Anthropology In Action Essay

2283 words - 10 pages

Anthropology in Action
As we learned in our very first lecture video by Dr. Stacey Camp, anthropology is considered a holistic field- meaning anthropology encompasses almost every aspect of human life, whether it is in the past, present, or future. Anthropologists Study everything that was involved in a certain time period or in a certain place, or even with a certain group of people. There are four fields of anthropology; physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeological anthropology, and linguistics. Without anthropology, we would not know about our past, which will affect how we live in the present and how people will live in the future.
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Witchcraft was also usually blamed on lower class people; this showed that it was a tool against the public from people who were in charge. Besides Harris’ book, this module was really all about culture, and the ideas that are created because of culture. The terms enculturation and ethnocentrism were introduced; enculturation meaning the process of how people learn their culture and how culture becomes something unquestioned, and ethnocentrism is the idea of thinking that one’s own culture is better than another’s. The concept of ethnocentrism was really prevalent when reading Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” because when reading it, you really got the sense that he was looking down on this strange culture he was writing about and found their practices to be bizarre and foreign. When I read it, I did not know that it was about the American culture, and it really shocked me after finding that out, because I was demonstrating ethnocentrism as well, and thought of their rituals (such as having people torture their mouth) were disgusting and unexplainable. When learning more about culture and why certain things are the way they are in it, I have to agree with Harris and his viewpoint on culture, when he states that culture serves as a mechanism to explain disparities in the world and the resources available or not available to us.
Moving on from culture, the second module was about physical anthropology (or biological anthropology). Physical anthropology is the study of the way human bodies have developed over time, and why they developed that way. This field is very important to all of the other fields of anthropology, since it provides information on the framework of a human. It can help other fields such as medical anthropology, by showing what is evolutionary in the body from genetics and what is changed by culture, in order to understand the human body more. The novel by Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn, was chosen to read about how humans evolved to the body we have today. He states that everything can be roughly figured out from a human genome, and to use it as a time keeping tool of events that took place in our evolutionary timeline. He also says that biological ancestors of humans lived in forests, and the human line split off from the chimpanzee line to evolve out of forests and to develop bipedalism, which is the ability to walk upright on two feet. Since humans evolved differently in different locations, races were created because of the different evolutionary pressures of each location. Social evolution also evolved differently between different races.
While learning about physical anthropology, we learned about different famous anthropologists, such as Samuel Morton, James Hutton, John Friere, and Charles Lyell. Samuel Morton was a famous scientist that collected and measured the skulls of different cultural groups across the globe to determine the evolution of what he called “human races.” His theories were...

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