a203-11f-09-AdaptationMeaningSystem - Introduction to...

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Introduction to Cultural Anthropology: Class 9 Explaining culture in terms of adaptation, meaning, or system Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - First: Clarifying some terms that Lee uses for ethnic groups of people in the Kalahari – see the diagram in the slides - Main population groups - San : southern Africans who speak “click” languages and are traditionally at least partially foragers - called Basarwa or Sarwa by many non-San in Botswana (BaTswana), especially in government and planning contexts (this comes up later in Lee’s book, see pg. 148) - Khoi : physically like San, but keep herds - Khoi-San : lumps Khoi and San together; used by those who think the distinct foraging group is recent - Bantu : physically, culturally, linguistically different, pastoralists and farmers, relatively recent immigrants - sometimes called Blacks in Lee - include Tswana (the politically dominant group in Botwsana, after whom the country is named) - and Herero - Subdivisions of the San - Black San : speak Central San Tshu-Khwe click language, but physically like the Bantu: tall, dark skinned - apparently due to lots of intermarriage…? - or due to Bantu people adopting a San language? - Yellow San : short, paler, deep chest, delicate faces - Speakers of !Kung ( Northern San ; called !Kung San ) - Speakers of “!Kung proper”, the Vasekla - Speakers of Ju/’hoansi (called Ju/’hoansi-!Kung, Ju/wasi, Ju ) - those in Dobe area are called Dobe Ju/’hoansi or Dobe !Kung - Speakers of Dau//keisi - Speakers of Tshu-Khwe (Central San) - Speakers of !Xo (Southern San) - Speakers of //Xam (further south, in South Africa; thought extinct until speakers revealed themselves after end of apartheid) - This is a good example of the complex way in which people classify each other - at different levels, based on physical traits, subsistence practices, language, dialect, location - partially crosscutting: “Black San” speak a click language, but are physically indistinguishable from the Bantu - there is no way to arrange these terms in a perfectly logical tree - the categories are all culturally constructed… - A major goal of anthropology is to help us understand people and cultures - we try to explain things
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Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Explaining culture in terms of adaptation, meaning, system p. 2 - unlike hard scientists, we often can’t test whether we are right - but at least we can suggest ways of looking at things that fit the evidence and make sense - you will do this in your interview with an immigrant - not just report what your interviewee says, but try to explain - why he or she acted or thought in some specific way - why her/his culture has certain features - why our culture differs from his/hers in some ways - Middleton suggests 3 ways to approach (or explain) other cultures: - 1. culture as adaptation - culture is like a biological adaptation - in biology, an adaptation is a feature or behavior that helps an organism survive and reproduce
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This note was uploaded on 03/02/2012 for the course ANTHRO 203.1 taught by Professor Owen during the Fall '11 term at Sonoma.

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a203-11f-09-AdaptationMeaningSystem - Introduction to...

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