American Anthropologist 1946
Albrecht, Andrew C. Indian-French Relations at Natchez. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48: 321-354.
In the article, Indian-French Relations at Natchez, Andrew Albrecht examines the association of the Indian and French societies in Natchez, Mississippi between 1682 and 1729. The incidences of violence which occurred in Natchez is well documented, however, Albrecht focuses on the periods of peace which existed between the two peoples in order to scrutinize the cultural change and adjustment which occurred and the extent of acculturation.
To clarify the complex relationship of the French and Natchez Indians, Albrecht divides the years that the French and Natchez Indians lived side by side into six major developments, each marked by French actions and Natchez reactions. Albrecht discusses the trading of the French and Natchez people and shows that very little changed in the two societies due to the relationship. The most notable difference occurred in the popularity of French tools and guns among the Natchez people, however French influences on the culture of the Natchez were little. Acculturation of the Natchez people was severely limited. Albrecht also seeks to present evidence that the stories and legends of the violent events at Natchez which are credited to the Natchez Indians may well be the result of French actions.
Albrecht presents his argument based on the first-hand writings of the French residing in Natchez during this period. He points out the inherent bias of such writings but argues that it is possible to separate facts from interpretive comments. His work focuses on the study of the interrelations of the French and Natchez Indians in terms of acculturation. Therefore, Albrecht maintains that it is possible to distinguish reliable evidence of such from a biased source due to the fact that acculturation is free from moral judgments.
This article will interest individuals who study acculturation, specifically the acculturation of Native Americans. Particularly it is of interest because at Natchez acculturation was limited, yet there were many strong relationships developed between the French and the Natchez people. Albrecht’s article questions acculturation as a precursor for interrelations between two ethnically, racially, culturally different groups.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEATHER LAW TALLANT The University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Angel, J. Lawrence. ”Social Biology of Greek Culture Growth American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol.48 No.22 pp.493
In the wake of the second world war, J Lawrence Angel became interested in the degree to which social biology affects culture change. Perhaps this prompted the publishing of this paper on Greek social biology. The main focus of determining how interacting cultures and people affect the direction of cultures may have been prompted by the nazi policy against certain people groups, and their focus on a racially “pure” nation. Greek culture is a culture which had much interaction with other people groups, as the mediterranean area has for some time been a trading hub. Information on this culture is also generally well preserved and researched, and for the most part easily accessible. The authour challenges the theory that culture development is mostly responsible by the elite, and implies that culture change is more havily influenced through the masses, and their interactions with other cultures. To this end, there is provided a section in the paper on “Chronology and Culture Growth”. In this section is outlined a somewhat brief history of Greek periods and cultural development. The information behind the study is further explored through sections on “Environmental Challenges”, “Ecology”, “Ethnic Groups”, “Population”, “Racial Types”, “Physical Change: Environment”, “Physical Change: Social Biology”, and “Heterogeneity, Fusion, and Achievement”. Also included are information tables on occurances of recognized racial traits, including “Ancient Greek Cranial Types”, “Chronological Change in Ancient Greek Males and Females”, Chronological Change in Percentage Frequency of Cranial Types (Both Sexes Combined)”, “Mean Chronological Change in Ancient Greece Based on all Available Data for Each Sex”, “Ancient Greek Male Variability Constants, and Subjective Indicators of Heterogeneity”, “Culture Growth in Isthmian Greece Shown in a Subjective List of Important New Traits”, and “Subjective Chart of Parallel Change in Culture, Population, Ethnos, Race, and Environment”.
In conclusion, the authour states that heterogeneity and fusion were positive factors in the development of Greek culture. Also conceding that the study is somewhat obscure and open to other interpretations, he makes the statement that the introduction of new people and concepts from outside of a society can have the effect of allowing the society to grow more effectively. It is noted that this growth is not always a positive thing, as moral improvement does not always accompany increasing social energy and material growth. Finally, the authour urges that if the growing heterogeneity in the world today is to be used in a positive manner, we must come to a far greater understanding of racial and ethnic values in a culturally shrinking world.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
TIM HENSMAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Baldus, Herbert Curt Nimuendaju, 1883-1945 American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48: 238-243
This obituary was written about the ethnologist Curt Nimuendaju, whose major studies included the Brazilian aborigines. Nimuendaju always took risks for the love of science, which he considered to be one of his duties. He loved to live among the Indians and thought of himself as a part of their culture. From 1905-1939 he was very much a part of the culture of the Indians by living among them to study or to participate in archaeological explorations.
The name Nimuendaju was given to Curt in 1906, after the first year of his studies, by the Apapocuva-Guarani, and he became a citizen of Brazil in 1922. These both are great examples of the dedication he had for his work and the respect he received from the peoples he studied. He fought for the Indians against those who invaded their land which added to his support from the natives, and also to the hate he received from colonizers. Many times he even risked his health and life for the love of his profession.
Baldus writes that his work brought him happy and sad moments, but the strength he used throughout his career made him ‘perhaps the greatest Indianista of all time.’ He writes about Curt as if he were a friend that he respected. He also gives examples of when he had direct communication with Curt through letters about his studies and experiences, which included Nimuendaju’s interpretation of his life story.
MELISSA MOORE Santa Clara University (Dr. George Westermark).
Bennett, John W. An Interpretation of the Scope and Implications of Social Scientific Research in Human Subsistence. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48(24):553-571.
John W. Bennett strives to address the varying scientific approaches that were taken in a study of food habits and subsistence. Bennett directs his attention to political implications, the application of human affairs, and problem areas that were encountered during the study.
Bennett set forth to classify the scientific approaches to food and subsistence, using categories such as theoretical, practical, applied, or empirical. Within each category there was a list of anthropologists who had performed the research, as well as the names of books they had written on their accounts. Then, for each category, Bennett gave examples of questions used in the study and identified the problems that accompanied the questions.
By using these categories as a foundation, Bennett tried to define food habits as “a separate corner of reality” (pg.554) and felt that it should even become its own field of study. He believed this because food habits, such as preferences, techniques, and buying habits are constantly changing and are never static. Bennett strove to identify a pattern to this change through a study the political implications and human affairs regarding food habits.
Although the article was thorough, it failed to clearly define which type of research belonged in each category. Referring to work done by previous researchers, as well as constantly straying from his topic, ultimately made Bennett’s article hard to follow. In the end, I am left perplexed as to what information was part of Bennett’s study, and what parts were references to other studies, and whether there is a pattern to food habits.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
KRISTEN IBLE University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Bennett, Wendell C. Philip Ainsworth Means, 1892-1944. American Anthropologist January – March, 1946 Vol.48(14):234-237.
In his article, Wendell C. Bennett wrote an obituary for Philip Ainsworth Means. The life and career of this influential archaeologist were described in great detail. After Means obtained a Master of Arts from Harvard University in 1916, he became interested in Hispanic American studies. This subject eventually led to a specialization in Peruvian archaeology. Over time he evolved an interesting approach to his fieldwork through the combination of history, literature and archaeology. The most famous of Means’ work occurred in 1931 with the publishing of Ancient Civilizations of the Andes. It was an account of the history of the Inca Empire based upon a historical look at early documents and archaeological evidence. Means married Louise Munroe in 1934. She accompanied her husband to Peru on five separate instances, as well as aided in the writing of some of Means’ many publications.
Means demonstrated his own unique approach to chronology. His dates were based roughly on the presence of artistic developments as well as known universal art trends. Over time, this interest in art and art styles was applied to Peruvian archaeology through the analysis of textile weaving. Ancient Civilizations of the Andes was the first volume of a proposed trilogy about Peruvian history. Fall of the Inca Empire was the following volume, but unfortunately, the set was never finished as Means’ interests slowly began to shift to other topics. A book on the discovery of America soon followed. Philip Ainsworth Means’ contributions to the history of Peru was greatly appreciated by the Peruvians, and as a result, he became part of the order of “El Sol del Peru”, a very prestigious honour.
Wendell C. Bennett stated that with Means’ death in 1944, “Americanists, historians and archaeologists alike have lost one of their leading scholars.” Means had many great contributions to history as well as archaeology.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
CERI FALYS University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Bennett, Wendell. Philip Ainsworth Means, 1892-1944. American Anthropologist 1946. Vol. 48:234-237
Phillip Ainsworth Means was both historian and archaeologist. The geographical focus of his studies was Peru. Means’s most recognized work, Ancient Civilizations of the Andes, was a historical account of the Andes during the time of the Inca Empire. His archaeological studies in Peru focused on identifying artistic styles. In fact, he held a relatively unique approach to chronology for his time that was based on artistic trends. As a historian Means translated many of the chronicles of the early European visitors to the New World. Means’s long interest in Peru did not go unrecognized, as he was honored many times by the Peruvian people. These honors included his official induction into the order of “El Sol del Peru.”
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JOHN PRIMO University of Georgia (J. Peter Brosius)
Bidney, David. The Concept of Cultural Crisis. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48(23)534-50.
