American Anthropologist 1988

Bender, Susan J. and Wright, Gary A. High-Altitude Occupations, Cultural Processes, and High Plains Prehistory: Retrospect and Prospect. American Anthropologist 1988. Vol. 90. 619-639.

In this article, “High-Altitude Occupations, Cultural Processes, and High Plains Prehistory: Retrospect and Prospect,” the authors are addressing the issue of misconceptions among archaeologists working in the North American Great Plains region. Often times, archaeologists have conducted inadequate surveys by ignoring the more mountainous areas of this region. This is because of the assumption that the mountains are less conducive to habitation, with the subsequent conclusion being that mountainous ecosystems must have played a marginal role in the adaptive processes of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Bender and Wright critique two models of interpreting archaeological sites in the Great Plains that have been used over the last 30 years, the climatic and the task-specific models, before putting forth their own model, which sees the integration of mountainous ecosystems into subsistence and settlement strategies as a viable option for pre-horse High Plains hunter-gatherers. Bender and Wright discuss the implications of their model, the broad spectrum model, for current chronologies of the region. They conclude that archaeology has thus far neglected to consider whether prehistoric groups might have had a different perspective of the mountains than people in our time and as a result our knowledge of adaptive processes from prehistory has been incomplete.

CLARITY: 3
ARKEY ADAMS York University Toronto, (Naomi Adelson)

Berreman, Gerald D. Colson, Elizabeth Singer, Milton. David G. Mandelbaum Obituary. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 410-414

David Mandelbaum died of cancer in Berkeley on April 19, 1987 at the age of 75, and according to Berremas, was the first American Anthropologist to do research in India. He began his career in 1933 with a brief research among the Apache from San Carlos, but his greater general interest was South Asian culture. He achieved considerable knowledge of South Asian culture as shown by his two-volume work, Society in India (1970), thus building a legacy for South Asian Studies

He arrived at the university of Minnesota as an assistant professor and belonged to the generation of Anthropologists who first understood Melanowsky’s emphasis on field research. Colson describes Mandelbaum’s focus on the importance of field research by describing the field trip, which he organized to northern Minnesota during the summer of 1939 for his students.

Furthermore, Mandelbaum stressed the need for an interrelation between social and cultural practices, as well as the recognition and study of the psychological factors that influence culture and its practices. He also argued for the study of culture in the concept of its process of change, and therefore was impatient with description of cultural traits and demanded explanations of their consequences.

Mandelbaum and his approaches were a big influence for Milton Singer, between 1954 and 1958. Mandelbaum wanted anthropology to shift form the study of isolated ‘primitive others’ to the study of complex societies, cultures and civilizations and actively sought for the use of a comparative-holistic approach in anthropology. Consequently he argued against the scepticism of studying the “the great amorphous hazy entities called civilizations” by claiming that a holistic and comparative approach allowed for different ways in which to study the ‘parts’, as well as raise new questions – personally – for the studying and understanding of these parts.

Accordingly, Mandelbaum’s important contributions to the anthropological field of study and its methodologies, still hold to the present day.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
RAQUEL ZEPEDA York University (Noami Adelson).

Clark, G.A. Some Thoughts on the Black Skull: An Archeologist’s Assessment of WT-17000 (A. boisei) and Systematics in Human Paleontology. American Anthropologist June, 1988 Vol. 90 (2) 357-371

This article compares some theories on the discovery of an australopithecine fossil found on the west shore of Lake Turkana, Kenya. This fossil was a cranium (largely intact) stained black by manganese which was named WT-1700 or the Black Skull. A large sagittal crest is present, along with other distinctive characteristics of an A. boisei or A. robustus species. The debate is where exactly this skull falls in human evolution. Is it boisei, robustus, or maybe afarensis? This article also covers the discrepancy of where these species fall in regard to each other in the evolutionary process. When the split in the human family tree happened is examined by many different phylogenies. Many useful diagrams are illustrated to help visualize the split. Two phylogenies in particular are examined here, the Johanson and White model, along with the Walker model. Also in dispute is the age and context of the find. WT-1700 was dated indirectly by stratigraphy to be 2.5 myr old. Clark suggests that this discovery was one so “spectacular” that is was automatically claimed to be much older than a more scientific analysis would reveal. Clark demonstrates his disappointment in the conclusions drawn and “spectacular” theories made on this discovery. He suggests a more realistic approach with a much deeper scientific analysis on the skull and the marker beds in which it was found. In turn, he suggests that this would increase the overall credibility of paleoanthropology as a whole.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Clark, G.A. Some Thoughts on the Black Skull: An Archeologist’s Assessment of WT – 17000 ( A. boisei ) and Systematics in Human Paleontology American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 357-371

