Anthropology Exam Lecture Notes Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Independently Verified
Culture Bound
Range from:
Somewhat structured
vietnamese animism, catholicism, french spiritism;
o Syncretistic, monotheistic religion established in Tay Ninh, southern Vietnam
o Figuratively, it means the highest spiritual place where God reigns
o Credit God as the religion's founder
o Construction of the Tay Ninh Holy See-claimed to have had divine guidance
o Response to colonialism: Affected the French Indochina
Anthropology Today
Increasing specialization
Ethnography has expanded to include reional and national systems and the movement of people.
Witnessed crisis in representation questions about the role of the ethnogrpaher and the nature of ethnographic authority. Must stay aware of our biases and our inability to totally escape them.
Life Histories
Intimate and personal
lifetime experiences
reveal perceptions, reactions to events
shows how they contribute to events
a good way to show diversity in a group
Independent Invention versus Diffusion (evolutionist)
Boasians stressed diffusion (or borrowing)
Evolution and Genetics
1. Evolution
3. Biochemicalor Molecular Genetics
Population Genetics and Mechanisms of Genetic Evolution
4. The Modern Synthesis
Theory in Anthropology over time
Evolutionary perspective
Symbolic and interpretive approaches
Relation between culture and individual
Stabalizing Selection
Balanced polymorphism: the frequencies of two or more alleles of a gene remain constant from generation to generation.
Leslie white and julian steward reintroduced evolution to the study of culture in the mid-20th century
White: General evolution-energy capture is the main measure and cause of cultural advance.
Steward: proposed multilinear evolution: culture evolved along different lines.
Pioneered cultural ecology (or ecological anthropology) where we study the environment of a gorup not just the cultural traits.
Culture Transmission
Humans transmit traditions, values, and beliefs...(e.g. in the family.)(In the classroom)(Through various media)(
Stages of Revitalization
1) Change (The steady state-characterized by change due to drift rather than deliberate intent by members of society)
2) Increased Stress
3) Cultural Distortion (new options confront old ways
4) Revitalization
5) New Steady Stage (Cultural transformation had been accomplished and the new system has proven itself viable)
To safeguard sites so that everyone can learn about the past.
The antiquities act of 1906
i. Created national monuments.
ii. Made looting or damaging a national monument a crime.
iii. Lists credential needed for research.
The national historic preservation act of 1966 (NHPA)
i. created the national register of historic places.
ii. Developed a legas framework for protecting cultural resources.
The archaological resources protection act of 1979 (ARPA)
i. Defines archaeological resources over 100 years old
ii. Mandates preservation on public land and indian reservations.
iii. Requires locations to be kept confidential.
iiii. Lays out civil and criminal penalties.
The native american graves protection and repatriation act (1990 NAGPRA))
i. Mandates return (repatriation) of human remains, funerary objects, and sacred artifacts to descendants or related groups.
ii. Establishes procedures for repatriation
iii. and forbids trafficing of items.
Cultural Materialism
Marvin Harris adapted white's and steward's multilayered model
Cultural infrastructure determines both structure and superstructure.
All societies have infrastructure
strucutre: social relations grow out of the society's infrastructure
Superstructure: religion, ideology, and play are all determined by structure and infrastructure.
Arcaeology as Science
Facts- verified observations
Data- a systematic group of facts
Hypothesis- a possible explanation
Hypothesis testing- additional observation to validate or disprove
Theory- a body of validated hypotheses which can be continually tested and refined.
Directional Selection
Adaptive traits: favored by natural selection. After several generations of selection, gene frequencies change. Directional selection continues as long as environmental sources stay the same. Humans do not have to delay adaptation until a favourable mutation comes along.
Culture is all encompassing
Anthropologically, culture encompasses features sometimes regarded as trivial or unworthy of serious study
To understand North American culture we have to consider tv, fast food, retaurants, sports and games.
Functions of culture
Satisfaction of emotional and psychological needs
Enculturation of new members
Maintain internal order
maintain external relations
Religion and art
Deal with change
Population genetics
Gene Pool
Genetic evolution
1. stable and changing populations
2. alleles and genotypes within breeding population
2. the change in allele frequency in breedy population
Populations may be very small and isolated
Mating is not random due to geography,physiology, behavior (for people, add culture!)
New variants are introduced through mutation or new people arriving.
Some individuals are more successful at producing viable offspring than others.
Cultural Universality
Culture includes all aspects of human group behavior. Everyone is cultured, not just those with formal education.
Traits that distinguish homo sapiens from other primates:
Biological universals such as infant dependency, year round sexuality, a complex brain that enables us to use symbols, languages and tools.
