Departmental Bulletin Paper The Kyoto School of Ecological Anthropology: A Source of African Area Studies at Kyoto University


54pp.41 - 57 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
One important formative element in African Area Studies at Kyoto University is that of ecological anthropology, the focus of which is on the ensemble of intimate interactions between human life and the environment. The Kyoto School, a team of researchers based at Kyoto University who work in ecological anthropology and who are led by Junichiro Itani and Jiro Tanaka, among others, stands out because of its long-term fieldwork conducted in different areas of Africa, as well as in other parts of the world. However, the work of the Kyoto School has often been misunderstood in that its members have not always clearly explained the theories upon which their research was based or elaborated fully the implications of their conclusions. This paper examines the development of the theories of ecological anthropology that have flourished in the Kyoto School and points to areas for future research. The trends that have characterized the works of the Kyoto School to date are classified into the following five categories: evolution of primate sociality; society as a form of adaptation to the environment; ecosystem and human society; environment, cognition, and culture; and subsistence economy and ethics.

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