anthro exam - Grosjean 1 Matt Grosjean Anthropology MWF...

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Grosjean 1 Matt Grosjean Anthropology MWF 10-10:50 Professor Boyd Brown October 11, 2007 1.) It is important to sustain a holistic approach when studying the beliefs, behaviors and biology of humans from an anthropological point of view because nature alone cannot explain human intricacies but neither can culture by itself. A person’s biology is merely their genetic makeup mostly only skin deep. Any person of any biological background can live anywhere. For example, America is one of the most diverse nations of the world and its inhabitants all are part of the same culture. There are countless subcultures in America, but everyone who lives here lives in the same culture. Now by studying this culture, an anthropologist cannot assume certain biological traits of those who participate because of the grand ethnic diversity of America. The opposite is also true. If an anthropologist had studied biology all of his life and taken great pains to learn the ins and outs of every system and muscle mass and bone structure of the African negroids and then went to South Africa to make conclusions based on his biological research on negroids and how they interact with one another in their own habitat, this anthropologist would be very surprised to see a white population living in South Africa. And if they had been there before the 1970s, there actually would have been a minority white government in power. Jared Diamond discusses at length why studying people solely on their biology is a flawed system in his article Race Without Color . He says that in the function of the traits used in classification of human races, “some serve to enhance survival, some to enhance sexual selection, while some serve no function at all” (Diamond 105). But if this anthropologist took the time to study the history and culture of these people as much as studying the nature of this human
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Grosjean 2 before going to great lengths to travel to South Africa in order to make conclusions, the culture shock would have been a bit less abusive. By combining these perspectives of nature and culture, one can gain a great understanding of a people. Bohannan did an exceptional job at merging these two facets of anthropology and trying to extract a conclusion from her findings. She was trying to find if the underlying values of Shakespeare’s Hamlet would be universally accepted, even if the particulars weren’t understood by people living in the African bush. She learned their rich history of story-telling, important tribal values and their natural way of surviving in their environment. By incorporating all of these methods of studying the Tiv, Bohannan was able to draw accurate conclusions based on her findings.
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Grosjean 3 2.) Through reading the two given Turnbull books and the articles assigned in class, it is evident that in terms of anthropology, culture refers to the behaviors and thought processes that people in social groups use to survive in their ecological and social environment. In every culture there are two ways of seeing culture:
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anthro exam - Grosjean 1 Matt Grosjean Anthropology MWF...

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