Clark uses the discovery, discussion, and controversy over the fossil cranium of a hyperrobust australopithecine labeled WT – 17000 to express his criticism of the discipline of human paleontology. Clark attacks theories, methods, and models by paleoanthropologists in, among other things, classifying and studying hominid fossils. Clark charges that paleoanthropologists have a muddled conception of science, and that their theories are of a nature that can neither be confirmed nor denied.

The subject of phylogenies, the age an context of the WT – 17000 specimen, the age of australopithecine’s, regional phylogenies and their implications, the over abundance of functional convergence, species classification of WT – 17000, the importance of functional interpretations of morphology, paradigms and biases, procedures, defining Clades, numerical taxonomy, quantified Cladistic analysis of functional complexes, and unsolicited opinion of extinction events, and epistemology all serve Clark in proving his argument. Clark concludes that personal competition, battling egos, and a shortage of variety of theoretical perspectives contribute to discredit the scientific validity of paleoanthropology.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ELISE GRETO York University ( Naomi Adelson )

Coimbra, Carlos E. Human Settlements, Demographic Pattern, and Epidemiology in Lowland Amazonia: The Case of Chagas’s Disease. American Anthropologists 1988 Vol.90:82-91.

In this article Carlos Coimbra studies the effects of disease on an indigenous culture. He focuses on the ability of a culture to adapt when a potentially destructive disease threatens the community. He attributes basic human adaptation to three main causes: genetic mutation, physiological modification, and cultural adjustment. All three work together to enable the community not just to survive a threatening disease, but prevent an outbreak from happening again.

Coimbra gives the example of a fairly endemic disease caused by a parasite in lowland Amazonia called Chagas’s Disease. This parasite lives in an invertebrate host, which is a very common insect in lowland Amazonia. Theses insects, called triatomines, are most harmful when they infest the thatched huts of the natives. Chagas’s Disease is most interesting because it existed before the European invasion and has remained isolated in the Amazon Basin. Infection is actually very rare since the parasites usually inhabit wild and domesticated mammals. However, human interference with the environment forces increasing numbers of these insects to migrate toward human settlements. These insects must first inhabit a human dwelling for a time before they present a serious threat. These domiciliated insects generally live in the thatched roofing and prefer the open type houses typical of many Amerindians in the Amazon Basin. Coimbra is particularly interested in how these people have adapted to the encroaching triatomines. He claims that there are two main factors that have enables lowland populations to elude these parasites: mobility and animal domestication. Many of the tribes in the Amazon are only semi-sedentary. Some are hunter-gathers, while others merely re-locate on the basis or poor soil, warfare, or protein scarcity. This is a serious advantage against Chagas’s Disease because the insects must first inhabit a person’s hut for a time before they can cause disease, and the populations never stay long enough for the insect to become domiciled. The other main factor that protects the lowland populations is the lack of domesticated animals. Mobile populations rarely tote around domesticated animals for obvious reasons. On the contrary, residents in the highlands who are sedentary and have domesticated animals are more likely to have triatomines inhabiting their houses and infecting their livestock. The lowland populations have managed to avoid Chagas’s Disease by maintaining a mobile lifestyle. However, increasing industrialization and destruction of the forests has increased the probability of infection in lowland cultures. Coimbra proposes that more investigations be initiated in order to better understand the effects of this disease on the native population. He is fearful of a widespread epidemic of precautions aren’t taken to preserve the lifestyles of the lowland Amerindians.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Combra, Carlos, E. A. Human Settlements, Demographic Patterns and Epidemiology in Lowland Amazonia: The Case of Chagras’s Disease. American Anthropologist 1988, v: 90 p. 82-97.

Chagras’s disease is a serious potential threat to Amazonian populations. Recent human activities promoting industrialization, road construction and deforestation may stimulate the invasive host bugs (called Triatomines) causing Chagras’s disease. This article examines behavioural differences among the highland groups of South American Indians and the lowland groups, based on their encounters with the disease.

