FSU ANT 3212 - Introduction to Anthropology

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Introduction to Anthropology (01/09-01/16)•What is anthropology?: the study of human kind, culture, behavior, evolution, societies over time and across culturesoCulture: shared and learned understandings of a group of people and their behavior•Taught/learned, not acquired genetically•Behavior, language, morals, ideals, etc.•Four fields:oCultural: contemporary peoples. Go to people, live with them, take notes.oArchaeology: people's material remains (OLD)•Past → present•Since modern humanoPhysical (Biological): evolutionary time scale (OLDER)•Millions of years ago -- skeletal systemsoLinguistics: study of languages.•Evolutionary development, origins•Speech apparatus•Reconstruct pre-/historic languages•Modern language, socio- linguistics -- socially.•Objectives: Study how people live on a daily basis, what do they use to accomplish tasks?oUltimate question: What is the meaning of their lives/actions? Meaning behind people's behavior.•What do anthropologists study/look at?oValues: things you abide by. Rules, customs, what's important.oConveyance: behavior, actions, body language, expression, dress.oSymbols: something that represents something else (language, etc.)•Research design:oFormulation -- hypothesis, background research, permissions, money (grant proposal)oData Collection -- field work, observing, participation -- pictures, notes, recordings.oAnalysis and interpretation -- comparative method to other societies.oConclusions and reformation -- why the people behaved as they did, new questions.oPresentation -- to colleagues, grant writers, the public, the people written about. Publish (book, journal article), academic conferences = instant feedback.•Issues for cultural anthropologistsoFranz Boaz: Jew dealing with anti-Semitism. Left Germany and moved to U.S. Established first anthropology department at Columbia University. Work was very descriptive. He did not judge cultures for comparison.•Cultural relativism: you cannot judge another culture based on your own cultural standings. No is superior or inferior to another. You should evaluate and describe a culture's behavior according to it's own history. Extreme -- idea that cultures should not be compared to each other.Not now believed. We now compare cultures but recognize when over-stepping bounds. We want to know largely about human-kind in general.oEthnocentric: belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group. Harming others - genocide, etc. Not accepting of other cultures.oCulture shock: negative reaction when someone experiences introduction into a culture vastly different from their own. Could cause mental breakdown (severe case),•The basics we are looking for when encountering any new culture -- four institutions of how societies organize themselves:oSocial organization: pattern of relationshipsoEconomic organization: subsistence level, how you make a livingoPolitical organization: laws, leadership, defenseoIdeology organization: belief system, morals that guide everyday life•Always trying to determine meaning of behaviorMescalero Ceremony (01/16-01/23)•Setting and people: Mescalero Apaches•TimeoMythic present: what we think of long ago happening -- folklore stories. Happened long ago, but are active in their lives. The past is still active in the present. No legendary time or long ago - it has always been, in conjunction with the present.•Thunder & Lightning: supernatural beings, warriors, mythological god figures, sons of changing women. Supernatural and human world are not separate, but together.oEthnographic present: writing technique of recording events as if they are happening now, even though they occurred years ago. Multiple ceremonies, but collapsed time down to 1 event. Why? Avoid recounting so many details the reader gets bogged down.•Also the time that the ethnography took place.oIndian time: Don't go by specific times like the rest of America, but things begin when everyone is ready and everything is ready to begin. There is no clock.•CeremoniesoRites of passageoSymbolism oComparative analysis•Location: Apache Reservation, New Mexico. Not all of their original land -- lost a lot.•The Reservation:oWhat does it do?: All have the same belief systems, etc. Same tribe. Allows them to maintain their culture, values, and belief system. amidst the ever-changing American culture.oWhat does it mean?: They cannot expand their lands. Don't have a lot of job opportunities. Isolation -- desert. Not near large cities. Government interference with resources. Abide by U.S. and New Mexico law, but govern themselves essentially. Problem with poverty -- they have their own education system, so there is less education in general and limited jobs. Common with Indian Reservations. However, they are tax-free -- people that don't live their go to buy products because they are able to keep the prices low.•Bi-Cultural IdentityonDe: the Mescalero Apache. The word in their language for themselves.oIndian vs. American•The anthropologist:oWho is she? Sister to adults, aunt to children and (later) grandmother to them when they grow up and she returns. She herself is a mom -- already has the role and connection. Fictive kin member -- adopted within family and community. oWhat is her goal? To know about the Sunrise Ceremony (puberty ceremony for girls coming from childhood to adulthood) and why they perform it as they do. oHow will she accomplish it? She lives with them during the ceremony -- observing the ritual, photographing it, participating in it as a family member, she helps with preparation.•Mescalero ArrivingoWho is present?•SubculturesoWhat will you experience?•Cultural institutions -- social (closely tied to ideology), political, economic, ideologicalMost focus on social and ideological institutions. How the families and tribes are organized, singers, leaders, audience for events, groups, religion, etc. Political and economic institutions are secondary.oHow will you experience this?•Myths: Story, narrative -- with objective to teach. These stories are true to them.Primary method of explaining history, customs, behaviors, background, behavior -- learned in entertaining way. How values are reiterated to children and kin. Stories of how you came to be -- family, religion, etc. Lessons of how to behave.oMescalero Mythology•Why? It helps children remember rules, morals, important aspects of the culture, values, etc. Stories help children remember the way to


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FSU ANT 3212 - Introduction to Anthropology

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