14.9 MB - Human Evolution and Prehistory, Second Canadian Edition

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Transcript 14.9 MB - Human Evolution and Prehistory, Second Canadian Edition

Human Evolution
and PREHISTORY
PART 1: THE STUDY OF HUMANKIND
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Human Evolution
and PREHISTORY
Chapter One:
THE NATURE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Link to the American Anthropological Association
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Chapter Preview
What is Anthropology?
What Do Anthropologists Do?
How Do Anthropologists Do What They Do?
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THE DEVELOPMENT OF
ANTHROPOLOGY
 Anthropology is the study of humankind in all
places and in all times
 Anthropologists are interested in all aspects of
humanity and human nature
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CANADIAN ANTHROPOLOGY
 Canadian archaeology and biological anthropology
began in the 19th century with Daniel Wilson at the
Canadian Institute in Toronto
 Museums, academic departments and applied
research were major influences, e.g. The National
Museum of Canada (now Museum of Civilization)
 Early research focused on aboriginal cultures and
anthropologists were advocates for aboriginal rights,
an important component of anthropology today
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CANADIAN ANTHROPOLOGY
Formal biological anthropology began with
skeletal analyses, e.g. Daniel Wilson’s work on
Inuit crania
In the 20th century biological anthropology
grew to encompass such research as the
evolution of the brain, e.g. Davidson Black’s
work in China and James Anderson’s work
on variation of discrete traits
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THE SUBFIELDS OF
ANTHROPOLOGY
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Biological Anthropology
The branch of anthropology that focuses
on humans as biological organisms
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Palaeoanthropology
The study of fossil remains with the goal
of reconstructing human biological
evolution
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Primatology
The study of the biological and social
nature of our closest relatives:
prosimians, monkeys, apes
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Skeletal Biology
The analysis and interpretation of bones
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Forensic anthropology
The application of human osteology and
archaeology to the legal investigation of
human remains
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Archaeology
The study of material remains and cultural
features in order to describe and explain
human behaviour
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Archaeology
Pre-contact (prehistoric)
The study of human behaviour in the distant past
using evidence such as fire hearths, tools, pottery
Historic
The study of cultures with historic documents
available in order to supplement material remains left
behind, e.g. fur trade sites
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Canadian Archaeology
Canadian archaeologists are typically found in
Anthropology departments in universities, although
this is unusual worldwide
e.g. China and affiliation with history
Archaeology is broadening its foundation outside of
Anthropology and the university
e.g. “rescue” archaeology being conducted by
the private sector in the face of
development projects
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Sociocultural Anthropology
Understood through the concept of
“culture” – the often unconscious
standards, socially learned, by which
societies operate
Focus on human behaviour
Avoidance of culture-bound theories
Cross-cultural and long-term historical
perspective
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Linguistic Anthropology
The study of human languages and the
way language is used to practice, develop
and transmit culture
Historical linguistics
the study of language origins and change, and
the relationships between languages
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Applied Anthropology
Applying the knowledge and methods of
anthropology to solve practical problems
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Applied Anthropology
Sociocultural, e.g. First Nations Land claim negotiations
Archaeology, e.g. cultural resource management (CRM)
Linguistics, e.g. language retention among First Nations
Medical anthropology, e.g. work with traditional healers
to reconcile practices with modern medicine
Forensic anthropology, e.g. work with law enforcement
agencies and medical examiners to recover, identify
and contextualize skeletal remains
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Medical Anthropology
The use of theoretical and applied approaches
from cultural and biological anthropology to
the study of human health and disease
Demonstrating connections between human
health and political and economic forces,
globally and locally
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Ethnography
Systematic description of a particular
culture based on firsthand observation
using:
participant observation
informants
holistic perspective
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ANTHROPOLOGY AND
SCIENCE
Science seeks to provide testable
explanations for observed phenomena, by
using imagination and skepticism
We search for facts, observations verified
by several skilled observers
The explanations are called hypotheses
The strongest hypothesis that cannot be
disproven becomes a theory
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ORIGINAL STUDY
The Strange Case of “Piltdown Man”
Was this the “missing link” or simply an ape jaw
found close to a human skull?
The “missing link” hypothesis was valid theory
until the discovery of more fossils in the mid-20th
century
The second hypothesis has been confirmed, with the
additional evidence of deliberate alteration of the
bones
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Risks of Culture-Bound Science
1. The motivation to verify one’s hypothesis by
overlooking negative evidence
2. The problem of being culture-bound
3. The question of the validity of one’s
ethnographic account
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THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
Informed explanations are made within a set of
assumptions that form a theoretical perspective
Biological anthropology – evolution model
Archaeology – settlement archaeology
processual archaeology
agency theory
engendered archaeology
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COMPARISON IN
ANTHROPOLOGY
Hypothetical explanations of cultural phenomena
can be tested by comparing ethnographic,
archaeological and/or ethnohistorical data
Ethnohistory
 the study of cultures of the recent past through
oral histories, through accounts left by explorers,
missionaries, and traders; and through analysis of
such records as land titles, birth and death
records, and other archival materials
 Concern with reliability and objectivity of sources
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ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE
HUMANITIES
 Canadian anthropological research is mainly
funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health
Research, National Science and Engineering
Research Council
 Emphasis in anthropology is on qualitative more
than quantitative research
 Most importantly, anthropologists are intensely
involved with people
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QUESTIONS OF ETHICS
Canadian researchers are guided by the TriCouncil Policy Statement (TCPS) on ethical
conduct for research involving human
subjects, with specific regard to aboriginal
peoples
There needs to be careful consideration of notions
of privacy and public life, property and
language differences
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QUESTIONS OF ETHICS
Anthropologists recognize obligations to three
sets of people:
 Those whom they study
 Those who fund the research
 Those in the profession who expect us to
publish our findings to further knowledge in
the discipline
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“Do No Harm”
Canadian TCPS – free and informed consent is
essential
The Canadian Archaeological Association has
principles of ethical conduct in regard to the
archaeological heritage of Canada and to aboriginal
peoples
There is a Task Force on Museums and First Peoples
for proper handling of museum collections and
portrayal of First Peoples in museums
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IMPACT ON CONTEMPORARY
LIFE
Global and holistic perspectives of
anthropology provide the best means of
understanding modern problems
e.g. discrimination based on notions of
race
e.g. same-sex marriage
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NEXT TIME:
Methods Of Studying The
Human Past
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