The triotamine bugs are usually found in nests of their hosts (ie. Armadillo, rodent, or bird nests… under pieces of bark and palm trees). To contact the disease, the bugs need to be present. They can be present on cracks on walls or roofs of housing as some of the above raw materials are used to build housing units. This article further examines the behavioural components of Amazonian native lifestyle.

Most lowland groups have the common feature of high mobility rate because of the decline in soil fertility, weed infestation of gardens and protein scarcity within their agricultural compounds. The positive outlook on mobility is that it prevents the accumulation and stratification of populations, human or animal. Health is also examined as mobility minimizes the contamination of the groups’ surroundings with different pathogens and with the triatomine bug. Animal domestication is also practiced far less amongst groups with high mobility rates, so there is less of a chance for the disease to be introduced.

Among the highland groups, the guinea pig is freely reared near (if not within) the homes and is a host of the triatomine bug. It acts as a reservoir for the parasite. Highland groups also have a larger population size where the Lowland natives do not. With smaller settlement sizes and high village mobility, there is not a lot of animal domestication and less chances for Chagras’s disease to occur.

This article basically sums up that because of development, population resettlement is necessary and becomes forced especially affecting the lowland people. They are forced to live in smaller areas with limited mobility. This may result in consequential infections of Chagras’s disease in the future.

CLARITY: 4
LIVY FELDGAJER York University (Prof. Naomi Adelson)

Dirks, Robert. Annual Rituals of Conflict. American Anthropologist December, 1988 Vol. 90(4): 856-867.

The author’s objective in this article is to understand the Great Rituals of Conflict, and their annual celebrations containing episodes of coercion and scorn, which is spread sporadically world wide. Dirks confronts this basic overall problem by making an analysis of what he considers to be the three essential features of these rites. First is their yearly incidence, next the agonistic content, and finally the ritualistic form. He begins his analysis by observing Max Gluckmans study of the Rituals of Rebellion in South-East Africa, and Edward Norbeck who would later publish and important critique studying the effect of Ritual Conflicts. In order to test Gluckmans proposition Dirks turns to the Human Relations Area Files Sample Version A, which is a data base of sixty rural, non industrial societies selected. This data reports that there is most frequently encountered examples of the rites in question were tournaments or other physical contests, sham battles, playful attacks on persons or their property, rude pranks, and customary interludes of ridicule or mockery. Next Dirks would use Marc Ross who developed scales for measuring 42 political variables, including several that would appear to measure the openness of a political order to being questioned. The variables which where observed for this study are (1) the extent to which leaders’ power is subjected to checks, (2) the degree to which political authority is sensitive to community opinion, and (3) was the extent to which community members participate in decision making and finally the range of activities to which communal decision making applies. His concluding remarks about his study state that as for agonism ritually portrayed and the throb of a powerful ecological pulse affecting the intake of food energy appears to be consistent with stress. The questions of origins will always remain somewhat obscure in any case because of the propensity for rituals as they evolve toward more polished and specialized communication.

Clarity 3
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University

Dirks R. Annual Rituals of Conflict American Anthropologist 1988. Vol. 90:856-870

This article discusses “the issue of why great rites of conflicts exist in some societies and not in others.”(Pg. 856) The author’s main objective “is to elaborate a theory of annual rituals of conflicts that both explains and predicts their occurrence.”(Pg. 856) Dirks explains that this analysis considers three essential features: their yearly incidence, agonistic content and ritualistic form. The author focuses most of his attention on the classic work of Max Gluckman, especially on the Frazer Lecture. Several explanations are given for the need for such unruly conflict rituals, the first of which is that “the greater the limitations society places in the open expression of oppositions, the more likely the occurrence of annual rituals of conflict.” (Pg.857) Another theory raised is the relationship of hunger seasons that may influence the need for the rituals. If it is true, then these rituals are merely forms of what Gluckman considers “relief-induced agonism.” The author gives some examples of the forms of expression used by some ethnic groups such as the celebration of the Tibeto-Burman Garo. The young people customarily tease the members of the opposite sex. During Chinese New Year, the children of the Taiwan Hokkien are allowed to steal vegetables from their neighbours’ garden. These are just some examples of the aggressions that varies from one group to the other.