Bidney begins with a brief discussion of the concept of culture, which he defines as “the process and product of the cultivation of the potentialities of human nature and the natural environment for the satisfaction of basic psychological needs and aspirations” (535). He then draws a distinction between natural crises, those beyond human control, and cultural crises, resulting from a dysfunction within a given culture itself. Natural crises tend to be uniting forces; cultural crises tend to do the opposite. The basic social problem of our time, Bidney claims, is finding a way to obviate cultural conflicts by producing that same sense of alliance between peoples that natural crises tend to create.
In offering his own “solution” to this problem, Bidney further distinguishes between two types of cultural crises, survival and axiological. The former involves the preservation of life; the latter involves transformations in the given value systems of a society. Bidney emphasizes the various ways in which the two are fundamentally related, one scarcely able to exist without the other. As he claims, people are willing to sacrifice their own existence in defense of their culture – for one’s “cultural self”. With this, he goes on to refute the naturalistic theory of cultural evolution (which holds that survival values are prior to axiological ones), and further discusses various modes of cultural transformation. Modes of transformation, Bidney adds, will depend upon the culture; attitudes towards change differ markedly from society to society. He insists, however, that change must occur – competing cultural worlds should cease to exist for the benefit of a universal, mutual welfare for all.
Somewhat of a dreamer, Bidney envisioned the future as a peaceful utopia, hoping that societies would find alternative solutions to war. We have yet to see. Nevertheless, I found his article engaging and easy to read, concise, and insightful.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ERICA HOLT University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Bidney, David. The Concept of Cultural Crisis. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48: 534-552.
In this “age of world crises,” David Bidney believes that resources of human knowledge should be used to indicate “directions of resolution.” Both Idealists and Materialists have tended toward cultural fatalism (regarding cultural crises as inevitable phenomena) by disregarding human agents as the primary determining factor of cultural events, relegating ideals, institutions, and technology to the superorganic state.
A polar concept of culture, however, stands in opposition to this superorganic theory by emphasizing the equal potential for both human nature and the natural environment to meet basic psychological needs. The apparent theoretical conflict between Idealists and Materialists can be resolved through a polar concept of culture, which takes the reciprocal influence of ideas and economics into account.
Bidney uses several conceptions of crises to construct his argument. He describes natural crises (earthquakes, famine) as uniting forces, while cultural crises (war, industrial strife) tend to divide humans into conflicting groups but are unstable conditions since crises do not maintain societies. Cultural crises are further delineated into theoretical and practical crises; theoretical crises involve scientific and religious ideas, while practical crises involve a break in routine cultural behavior. While it may happen more slowly in “native societies” than in more Westernized ones, cultural change is the process by which cultural crises, theoretical or practical, are produced, leading to “cultural invention or acculturation” (or, all too often, deculturation).
Bidney concludes by arguing that a sense of perpetual crises is most dependent on one’s theory of social values. The relativistic, positivistic doctrine that cultural crises are inevitable because there is little hope of reconciling opposing values, coupled with “the psychological fact that men are drawn together more by fear of some crisis…than by pure love of the universal, ideal truth,” reinforces a perpetual crisis complex which creates the grounds for world wars. In order to overcome this complex and the threat of nuclear annihilation, these crises must be understood, and people must be willing to forego them in order “to participate in one intelligible world of primary, universal values.”
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CAROLINE WEATHERS University of Georgia, Athens (J.P. Brosius)
Carter, George. Origins Of American Indian Agriculture. American Anthropologist January-March, 1946 Vol. 48(1): 1-19.
The paper written by George Carter involved the study of three species of plant. The main focus in the paper is on the origin of these plants and how and where they developed in other countries. The paper includes the work of several researchers. The author admits that the knowledge of this topic is limited, however, with time he and many of the researchers, Valilov, Mangelsdorf, Reeves, Catler, Anderson, Cameron, Dr. Sauer, DeCandolle, ect, will better know about the origin and diffusion of American agriculture.
The three species of plant discussed in the paper include corn, beans, and squash. These three plants are the foundation of the American Indians agriculture. In addition, these plants also played a role in the cultural history of America. The domestication of these three plants required two methods to discover the original center. The first method is to find the wild ancestor of the domestic plant, which isn’t very likely, due to the amount of years they diverged from. Vavilov a Russian plant geographer and geneticist was supported on the belief that about 5,000-10,000 years is half the time involved. The second method is a system developed by a Russian plant geographer to determine the center of varietal diversity. As one goes further away from the plants origin the less likely they are to find variation of that plant.
The origin of the three plant species, were determined by separate factors. In determining the origin, of corn, the author used genetics to support the theories. Mangelsdorf and Reeves used work of chromosomes as genetic evidence. They compared and contrasted different types of corn from different areas. Also involved was how the form or characteristic of corn changed from one place to another depending on factors such as climate. The author compared corn to races of mankind. There is different genetic value placed on different categories, and different characteristics and variation of each race. Such as leaf type, tassel characters, root type and kernel. The genetic value given could be between hairy leaves, slightly hairy, or no hair at all. The origin of the bean is determined mainly by climate of area, or environment, and slightly by cultural relations and relation to wild forms. A Swiss plant geographer, by the name of DeCandolle, discovered the origin of the bean. The species of squash and pumpkins were defined on the foundation of mutual sterility.
By finding the origins of agriculture it gives us information about our human cultural processes, where the centers of early economic and intellectual advance and diffusion measured by the spread of certain plants.
CLARITY RANKING: 3.
SAMANTHA BIDLOCK University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Carter, George F. Origins of American Indian Agriculture. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48:1-21.
George F. Carter writes of the information gathered about origins of agriculture in America. He is quick to note that at the time, 1946, not nearly enough information is known to know positively where agriculture began. However, he does a very nice job of laying out the known information of the time and trying to piece it all together for readers. He explains the work of botanists, geographers, and anthropologists in an attempt to speculate just where agriculture of some domesticated plants may have began. In his article, he makes it clear early on that some seventy-five to one hundred species of plants should be considered, but he does not contain the knowledge of that many species of different plants. He does, however, choose three types of plants to go into somewhat lengthy detail in. Those three plants include corn, beans, and squash.
He approaches each plant by describing each individually by means of genetics, geography, appearances, and anthropology. Through the information he sees, he then speculates where the centers of domestication for each plant occurred and an educated guess at the dates they were present. He then explains where he believes the plants diffused from and where they ended up (For example he believes corns home was located around the upper Paraguay river, spread through the Andean region, and eventually lead its way to the United States). He also offers a guess as the time it took to travel its route. Carter also gives some examples of knowledge they possibly reject his arguments because his goal is not necessarily to persuade us to agree with he says, but more of an encouragement to research more. He urges many different fields of study to collaborate and work together to find the origins of agriculture in America.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
RYAN DUGGAR University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Eisley, Loren. The Fire-Drive And The Extinction Of The Terminal Pleistocene Fauna. American Anthropologist January- March 1946 Vol.48(1):54-59.
Loren Eisley’s article challenges the hypothesis of Carl Sauer, which states that the Pleistocene mega-fauna went extinct because of the widespread use of fire-drives by early man in North America. His approach is to examine the major contentions of Sauer’s hypothesis point by point, with the goal of showing the flaws in those arguments.
Eisley first argues against Sauer’s main point that the Pleistocene disappearance of the largest animals seems to correspond to the time of arrival of human hunters in North America, suggesting a causal relationship. Eisley presents data showing that both large and small animals went extinct during this period, including birds and aquatic animals that would have never succumbed to a fire-drive. He also questions Sauer’s contention of the deadliness of hunting with fire, arguing that if it was so deadly how did bison and antelope survive into the millions until Europeans came with modern firearms? Eisley comments on the rarity or absence of archaeological evidence of large kill sites of mammoth, horse, and camel, suggesting that man was not responsible for their extinction as claimed by Sauer. He also questions why both Eastern Forest animals such as mastodon, sloth and giant beaver went extinct along with their Plains counterparts during this period, even though there is no archaeological evidence of Folsom hunters in the forest zone during this period.
Eisley contends that no single explanation for the massive Pleistocene extinction event is likely to exist. It is quite probable that mankind only played a small role in the dramatic termination of species during this epoch. Instead, he believes that a variety of factors including climatic change and epidemic disease may have been important in the widespread disappearance of the great variety of life-forms that occurred during the Pleistocene.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JAMES SIEGEL University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Ekholm, Gordon F. The Probable Use of Mexican Stone Yokes. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1946 Vol. 48(14): 593-606.
In Mesoamerican prehistory, the ball game is a controversial topic for speculation by anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians. Surrounding this issue is the long disputed purposes of the stone yoke, mainly due do the “curious though definite shape.” Based on existing archaeological evidence available at the time of publication, Gordon F. Ekholm attempts to demonstrate the likely possibility that stone yokes found at Mesoamerican prehistory sites were worn around the waist. In discussing his argument, Ekholm notes that there are other problematic components to this issue, such as the symbolic nature of the carved designs found on the stone yokes, as well as inconsistencies in distribution and chronological factors within the context of widely held positions in Mesoamerican prehistory.
