Study Guide

Students, so far you will need to be able to answer the following questions. A few more will be added before the test which is on 10/18.


What are the four sub-fields of anthropology?

What distinguishes cultural anthropology from the other sub-disciplines? What makes a cultural anthropologist different?

What is ethnography?

What is the difference between emic and etic approaches?

What is ethnocentrism? Why is it a problem?

What is cultural relativism?

Why are cultural anthropologists holistic?

How are cultural anthropologists methodologically and theoretically diverse?

What is the difference between deductive and inductive logic?

History of Anthropology

What factors influenced anthropologists in the 19th century?

What changes in the world were influencing their theories?

What were the early social evolutionary models? How did they organize and characterize societies?

What did early evolutionary anthropoglots like Morgan and Tylor assume about societies?

What were the main problems with the early evolutionary approaches?

What is an armchair anthropologist?

What is a social fact? How did Durkheim’s view of society change social anthropology?

What is a functionalist?

How was Malinowski’s anthropology different from those that came before?

What were Franz Boas’ main problems with anthropology and how did he propose that anthropologist fix them?

How was Boas’ historical particularism different from earlier anthropological research?

What methods did Alfred Kroeber bring to anthropology? How did he view culture?

How did Margaret Mead study the issue of nature and nurture?


Why is ethnography important for cultural anthropologists?

What is the aim of ethnography?

What is thick description?

How has ethnographic research changed in focus?

What are the steps done to do a good ethnography?

What is a key informant?

What are the different methods one can use for ethnography?

How does a cultural anthropologist analyze an ethnography?

How do structured and unstructured interviews differ?

Subsistence Strategies

What is subsistence?

How is food and population size interrelated?

What are the main subsistence strategies? How much population can each support? What is unique or important about each?

Can societies have an admixture of strategies?

How does trade fit in with some strategies?

Theories of Environment

What is Julian Stewards Cultural Ecology? How did his evolutionary approach differ from early evolutionary anthropologists?

What elements of cultural evolution was Leslie White interested in understanding? How did his approach differ from Steward's?

How was Marvin Harris approach different from earlier researchers? How did he model society?

How did Marvin Harris attribute practices related to the Indian Sacred Cow to environmental factors?

What were some problems with all of the environmental approaches? Why are materialist approaches problematic in terms of ethnocentrism?





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