Tables explain how hunger seasons and the annual ritual of conflicts among the different ethnic groups around the world like the Taiwan Hokkiens and the Yanoamas are related.

This is a very clear and engaging article to read.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
LIZA POH York University (Naomi Adelson).

Freed, Stanley A., Ruth S. Freed, Laila Williamson. Capitalist Philanthropy and Russian Revolutionaries: The Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1902). American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 1-23

Stanley A. Freed et al. offers a review of The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, which is considered the most important of American Anthropology’s expeditions. It was organized in early 1987 to study the relationship between the people in Asia and northwestern North America.

Franz Boas, the linchpin for the expedition, jointly with Putnam presented the project to Morris K. Jesup in 1896. Jesup accepted the project as a six-year research on both sides of the Bering Strait, and because he could not find funding from fellow philanthropists, he decided to completely fund it himself. The Expedition was announced to the popular press in 1897, and Jesup worked at focusing their interests in the origin of the Amerindians.

The personnel for the research on the Siberian and the North American coasts, as well as the conditions, differed immensely. In North America, Boas recruited amateurs under his instruction to supply personnel for the anthropologists doing the field research. The findings in the North American region, focused on ethnographic and linguistic data. The Siberian researchers on the other hand, were Russian revolutionaries who had become experts in the ethnography of the area due to their exile from Russia.

The research in North America was done under an environment of competition. Boas had previously been rejected as part of Chicago’s team, and consequently, a bitter competition formed between the New York American Museum and Chicago’s Columbian Museum. Furthermore the collection of skeletal material from the Indians in North America created misunderstandings between researches and Indians.

Different problems arose from the Siberian expedition, which started a year later. The environmental conditions were extreme and harsh and political unrest in Russia affected the expeditions. Because two of the researchers, Bogoras and Jochelson had revolutionary background, the Russian authorities restrained the local authorities from offering any aid and kept them under close surveillance.

Nevertheless, Bogaras, who was in charge of the expedition, and his wife, collected a great part of the data through linguistic notes, skeletal material, phonographic records, etc. Jochelson and his wife, in studies of the Koryak and the Yukaghir, also collected an extensive amount of material.

Jesup later pressured Boas, who was the motor behind the research, for not providing the concluding volumes on the research. Their relationships decayed until Boas resigned from the Museum and transferred to Columbia University, where most of his time was now occupied with his new post. Although he is severely criticized for not writing the summary volume, Freed et al. argue that Boas did in fact draw conclusions from the research, like the “Eskimo Wedge” and the “Americanoid” theories.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
RAQUEL ZEPEDA York University (Noami Adelson).

Freinberg, Richard. Margret Mead and Samoa: Coming of Age in Fact and Fiction. American Anthropologist. September, 1988. Vol. 90: 657-661.

In the article, “Margaret Mead and Samoa: Coming of Age in Fact in Fiction,” Richard Feinberg attempts to summarize Derek Freeman’s critique of Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa. Although the article is written so that the general public understands it, it is somewhat challenging to understand without reading the original works by Mead and Freeman. At times it is not clear whose interpretation of Samoa Feinberg is presenting.

According to Feinberg, Freeman criticizes Mead’s views of being exaggerated and filled with sweeping generalizations. Freeman accuses Mead of falsely describing adolescence in Samoa as being “the easiest and most pleasant time of life.” In addition, Mead incorrectly claims that young men and women are allowed to explore their sexuality without any sanction from society. This, she feels, allows them to experience less stress then their Western- counterparts.

Freeman on the other hand believes that Mead’s interpretation is contrary to reality. Samoa teenagers experience as much stress as westerners. Being an expert Samoa ethnographer, Freeman describes that at the coming of age the boy experiences pressure from society when he enters the amumaga, a group of men without title. Once he receives a title the young man must break all ties to childhood friends. He becomes a member of the matai. As a member of the matai, he will participate in important decisions that will affect the community. The boy must be careful to make correct decision, as this will determine if he will one day be able to be the chief of his people.

The girl’s adolescence is equally stressful. In the female analogy of the matai, the taupou, the girl attempts to impress society through her virtues. She learns courtesies, to perform special dances, and always conduct herself with grace. Most importantly, contrary to Mead’s view, the female is expected to be sexually alluring, but she must remain a virgin until marriage.

