02 History of Anthropology

02 History of Anthropology - A brief History of...

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1 A brief History of Anthropology Since the dawn of recorded history, and amongst non- literate peoples, there has been an awareness of “others” in the world Fantastic stories of impossible humans were mixed with actual accounts of intercultural interaction At the end of the 15th Century Europe began the age of discovery or exploration. They increasingly came into contact with peoples profoundly different from themselves. Some of the most significant encounters that Europeans had were with Native Americans Europeans were fascinated by the differences between themselves and the new people they were encountering
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2 Often, the first encounters between Europeans and the people they encountered were friendly Much of America’s national mythology comes from these encounters Saartjie Baartman, the “Hottentot Venus” Pocahontas Europeans brought “natives” to Europe to be “civilized” and/or exhibited as curiosities Many of the people the Europeans met were, technologically, less sophisticated But Europeans did encounter some very sophisticated societies Aztecs China had a civilization older the Europe’s
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3 In many early encounters with non-European societies, Europeans took a favorable, or even Idealistic,view of the “others” Even when the others possessed far less sophisticated technology, Europeans stressed their friendliness, health, and intelligence Europeans also borrowed extensively from the people they encountered, including plants and animals Europeans also borrowed institutions, such as the civil service, and inventions from some of the societies they encountered Printing Gunpowder and firearms
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