Essay, Research Paper: History Of Anthropology


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I have
learned many new theories I have never known before, there are a great many
objectives and thoughts that I had never even knew existed before. Learning
about the history of anthropology has opened my mind of thinking in all these
different schools of thoughts. One thing that has shocked me is that I have
learned the early evolutionists had never done fieldwork, but would make
assumptions. The person that has shocked me the most is the theories Herbert
Spencer. He saw the different classes of the British Empire and he wanted to
know how to classify them, which is normal. He came up with a cellular
difference, the rich have intelligent cells and the poor have sex cells, this
seems ridiculous to me. Spencer says the only thing that should matter to the
poor is survival of the fittest, why waste public money and health benefits on
them when they donít do anything. The right way out of the poor to Spencer is
suicide. The things he says are so unbelievable, they have no truth, or any type
of evidence to back it, because of the fact that early evolutionist did no
fieldwork. The next thing that has surprised me is the progress that appears
after the enlightenment. Condorlet wrote mankind is perfectible and can progress
through the expression of genius. Malthus says Condorlet was wrong, he says
humanity will go down because of consumption, like food. These two theories seem
a little bit strange to me. Condorletís theory makes sense, but what can he
say about the rest of the people? Not everyone can be a Leonardo Da Vinci.
Malthus worked out his theories with some type of mathematics, but his
conclusion are not likely to happen and we are living proof, so what type of
math did he do? The last thing that has surprised me is the importance of Franz
Boaz. In previous Anthropology classes I have had, there was little or no
mention of this name. Considering he is called the father of Anthropology and he
created the four sub-fields I thought I would have know more about him from
previous classes. In addition, he also formally invented ethnographies and doing
fieldwork, which is a big step in Anthropology because nowadays all
Anthropologists do fieldwork. Also, some of the anthropology professors make you
read ethnographies and they never really explained the origin of ethnographies.
It also amazes me on how the so-called father of Anthropology became and
Anthropologist. He was a naturalist studying the color of seawater in the Baltic
Sea. From studying this he stumbled into Anthropology and has made it a growing
social science. One of his early students was Margaret Mead. She has written
books about the teenage girls on the island of Samoa. Her work on this island
was what gave her her fame. A man by the name of Morgan Freeman showed her work
to be wrong. This was kind of funny, because Anthropologistís had split views,
which made the crossfire more interesting. There is a great deal of things in
Anthropology that can surprise and shock people. By learning more and more about
it you can either clear your head or just confuse it, which is for the person to
decide. Learning more and more has cleared my head in some ways, but there is a
little cloud still overhead.

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