Although Freeman claims Mead is incorrect, he does state that she did not purposefully attempt to falsely portray the Samoa culture.

CLARITY:2
UNKNOWN Baylor University

Feinberg, Richard. Margaret Mead and Samoa: Coming of Age in Fact and Fiction American Anthropologist, 1988. Vol. 90: 656-663

Richard Feinberg’s article analyses Margaret Mead’s book, Coming of Age in Samoa, pointing out the differences between the popular perception of her work and what was actually written.

He begins by stating the controversy between Derek Freeman and Margaret Mead and how the anthropological community, who initially chose sides over the debate, have not, for the most part, accepted Freeman’s version of Mead’s work. Feinberg then states what Freeman’s view is, and, using quotations from her book, shows Mead’s version of Samoa. He writes that Margaret Mead often exaggerates for impact, and that she is responsible for the misinterpretation of her book. He then goes on to point out, using examples from the book, some contradictions in the book regarding the Samoans idyllic lifestyle and promiscuous adolescent sex.

Feinberg concludes by stating that Freeman performed a service by making the public aware of the inconsistencies in Coming of Age, but one may still glean much insight from the work. He writes that despite major differences in interpretation, Margaret Mead’s and Derek Freeman’s accounts are largely compatible.

CLARITY RATING: 3
SEVAAN FRANKS York University (Naomi Adelson)

Freidel, David A. and Linda Schele. Kinship in the Late Preclassic Maya Lowlands: The Instruments and Places of Ritual Power. American Anthropologist September, 1988 Vol. 90(3): 547-567.

Freidel and Schele argue that the Lowland Maya of the Late Preclassic period (350 B.C.-A.D. 100) restyled the institution of kingship, known as ahaw. Ahaw was received through direct noble descent. It entitled the ruler centralized power and authority. Ahaw also enabled him to practice shamanistic rituals and spiritual communion with all the Maya ancestors.

Freidel and Schele believe that ahaw was invented in the first century B.C. in order to accommodate an increasing and flourishing elite class. Before the Late Preclassic times, the Maya society seemed to be quite egalitarian and in fact, the Maya kingship system remained quite undefined. Moreover, the origins of Late Preclassic ahaw are blurry because of lack of evidence in the archaeological records. What is sure is that the ahaw institution was transformed during that time. The authors go as far as to claim that the institution of Ahaw in the lowlands marked the beginning of the Maya civilization as a high culture in the pre-Columbian times.

The institution of ahaw is characterized by a divine power given to the Maya ruler through direct noble lineage. Moreover, Maya rulers had a bond with the ancestors, known as the Ancestral Heroes, and may even be the reincarnation of one of them. Finally, the king was the conduit between this world and the other world and thus was the main spiritual leader during religious ceremonies. Ahaw put the focus on royal lineage and actions, the divine and supernatural character of the Maya king.

In addition, ahaw or authority of the Maya ruler was legitimated on carved stone material. Carved stelae were displayed in public centers and generally portrayed the Maya ruler. Maya iconography by large incorporated three components: the central character (the ruler), the objects the ruler is holding that enables him to have access to the supernatural world and the supernatural beings. The carved hieroglyphs also confirmed the ruler’s ahaw status as they recorded the king’s name, place, dynasty, divine action or cycles of history.

Along with the hieroglyphic texts that tell about the story or actions of a ruler, different objects were carved into the stela as evidence of royal insignia and power. Among others, the two more significant ones are the Dumbarton Oaks pectoral and the Jester God diadem. This last one is no more less than the emblem of Maya kingship. The Jester God is the symbol of ahaw.

CLARITY: 3
BELONA MOU California State University, Hayward (Peter J. Claus).

Hammel, E. A. A Glimpse into the Demography of the Ainu. American Anthropologist March, 1988 Vol. 90(1):25-41.

