Anna Marie Schefer commented on Nold Egenter's group 'ANTHROPOLOGY OF HABITAT AND ARCHITECTURE'

Hello! I would like to ask what the name of the article about the interface of anthropology and architecture is? I am just starting being interested in the topic of Architectural anthropology. Thanks for advices! Best wishes, Anna


Good morning,

please excuse me for the delay with which I am responding your kind question. There was an unforeseen event which kept me away from my desk.

1) Regarding the "interface of anthropology and architecture". Maybe the best is if you first read the paper 'Architectural Anthropology' which you may find with the following URL:
This is a short introduction written for the Encyclopedia of Anthropology (ed. by H. James Birx).

2) The paper THEORY - AND FOR WHOM? 'Some notes regarding the construction and function of theories in the field of vernacular architecture' discusses mainly theoretical approaches regarding traditional (or vernacular) architecture of the world focused on the corresponding Encyclopedia edited by Paul Oliver (3 vols.). The URL:

3) More on theory in a general and critical sense regarding architecture and art historians, you might read: THEORY IN ANTHROPOLOGY. The URL is:

4) Important is the paper on Bollnow's book 'Mensch und Raum' which is fundamental for the whole approach, because architects are using the homogeneous space concept of physics and astronomy, whereas human space is - according to Bollnow - heterogeneous, dependent of the human condition which may change according to situations. The title is: O. F. BOLLOW'S ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE AS EVOLUTION THEORY OF CULTURE. The URL is:

5) The paper ANTHROPOLOGY OF HABITAT AND ARCHITECTURE discusses in a condensed form the main approaches related to this type of anthropology and the materials that constitute it (see also the plate of the 'five evolutionary lines'). The URL:

6) The paper THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SIGNS AND SYMBOLS looks more from the side of archaeology and prehistory on the materials that constitute the field in the sense of a "semiotic prehistory" showing that signs and symbols might have played an enormously important role in the formation of early, and particular neolithic culture, creating values of the habitat that were decisive for sedentary life, and later for early civilization which used these values to build up its own power. The URL:

7) THE 'DEEP STRUCTURE' OF ARCHITECTURE - Constructivity and Human Evolution. This paper is focused mainly on primatological questions related to the approach of Anthropology of Habitat and Architecture. It emphasises the term "constructivity" coined by the primatology researchers Robert and Ada Yerkes in their book 'The Great Apes' (1929) regarding nest-building behavior of the chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans (Pongids) and critically discusses the present "culture" theories regarding the 'toolmaker concept'. The URL:

8) HOMO DOMESTICATUS? P. J. WILSON'S "THE DOMESTICATION OF THE HUMAN SPECIES" - A methodologically new view on cultural anthropology.
This is a short book review on O.J. Wilsons important book on the domestication of the human species. The URL is:

9) HISTORY BUBBLE is a critical paper on the methodology of present cultural anthropology. It questions the eurocentric historisms used by the disciplinary structure of anthropology projected on a worldwide scale on traditional cultures often paired with an Euro-centric or Western value system (1st world/ 3rd world system, high culture / primitive culture etc.). In contrast it suggests an objective phenomenological methodology based on neutral observation of material culture and related behavior and a critical discussion between historical and traditional perspectives. The URL:

10) THE SACRED TREES AROUND GOSHONAI / JAPAN - A contribution of building ethnology to the subject of tree-worship. This paper may show that 'Anthropology of Habitat and Architecture' might use quite different interpretations to conventional phenomena, in this case tree worship. The paper deals with an artificial tree, the sacred tree as an "architectural product" and shows that this hints to an entirely different concept of the sacred sign and symbol: it is an aesthetic or harmonious 'pars pro toto' symbol of the local sedentary environment. The URL:

I hope this might be helpful,

With best wishes


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