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Introduction to Anthropology

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Christian Palmer

on 20 August 2016

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Transcript of Introduction to Anthropology

Introduction to Anthropology
Christian Palmer
ctpalmer@hawaii.edu

What is anthropology?
How is it organized?
When and how did it start?
-four field approach
How do anthropologists think?

What is anthropology?

Anthro- man
"the study of human beings in all of their biological and cultural complexity, both past and present" (Lassiter p.3)

Four field approach
-Cultural Anthropology
-Archaeology
-Biological Anthroplogy
-Linguistic Anthropology

How do anthropologists think?

"make the strange familiar and the familiar strange"
Horace Miner, (1956) Body ritual among the Nacirema.
https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html
Discuss
What kinds of questions do Anthropologists ask?
Groups of 3-4 students
Come up with a research topic
Think of 2-3 several anthropological research questions as a group.
Differences within and among societies
Gender, race, nationality, class, sexuality
How can this connect to community organizations?
Social and Cultural Anthropology
What is culture?
What is society?
What kinds of questions do cultural anthropologists ask?
How do they answer these questions?
Archaeology
the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.
What are artifacts? Physical remains?
What kinds of questions do archaeologists ask?
Physical Anthropology

Biological (or physical) anthropologists seek to understand how
humans adapt to diverse environments
, how biological and cultural processes work together to shape growth, development and behavior, and what causes disease and early death. In addition, they are interested in
human biological origins, evolution and variation
. They give primary attention to investigating questions having to do with evolutionary theory, our place in nature, adaptation and human biological variation. To understand these processes, biological anthropologists study other primates (primatology), the fossil record (paleoanthropology), prehistoric people (bioarchaeology), and the biology (e.g., health, cognition, hormones, growth and development) and genetics of living populations.
Sociocultural anthropologists examine
social patterns and practices across cultures
, with a special interest in how people live in particular places and how they
organize, govern, and create meaning
. A hallmark of sociocultural anthropology is its concern with similarities and differences, both within and among societies, and its attention to
race, sexuality, class, gender, and nationality
. Research in sociocultural anthropology is distinguished by its emphasis on
participant observation
, which involves placing oneself in the research context for extended periods of time to gain a first-hand sense of how
local knowledge
is put to work in grappling with practical problems of everyday life and with basic philosophical problems of knowledge, truth, power, and justice. Topics of concern to sociocultural anthropologists include such areas as
health, work, ecology and environment, education, agriculture and development, and social change
.
Linguistic Anthropology
Linguistic anthropology is the comparative study of ways in which
language reflects and influences social life
. It explores the many ways in which language practices define patterns of communication, formulate categories of social identity and group membership, organize large-scale cultural beliefs and ideologies, and, in conjunction with other forms of meaning-making, equip people with common cultural representations of their natural and social worlds. Linguistic anthropology shares with anthropology in general a concern to understand
power, inequality, and social change
, particularly as these are constructed and represented through language and discourse.
Archaeologists study
past peoples and culture
s, from the deepest prehistory to the recent past, through the analysis of
material remains
, ranging from artifacts and evidence of past environments to architecture and landscapes. Material evidence, such as
pottery, stone tools, animal bone, and remains of structures
, is examined within the context of theoretical paradigms, to address such topics as the
formation of social groupings, ideologies, subsistence patterns, and interaction with the environment
. Like other areas of anthropology, archaeology is a comparative discipline; it assumes basic human continuities over time and place, but also recognizes that every society is the product of its own particular history and that within every society there are commonalities as well as variation.
Some more things to think about...

Laulima - syllabus?
- statistics
- forums?
-
Textbooks - How to read?
- How to take notes...


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