The author of this article ” examines the historical censuses of the Ainu and interprets the data in view of Ainu ecology.” He begins with historical data, which analyzes the migration movement of the Ainu by observing Japans two islands Sakhalin and Hokkaido. Hammel argues that most of what has been written has focused on their origins and their arts. Hammel however points out that there are three important exceptions in the area of ecology, those being the account of natural conditions, distribution, and subsistence activities within the Ainu culture. The data presented to support his work is that of Watanabe (1968,1972) and Harrison (1955). Hammel uses the representation of census graphs and tables, which depict the increase and decrease of the Ainu population. Hammel bases his argument on the grounds that there are four documents, which contains seven censuses of indetifiable and separable areas which lead to the conclusion that the Ainu had a much more complex nuclear family than what had first been concluded. The purpose for this analytical data is to compare the past observations of population size and distribution completed by Watanabe and Harrison. In order to show that there was actually a much more complex life style of the Ainu and that the previously considered idea of their life style was incorrect. As mentioned before the tables illustrate how in fact there was a noticeable difference between what was calculated then and now. By using the mean of the two populations he is able to show that there was in fact a decline in the population at a rate of about 10 percent over 25 years. In his final conclusion Hammel expresses while the censuses gave an admirable amount of data they where however not as sufficient as what he would of liked. Hammel then reintegrates his argument that it is obvious that there was a decline in population and that it took place before their would be acculturate pressure. He then goes on the examine his earlier decisions that the Ainu lived in a complex nuclear house hold rather than the assumed simple house hold in which they where labeled with having. His final statement about this curious glimpse of the past is about the general failures of anthropologists to take into account the mistakes, which can be forced by the main stream.

CLARITY RANKING 3
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University

Hammel, E. A Glimpse into the demography of the Ainu. American Anthropologist. 1988. Vol. 90:25-35

This article discusses the Ainu of Japan. The article gives a history of the part of Japan that the Ainu used to occupy. These aboriginals’ people were hunter-gatherers in the areas between “Honshu to southern Kamchatka, including the Kurile Islands and the lower reaches of the Amur River in Manchuria”(25). The article states that their origins are ambiguous but that they are probably descendents of pro-Mongoloid populations of eastern Asia. The article goes on to discuss the population of the Ainu throughout the years. It says that there has been an extremely significant decline in the population beginning from the first quarter of the twentieth century. The article accounts for the regions of the Ainu population and what the decrease was for the specific location. The reasons for the decline appear to have been from venereal disease and tuberculosis. The Europeans brought the diseases with them, which they got from the Russians. The article then goes on to discuss varying differences in household populations to villages. In relation to populations of villages “the most interesting hypothesis to pursue are that village size in numbers of persons was a function of resources in the natural and social economic environment and, further, that the number and size of households responded to the effectiveness of political control at the village and household levels” (30). The final demographic characteristic the article delves into is the structure and dynamics of the populations. Life expectancy in 1828 was about twenty years old, usually less. The article says that the data on life expectancy is not very reliable because there is varying data from the different regions and none is conclusive. Near the end, the article states that the purpose of the article is not to establish exact data of the population of the Ainu in Japan, but to “think about the sources of error” (33).

CLARITY RANKING: 4
LAURA DOBROVICKIY York University (Naomi Adelson)

Heider, Karl G. The Rashomon Effect: When Ethnographers Disagree. American Anthropologist March 1988 Vol. 90: 73-79

In his article, Heider seeks to elucidate on various sources and problems that create discrepancies among ethnographers. Heifer’s explanations encompass a plethora of diverse answers to the Rashomon Effect, a term that has stems from an old film in which four different people witness the same event and have four different truths to tell.

Heider has four main explanations for the Rashomon Effect between ethnographers, the first of which is that someone is wrong, meaning that the ethnographer might be consciously or unconsciously biased against a particular culture. This error might be attributed to by the length of time that the observer spends in the field. The shorter the observation time, the more error prone the observation tends to be. Another explanation is that the ethnographers are looking at different subsets of the same culture, while the third has to do with the timing of the observations of that particular culture. Timing is important because a culture might be at a different phases in their cultural cycle, creating to a short termed observer false impression of how that particular society acts year round.

Heider’s fourth and final explanation examines the possibilities that ethnographers are interpreting and examining a particular society differently. Subsets of this explanation range from difference in the cultural background of each individual ethnographer to the personal characteristic of the observer to the possibility of a language barrier. The ability of the researcher to understand in the native language influences his/her interpretation of idioms and actions by that culture. Also included in this explanation are the length of time in which the ethnographer observed the culture (longer is always better) and the level of rapport that the ethnographer had with his or her society.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Heider, Karl G. The Rashoman Effect: when Ethnographers Disagree. American Anthropologist 1988 90: 73-81.

