Lecture Comments

Lecture Comments - Martindale Lecture Note for September 9...

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Martindale Lecture Note for September 9. NB. I will post a series of short comments on the nature and scope of the lectures to help guide you through the associated PowerPoints. I’ll keep updating and reposting a single file. I’ll list the updates on the “Annoucements’ section of the VIsta page. Welcome to Anthropology 103, hopefully this short note will help orient you to the class and remind you of what I discussed in the lecture. These notes are designed to provide a bit of commentary on my lectures; they do not replace the lectures themselves. Please contact me if you have any questions. In this class, I tried to present the scope of the archaeological endeavor, give you a bot of background about the discipline and summarize the course structure and assignments. This latter point I won’t cover here. Please have a look at the syllabus, available from the main menu of the course website for details. Archaeology is the study of the past from its material remains. Human history extends back about 200,000 years (the estimated age of our species) and over 2 million years (the earliest evidence of tool-making among our biological ancestors). This very long time span presents challenges: - the archaeological record is fragmentary an this we have an incomplete understanding of it - material things only account for some parts of history. At the same time, it presents advantages: - we can track human history over a very large scale - we can describe times for which there is no other historical evidence (writing was invented about 6,000 years ago. Archaeology is the anthropology of past cultures. What is Anthropology? Anthropology is the study of the human species and the human condition in all its aspects. The very word anthropology derives from the Greek anthropos meaning human beings and logos meaning the study of. As you can imagine, because human beings are very complex, Anthropology is a very broad field. You might also note that simply because anthropologists study human beings does not necessarily distinguish us from other academic disciplines. For example, historians, economists, psychologists, sociologists, etc. also study human beings. Anthropology is distinct from these for two reasons:
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1. Anthropology is holistic : by this we mean that anthropology studies all aspects of human beings including our anatomy, physiology, behaviour, environment, evolution, and culture. Anthropology is holistic in four respects: i. it involves both biological and cultural aspects of humanity. To a greater extent than any other species, human behaviour is learned and not the direct result of instinct or genetics. And most other disciplines study either the biology of humans (e.g. medicine) or the cultural aspect of humans (e.g. any of the social sciences). But an anthropological understanding of humanity includes both our biological parameters as well as our cultural expressions. ii. it uses the deepest possible time frame for examining humantity: several
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Lecture Comments - Martindale Lecture Note for September 9...

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