Most stone yokes are U-shaped in form, although there are also examples of oval-shaped yokes with a straight bar across one end. The first form is referred to as “open”, while the second is “closed”. These objects have been embraced more recently as prized art objects, largely due to their intricately carved designs in addition to the fine quality of the stone used, usually diorite, or basalt. A major reason contributing to this debate is the fact that although there are several hundred stone yokes in various collections, very few have documentation that explain the in-situ context, resulting in lack of data which could aid in resolving this issue.
Ekholm points out that there are other widely held notions on the function of the stone yolk. One theory is that they were used in ritualistic human sacrifice, where upon the object was placed on the victim’s neck in order to render them unconscious. Another idea is that the stone yokes functioned as an offering in part of the burial ritual of a high-status individual. This position is based on a particular grave excavation where a skeleton was found with an open yoke placed around the skull. However, the author refutes this theory since many objects are found in burials with little or no bearing on the actual intended purposes. It is due to these other proposed ideas of stone yoke function, that Ekholm has focused on seeking a much more logical and plausible explanation which can be backed by archaeological findings such as pottery figurines, and stone relief carvings.
Aside form his detailed and descriptive analysis of several reliefs from ball-court markers in Mayan areas of Cancuen, Laguna Peridia, Lubaatun, Piedras Negras, and Chinkultic, Ekholm’s argument weighs heavily upon the consistency of stone yoke measurements, which never seem to deviate from a standard width of between six and three-eighths to seven and three-fourth inches. Such a striking uniformity suggests an implication of a specific design for the purpose of function in which there would be a need for “only a limited range in size”. Such evidence also counter-argues another suggestion by others that stone yokes were merely symbolic forms represented in clay sculptures, in which case, one would expect to find much more size variation.
Ekholm contends that through various sources, which he had described in this article, in addition to empirical data he has provided, one could postulate that the stone yoke origin lies within the context of an evolution as a “form of a belt which was used in playing ball”. As a final note, he stresses the importance of further analysis and in-depth investigations into the matter, and hopes that discussing his position will act as a stimulus and incite more advances in the field.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KERRI KINOSHITA Santa Clara University (George Westermark)
Field, Henry. Anthropology In The Soviet Union, 1945. American Anthropologist 1946. Volume 48 (18): 375-396.
This article is a rather disjointed collection of notes on an international mission to the USSR, of which Henry Field was a member. This was the first international convention held in the Soviet Union since the outbreak of the Second World War, and its purpose was to establish contacts for the exchange of research findings of Soviet, American, British, Chinese, French and Dutch anthropologists. The visit lasted three weeks in June and July, and included visits to universities and museums in Moscow and Leningrad.
The article is formatted in a number of ways, reading at times like a journal entry, at other times like notebook recordings, lists, meeting minutes, a travel guide, a departmental report and a newspaper article. Faculty lists, student enrolment figures, expeditions, publications, and war damage and casualties were listed for various institutions in the Soviet Union. A conference at the Academy of Sciences was summarized, and descriptions of several museums in Moscow and Leningrad were included. A full nine of the 21 pages described in detail the collections of the Institute of Ethnography in Leningrad. This very detailed account of Field’s visit is telling of the uniqueness of the visit itself. It was the first time in six years that American scientists had been exposed to the research that had continued in the USSR throughout the war. The goal of appropriating this new information speaks of the importance the Western scientists placed on understanding the Asian and European cultures within the Soviet Union.
It is interesting to consider the historical context of this meeting. It took place barely a month after Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 7, and just before the Iron Curtain came down between America and the USSR. Yet Field referred to a division between politics and the scientific world, and mentioned with surprise the archaeological expeditions that had continued while the Soviet Union was fighting a devastating German offensive on the Eastern Front. In his conclusion, he said, “there was general agreement that our cultural cooperation must be and would be closer in the immediate future” (p.395). This raises the question of whether American and Soviet anthropologists were able to maintain the academic ties set up in 1945 and remain removed from their respective, conflicting political institutions.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KAREN GABERT University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Field, Henry. Anthropology in the Soviet Union, 1945. American Anthroplogist July-September, 1946 Vol.48(3):375-396
Henry Field relates his experiences attending the 220th Jubilee Session of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in the summer of 1945. Field had an opportunity, rarely seen in the mid-20th century, to exchange ideas and publications with Soviet scientists. In this article he lists the staff of state museums and universities. He goes on to list graduate students and even specialists killed in the war. In fact, the first half of the article reads like a who’s who of Soviet anthropology in 1945. He gives a general outline of their plans for upcoming work and promises to translate some of the publications into English at a future date.
Only a brief summery is given of the meeting itself. Field prefers to give accountings of the museum holdings. Although also presented in a list format, more detail is provided in this second half of the paper. Field does take time out to critique Soviet display methods, citing them as cluttered and poorly labeled. He reports very little damage to the collections from German bombing. Field gives a quick summary of the Chinese and Turkish artifacts housed in the Museum of Oriental Civilizations then moves on to a more in depth account of the holdings of the Leningrad Institute of Ethnography. Artifacts from throughout the Soviet empire are listed like a catalog of cultures. He closes with a proposal calling for an Intenational Conference in 1950 and an exchange of students and publications in the future.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
MELISSA HAMPTON University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Goodman, Mary Ellen. Evidence Concerning The Genesis Of Interracial Attitudes. American Anthropologist, 1946 Vol. 48(28): 624-630.
In her article on interracial attitudes, Mary Ellen Goodman examined the personal awareness of race in children as well as the social and cultural implications of race on a child of both White and Negro ethnicity. Goodman expressed the importance of using young children in her tests because adults are biased. As well, most young children are not explicitly aware of the socio-cultural assumptions that are made when dealing with race.
Goodman’s investigation begins with a number of different tests on children ranging in age and race. From many of the test results, Goodman concluded that overall the Negro and White samples both showed more of a preference towards being a white person as opposed to any other race. Goodman also interpreted the Negro sample to be more introspective and racially aware, thus implying the socio-cultural implications of not being Caucasian. Goodman is particular in mentioning that while the results of these tests can be explained in a cultural context, it is also important to note that the personality of the individual test subject’s play a key role. Goodman was also very careful to note that the tests and conclusions in her article are only hypothesis and cannot be interpreted as absolute truth.
Mary Ellen Goodman conveys to the reader in this article that children develop sentiments about interracial awareness and their own ethnic background at an early age. These sentiments usually occur through the influence of the society they live in. Goodman tried to make clear how the children identify themselves with their race and also the cultural importance of doing so. Towards the end of the article Goodman explained the limitations of this research and that the study of interracial awareness is a very complex issue with many uncertainties.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
EMILY KOLMOTYCKI University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Goodman, Mary Ellen. Evidence Concerning the Genesis of Interracial Attitudes. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48:624-630.
This study was undertaken to investigate the transmission of racial attitudes and identity. “An investigation of the dynamics of attitude transmission would thus appear to be one of the potentially rewarding lines of attack upon both the theoretical and practical problems of race relations.” The examination took place in Ruggles Street Nursery School of Boston. Twenty-Seven children were studies for seven months, fifteen blacks and twelve whites. A detailed diary was kept of the children’s play activities for two and a half months, and sporadically thereafter. After the first two and a half months the children were studied individually. None of the children possessed true racial attitudes, but all had at least some concept of their racial identity. The black children were more aware of the major role race played in society, resulting in poor personality integration within society. The children of the age three to four and a half were in the process of becoming aware of the differences between races and how society reacts to the differences. The awareness was evident because more than half the children identified themselves with dolls that matched their own race. The fact that both black and white children perceived the white dolls as prettier goes to demonstrate that the children were aware of the implications of race. The fact that some children rejected the idea of hospitality between the races, more than a third of the children used race identifying language of their own volition and occasionally children segregated the dolls also demonstrates their awareness of race. The following quote from one of the black children aptly demonstrates the disturbing problem of race, “Why is it that some people are brown and some are white?” This study of attitudes employed the intensive observation of socialization-in-process. The author presented the data she collected from interviewing the children and offered her apparent and logical conclusion.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
NICA CLARK The University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Hawley, Florence. The Role of Pueblo Social Organization in the Dissemination of Catholicism. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48: 407-415.
