introduction to physical anthropology
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- 1. Introduction to Anthropology and Physical Anthropology Anthropology 101 Online
- 2. What is Anthropology?
- Derived from the Greek Anthropos (man or human) and
- Logos (logic of or science of)
- What distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines involving humankind (medicine, sociology, psychology)
- The definition sums up the difference: the comparative and holistic study of humankind
- 3. Anthropology is Comparative
- It involves comparison:
- between todays cultures in the ethnographic present, whereby cultures are described as if they still existedlike these !Kung Bushmen in the 1950s (the job of ethnographers or cultural anthropologists)
- Between cultures that existed through time unrecorded by historythe job of archaeologists
- Between related species of the hominid family and hominin subfamilyLike Lucy according to this artists conception (the job of paleoanthropologists)
- It asks the question: Can what we learn from other cultures or related species be used to understand our own?
- 4. Anthropology is Holistic
- It involves The Big Picture
- It integrates all aspects of a culture
- How do hunting, social organization, art, and religion all fit together?
- It also involves subfields of anthropology
- How does human biology relate to culture?
- Can we understand ourselves from behavior of other primates?
- What can we learn from fossil humans? Or fossil relatives of humans?
- That involves quite a lot of juggling between subfields and specialized disciplines.
- 5. Fields of Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology , comprising:
- Linguistics, the study of spoken language
- Sociocultural Anthropology , the study of cultures and their social organization
- Archaeology , the study of past cultures by excavating and analyzing their remains
- Physical Anthropology, which comprises
- Paleoanthropology , the study of past human lifeforms
- Primatology , the comparative study of nonhuman primate anatomy and behavior
- Population Analysis , the study of human variation (races)
- Forensics, the analysis of evidence related to criminal activity.
- 6. Linguistics
- Comparative study of spoken language
- Foundation of all culture
- Reason: We learn all things by language
- Language is based on symbols
- Symbols: Use of one thing or event
- To understand another thing and event
- That are intrinsically unrelated
- Meaning is conveyed by symbols in language
- 7. Sociocultural Anthropology
- Comparative study of contemporary cultures
- Comparison involves human individual and group behavior
- Societies that govern human relations in an village (above) or other geographical space
- Products of human behavior: tools, artifacts, housing
- Several subfields: kinship and family, subsistence, economic, political et al; this group is an extended family.
- 8. Archaeology
- Comparative study of cultural remains of human societies as excavated (left) and analyzed
- Also involves human and prehuman physical remains where they are related to the artifacts and structures they left behind.
- Comparison involves past cultures similar to each other
- It also involves comparisons of past cultures that are similar to present ones
- 9. Physical Anthropology
- Comparative study of humankinds physical attributes
- Comparison of Homo (sapiens) sapiens
- Among todays breeding populations (races)
- With apes and monkeys (primatology)
- With fossil hominids (paleoanthropology)
- 10. Culture: Focus of All Anthropology
- What is Culture?
- Tylor : that complex whole which includes
- Knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, custom
- And any other capabilities and habits
- Acquired by man (both genders)
- As a member of society
- Generally accepted definition
- Learned human behavior
- Shared by a group
- As members of society
- 11. Culture is Learned
- All we do, say, or believe is learned
- Bee behavior, such as this scout bee using a dance to tell the others where the pollen is located, is genetically transmitted
- Our behavior is not genetically transmitted
- Dogs, like this one carrying the remote, learn by conditioning (repeated training with rewards)
- We learn partly by imitation but mostly through language
- Enculturation: transmission of culture from generation to generation
- 12. Culture is Based on Symbolism
- Culture is learned through language
- Symbols: Use of one thing or event to refer to another thing and event that are intrinsically unrelated
- Exercise: speech sounds c, a, and t
- Or in IPA [k], [ ], and [t] to make [kt]
- If we switch them around, we have new meaning: act [kt] or tack [tk]
- We have an open system of communication
- 13. Sign or Signal
- A sign or signal is used
- To refer to another thing or event
- That is intrinsically related to the first
- Example: goose mating call has one sound pattern while a warning call has another
- The two patterns cannot be combined to produce a third meaning
- So their communication system is closed
- 14. Culture is Shared
- A group with common language and custom shares a culture
- Groups may be as small as 50 (!Kung band)
- They may comprise nation of millions (e.g. Japan)
- There may be subcultures in a culture (e.g. Hutterites in Saskatchewan) who use technology but retain traditional clothing and religious beliefs
- Culture versus subculture is ambiguous
- 15. Culture is Patterned/Integrated
- One aspect of culture reflects other aspects
- They all fit into a pattern as a whole
- Examples of integration:
- Extreme example: Teotihuacans Pyramid of the Sun probably wasnt built by this !Kung bandconstruction required the coordinated efforts of hundreds
- But the !Kung have their own pattern: meat sharing elicited by arduous hunts, crude hunting gear, and game scarcity
- 16. Conclusion: All Four Fields are Linked by the Culture Concept
- Sociocultural Anthropology : All aspects of human are learned, symbolic, shared, and integrated from language to technology to kinship (in most societies)
- Linguistics involves the study of language, the medium of culture
- Archaeology constructs the cultures of the past
- Biological/Physical Anthropology asks how we humans have the capacity for culture in the first place.
- 17. The Science of Culture: The Role of Physical Anthropology
- The most basic science in anthropology rests in physical anthropology
- We first look at what determines the biological capacity for culture
- Then we examine the basics of scientific method.
- 18. What Does Physical Anthropology Have to Do With Culture?
- Biologically, we have a capacity for culture through language, tool making and use, and bipedalism
- We acquired those abilities over millions of yeartherefore fossil hominins may give us a clue as to how and when.
- There is no indication that any one race has a greater capacity for culture than any other race.
- 19. Physical Anthropology: Biological Capacity for Culture
- How can we speak a language?
- We have a brain structure for speech production and reception (both pictures)
- Certain parts of the brain control our oral tract: tongue, vocal cords, lungs.
- How about our tool
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