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How did anthro begin?

- Began with the age of exploration, linked to European imperialism
- Questions about essential human nature


How did anthro become a discipline?

- The “savage slot” at the university
- Sense of moral, intellectual, cultural superiority
- Armchair anthropology


Canadian anthro

Major Influences on Canadian Anthropology were American, British, and French



Required that all things (ideas, objects) be converted into commodities to be sold for a price (including people)



Saw expansion of European power into various parts of the world


Founding of Jamestown

- British saw its colony as a place to get fresh resources and to get rid of unwanted people
- Goal was trade, colonization, and repression of Native peoples


Founding of Rupert's Land

- British saw its colony as place for exploitation of resources and exploration of Northwest passage
- Goal was trade, colonization, and manipulation of Native peoples


Effects of colonialism in Canada

- Depleted resources
- Loss of food sources
- Introduction of foreign disease
- Imposition of residential schools
- Slave trade


Effects of colonialism in US

- Slave and commodity trade (cotton and sugar) exchanged on world markets
- Impacted indigenous populations as plantation economies replaced subsistence economies



- Modern city was place where small group of elites ruled
- Seen as being linked to Enlightenment and its “humanist mission” in late 17th century
- Colonial order maintained by force (example of political economy)
- In colonial context, see modernity’s dual forces of destruction and development and impacts on indigenous peoples


Subsistence economy

Meeting basic material survival needs


Political economy

Social structure organized around economic interests that are protected and enhanced through the use of power (politics)



Withdrawal of a colonial power from a territory that has been under its rule



Persistence of profound social and economic ties linking former colonies to their former colonial rulers despite political sovereignty


TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) Executive

- First one opened in 1883, last one closed in late 1990s
- 15 000 First Nation, Inuit, and Metis children passed through
- Suffered physical, mental, and sexual abuse
- Harsh conditions of the schools
- Died in numbers that would not be acceptable in any other school


Why are residential schools considered cultural genocide?

Specifically intended to destroy the structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group (e.g., land, self-government, language, spirituality)


Why is it argued that anthro isn't applied colonialism?

- Anthropological findings are too specialized
- Colonial administrators only interested in how to rule populations more easily
- Taking seriously the cultural meanings of kinship, ritual, land ownership, etc., was not what colonial powers wanted to hear
- BUT the issue may be more ambiguous


Current approaches to anthro

1. All cultures live in own modernity – never “timeless, or unchanging” people not affected by ways of others
2. Cultural patterns in all places have been affected by transformations of European colonialism and capitalism
3. Many groups shaped new social forms to deal with effects of conquest and contact
4. Colonial empires now replaced by transnational companies


Key features of evolutionism

- Ethnocentrism
- ‘Armchair’ speculation
- Unilineal scheme
- Progress was inevitable
- Influenced by Darwin


Evolutionary typologies

Savagery -> Barbarism -> Civilization


Problem with evolutionism

Provided ideological support for imperialism and colonialism


Why did social structure typologies arise?

- Evolutionary ideas were not helpful once colonials in power
- Needed to understand how societies worked in order to better rule them (Indirect rule: relied on traditional leaders as “intermediaries”)
- Based on enduring social forms in society



Society that possesses a territory defended from outside enemies with an army and from internal disorder with police. Run by an elite that possesses a monopoly on the use of the force.


Social structure typologies

- State vs. stateless (Pritcher and Fortes)
- Centralized vs. uncentralized political system (Lewellen)


Problem with social structure typologies

Original aims were not curiosity or understanding, but to help with colonial rule



States and chiefdoms (privileged consists of chief and his family)



Tribes (relatively egalitarian, usually farm or herd for living) and bands (small group of foragers)


Unilineal cultural evolutionism

A 19th century theory that proposed a series of stages which all societies must go through in order to reach civilization


Structural functionalism

- Associated with British anthro
- Explores how particular social forms function from day-to-day in order to reproduce the traditional structure of the society


Key features of structural functionalism

- Society is portrayed as akin to a biological organism, with structures and functions comparable to heart, lungs, blood
- Natural science orientation
- Main interests were social structure and subsystems (family, economy, polity, worldview)
- First-hand, participant observation was required