Anthro Chapter 1: Anthropology

What is Anthropology?
-Kottak: the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors
-study of human biology, human behavior, human groups and institutions, technologies, languages, and synergistic interactions among all of the above
Anthropology: origins
“science of the natural history of man,” 1593, coined from Greek anthropo- + logia “study of”
Anthropology as an extreme science
-zoology, sociology, history, geography, economics, psychology, geology
-how each apply to the other
Anthropology and the Natural Sciences
-geology, zoology, biology especially important in archaeology and paleoanthropology (study of hominins)
-anthropology applies tools from these disciplines to find, date, characterize deposits
Anthropology and Economics
-share concern with human organizations and principles that govern them
-classical anthropology considered non-capitalistic economics and institutions
-also applies to modern capitalistic societies
Anthropology and History
-archaeology shares with history concern with humans through time
-anthropological archaeology has a long-term focus on those poorly represented in history- the conquered, the disenfranchised, the poor
-example: rewrite the Euroamerican history of the Battle of Little Big Horn
Anthropology and the Humanities
-art and religion
-what is the role of art and religion in society?
-comparative and considering non-western, non-literate was well as western and literate populations
Understanding late prehistoric pithearths in Western Nebraska
-food chemistry: are certain foods processed in pithearths?
-of 110 ethnographic accounts of pit roasting: mostly plant (foods that contain inulin), some animal (fatty), some mixed
-human physiology
-heat transfer
Fructans-bearing Plant Foods
-camas, agave, onion, glacier lily, chicory
-contain inulin
-humans can’t process, but in the pithearths break it down and all us to process it after it was pit roasted
-comparative: comparing different groups of people
-holistic: “…encompassing past, present and future; biology, society, language, and culture” (Kottak p. 4)
-humanistic science
-applied vs. basic
Anthropology as Humanistic Science
-“…devoted to describing, discovering, understanding and explaining similarities and differences in time and space among humans and our ancestors” (Kottak p. 15)
-theories vs. hypotheses
-empirical: real world behavior
Humanistic Science
-pattern –> idea (theory, speculation) –> hypothesis: if theory is true, other expectations? –> collect additional data and evaluate
Theories and Hypotheses
1. theory: evolution of skin color with respect to solar radiation and vitamin D requirements
-hypothesis: where we find dark vs. variable vs. light skinned people
2. theory: evolution ecology of domestication
-hypothesis: circumstances under which we see domesticated seed, animals appearing
Basic vs. Applied
-Basic: exploring fundamental issues in anthropology
-Applied anthropology: using anthropology to solve contemporary problems
-example: public health
-example: heritage management archaeology
Apply Pithearth Research?
-example: working with some Native American groups in revitalizing aspects of aboriginal diet, more friendly to some Native American physiologies
Anthropology Subdisciplines
-physical/biological anthropology
-cultural anthropology
Biological/Physical Anthropology
-study of human biological variation in space and time
-Paleoanthropology: study of early hominins
-human genetics: population genetics
-human growth and development
-primate biology and evolution: relating human behavior to primate behavior
-human biological plasticity
-Dr. Dan Osborne: research focuses on phenotypic response to environmental stressors during growth and development
-Dr. Mary Willis researches primate dentition and cross-cultural health and refugee issues
-study of artifacts (tools, manufacturing debris), features (hearths, houses), ecofacts (plant remains, pollen, fauna remains) and landscapes to learn about people who lived in the past and cultural change
-Dr. Effie Athanassopoulos has just completed a major publication on archaeology of Nemea landscape of Greece: bronze age- ottoman times
-Dr. Paul Demers using geophysics to locate remains of road ranch along Oregon Trail (Beaver Creek Crossing)
Cultural Anthropology
-study of modern humans, human society and culture
-ethnography: description of culture
-ethnology: study of cultural differences and similarities: depends on ethnography
-Dr. Patricia Draper has worked with San populations in Africa, focusing on parenting and child-rearing issues
-how hunter gathering people transition into settled life, what happens to their family structure
-Dr. Ray Hames researches food and labor exchange, marriage and kin structures in Yanomamö and Ye’ kwana populations in South America
Linguistic Anthropology
-the study of languages and linguistic diversity in time, space and society
-Dr. Mark Awakuni-Swetland
-On-Line Omaha Language Resource: with bilingual materials (audio and texts), list of Omaha personal clan names, Omaha ethno-botanical list, and gallery of material culture images
In Sum
-anthropology is a very broad field that engages all aspects of humans and proto-humans
-four subdisciplines, emphasize different dimensions (biological, cultural, historical, linguistic) of human diversity
For Exam…
-anthropology definition
-holistic, comparative, etc.
-differences with respect to other disciplines
-science (theory, hypothesis, empirical)

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