In this article Hawley discusses the role of the Catholic faith amongst the people of the eastern and western pueblos, and the reasons behind either their acceptance or rejection of the religion. The people of the eastern pueblos accepted and integrated Catholicism into their religious lives. The traditional Catholic rituals and practices may have become drastically altered, but the eastern pueblos still profess to be Catholic, unlike the western pueblos who arduously rejected Catholicism from the beginning, even going so far as to obliterate the Awatobi village when its people showed signs of acculturation. Hawley discredits the notion that the eastern pueblos’ acceptance of the new faith was wholly due to their close historical and geographical ties with the Catholic Spaniards, suggesting that internal social and political structure played a larger role. She discusses how Catholic beliefs and customs have affected the social and political organization of Spanish American villages, and then compares this to the generalized characteristics of the eastern and western pueblos. In the eastern pueblos, society is structured patrilinially, just as the Catholic faith is structured around belief in a father figure. Hawley suggests that the eastern pueblo people’s traditionally patriarchal social structure facilitated their acceptance of the visiting priests as “padres” who were directed by a higher power, the Pope, who received his dictates from God, the highest Father. In contrast, the western pueblos are structured on a more matrilineal basis, in which it is the responsibility of the mother’s brother to discipline a child, and in which a child’s sense of stability comes from the mother and her relatives. Leaders acquire their positions through their maternal lineage. This strong emphasis on matrilineity, Hawley suggests, likely made acceptance of the patrilineal Catholic faith difficult. Politically speaking, in the eastern pueblos, government is organized centrally, with a leader who holds a high degree of power, unlike the western pueblo’s decentralized government organization. Hawley suggests that these differences affected the acceptance of Catholicism as a part of the pueblo’s religious life, noting that the concepts of authority and group welfare that underlie the faith are similar to the eastern pueblo religion. In addition, similarities in ritual practice such as constructing images of saints (as the eastern pueblos did of katcinas) and the use of an altar eased acceptance of the Catholic faith by making it appear similar enough to the traditional religion that the people continued to acknowledge it as part of their religious system even after the outside pressure of the missionaries had ceased. Hawley suggests that the distance between the western pueblos and the core of Spanish power did play a role in the western pueblos being able to completely resist Catholicism, however she states that internal patterns of organization ultimately made the difference, as the people of the eastern pueblos were predisposed by their social and political organization towards easier acceptance of the similarly structured Catholic faith.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SARAH GAMBLE University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Hilger, Sister M. Inez. Notes on Cheyenne Child Life. American Anthropologist, January-March 1946 Vol.48(6):60-69.
This article examines aspects of the American Cheyenne culture with respect to child rearing and child raising. Inez Hilger presented explicit details of Cheyenne children beginning from prenatal life to the choosing of a baby’s name. Throughout the article, Hilger provided insight into Cheyenne customs. She thoroughly explained the birthing procedure that Cheyenne mothers go through. Hilger made reference to the way that Cheyenne women nurse their newborns. It is interesting that different cultures value specific elements of motherhood such as breast feeding more than others do. The Cheyenne value the act of breast feeding so much that it was common for women to nurse until the child was five years of age. Various atypical conditions such as having triplets or having a child out of wedlock are touched upon. The Cheyenne women practice certain rituals with the belief that doing otherwise may jeopardize the baby or themselves. Hilger gives evidence of this by describing what a pregnant mother should not eat. In this case, the reader learns that the Cheyenne are apprehensive. The customs and practices of the Cheyenne were much the same as the traditions their ancestors practiced. In fact the Cheyenne had much respect for their elders, and in keeping with tradition they allow an elder relative of the newborn baby to name the child. Hilger draws comparisons and differences between the Northern and Southern Cheyenne people. For example, Hilger mentioned that among the Southern Cheyenne the birthing of children was performed in a small tipi erected directly for this purpose, but among the Northern informants the child was most likely to be born in the home tipi. This shows the way people of one culture can exercise analogous yet distinct practices.
Hilger presented her information in a very relativistic manner. The article allows the reader to develop a greater appreciation for the Cheyenne culture. It will interest individuals who want to further their knowledge of the Cheyenne culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ZEHER CHADI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).
Junek, W. Oscar. What is the Total Pattern of Our Western Civilization? Some Preliminary Observations. American Anthropologist September 1946 Vol. 48 (19):397-405.
Junek addresses the issue of how to index the culture of modern western civilization. He notes that to do this would require considerable indexing. Thus he resorts to drawing an outline of ‘modern western culture’ to pinpoint some of its major aspects. He argues that identifying some of the mainstays in American culture provides a guideline for comparing other cultures to modern western culture, and he comes up with sixteen complexes that are fundamental in American culture.
Junek argues that overall views are not only useful for comparison with other cultures but also for the purposes for enabling anthropologists to select complexes applicable to other cultures. The reason Junek finds it necessary to find the best fit for other cultures is so that when the gradual process of acculturation occurs the anthropologist should be aware of what effect his own culture will have on the culture of others. Thus, Junek argues that a study of the Western pattern of culture is necessary, since it will tell what parts of American culture are best suited for which culture, thus help to prevent disorganization of culture and personality when acculturation occurs.
While many have attempted to characterize culture, none has done this for American’s culture. Junek argues that it is not enough to say that other cultures differ from our own, which implies that ‘our’ [American] culture is self-explanatory. Instead, we must fully understand our own culture before we can compare others to it.
Junek then notes that because it is very difficult to make a complete index of a culture, it is necessary to note the mainstays of the culture and so establish a frame of reference for comparison to other cultures. From this, Junek goes about drawing conclusions as to what should be deemed as mainstays of American culture. He identifies sixteen complexes that he argues are crucial when comparing a culture to modern western culture. This provides a standardized way for specifying how a culture differs from American culture and how modern western culture affects other cultures.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
VASILIOS GALANOPOULOS University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Lovell Loughborough, John. Notes on the Trepanation of Prehistoric Crania. American Anthropologist, November 1946 vol. 48 (21): 416-422.
John Lovell Loughborough reexamined the ancient practice of trepanation. The process of trepanation involves cutting a round piece of bone out of the skull of a live person. Loughborough’s thesis was to review the main features of the practice of trepanation and to critique the few proposed hypotheses of true trepanning. There were very few works published on this topic in proportion to the occurrences of this practice, which was a challenge for Loughborough. He examined factors of geography and culture and highlighted superstitions, to guide his analysis of trepanation.
The author wished to distinguish “true trepanation” from other types, ie: those events that may have been due to a cover up of a fracture. Trepanation was used within cultures that have no geographic ties and the locations of trepanned skulls had no definite pattern. Loughborough’s conclusion was that this procedure was an “independent invention” (Pg.421), even though some original cases may have developed out of “accidents to the skulls of hunters” (Pg.418). In a cultural sense, trepanning had no bias. It had occurred in both “backward cultures and advanced cultures” (Pg.417. Loughborough’s meaning of ‘backward’ was ‘less advanced technologically’). The author described the distribution of trepanation as a paradox, affected by geography and culture.
The critique of the hypotheses dealt directly with the identification of true trepanning. Researchers Broca and Keith, were included in Loughborough’s examination. In the opinion of Broca, trepanation was used to cover up previous fractures, in which case, the procedure probably took place after death. In contrast, Keith, believed this practice had been a result of superstition as well as trauma. In support of the superstition hypothesis it was possible that trepanation occurred when the person was still alive.
Loughborough’s goal was to reexamine previous hypotheses and provide a critique. His article served this purpose despite the lack of previously written literature, which might have been helpful in his thesis. Loughborough used some medical terms that a reader might have to look up in order to gain a better understanding of what he was trying to convey. The thesis could have been clearer if the terms were defined. Loughborough’s critique was well written, but, aimed more towards his colleagues than an average reader.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENNIFER GROVES University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Lowie, Robert H. Evolution in American Anthropology: A Reply to Leslie White American Anthropologist 1946 (48):223-
The article is part of a long running dispute between two anthropologists. In this article Lowie is defending a previous article in which Leslie White criticized him for characterizing Morgans theory of cultural evolution falsely. Lowie is mostly responding to comments made by White and not putting forward new arguments. The point of contention as Lowie puts it in his article is whether or not there is a transcendental pattern for evolutionary progress, Lowie believes so, White disagrees. The debate then is obviously a very modernist one.
Lowies arguments in his article are exclusively aimed at the inaccuracies made by Whites criticism of him in a previous issue of American Anthropologist. Lowie charges that Boas was not anti-evolutionist in the same sense that White portrays him, nor were Morgan and Tyler evolutionists as White portrays them. What Lowie does claim is that Boasians are not anti-evolutionists as White argues but rather that they attacked Morgan’s evolutionary scheme, not the general theory of Cultural Evolution itself. IN the same sense Morgan and Tyler were not evolutionists as White would have them seen.
Lowie appeals to the authority of other prominent anthropologists of the time to back up his own point, such as Radcliffe-Brown, Radin, and Malinowski. He also appeals to the wide ranging support from many sectors of evolutionary theory, such as radicals and religious intellectuals. These appeals are meant to show how these ideas are “common sense” and widely accepted and supported by the majority of the intellectual community.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
NO NAME University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Lowie, Robert H. Evolution in Cultural Anthropology: A Reply to Leslie White. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48:223-232.
In this article, Robert Lowie responds to three articles by Leslie White, which previously appeared in issues of American Anthropologist. Lowie asserts that White is mistaken in his assumption that Lowie and other Boasians are anti-evolutionists; in fact he argues that there is no “Boasian” sect because students of Boas have often differed from him and from each other. Additionally, he stresses the importance of the testing of evolutionary generalizations by those that White terms “Boasians” as part of the scientific process.
