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Why is anthropology such an inherently fascinating subject Because it's all about us: human beings. As the "science of humanity," anthropology can help us understand virtually anything about ourselvesfrom our political and economic systems, to why we get married, to how we decide to buy a particular bottle of wine.
Here are just a few of the intriguing questions anthropologists study:
What does it mean if someone raises his eyebrows when he meets you
Is there such a thing as progress Are modern technological nations really happier and better off than "primitive" hunter-gatherer societies
What is the cultural significance of gift giving What are the subtle social and psychological rules we follow when we give a gift, and what obligates us when we receive one
How common is cannibalism today What are the types of cannibalism and the beliefs associated with them
In American garbage dumps, what item of trash serves as a clear stratographic layer, distinguishing one-year's trash from the next
What's the difference between a matriarchal and a matrilineal society Which is more common among world cultures
Why are Starbucks coffee shops, reality TV shows, and tourist destinations such as Las Vegas and Disneyland so popular with American consumers
In Peoples and Cultures of the World, Professor Edward F. Fischer reveals the extraordinary power of anthropologyand his subspecialty, cultural anthropologyas a tool to understand the world's varied human societies, including our own. As a science that incorporates many disciplines, including psychology, biology and genetics, politics, economics, and religion, anthropology probes human behavior from nearly every possible perspective.
This course gives you an opportunity to survey the full scope of the field of cultural anthropology. Professor Fischer examines the contributions of the profession's most noted scholars, from founders and early popularizers Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Margaret Mead to more contemporary researchers, including Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, Marshall Sahlins, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes.
These lectures will immerse you in the world of the Trobriand Islanders of Melanesia, the Yanomamö of the Brazilian Amazon; the Dobe Ju/'hoansi, or !Kung Bushmen, of Botswana and Namibia; and other indigenous peoples. In addition, they offer a glimpse into the lives of cultural anthropologists themselvesthe theories and methodologies they use and the experiences of fieldworkliving for extended periods of time within the cultures they study.
By the end of this course, you will appreciate how valuable an understanding of cultural anthropology is in a world of ever-increasing globalization, in which members of even the most remote cultures come into more frequent and more influential contact through international travel, migration, business, and the Internet.
And you may be surprised at the many ways cultural anthropology affects your daily life. Here's one: Major corporations hire cultural anthropologists to create productsthe PT Cruiser automobile, for example, was designed in consultation with French cultural anthropologist Clotaire Rapaillethat will have even greater appeal to customers and to find ways to advertise and sell them more effectively.
1 The Study of Humanity
2 The Four Fields of Anthropology
3 Culture and Relativity
4 Fieldwork and the Anthropological Method
5 Nature, Nurture, and Human Behavior
6 Languages, Dialects, and Social Categories
7 Language and Thought
8 Constructing Emotions and Identities
9 Magic, Religion, and Codes of Conduct
10 Rites of Passage
11 Family, Marriage, and Incest
12 Multiple Spouses and Matrilineality
13 Gatherers and Hunters
14 Headmen and Horticulturists
15 Cannibalism and Violence
16 The Role of Reciprocity
17 Chiefdoms and Redistribution
18 Cultural Contact and Colonialism
19 Cultures of Capitalism
20 Is Economics Rational
21 Late CapitalismFrom Ford to Disney
22 The Maya, Ancient and Modern
23 Maya Resurgence in Guatemala and Mexico
24 The Janus Face of Globalization