Lecture 1 - Lecture 1 [Disclaimer: These are my lecture...

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Lecture 1 [Disclaimer: These are my lecture notes. They are not my lecture. Please do not confuse the two.] Today … anthropology’s scope and intellectual ambitions. First … some preconceived ideas about anthropology (most of which come from movies, The Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and so on). Upon hearing that I am an anthropologist, most people make puzzled remarks like these: “So … you study, like, cavemen?” “So … do you dig up ancient cities?” “So … that means you go live with natives in the jungle, right?” The Indiana Jones/ Go Tribal / Bones effect (with Third Rock from the Sun thrown in for good measure; Third Rock is the most genuinely anthropological show on TV, btw). The popular image of anthropology ignores most of what anthropologists do. Anthropology is … The study of the human condition, or the human species, its evolution through time, its variations over time and space. Anthropologists are especially interested in how and why modern humans vary so dramatically (in appearance and way of life), yet are so clearly similar. We share: a basic body type and life cycle; we seem everywhere to have things resembling incest taboos, kinship relations, marriage systems, religious systems; we like to decorate our bodies; we wear clothes; we speak languages, and so on. We like to share and exchange things with each other. But we use these commonalities to create important differences between human groups. Anthropologists want to explain these
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Lecture 1 - Lecture 1 [Disclaimer: These are my lecture...

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