Lowie includes five sections in the article where he rebuts White’s conclusions. In the first two sections, Lowie addresses the treatment of Lewis Morgan’s work by himself and others, maintaining that Morgan has been praised and questioned by both groups in a fair manner. The third section deals with White’s accusation that Boas and his followers question the theory of evolution. Lowie asserts that it is not evolution which Boas and others attack, rather the evolutionary schemes of Morgan and others. Lowie uses his fourth section to make the point that throughout the history of science, men have always tested theories, to ground speculations and make them scientific. In the fifth section Lowie dissects White’s allegations regarding evolution and diffusion. Overall, the article is a disjointed piece responding to specific arguments made by White.
The claims Lowie makes are supported by cited works in addition to his own clarification of the issues at hand. Because of the personal interest present in the arguments made, the piece is flavored by Lowie’s opinions and personal claims. This article is written for a specific and specialized audience of anthropologists, as many elements in the article are not defined or clarified to a general reader’s understanding.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
HEATHER LAW TALLANT The University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Meggers, Betty J. Recent Trends in American Ethnology. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48:176-214.
In the article, Recent Trends in American Ethnology, Betty Meggers investigates the trends in anthropological writings of the early 20th century. After collecting an extensive bibliography for this time period, Meggers categorizes the collected works into general topics which included psychology, acculturation, and community studies. In addition to these three major topics, she identifies three minor trends: culture, special phases of culture (law, education and economics) and influences of the recent world crisis (WWII).
Meggers first focuses on the trend of psychology, the oldest of the three classified in this article. She argues that psychology has grown as an area of focus in the field of anthropology. Prior to 1930, Meggers claims that psychology was thought of as a tool that would help anthropologists explain culture, however, between 1934-1944 anthropologists have increasingly turned to the view that the study of man will yield explanations of culture. She adds that during this time there have been more cooperative enterprises between psychologists and anthropologists. She also claims that anthropologists who continue to study culture have been met with censure. Another major trend in the anthropological writings of this time is the topic of acculturation. She states that as with psychology, acculturationists of the 1930’s and 1940’s are interested in how cultural disorganization affects the individual whereas earlier acculturationists studied changes on the level of culture. The third specific trend Meggers highlights in the anthropological writings of the 1930’s and 1940’s is the shift from researching “primitive peoples” to the studying of modern communities. She states that this movement, beginning in the 1930’s, was a new and popular topic in the field.
Also stated as minor trends are culture, special phases of culture such as law education and economics, and influences of World War II. The first two trends listed above (culture and special phases of culture) are briefly mentioned by Meggers. She claims that the abandonment of traditional anthropological work for government service and race supremacy questions are the two influences of the world situation at the time. Meggers concludes that anthropological work of the 1930’s and 1940’s is merely psychology or sociology stating that culture has almost completely left the anthropological dialogue.
Meggers provides a large quantity of cited material to back the claims she makes in the article. Following the article, she includes the bibliography of works which she used in her study. These are divided by subject and listed according to year so that the reader can visually see the evidence which Meggers uses to establish her argument. All main points therefore are backed in the article by excerpts from the works she has examined as well as visually displayed in the bibliography.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEATHER LAW TALLANT The University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Merrill, E. D. Further Notes on Tobacco in New Guinea. American Anthropologist 1946. 48:22-30.
In this article E.D. Merrill expands on previous research he completed concerning the origin of tobacco use in New Guinea. In light of new research done by ethnologists, he refutes the beliefs of Dr. O. Finsch that tobacco was known to the aborigines of New Guinea before the Europeans arrived in the region and that smoking originated independently there. To support his hypothesis, Merrill explores the dissemination of native terms and methods of use for tobacco throughout Polynesia and New Guinea. He sites previous botanical survey results that show no native tobacco plants to exist in the Polynesian region. The botanical surveys show the tobacco plants currently being used to be of American origin. In addition, Merrill makes use of historical botanical records, regarding exotic weed introduction, to ascertain the time period in which Polynesia first came into contact with European and American flora. Finally, he sites statements made by observers prior to the completion of Finsch’s work that clearly show tobacco to be new to the Polynesian and New Guinea region. Merrill believes that the Portuguese first introduced tobacco into Moluccas following settlement at Ambroina in 1521. From Ambroina, tobacco diffused to nearby New Guinea.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
TIFFANY RINNE University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Opler, Morris and Hashima Seido. The Rice Goddess and the Fox in Japanese Religion and Folk Practice. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48(4):43-52.
Many scholars have written on numerous and diverse subjects of interest, but not all have been able to completely and clearly cover these areas of interest. In other words, there are many topics, which have repeatedly been written on but yet, remain unclear and incompletely covered. Opler is faced with this problem when trying to understand the cult of Inari and the fox. He is faced with many works on this subject but none clearly and totally explain this cult and its religious beliefs. Nevertheless Opler sets out to find a way to entirely cover and evidently describe the cult of the rice goddess, Inari, and the fox.
Opler uses the incompleteness of works on the cult of Inari and the fox in order to suggest a new approach of investigation that would provide the reader with more complete and understandable information. It was clear that in order to fully cover a topic, such as the cult of Inari, the author should have to find some exposure to it. This exposure would make Opler’s approach more authentic and therefore more complete. According to Opler, using an American citizen who had emigrated from Japan was the clue to providing an authentic view into the cult of Inari and the fox, since he offered the exposure that Opler needed. Seido Hashima provided Opler with information which was valid and which completely covered the subject in investigation. Hashima presented his contact to the religious belief in the form of a narration of different on which his experience was based on. It seems that Opler presented this information in the same way that Hashima presented it to him, avoiding any changes in context.
Opler makes his work very understandable by clearly presenting his argument, and setting up the picture for Hashima’s authentic explanation. Hashima’s narration about the many stories and experiences to which he was exposed was also very clear and provided great insight about the cult of Inari and its deity the fox. There was not any complex language usage from any one of the authors, which made their work very clear. Overall the work of Opler and Hashima was very comprehensible in its nature.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JORGE BUCH University of Alberta (Heather Young)
Price, Maurice T. Differentiating myth, legend, and history in ancient Chinese culture. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48: 31-42
The understanding of China is seriously affected by the confusion between myth and historical fact. That was the basis for Price’s essay on the study of Chinese history. During the post-war era in which Price was writing, there was a renewed interest in the study of the Orient. Chinese officials alluded to past empires in their rationalisation of traditions and claiming of territory, which, in turn, led to a Western need to understand the basis of the claims.
Price examined three steps in the construction of Chinese history; how legend and fact became confused, how those interpretations became accepted, and the scrutiny that those interpretations were beginning to come under. For the first step, Price relied heavily on a historical critic from the 18th century, Ts’ui Shu. Shu recognised that increasingly later generations were coming to believe in increasingly earlier personages. Price examined various emperors and the myths surrounding them. To explain how these interpretations became legitimised, Price paralleled Chinese culture with Jewish, Christian, and Greek traditions. Finally, Price talked of the resurgence of the interest in re-dating and re-evaluating parts of ancient Chinese tradition. Price illustrated the re-evaluation process with an example about the author Lao Tzu.
This article is a good examination of the construction of history from an anthropological perspective. The extreme ancientness of the personages, ideas, and events, and the autonomy of ancient China make its history hard to prove or disprove. Price raises interesting points about how nations and rulers legitimise themselves and how those methods create truth. Price relies heavily on previous historiographies and historians to prove his points and the article would also serve useful to someone studying the discipline of history.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHERYL BLACK University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Price, Maurice T. Differentiating Myth, Legend, and History in Ancient Chinese Culture. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48: 31-42.
Maurice T. Price, in his article Differentiating Myth, Legend, and History in Ancient Chinese Culture, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the integration of mythology, legend, and history throughout Chinese culture. Price examines how mythological stories and figures have become not only a basis for Chinese legend and folklore, but are used in the context of historical fact. These figures and stories are looked to as a basis for modern policy, politics, and social action.
Price points out that Chinese and American scholars quote ancient Chinese writings, such as Confucian Classics, which contain mythical figures, as fact to explain contemporary Chinese society. The myths become so intertwined with provable historical figures that it becomes impossible to separate the two, the stories and figures are passed down through tradition, thereby influencing the factual aspects of Chinese culture and history.
Price notes that although some of the legends contain fantastic elements, such as an Emperor who has the head of a bull, this does not automatically nullify the social and or cultural sentiments expressed in the story. Instead the emphasis is placed on the overall point behind the legend rather than the individual traits or characteristics of the components of the story.
Price also notes that this blending of myth and history is not a characteristic unique to Chinese culture, that indeed in nearly every ancient literate culture the lines between history and folklore are somewhat blurred. The influence of religion, be it, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist, have influenced the way the people of that culture view historical facts. It is therefore important to consider this influence when examining any cultural principles based on history and tradition of a society.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
NATALIE GRINDSTAFF University of Georgia, (Peter Brosius)
Ransom, Jay Ellis. Aleut Natural-Food Economy. American Anthropologist October-December 1946 Vol.48 (4 part1):607-623.
