anthro101lec25.mar19.y08 - ANTHROPOLOGY 101 Winter 2008...

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ANTHROPOLOGY 101; Winter 2008 03.19.08 LECTURE 25 1. Some things to think with: A. New York Times, March 11 2001, on the front page: In Genetic Testing for Paternity, Law Often Lags Behind Science --> Morgan Wise of Big Spring, Texas, has 4 kids; after divorcing his wife, he got custody --> the demands of his job (railroad engineer) took him away a lot so he turned the custody over to his ex-wife and got her visiting rights --> one child (the youngest) had cystic fibrosis--both parents have to be carriers so Mr. Wise had himself tested; the good news is that Mr. Wise wasn’t a carrier; the bad news is that his youngest child couldn’t be his --> Mr. Wise had genetic testing done for all 4 of his kids; turns out that the last three were fathered by another person or persons --> The court still requires that Mr. Wise pay child support for all 4 kids but they took away his visiting rights because he told the kids he wasn’t their biological father but still loved them B. Fieldwork in Nepal, collecting childbirth data from Timling women 1. In 1981, during original fieldwork, a woman is very clear that one of her children is not the child of her husband--his father is a man in a neighboring village, she insists--his clan is different than her husbands’ 2. In 1987, in a big project, one of my interviewers is collecting childbirth information from a woman in the village--she insists that she gave birth to a child even though it was born before she was married to her husband and when her husband was married to another person--her husband’s first wife died and he took another wife who happened to be the sister of his first wife; so this woman is claiming that she gave birth to her sister’s son II. That human universal again: constructing groups--inside-outside, identity A. Kinship as another example of group formation 1. Obligation 2. Belonging: narrative, story 3. Structuring relationships B. Questions 1. Is it biological or cultural? 2. Is there a basic unit? 1
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ANTHROPOLOGY 101; Winter 2008 03.19.08 LECTURE 25 3. Are some systems better than others? III. Centrality of Kinship Studies in Anthropology A. Nothing so pervasive in anthropological works as some mention of kinship 1. For a time, kinship studies were the thing that defined cultural anthropology-- to be an ethnologist was to be somebody who worked on kinship 2. And it’s also fair to say that nothing has been so reviled by graduate students--one of the most hated courses in Anthropology Departments, one avoided if possible and suffered through if it couldn’t be avoided a) my own case is an example: couldn’t think if anything I’d rather not do--kinship was dead and boring--the least relevant thing for any self- respecting student
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anthro101lec25.mar19.y08 - ANTHROPOLOGY 101 Winter 2008...

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