Psychological universals such as how humans think, feel, and process information (joy, sorrow, disappointment).
Social universals such as incest taboos, life in groups, families and food sharing.
1. Relates two or more objects in terms of their relative age.
Relative Dating: Stratigraphy (layer on bottom is usually older than layer on top). Some chemical analysis.
2. Derives actual numerical ages.
Chemical. Based on known rates of decay
a. radiocarbon
b. potassium Argon.
c. Dendrochronology
i. Count the tree rings in the wood that came out of the structure.
Darwin's Main Points
All species can produce offspring faster than the food supply increases
All living things show variation, no two individuals are exactly alike.
Indiniduals with favorable variations will have more surviving offspring.
Favorable variations are inherited and passed on more frequently than less favorable ones.
Natural Selection
Genotype: the genetic makeup of an organism.
Phenotype: an organism's evident biological traits. Natural selection acts only on phenotypes.
The view of culture as integrated and patterned. Ruth benedict and margaret mead
described how cultures are uniquely patterned or configured rather than explaining how they got that way.
Clifford Geertz cultures are texts that natives constantly read. Ethnographers should describe and interpret that which is important to the native being studied.
Subverting culture and change
Ideal culture: normative description of a culture given by its members.
Real culture refers to actual behavior which can be observed by non-member
Loacation of Artifacts
Location and depth of artifacts, features, or fossils
Relation to one another, and to the natural landscape
Recorded by setting up a grid with a datum (point of reference).
2. Location of an excavation unit, feature or artifact. Measured from a known point.
1. Archaeology is one of the four fields of anthropology.
a. Biological, cultural, linguistic, Archaeology.
Culture and Nature
Culture takes natural biological urges and teaches us how to express them in particular ways.
Our culture and cultural changes affect the ways in which we perceive nature, human nature and the natural world.
Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism
Ethnocentrism: a tendency to view one's own culture as superior ant to use one's own standards and values in judging outsiders
cultural relativism: inappropriate to use outside standards to judge behavior in a given society; such behavior should be evaluated in the context of the culture in which it occurs.
Mechanisms of cultural change
Acculturation: an exchange of features that results when groups come into consistent firsthand contact
may occur in any or all groups engaged in contact.
Independent Invention: the process by which humans innovate, creatively finding solutions to problems.
Remember with Ethnographies...
Ethnographies were often written in a romanticized and timeless ethnographic present, before westernization.
Now we recognize that cultures constantly change and change must be represented.
What we learn from archaeology
Technology: tools, food, clothing, shelter
economy: how people obtained those tools, food, clothing and shelter.
Organization: how they related to each other.
Ideology: how they viewed the world and the relationships between the natural and the supernatural
i. includes art, ceremony and ritual.
Processual Approaches: Practice Theory
Agency: actions that individuals take, both alone and in groups, form and transfor cultural identities.
Practice Theory: individuals in a society or culture have diverse motives and intentions and different dgrees of power and influence. Bourdieu Giddens and ortner.
Sir Leach focused on how individuals work to achieve power and their actions can transform society.
Linquistic Anthro
The study of language in its social and cultural contxt across space and time.
a. Description of different languages
b. History of language
c. How language reflects culture
Definitions of culture
The values beliefs and perceptions of the world shared by members of a society that they use to interpret experience and generate behavior, and that are reflected in their behavior. (Haviland)
Adaptation, variation and change
Adaptation: the process by which organisms cope with environmental forces and stresses.
Adaptation is short-term
Natural selection is long-term
Humans adapt using both biological and cultural means.
What was its value?
Was it commor or rare?
Did every household have some?
Is the item found in graves? if yes, is it found only with certain individuals?
Trade and social networks
Trade in material goods, one way people develp and maintain "social networks."
Social networks create alliances.
Alliances help people obtain goods and knowledge, find mates, perform rituals.
Alliances involve important rituals that strengthen people's relationships with each other (finding mates) and with the supernatural (performing rituals).
Culture is integrated
A culture acts like a system: changes in one aspect will likely generate changes in other aspects
Core values are sets of ideas, attitudes and beliefs.
World System Theory and Political Economy
Emphasizes economics, politics and history
Criticized in anthropology for overstressing the influence of outsiders. Eric Wolf looks at native americans in the context of world system events.
Sidney Mintz focuses on political economy, the web of interrelated economic and power relations.
Culture is an adaptive strategy
Also maladaptive not contrained by environmental factors.
Culture can be both adaptive and maladaptive
Humans have biological and cultural ways of coping with environmental stress
What's good for an individual isn't always good for the group
Adaptive behavior that offers short term benefits to particular individuals may harm the environment and threaten the groups long term survival.
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