Fishing and hunting of marine-life was the primary economic activity for the Fox Island Aleuts before the period of first contact with Russian culture, and continue to be a major economic activity after their acculturation. Jay Ransom’s article describes the Aleut food economy operating in 1936-37. The original practices and techniques of hunting and gathering food and the techniques of preparing food have been drastically changed by a hundred and fifty years of contact with Russians, other Europeans and Americans. The near extinction of a number of formerly valued food animals has dramatically altered the harvest of fish and wildlife foods by the Aleuts.
Ransom describes in some degree of detail the harvest of fish, shellfish, seals, whales, migratory birds, and vegetal foods. He also notes techniques of butchering and distributing game meat, and the preparation of foods such as shellfish, fish, sea mammals, bird eggs and edible plants. Ransom discusses Aleut hunting ceremonies that are no longer performed today. The Aleut diet has been greatly influenced by the introduction of Russian staples such as wheat flour, sugar, tea, alcohol, tinned milk and tinned meat. It appears that the change in diet has decreased the overall health of the Aleut, including an increasing prevalence of dental caries due to their high sugar consumption. Ransom concludes his article with a description of Japanese enslavement of Attu Island Aleuts during World War II. American forces evacuated Aleuts from other islands to mainland Alaska where they worked in fish canneries and on labor projects. Today all Aleuts have been returned to their home islands except the Attu Islanders, their island home having been usurped as a military base. Ransom notes that any process of more gradual acculturation was abruptly speeded up by the war. He recommends studying the psychology of the Aleut as an example of a culture undergoing modern acculturation.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JAMES SIEGEL University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Smith, Marian W. Village Notes from Bengal. American Anthropologist. 1946 Vol. 48: 574-592.
Smith introduces the reader to the project she undertook in 1944-45 with her students from Columbia University. Life in the Sylhet Region of Northeast India was described using lectures, discussions and interviews with Abdul Rahaman. The group relied on fieldwork as they could find only minimal written sources. As such, this article was not meant as a full portrayal of Bengali life, but rather as a source of information where, at the time, very little existed. The article is split into four sections: a demographic/topographical description of the seven villages, housing dynamics, family/village social organization and the conclusion. Smith provides diagrams of the house and complex, maps of the Sylhet district and the village, and tables that provide statistics of Moslem/Hindu population comparisons.
Part one showed the bonds of seven communities, which consist of a mixture of Moslems and Hindus. Most people were agriculturists, with rice being the predominant crop. Transportation consisted of roads, rail, and water travel (especially in the rainy season). The economy was centered in a village market where they used cash, with no bartering. At times land could be a source of conflict, but mostly the lands of the villages were communal. In addition to land, economic and social ties bound people. Jobs between the different religious groups were not limited. Moslems and Hindu’s could often perform the same task. There was also a “loosely knit” government, where participation was limited to adult males.
The second part was intended to provide information as to where scarce resources existed. Sketch maps of the houses and complexes were provided. As well, Abdul Rahaman provided details of his family’s unit, upon which the sketches are based. The houses were mostly constructed with raised floors and thatched or iron roofs. The sleeping quarters of people are detailed (married vs. single, males vs. females), as was the location of animal sheds and the watering pool.
Part three showed how family organization tied each household with the other villages. Males were responsible for the group’s co-existence and property handling. Marriage was mostly, but not exclusively, exogamous. Immediate sibling marriages were forbidden although cousin marriages were an acceptable way of keeping wealth in the family. Girls were given property settlements upon marriage to “safeguard” their position in their marriages. Village dynamics had women deferring to men, and the young deferring to the old. Fuller’s descriptions of basic family relationships are used.
The article ends with the economic and social ties in the functioning of the seven villages. In addition to being tied by topographical features, the villagers were also economical connected by the central market. Marriage provided a social bond. Smith points out that religious relationships with the broader world had not been a topic of the research, but would be a good area for future study.
This research by Marian Smith sheds light on a subject that is foreign to many North Americans, even by today’s standards. Her descriptions of life in that Bengali village in the 1940’s leaves the reader curious to see how life may have changed in the sixty-plus years since it was first featured. Her use of maps and diagrams was helpful in getting a clearer vision of the villages. This was an informative and interesting article to review.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JANET JANVIER University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Smith, Marian W. Village Notes From Bengal. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48: 574-592.
Marian W. Smith’s article, Village Notes from Bengal, presents first hand knowledge concerning the physical, social and economic aspects of a seven-village unit in northeastern India, in the district of Sylhet. The author is careful to point out that the information does not amount to a complete description of life within the village but instead amasses previously unavailable information from one individual, informant Abdul Rahaman, a Bengali Mohammedan. The author presents the multi-village unit as economically interdependent, sustained primarily from within as a result of complex relationships between individual family members.
The seven villages discussed are predominantly agricultural, surrounding a market which serves as the economic hub of the region and the basis for a money economy. However, the lives of the villagers are not centered here but instead within the confines of their family compounds and in their farming lifestyle. The number of family compounds within each village varies greatly, the total population estimated to be around 45,000.
The author goes to great length to accurately portray life within a compound. The informant diagrams a typical layout of a compound, giving meticulous detail of each area and what occurs there. The author then shifts her focus to the religion-based family relationships found within compounds dictating the behavior and productivity of each individual. In general, the younger are expected to be subdued among elders and women are to be subordinate to men, spending the vast majority of their lives within the confines of the compound. The oldest active male assumes responsibility for all members of the family and sees to it that the family carries out its duties with little outside interference.
The informant presents the image that each village is largely self-reliant. However, the region is the recipient of British influence (i.e. taxation and land ownership), and when coupled with aspects of religious and social life, a vital interdependence among the seven villages is maintained. Despite religious differences among the Moslem and Hindu inhabitants, emphasis upon occupation outweighs that of religion, enabling a more closely knit community than in other regions of India, and extending social interaction farther than those Indian cultures adhering to a strict caste system.
The author stresses the importance of careful organization of the breadth of knowledge that a first hand informant maintains. This information, presented clearly and without the addition of inconclusive data, provides readers with a substantiated look at the lives of Bengali villagers.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KIRSTEN LUCE University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Speck, Frank G. A Report of the Tribal Boundaries and Hunting Areas of the Malecite Indian of New Brunswick. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol 48(1):355-376.
Frank Speck uses his article to do exactly as the title suggests, report on the boundaries of families of the Malecite Indians. He also describes the state of this native tribe before and after 1870-1880, and the effects the Europeans settlers had on them. This was a time of great change in New Brunswick concerning white settlements and their control and devastation of land. Speck uses things like the Malecite’s methods of obtaining food and the amount of land they had to display this dramatically different way of life after the onset of European settlement. He provides ethnographies of individual families that were affected by these changes, in addition to repeating folklore tales about them to prove his point. Frank Speck reports that these people were better off before the white people came.
The Malecite Indian’s way of life was drastically changed, and not positively, between 1870 and 1880. The facts that Speck gathered to support his conclusions on life for the natives are reported by a group of Natives over 30 years after all these changes took place. They reported that prior to 1870, the Malecite were primarily hunters and trappers who relied on the land and big game, mostly moose and caribou for the food needs, and after 1880, they were farm-hands and guides dependant on employment from white settlers. After watching the Europeans profit from the slaughter of animals, the Natives didn’t want to miss out on the money, so they began killing their own way of life. They were forced to turn to agriculture when all the animals were gone. The Malecite families previously had massive amounts of wilderness to hunt on and to leave to their sons. According to the group of elderly men reporting, they had nothing to leave for their sons, after all the changes. Speck argues that due to these changes, the Malecite’s way of life was permanently and negatively changed, due to the European settlers. His arguments are made much more convincing when told through the Natives men, about their lives.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
STEPHANIE FRIEDMAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Taylor, Douglas. Notes on the Star Lore of the Caribbees. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48: 215-222
Taylor recounted what he calls the ‘vestiges’ of the original star lore of the Caribbee Indians of Dominica, and included several narratives associated (at the time) with each constellation and celestial feature.
He introduced his account by briefly criticizing Walter Roth who had written a book on the Arawaks and the Caribs thirty years earlier, but had even not visited the latter. Taylor pointed out that in 1915, Roth could have still found a few Caribs who spoke the original language and knew the star lore. His artical was an attempt to correct misinformation provided by Roth.
According to Taylor, one of the most important of the celestial bodies in Carib star lore was the moon. In 1946 the Caribs still believed that certain phases of the moon were suitable for certain activities such as hunting, planting, fishing, ritual, etc. In addition to the moon’s significance, the most important star group was what we call the Pleiades (constellation of Taurus). They were called ‘la Poussiniere’ but were originally called ‘iromgbuleme’ [master of fine hot weather] by men and ‘sirik’ [borer] by women. It is unfortunate that Taylor did not explain why men and women used different terms. This star group was used to track the passing of a year by noting its first appearance in late November. Taylor believed this constellation was once part of what may have been a larger story regarding la Pousineire’s brother, Trois Rois (Orion’s belt). The constellation of the heron named yabura (crabier) and lukuni yabura (crabier’s canoe) correspond roughly to Ursa Major (the “Big Dipper”) and were believed to be the source of thunderstorms and heavy rain. When this set of stars dipped briefly below the northern horizon it was said that the heron was diving into the ocean. Bakamo (spread out) is the constellation of a boy with the body of a snake. It stretches across Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn. The original name of the constellation of the crayfish has been forgotten, but Taylor was able to recount very detailed information regarding its position and shape. He was not able to obtain any stories connected to it, but he found that the sea creature itself was believed to be the source of tidal waves.
