This chapter introduces anthropology as an academic subject and explores its historical development. It discusses various theoretical and contemporary perspectives on fieldwork and ethnography. It also explores how the evolutionary past of primates and early humans is used and understood by contemporary cultural anthropologists.
· Learning Objective 1: Understand the definitions of culture and the subdisciplines of anthropology.
· Learning Objective 2: Understand the differences between cultural relativity and ethnocentrism.
· Learning Objective 3: Understand the significance of the major characteristics, physical and cognitive, of Homo sapiens and how they differ from earlier hominids.
· Learning Objective 4: Understand the history of anthropology and the changes in the discipline over the past 150 years.
· Learning Objective 5: Understand how the metaphor of the “tapestry” applies to learning about culture.