Foundations and debates in anthropology

sesync annapolis

Published on Apr 4, 2016

In this lecture on foundations and debates in anthropology, Dr. Paige West presents the history of anthropological ideas and investigations. She first defines epistemology as a framework for what we know and how we produce knowledge. She highlights how European exploration of the world as the start of systematic inquiry about other societies and cultures, and she notes that ideas about cultural evolution and the progression of social systems reflected Enlightenment ideas. She then focuses on the material and intellectual impacts of colonialism and imperialism, which were oriented toward bringing resources and knowledge from the world to the metropole, or the colonial capital. Critique of these approaches to understanding cultures led to the ethnographic turn in anthropology, which studies cultures in their own context. She ends with critiques of the concept of culture and cultural evolution to highlight the epistemological difference between colonial and anticolonial anthropology.

More information on the Immersion Program and other lectures can be found here:….


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