Table of Contents
ANTH 2700: Key debates in anthropology
Social Sciences Building 410 (A02)
Week of February 21, 2022 (Week 1)
Slides available at http://anthro.rschram.org/2700/2022/1
Welcome to ANTH 2700: The next step in studying anthropology
Everyone knows what anthropology is. It’s the study of human life in global terms, especially with respect to its diversity. Seems simple enough. Except…
- Some anthropologists explain every situation in terms of culture; and many do not and look for other explanations.
- Many anthropologists want to contribute to a general, universal concept of society, but others question whether there is such a thing as society, and if it has to have a universal definition.
- Anthropologists are split on whether or not anthropology is a science and should be a science.
It seems like anthropologists don’t agree about anything.
Why can’t anthropologists agree on anything?
There are several different reasons.
- Anthropology has changed. Later generations developed new ways of thinking about things.
- Anthropologists critique themselves and their own implicit norms and values, just as if anthropology was itself a culture.
- Anthropologists have always borrowed from other social sciences.
- Anthropology is just plain big, because humanity is a lot of people, all of whom are different.
Anthropologists ask the same questions but they don’t have to agree on the answers.
You become an anthropologist by figuring out how you want to answer these questions, and why.
What we will do in class
This class is based on a weekly cycle. Get in the habit of following this cycle every week.
- Read the assigned readings for each week.
- Reflect on what you are thinking about these readings and the week’s topic in your weekly writing assignments.
- Write on any questions that your tutor assigns you for the week.
- Log on to our weekly lecture on Zoom (using the Canvas Zoom page).
- Participate in a weekly tutorial discussion.
- Make contact with your peers, your tutor, and Ryan.
Committing to being present and being visible in every part of this class every week will make it feel important and give you a reason to keep at it.
The origin of anthropology
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