On the Prowl: “Cougars” and their “Cubs” | Anthropology …
Anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, and writing systems ..
Language – the ability to represent meaning through symbols and to communicate those meanings to other people – is a hallmark of all human societies. Linguistic anthropologists study the social and cultural contexts of human communication. How does language symbolically represent our natural, supernatural, and social worlds? How does our day-to-day use of language reflect our social identities of region, social class, gender, and ethnicity? In addition, the comparison of distinct languages can offer evidence of their historical evolution and illuminate past and contemporary relationships between their speakers. By documenting indigenous vocabularies and grammars, linguistic anthropologists also contribute to the revitalization of endangered languages in the modern world.
Welcome to the Department of Anthropology
Cultural anthropologists study societies in the contemporary world using the method of participant observation, in which researchers reside in a community, learn its language, observe social behavior, and conduct interviews of community members. Traditionally, anthropologists studied mostly small-scale indigenous societies, where they examined religion, kinship, production and exchange, political beliefs, food practices, and other aspects of social life. These remain an important focus of research, but increasingly cultural anthropologists have turned their attention to larger-scale developed societies. Participant observation in modern settings offers insights into many problems of contemporary social life, including religious and ethnic conflict, the effects of climate change, globalization, social inequality, health disparities, and addiction.
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Sicilian history and ethnology are well documented. Not surprisingly, geneticstudies of the Sicilian population for the ancient and medieval periods generallyconfirm what is known historically. As genetic conclusions are keyed togenerations rather than years, historical knowledge sometimes helps to placegenetic developments in their proper context. For example, the prevalence ofmultiple sclerosis in Enna and Monreale may be attributed to genes brought withthe Normans, while diseases of the thalassemia group may have arrived withPhoenician, Greek or Arab peoples. Certain superficial physical traits probablywere widely introduced by specific groups --blue eyes by Normans and Longobards,kinky hair by Arabs, and so forth. That said, apart from avoidance of"inbreeding," the most important aspect of any migration andamalgamation is usually cultural rather than physical. We've come to accept thatmost Vikings had blue eyes, but would their achievements be attenuated if theNorsemen were all brown-eyed?