S. Washington-Week Seven-Final Reflection

Going through this course, through the lectures, the films, and reading material, classifications of systems and how they have interwoven with societies and culture allowed me to perceive the different practices celebrated amongst cultures. The connection between cultures and their function of systems become apparent in week two’s lecture of Colonial Encounters and Creation of the Other, week three’s lecture on Semiotics and Systems of Meaning, and week five’s lecture of Social and Economic Differentiation.

Week two’s lecture video generated a universal understanding and working definition for colonial encounters and how societies progressively dominated power and social status by means of colonialism. The practice of classification and identifying differences within a culture led to “elite” Europeans and the rest if the world left to sustain off of whatever power of social and economic influence that they had left. The practice of abusing illiteracy and cultural beliefs advanced some nations and ethnicities in positions that lowered others nations under concepts like the Great Chain of Being. Such practices are still reflected in modern societies with slight variations, but nonetheless, have allowed anthropologists to see how these systems of differences were birth into existence.

From week’s three materials, an understanding of how literacy practices such as reading and writing become explicit in their meanings for various cultures. Looking at the larger pattern, languages and their conventions play important roles to the development of patriarchal structures, even when looking at signs and symbols. By way of example, the derived meanings of larger objects like the Pentagon have significance to things or people that stand erect. The Pentagon unconsciously organizes a system of meant to attract masculine behavior. Exploiting such a theory somewhat came to be by studying practices of communication through signs and symbols, and language. Another point to consider is the feminine and masculine parts of some languages, and how easy it is to note differences of “genders” in languages.

Lastly, week five’s video lecture, Social and Economic Differentiation, reinforces the systems of difference by focusing on the social, political, and economical strategies of subsistence systems. Such systems are sanctioned by lifestyles and kinship for means of survival, but the differences lie in the organization and resources necessary to function. All systems of difference hold value to different branches of life.

One thought on “S. Washington-Week Seven-Final Reflection

  1. I thought your analysis and connection were excellent and well verbalized. It’s easy to see from Week Two, Week Three, to Week Five how content of the class connects together, but also resonates your own personal understanding of the material. “The connection of cultures and functions of systems” as you said are apparent in not only the weeks you mentioned, but across the class, and across the study of anthropology. It amazes me how totally connected and interrelated almost all parts of being human are, we all just experience is a little bit different. People are just people, there’s no need to be afraid of what we don’t know. In fact, what we don’t know we can learn from others. The knowledge and wisdom we can learn from one another is something we should all carry, even outside of the classroom. I can definitely say this class has made me see more and more connections between people and how we relate and understand one another with deeper thought and retrospective.

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