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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2009

Agustín Fuentes
Affiliation:
Central Washington University, Ellensburg
Linda D. Wolfe
Affiliation:
East Carolina University
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Summary

The intersection of anthropology and primatology is a complex one where our knowledge of human and nonhuman primates meet. Contributing to its complexity are the different sets of theoretical assumptions and methodological approaches that culturally-oriented anthropologists and biologically-oriented primatologists tend to bring to their studies. The different ways in which ethnographic and ethological findings are usually reported further increases the intellectual distance that anthropologists and primatologists alike must travel in their search for common ground.

There is also a curious asymmetry between anthropology and primatology that has developed along with the peculiar intellectual traditions of each. For example, although humans are primates, anthropologists who study humans rarely regard themselves as primatologists. Instead, primatologists, particularly in the social sciences, learn early on in their careers to respond to the persistent question of what primatology contributes to anthropology in terms of the comparative perspectives that nonhuman primates can provide. That this question is typically posed by scholars who focus on those aspects of cultural behavior that distinguish humans from other primates has often struck me as an odd detail because nearly all definitions of what makes humans human are implicitly or explicitly derived from comparisons.

Primatologists, for the most part, have been slow to turn the question of primatology's place in anthropology on its head.

Type
Chapter
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Primates Face to Face
The Conservation Implications of Human-nonhuman Primate Interconnections
, pp. xv - xvi
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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  • Foreword
  • Edited by Agustín Fuentes, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Linda D. Wolfe, East Carolina University
  • Book: Primates Face to Face
  • Online publication: 20 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542404.001
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  • Foreword
  • Edited by Agustín Fuentes, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Linda D. Wolfe, East Carolina University
  • Book: Primates Face to Face
  • Online publication: 20 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542404.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Foreword
  • Edited by Agustín Fuentes, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Linda D. Wolfe, East Carolina University
  • Book: Primates Face to Face
  • Online publication: 20 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542404.001
Available formats
×