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What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the broad study of humankind

around the world and throughout time.
cultural aspects of humans.

It is concerned with both the biological and the

There are four main subdivisions (areas) in the study of Anthropology: Physical Anthropology Archeology Cultural Anthropology Linguistic Anthropology

Physical Anthropology: Theory of Evolution Origin of Humans Primatology Evolutionary Timeline Genetic Inheritance Physical Adaptations Anthropologists:
Darwin Leakey's

Cultural Anthropology: Definition and Aspects of Culture Race as a Social Construct Race and Adaptation Participation/Observation Anthropologists:
Jane Goodall Franz Boas Margaret Mead

Physical Anthropology:
How the human species has changed physically over time
(hundreds of millions of years) called Biological evolution ancestors of humans)

Study of Primatology primates (apes, chimps as

Why we have certain physical characteristics from our

ancestors (i.e. skin colour) - called Genetic inheritance

Evolution refers to change or transformation over time how have humans changed and adapted over time called Adaptation

Fossil record of human evolution


Prehistory and early

history of cultures around the world

Major trends in cultural


Techniques for finding, excavating, dating,

and analyzing material remains of past societies used to help prove theories, i.e. evolution, artifacts Archaeological Field Methods: Q

Cultural Anthropology:

Culture and traditions of a

group of people


comparing other cultures to your own,

believing that ones own culture is superior to others based on lack of knowledge and understanding leads to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination

Linguistic Anthropology:

The human communication process Verbal and nonverbal communication The structure, function, and history of

Linguistic Anthropology
Linguistics studies: The human communication process Verbal and nonverbal communication

The structure, function, and history of languages

Linguistic Anthropology: Communication

Communication allows us to express feelings, describe tasks, argue or discuss a position or ideas Communication was an essential skill for our ancestors Co-operation during the hunt Warning of potential danger

Skills and Methods used by Anthropologists

Participation-observation Collection of statistics Field interviews Rigorous compilation of detailed notes Fieldwork on anthropologists is know as
ethnography: the scientific study of human races and cultures

Examples of Famous Anthropologists

Louis, Mary Leaky Jane Goodall Franz Boaz Margaret Mead

Louis and Mary Leakey

Credited with discovering physical evidence to support the evolutionary timeline Much of their discoveries were throughout Africa Short Biography:

Jane Goodall

Born: 3 April 1934, Birthplace: London, England, Died: n/a

Worked directly with the Leaky family Her specialty was living with and understanding the language and behaviour of chimps Her famous work is an example of the participation/observation method View the short interview with Jane Goodall: 5Q6-hh49mU Documentary: Wild Chimpanzees

Franz Boas

Born: 9-Jul-1858, Birthplace: Minden, Germany, Died: 22-Dec-1942

Studied and widely collected information on race, linguistics, art, dance, and archaeology. From these studies he developed his theory of relativism, debunking the prevailing beliefs that Western Civilization is superior to less complex societies. Short Biography: /franz-boas-9216786

Cultural Relativism
Cultural relativism is the view that all beliefs, customs, and
ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context.

In other words, right and wrong are culture-specific; what is

considered moral in one society may be considered immoral in another, and, since no universal standard of morality exists, no one has the right to judge another societys customs.

Cultural relativism is widely accepted in modern anthropology. Cultural relativists believe that all cultures are worthy in their

own right and are of equal value. Diversity of cultures, even those with conflicting moral beliefs, is not to be considered in terms of right and wrong or good and bad. Todays anthropologist considers all cultures to be equally legitimate expressions of human existence, to be studied from a purely neutral perspective.

Margaret Mead

Born: December 16, 1901 , Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Died: November 15, 1978

Proposed that culture and gender roles play just as strong a role as biology in influencing adolescent behavior Short Biography:

Much of her research was completed via participation/observation in Samoa and New Guinea
published Coming of Age in Samoa
presented the idea that the individual experience of developmental stages could be shaped by cultural demands and expectations et-mead-9404056

published Growing Up in New Guinea

she demonstrated that gender roles differed from one society to another, depending at least as much on culture as on biology