Midterm Study Guide

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* what is anthropology? * Anthropology uses a holistic perspective to understand human culture and what it means to be human * The working definition: the empirical comparative study of humans as biological and cultural beings, informed by the overarching principles of cultural relativism and by the avoidance of ethnocentrism * Four Traditional Fields of Anthropology * Physical anthropology * Also known as biological anthropology. Examines the biological and behavioral characteristics of humans and nonhuman primates, including their ancestors * Primary interest in reconstructing anatomical and behavioral evolutionary record of human species and fossil record-includes medical anthropology and forensic anthropology * Second area of interest in primatology: the study of our nearest living relatives * Archaeology * The study of life ways of people from the past by excavating and analyzing the material culture they have left behind * Artifacts, features, structures, and ecofacts serve as material records for life ways and environmental adaptations * Linguistics * The modern scientific study of all aspects of language * Perhaps the most distinctive feature of being human, as language, enabled by physiological adaptations, has transmitted culture across generations and enabled abstract thought for more than 40,000 years * Includes historical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, ethno linguistics, and sociolinguistics * Cultural Anthropology * Also known as social or Sociocultural anthropology, it is the study of specific contemporary cultures, and the more general underlying patterns of human culture derived through cultural comparisons * Key concepts: field work requirements, development of trust and norms, participant observation, ethnography, ethnology, urban anthropology, medical anthropology, development, environmental

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