The Whole of Culture: Anthropology Back on Track

Friday, February 15, 2013: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 300 (Hynes Convention Center)
Anthropology’s wholeness, seen through its integrated, subdisciplinary character, is linked to the idea of the wholeness of culture that it has developed as its central concern. Viewing culture as a backdrop to single domains, turning culture into endless reinvention, or reducing culture to behavioral traits transmitted phenotypically through misappropriated Darwinian evolutionary theory breaks up culture into disconnected pieces and takes anthropology away from the track set by its founders. This symposium puts anthropology back on track with culture analyzed as being a complex cognitive structure that underlies and generates both particular and universal manifestations in human society among the human groups empirically studied by anthropologists. Using primary and original data, we examine domains such as kinship, space, time, and ritual considered as idea systems that provide organizational frameworks structuring social relations and revealing variability in cross-cultural forms. We also cover issues such as illness and sustainability and, in this way, both the "science" and the "policy" significance of anthropology are revealed, while we bring about a rigorous understanding of human sociocultural life as a whole.
Dwight Read, University of California
Fadwa El Guindi, Qatar University
Dwight Read, University of California
Sander van der Leeuw, Arizona State University
and Fadwa El Guindi, Qatar University
Robert W. Sussman, Washington University, St. Louis
The Relationship of Human and Non-Human Modes of Social Transmission to Culture
Giovanni Bennardo, Northern Illinois University
Language, Cultural Models, and Mind: Anthropology and Cognitive Science
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