49: Anthropologist of the Fortnight

1 05 2008

By Chrystal Kinsella

Julian Steward (1902 – 1972) first got bachelor degrees in Zoology and Biology at Cornel University. He then went to UC Berkley and obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology.
Steward had a multilinear theory of evolution in which he theorized that cultures had many different ways of evolving, and there was no universal standard to this. He believed that the cultures environment directly effected the cultures development. The culture would adapt to their environment and evolve accordingly. In his theory, Steward paid no attention to kinship systems; it was all about the evolution in relation to the surrounding environment.
Steward was a part of the first research team to look at all aspects of all the cultures in a specific area, and how they interacted with each other. They examined everything, including economics, ecology, and politics. He is noted for his work on cultural ecology and cross cultural laws.

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