"Lastly, cultural anthropology, what this course is about.
Originally, we were expected to go out to far parts of the globe to study “savages” or “primitives”---modern societies were left to sociologists.
We no longer use these words, because inappropriate.
Basically cultural anthros ended up studying everyone but western Europeans and North Americans, who were left to sociologists.
There was an assumption that primitives were living fossils, the remnants of past stages in human evolution. Thus we could learn about our past by studying modern primitives, saw them as living ancestors."
Prof. James Howe from Massachusets Institute of Technology, 21A.100 Introduction to Anthropology, Fall 2004, lecture notes: 1.