There are also minor details on several other celestials including the sun, the planets, a constellation called Hannao (a type of fish) which includes the star Altair, the constellation of the barbecue which is the square of Pegasus. As well, there were few recent acquisitions, learned from European sailors.
Taylor’s artical includes in significant detail, myths of the moon’s human origins, a brief account of ritual activity during a lunar eclipse, a narrative about Bakamo and one of Trois Rois (La Poussiniere’s brother / Orion’s Belt), and this is an important contribution.
He noted that many of the stars and constellations were associated with weather and types of animals. He concluded that the Carib used the stars as a way of predicting the weather and knowing what fish and game they could expect to be plentiful. He further speculated that there had once been stars and constellations to indicate the ideal time of year for planting particular crops as well. At the time of publication however, it was said that while the warm weather meant that crops could be planted anytime (assuming adequate rainfall), it was the moon’s phases that dictated crop planting.
A footnote indicates that ‘Due to unfortunate circumstances this article has not been proof read by the author.’ (p215) This is undoubtedly the reason for the lack of clarity in several portions of the article — sometimes due to grammatical problems and sometimes due to a need for elaboration. Most of the article is reasonably easy to follow although knowledge of astronomy is an asset.
Taylor presents a collection of data on celestial bodies and constellations of various kinds – shape, position, myths, rituals, vernacular expressions and beliefs. Because much of the original data had been lost by the time he wrote the article, each one does not receive equal treatment in the article. He does very little in the way of interpretation except for a small amount in his conclusion.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
J JOEL CURRIE University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Taylor, Douglas. Notes on the Star-Lore of the Caribees. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48: 215-222
Taylor is attempting to rectify the oversight of one Walter Roth, author Animism and Folklore of the Guiana Indians in that Roth had never visited the subjects he had written about nor had he made himself familiar with work already written about them. Taylor seeks to identify stars and constellations in Caribbean star-lore because the older Dominican Caribs that remember the stories behind all the myriad stars in their cosmology for some reason refuse to share the stories with the younger generation. So Taylor wishes to preserve this knowledge before it dies with the elder Caribs.
Taylor relates several stories about various stars and constellations as well as their importance to the Caribs as seafarers. Also Taylor observed the movements of the stars and constellations as well as the phases of the moon in relation to the activities of the Caribs. To this end he has gathered much information about the stars and their movements from friends as well as other locals including older accounts as to the customs surrounding the movements and appearances of the constellations throughout the year.
Taylor relates several stories and customs surrounding the movements in the night sky. Since he is dealing primarily with seafarers, the positions of the stars, constellations and the phase of the moon is of extreme importance for divining the weather patterns as well as for purposes of navigation. Also he has found that the stars also acted as an almanac of sorts dictating when certain crops were to be planted and when is the best time to put to sea. As of Taylor’s writing however, most of the younger Caribs have taken to using almanacs and measuring the passage of time as Europeans do.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CRIS CORCORAN University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Taylor, Douglas. Notes on the Star Lore of the Caribbees. American Anthropologist. 1988. Vol. 48: 215-222.
In this essay, Douglas Taylor attempts to depict and explain the significance of constellations according to the Caribbees. Over the years, this tribe has passed down the lore of their ancestors. Over 10 different constellations are mentioned in the essay, each with a special meaning. The sun and moon, the heron and his canoe, and the crayfish are the constellations that are focused primarily upon.
The sun and moon are a definite part each human’s life for obvious reasons. The Caribbees called the sun and moon “hw’eyu” and “nunu”. Both stars are said to have been men ascending to the sky and assuming their present appearance. Supposedly, the moon has an in depth story of a girl whose brother was in love with her. When the public found this out, he was so ridiculed that he withdrew to the sky, where you see him today. I t seemed to be a widespread belief that certain phases of the moon are the only suitable times for the performance of many activities. These activities include ritual bathing, hunting, or fishing particular species.
The constellation of the “heron and his canoe” is now only known to a few Caribs who are almost unable to recall the legend. When the constellation sinks below the horizon, they say the heron dives into the sea and forms the “heron’s leap”. I t was thought to bring heavy rain and storms. According to legend, the heron’s favorite food was easy prey that consisted of crabs and frogs that were accessible at night.
The crayfish, dependent on the direction of it’s pinchers, indicates the calamity of the sea. According to the author, when the crayfish is “un peu elevee” in the morning, the sea is rough inshore and calm outside. This condition may occur at any time of the year, but most commonly in April. The tribe refers to this phenomenon as “rat d’maree” or “tidal wave”. They believe that a small sea beast causes the crayfish.
The author states, ” the similarity of their (Caribbees) star legends with those of various South American tribes points to a very old tradition, but it seems highly probable that the tales were added to, amended, or forgotten after migrations to suit new local conditions.” “The Notes on the Star Lore of the Caribbees” points to the fact that may tribes have beliefs that are comparable, although during different time frames. In general, the lore of the stars are formed according to the weather. The sun and moon, the heron and his canoe, and the crayfish are three examples of ancient tales. These tales provide us today with imaginative, interesting stories of the way people think.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JULIE BLALOCK University of Georgia (Peter Brossius)
Taylor, Douglas. Notes on the Star Lore of the Caribbees. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48:215-222.
The main topic of this article is the description of the star lore of the Caribs from Dominica Island in the West Indies, which according to the author, is a poorly studied topic. The author is concerned with the loss of ancestral lore and the language among the Caribs. Only old time shamans had a more extensive knowledge but they did not communicate it to the younger generation. Although they did not evolve a calendar of their own, they were observant of the motions of the heavenly bodies, which were associated with seasons, weather conditions, productive activities and particular fish and birds. He presents the myths and stories of the most salient stars and constellations known to them.
Taylor describes some beliefs about the sun and the moon. He then presents a myth about the origin of the moon and comments on how the lunar cycles still orient and regulate some productive and ritual activities among contemporary Caribs. The Pleiades is the best-known constellation and marks the passing of the year. Others are the crabier and the canoe, Bakamo, Hannao, the Babracote and the Crayfish. The Path of the Turtle refers to the Milky Way. From sailors they have learned about other constellations that are referred to in French names. The Caribs do not distinguish planets from stars. Taylor mentions that the similarities with star legends of some South American tribes points to a very old tradition, but it is highly probable that they suffered modifications to suit new local conditions.
Unfortunately, this article was never proof read by the author. Taylor presents evidence based on a few available written sources and testimonies gathered during his fieldwork. It is mostly descriptive and other than documenting a topic of which apparently only vestiges remain, does not address a larger intellectual concern.
CLARITY RANKING: 3.
JUANA CAMACHO University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Terry, R. J. Robert Bennett Bean, 1874-1944. American Anthropologist, 1946 Vol. 48 (7):70-74.
This obituary traces the life work of Professor Robert Bennett Bean, a distinguished anthropologist. Dr. Bean died in Staunton, Virginia in August 27, 1944 and will always be remembered for his contributions to the study of human anatomy. This review is a short summary of his work and contributions to anthropology and human anatomy.
Dr. Bean received his B.S. degree after the completion of collegiate studies in the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1900. He went on to receive his M.D. degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1904 where he was appointed to the post of assistant in anatomy at Hopkins. His research there was concerned with observations of the subclavian artery and on the cranial structure of Negroes and Whites.
From the years 1905-1907, Dr. Bean was an instructor of anatomy at the University of Michigan and that period was spent pursuing research on the brains of the Negroes. He spent the years 1907–1910 as an associate professor in Manila and director of the anatomical laboratory in the Philippine Medical School. There, he published 17 titles dealing with the studies of the Philippine types and a book entitled ‘Racial anatomy of the Philippine Islanders.’ These studies are an important contribution to current knowledge of the somatology of the Philippine Islanders.
In 1910, Dr. Bean was a professor of anatomy at Tulane. Here, he continued publishing results of investigations of the Phillippine Islanders. His was interested in the correlation between somatologic types and disease and also initiated studies on the weights of organs in relation to type, race, sex and age.
In 1916, Dr. Bean headed the department of anatomy of the University of Virginia, returning to the state in which he was born. The twenty-six years he held the post was spent effecting progressive change on the medical institution. He made contributions to the subject of postnatal growth of the heart and formed ideas regarding human types and relation to disease. He wrote several papers concerning medical education and the teaching of anatomy. He also wrote two books, “Races of Man, ” and “The Peopling if Virginia.”
