T influenced by their culture?
Some think that people may not be the only animals with culture...
Anthropologists study culture through direct observation of how people live.
Anthropology is centered around two big questions:
which studies ancient civilizations through the physical traces they've left behind (human remains and artifacts)
biological variation in modern human populations
How our species uses language to communicate
How languages differ, and how these differences are linked to culture
How children learn language
How language shapes social life
How language reflects power relations in society
We often think of "culture" as something exotic or artistic...
But really, every human group has just as much culture as any other.
What do you think?
Whether or not "culture" is exclusive to humans really depends on how you define it.
...as members of a society.
Both the process of observation and its final written product are called ETHNOGRAPHY, which literally means "writing about culture" (ethnos)
how cultural behaviors impact health
When we take information from the ethnographic descriptions of many different societies, and use them to draw general conclusions about human behavior, that's called ETHNOLOGY.
The coolest thing about anthropology is that you can use it to study just about ANYTHING you want, as long as it has to do with PEOPLE.
Anthropology might be for you if you're fascinated by ...
... different languages and cultures
... ancient societies
... human evolution
... world music
... folk art
... feminism / gender roles
... hunting, fishing, farming, or edible wild plants
... sustainability & the environment
... economic inequality
... racism & discrimination
... the effects of technology on people's lives
It's also a great field if you like to travel! I've done research in these places...
But being an anthropologist has allowed me to travel to all of THESE places!
Studying anthropology will probably not make you a millionaire...
But it IS one of the best things to study if you want to make the world a better place.
Because most of the world's problems are HUMAN problems, rooted in what people MAKE, THINK, and DO. (Remember our definition of culture?)
... and we're all in it together.
The idea of is central to the study of anthropology...