Introduction to General Anthropology Zdzisław Głębocki, Ph.D. Lecture 1 The Essence of Anthropology Lecture Preview What is Anthropology? How Do Anthropologists Do What They Do? How Does Anthropology Compare to Other Disciplines? Making Sense of Being Human • Where did we come from? • Why are we so radically different from some animals and so surprisingly similar to others? • Why do our bodies look the way they do? • How do we explain so many different beliefs, languages, and customs? • Why do we act in certain ways? What Is Anthropology? The study of the biological and cultural evolution and diversity of human beings, past and present. Anthropology is a comparative discipline which seeks to understand what makes people different and what they all have in common. What Do Anthropologists Do? Anthropologists are concerned with the description and explanation of reality. They formulate and test hypotheses concerning humankind so they can develop theories about our species. The Development of Anthropology Anthropology as a distinct field of study developed relatively recently. The encounter with other peoples began 500 years ago as Europeans sought to extend their trade and political domination to all parts of the world focused attention on human differences. Europeans gradually came to recognize that despite all the differences, they might share a basic humanity with people everywhere. Anthropological Perspectives A fundamental principle of anthropology, that the various parts of culture must be viewed in the broadest possible context in order to understand their interconnections and interdependence. Theories about the world and reality based on the assumptions and values of one’s own culture. Visual Counterpoint: Class Discussion American infant sleeping arrangements (left) differ from those of the Nenet, a reindeer-herding culture from Siberia (right) Visual Counterpoint: Class Discussion Infants in the United States typically sleep apart from their parents, but cross-cultural research shows that co-sleeping is the rule. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- What cultural reasons do we have for having infants sleep apart from parents? What impacts on health might be associated with these contrasting sleeping patterns? Four Sub-Fields of Anthropology Four Sub-Fields of Anthropology Physical Anthropology Archaeology Linguistic Anthropology Cultural Anthropology Applied Anthropology Often seen as the fifth sub-field of anthropology. Uses anthropological knowledge and methods from the four sub-fields to solve practical problems, often for a specific client. Physical Anthropology Also called biological anthropology. Focuses on humans as biological organisms, evolution, and human variation. Analyze fossils and observe living primates to reconstruct the ancestry of the human species. The biocultural perspective focuses on the interaction of biology and culture. Physical Anthropology Also called biological anthropology. Focuses on humans as biological organisms, evolution, and human variation. Analyze fossils and observe living primates to reconstruct the ancestry of the human species. The biocultural perspective focuses on the interaction of biology and culture. The Biocultural Perspective: Class Discussion Classic period (AD 600) Mayan maxilla or upper jaw demonstrating dental surgery (inlaid jade) – from the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Guatemala City The Biocultural Perspective: Class Discussion Many cultures alter their bodies through surgical techniques for aesthetic, political, and economic reasons. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Why do you think the Mayans altered their teeth? Do people in Europe/Poland alter their bodies? If so, how and why? Physical Anthropology Paleoanthropology • The study of the origins of the human species. Physical Anthropology Forensic anthropology Specializes in the identification of human skeletal remains for legal purposes. Physical Anthropology Primatology The study of living and fossil primates. Mandrill Ring-Tailed Lemur Physical Anthropology Human Growth, Adaptation, and Diversity The study of the ways in which the natural and cultural environment impacts human growth and biological diversity Cultural Anthropology The study of different patterns in human behavior, thought, and feelings. Focuses on humans as cultureproducing and culture-reproducing creatures. Two main components: ethnography and ethnology. Culture A society’s shared and learned ideas, values, and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and which generate behavior and are reflected in that behavior. Studying Culture: Fieldwork The term anthropologists use for onlocation research. Participant observation - The technique of learning a people’s culture through direct participation in their everyday life over an extended period of time. Studying Culture: Ethnography The systematic description of a particular culture based on firsthand observation. Studying Culture: Ethnology The study and analysis of different cultures from a comparative or historical point of view, utilizing ethnographic accounts and developing anthropological theories that help explain why certain important differences or similarities occur among groups. Linguistic Anthropology Studies human languages: Description of a language - the way a sentence is formed or a verb conjugated. History of languages - the way languages change over time. The study of language in its social setting, such as discourse – an extended speech act on a particular topic. Linguistic Anthropology Kallawaya language-speakers from Bolivia Archaeology Studies material remains in order to describe and explain human behavior. Study tools, pottery, and other features such as hearths and enclosures that remain as the testimony of earlier cultures. Rapa Nui A tiny volcanic island in the middle of the southern Pacific Ocean, also known as Easter Island. The landscape is punctuated by nearly 900 stone “heads,” some towering to 65 feet, called moai by the islanders. Teotihuacan One of the largest Pre-Columbian cities in Mexico (AD 300650). In addition to impressive stepped-pyramids, the city boasts many palaces decorated with painted murals which provide clues about the worldview of these ancient people. Bioarchaeology The study of human remains as a record of cultural processes. Cultural Resource Management A branch of archaeology tied to government policies for the protection of cultural resources and involving surveying and/or excavating archaeological and historical remains threatened by construction or development. Cultural Resource Management A Pre-Columbian rock carving from Tecaltzingo in Puebla, Mexico. Notice the damage caused by modern graffiti. Cultural Resource Management CRM is also about care of archaeological sites for the benefit of all. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Why should we be concerned about preserving archaeological sites? How Do Anthropologists Do What They Do? Anthropology as one of the Humanities Anthropology as a Science The Comparative Method Anthropology as one of the Humanities The holistic and comparative perspective of Anthropology has led to many insights on human failures and successes, weaknesses and greatness Helps us think about the shared experience of being human. Anthropology as a Science Anthropology is empirical - based on observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith. Theory An explanation of natural phenomena, supported by a reliable body of data. Hypothesis A tentative explanation of the relation between certain phenomena. Anthropology’s Comparative Method Uses the methods of other scientists by developing hypotheses and arriving at theories. Anthropologists make comparisons between peoples and cultures past and present, related species, and fossil groups. Questions Of Ethics Anthropologists have obligations to: Those whom they study. Those who fund the research. Those in the profession who expect a study to be published so they can further the research in the field. How Does Anthropology Compare to Other Disciplines? Anthropologists focus on the interconnections and interdependence of all aspects of the human experience, past and present. This holistic and integrative perspective equips anthropologists to grapple with the issue of globalization. Anthropology and Globalization Globalization refers to worldwide interconnectedness, evidenced in global movements of natural resources, human labor, finance capital, information,infectious diseases, and trade goods. The forces driving globalization are technological innovations, lower transportation and communication costs, faster knowledge transfers, and increased trade and financial integration among countries.