Terry notes that Dr. Bean was an enthusiastic and stimulating teacher. He found Dr. Bean to be an informal and cordial man and yet, he possessed a degree of reserve and marked dignity. He also spent his time in support of several worthy endeavors outside his profession and was a fine example to the communities in which he lived in.
The above obituary is a well written and detailed account of Dr. Robert Bennett Bean’s life as a researcher, anthropologist, writer and teacher.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHIA YUEH JEAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Terry, R. J. Robert Bennett Bean, 1874-1944. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48:70-74
R.J. Terry attempts to establish the influence of Dr. Bean upon the fields in which he worked. Using biographical facts to support his evidence, Terry gives examples of Dr. Bean’s importance to the scientific community, in the areas of anthropology and human anatomy. Robert Bennett Bean lived from 1874-1944 and was educated at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins Medical School. It was while attending Johns Hopkins that he became interested in morphology and anatomy. Dr. Bean also became assistant of anatomy after receiving his medical degree at this school. In 1904, Dr. Bean began research in an anthropological vein: comparing observations of the brain and the subclavian artery among African-Americans and whites.
From 1905-1907, Dr. Bean was professor of anatomy at the University of Michigan, where he researched brain size of African-Americans. During the years of 1907-1910, he worked in Manila as director of the anatomical laboratory in the Philippine Medical School. Here Dr. Bean wrote 17 works about studies of Philippine racial types, including his Racial Anatomy of the Philippine Islanders.
Dr. Bean worked as professor of anatomy at Tulane from 1910-1916 where he began looking into the relationship between somatologic types and diseases. He also started his studies on organ weights in regard to different types of organs, race sex and age. This research was continued at the University of Virginia, where Dr. Bean would spend the next 26 years and finish his career. He helped spur on changes that allowed for the growth of the excellent medical community still in existence in Charlottesville. Also in Virginia, he looked into the issue of postnatal growth of the heart and other organs. Late in his career, Dr. Bean wrote papers about how race might relate to the occurrence of disease. In 1930 he began an anthropological study of elderly Virginia citizens. He has been regarded as an excellent teacher who had a broad understanding of anatomy and anthropology and was known for his high standards in conducting research.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ELIZA MUNROE University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)
Von Heine-Geldern, Robert. Research on Southeast Asia; Problems and Suggestions. American Anthropologist April-June, 1946 Vol.48(2):149-171.
Heine-Geldern laments that Southeast Asia had much to be lost, things such as ethnology, linguistics, archaeology, and literature. Southeast Asia in the 1940’s was no different than any other anthropological region when it came to vanishing opportunities to investigate and record disappearing cultures. Such was the opinion of Robert Von Heine-Geldern, who asked what could be done to stop the disappearance of cultures? He felt that something had to be done and that in years previous to the article, too much anthropology had been done where the collection of data and facts was recorded by a local resident. Heine-Geldern argued that fieldwork executed by professional anthropologists and properly trained individuals, would ensure that cultures would live on for all time.
Heine-Geldern believed that the best way to back up his argument (that without some kind of intervention by anthropologist, some cultures will just wither away and die), was to analyze previous tribes that have almost disappeared. One of the most important tribes in all of Southeast Asia, by point of view of anthropologists, would have been the Wa, a tribe whose way of life could give insight into the ways of many ancient tribes. The only information available on the Wa was a small report written in the late 1800’s, now complained Heine-Geldern, there almost gone. Languages also disappear such as those of the Ternatanese and the Tidorese, peoples who were very important in the history of Indonesia. Archaeological sites were also being destroyed, by way of war and post war developments throughout Southeast Asia. Lastly, one of the most easily destroyed parts of a culture was its literature: its stories and legends were, argued Heine-Geldern, one of the best indicators of how a society lived. Soon many of the cultures in and around Southeast Asia would meld into civilized society and no longer exist. If nothing was changed within the recording and documenting of these cultures, they would be lost forever.
Ways to prevent such disappearances started with good old-fashioned fieldwork done by a professional anthropologist. Training locals to do surveys was also a good way to keep the flow of information coming from a tribe for years to come.
This article is a classic call for cultural salvage. It provides much great detail, displayed very clearly. Its argument was well stated and the article was definitely to the point.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
NATHAN CONNOR University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
White, Leslie A. Kroeber’s “Configurations of Culture Growth”. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48:78-93.
White reviews Alfred Kroeber’s article “Configurations of Culture Growth.” Configurations was Kroeber’s attempt to make generalizations about cultures from details, primarily discovered by his former professor, Franz Boas. Unlike Boas (who White felt researched endlessly in hopes of discovering “the big answer”), Kroeber tried to be more deductive in his methodology. In the end though, as White points out, Kroeber could not get away from his passion for facts and thus, was unable to achieve his goal of proving the superiority of deductive research. Herein, White’s objective is to examine the difference between the inductive and deductive methods of study, whilst using the Boas-Kroeber dispute as a framework for their evaluation.
Kroeber’s overall objective was to create an ethnology which “made sense,” contrarily to Boas’ method which Kroeber called “jumbled and chaotic.” His principal critique of his former professor was that Boas’ results could only list the facts but could not tell society the “why’s” behind them. To begin his work, Kroeber examined culture as a series of organized events which make up particular patterns. Then he determined that these patterns undergo ongoing growth and that the growth itself also forms particular patterns. Kroeber’s final step was to demonstrate the evolution behind these culture patterns: what he called their “configurations.” White describes how Kroeber surveyed the development of a multitude of aspects pertaining to culture in order to do so. With the survey results, he answered a series of questions pertaining to the universality of culture across the world and around the scope of the term, culture, itself. This deductive method for viewing culture was very different from the inductive – the only one practiced by anthropologists up to the time of Kroeber’s publication. Until then, the Boasian technique was the leading methodology, with the ultimate premise that eventually, if one found every bit of information possible, the grand conclusion would unfold itself naturally. It was Kroeber’s belief that conclusions could be drawn from generalizations, and that not every single fact had to be discovered in order to do so.
White examines Kroeber’s technique and compares it with the Boasian technique. He determines that although Kroeber gets back to the older and more anthropologically “culturological” method (which is, he says, more relevant than the new [at time of publication] “psychological” method), there remain several weaknesses with the piece. Most importantly, he infers that Kroeber was not able to make generalizations and, in White’s opinion, he was not able to do so because he used the deductive method. Thus, after careful examination and evaluation, White clearly supports the inductive method of Boas’, to the deductive method of Kroeber.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENNIFER CONNOLLY University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)
Wormington, H. M. Jesse Dade Figgins, 1867-1994. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol.48: 75-77.
This article is a biography of the ornithologist, naturalist and archaeological pioneer, Jesse Dade Figgins, who passed away shortly prior to this publication. Mr. Figgins was important in the development of museum displays that, through the use of painted backgrounds, showed animals in their natural habitat. Later in his life, Mr. Figgins became interested in the archaeology of New World peopling, specifically the idea of early Americans being contemporary with long since extinct Pleistocene mega fauna. Mr. Figgins was one of the first archaeologists who supported the possibility of this contemporaneous relationship and sought proof for this theory, and others. The systematic photographic and data recording now used at archaeological sites was also used by Mr. Figgins to provide sceptics with satisfactory proof for his theories.
Mr. Wormington paints a very flattering picture of a man who surely added to the world through his scientific endeavours. In his lengthy career, Jesse Dade Figgins gave immensely to many scientific fields and he is remembered with the respect he appears to have earned. This seems to be a very fitting memorial of a man well deserving of it.
The author presents a very clear and concise biography of Mr. Figgins and the success he enjoyed throughout his life.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
CURTIS F. CHRISTOPHER University of Alberta (Dr. Heather Young Leslie)
Wormington, H. M. Jesse Dade Figgins, 1867-1944. American Anthropologist 1946 Vol. 48:75-77.
H.M. Wormington seeks in this article to demonstrate the importance of the work of Jesse Dade Figgins. The author gives biographical information about Mr. Figgins in an effort to prove how he influenced the fields in which he worked. Mr. Figgins was born in Maryland, in 1867 and began his career working in ornithology. His first position was at the United States National Museum and from here he moved to the American Museum of Natural History. There he created habitat displays with painted backgrounds, which made him rather famous.
In 1910, Mr. Figgins became the Director of the Colorado Museum of Natural History. Here he took care of administrative tasks, painted excellent exhibits and also conducted research in ornithology, mammology and paleontology. He became interested in archeology in 1926 with the discovery of chipped stones during an excavation of an extinct species of bison. This led Mr. Figgins to attempt to convince archeologists that these stones were proof that man and this exceedingly ancient species of bison had co-existed. His findings were published in 1927 in “Natural History”. In 1931 and 1933, Figgins went on to find other objects associated with man that proved they lived simultaneously with mammoths. He also studied Yuma artifacts.
Mr. Figgins did a great deal to push back the age of man’s existence. He was also known for his meticulous recording of site finds and his insistence upon always having scientific witnesses on a site.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ELIZA MUNROE University of Georgia (Peter Brosius)