Anthropology is the study of humankind. This course will introduce students to the four subfields of anthropology: archaeology; cultural; physical/biological; and linguistics. Materials will emphasize the holistic nature of the field. Students will learn about the various theoretical and methodological approaches for studying living people and their social, cultural and natural environments. Through the lens of cultural anthropology students will gain insight into the belief systems, behaviors, social norms, attitudes and perceptions of cultures different from their own. Students will learn how to pay close attention to the symbols, actions and rituals employed by a specific culture in order to create a web of meaning for its members. By providing students with the tools for better understanding the lives of others, they will also have a way in which they can explore their own culture and their place within it.
Field WorkCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: December 16, 2018
The most isolated landmass in the world, the Hawaiian Islands were first colonized by Polynesian voyagers arriving approximately 1,200-years ago. These open ocean voyagers brought with them a transported cultural landscape that included both tangible and intangible cultural resources. The commensal plants and animals that arrived via canoe were a small, but integral part of a much larger worldview. One of these canoe plants was sugar cane or ko. In 1778, Captain Cook arrived in the archipelago only to discover that hundreds of thousands of Hawaiians were living there. In 1780, the first Chinese immigrants arrived and jumped ship in Honolulu. These immigrants recognized ko and began processing sugar cane on the Island of Lanai by the turn of the 18th- and 19th-century. By the mid-19th century a new industry took hold in the Hawaiian Islands – industrial plantations. Waters were diverted from traditional waterways or auwai to be harnessed in the service of large-scale sugar production. This terraforming forever changed the natural and cultural landscape. We begin our educational voyage by exploring the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Built in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop to honor his late wife, the last descendant of the Kamehameha royal lineage, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the museum was constructed as a repository for royal family heirlooms and other objects of cultural patrimony. It has since expanded and now holds millions of cultural treasures from Hawaiian and other Pacific island cultures. Students will have a chance to tour several exhibits focusing on both pre- and post-contact Hawaii, including two original Bishop Museum exhibits “Unreal: Hawaii in the Popular Imagination and Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island. Next we head to Waikiki Beach for lunch and a quick swim followed by a walking tour of Honolulu’s historic China Town with Architectural Historian, Stanley Solamillo. Once back on ship the students will write a report drawing on their observations and comparing and contrasting them with at least two other countries visited during out voyage where European colonization, plantations, slavery/indentured servitude, immigration and historic/modern representations played a vital role in shaping, reshaping and perpetuating the cultural landscape. Learning objectives:
- Learn about the Polynesian diaspora, transported cultural landscapes and Hawai`i’s voyaging tradition
- Better understand the impacts of European colonization and the plantation system on Hawai`i’s natural and cultural landscape
- To be introduced to the Anthropocene and the human actions and inactions driving climate change and sea level rise