Accepted Paper:

Introductory remarks  


Keiichi Omoto

Paper short abstract:

This panel aims at drawing attention to an integrated approach for answering the question: what is the modern human. Human cultures and societies may have roots in the evolution of genes and bodies. It is time to find the way to combine biological and cultural disciplines for a new anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

IUAES is unique in its principle of a multidisciplinary approach involving both biological and cultural anthropology. In the time that specialization of disciplines is dominant, we dare to propose to keep the original idea of IUAES. In the Closing Remark at the Inter-Congress 2002 held in Tokyo, I introduced Shogoro Tsuboi, the founder of anthropology in Japan, who was known by the broad interests not only in physical anthropology, but also prehistory, folklore, ethnography and so on. Attracted by the wide scope in human studies, people from different fields gathered to hear his lecture and join the meetings. He died young in 1913, and after that the centripetal force to his school weakened. Thus, the anthropological journal became occupied by tables and figures of anthropometric data etc. In 1936, a group of young scholars created a meeting called "APE", symbolizing anthropology, prehistory and ethnology. However, this pioneering attempt to restore the original multidisciplinary nature of anthropology did not last long. In the 1960's, diversification into narrow disciplines in the anthropological science became increasingly apparent. People did not want to spend time anymore on studies that looked unimportant for their disciplines. Recently, with Junzo Kawada, I tried to find the way to attain the integration in anthropology. The basic idea is firstly to focus on the modern human, Homo sapiens, and secondly to recognize phenomena of different levels, namely, gene/body and culture/society, are mutually closely related, and thirdly to consider the human uniqueness as the result of evolution.

Panel P129
Evolution of human cultures: towards an integrated anthropology of modern humans (CLOSED)