The author sets out the topic as a puzzle, and tries to create a framework to explain the disagreement among colleges. Several disagreements are listed among people; the first one dealt with Margaret Mead and Derek Freeman. The article also continues to explain these disagreements with conceptual framework. The idea raises that the differences among peoples’ opinion are of great importance. What also is stated, is that these disagreements are attractive to all, as well as, if someone were to disprove their opponents’ argument than the publicity of that would be beneficial. The extent of ethnography’s and their differing opinions happens in every discipline, although some are more prominent than others are. There is criteria listed in order to explain why differences occur between ethnographers, there are four main concepts that are listed as to why different people disagree, and then further by another case in which ethnogaphers have disagreed. This leads into the conclusion, which talks about the gaps between anthropologist and psychologist, and in order for anthropologist to close in the gap, they must explore all the arguments, whether pro or con, which occur in ethnographies. It is stated that if they really should be resolved and if so what criteria should be considered and understood upon reading ethnography.

CLARITY RATING: 5
SHERISSE SEQUEIRA York University (Naomi Adelson)

Hicks, David. Literary Masks and Metaphysical Truths: Intimations from Timor American Anthropologist December, 1988. Vol.90 (4):807-817

In this article our author, David Hicks, analyzes several myths from Timor. Hicks relies heavily on his structural analysis of these myths, focusing on the binary oppositions and mediating figures. The major binary oppositions in Timor myth, according to Hicks, are those of fire vs. water, life vs. death, and up vs. down. Within his analysis the youngest sibling seems to always be the mediating figure, with some exception being other figures that are part animal part human. These mediating figures are normally used to bring the dead (often a son or sibling prince killed by their father or brother, but in one case a sister killed by older brothers) back to life so that they can exact their revenge and, in most cases, become a king. These transitions are also seen in the placing of the dead in the trees, or the confinement of the sister in the tree, where in order to make the transition from living to dead the person must move down to accomplish the task. This opposition is also seen in the story of the man who goes down to the bottom of a lake in order to sleep with his spirit-wife in the day, and up to the surface to sleep with his human wife in the night. Although he never comes out and states it, Hicks implies that he agrees with Propp to a certain extent, since he implies that all the stories have the same basis. Hicks point for all of this is to show that in the philosophy hidden within the myth the culture believes that matter and spirit are just transformations of each other. The evidence for this is seen in the transition in each story from life to death to life again.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
COREY REILLY Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Hicks, David. Literary Masks and Metaphysical Truths: Intimations from Timor American Anthropologist, 1988. Vol. 90: 807-817

David Hicks’ article examines the narratives of the Tetum, a people on the island of Timor in Indonesia, and the five motifs that recur in all their stories. They are: (1) transformations; (2) cycles; (3) reversals; (4) coincidence of birth and death in the same place; and (5) disposition of the female sex as an agent of transformation.

He begins by giving a quick ethnographic overview of the Tetum society, focusing on how they settled on Timor and their religious dogma. Hicks then delves into three example narratives and closely examines the use of symbolism and use of the previously mentioned literary masks. The main character in the examples is the youngest member of a sibling group called Ali-iku, which can be either a male or a female. This ambiguousness is attributed to the formal and informal situations of life, where the younger brother is commonly regarded as something of a feminine figure. Hicks finds a number of contrasts in the narratives that occur in other Eastern Indonesian societies: container vs. contained, womb vs. baby, wet vs. dry, river bottom vs. tree-top, inside vs. outside, lower vs. upper, and water vs. land. He then points out where these parallels occur in other societies.

In conclusion, he writes that in the oral narratives characteristic of the Tetum people, the five aforementioned five motifs can be considered as literary masks that serve to conceal metaphysical truths.

CLARITY RATING: 2
SEVAAN FRANKS York University (Naomi Adelson)

Hosler, Dorothy. Ancient West Mexican Metallurgy: South and Central American Origins and West Mexican Transformations. American Anthropologist. December, 1988. Vol. 90(4): 832-855

West Mexican metallurgy found its roots in Central and South America. Metal was introduced to West Mexico around AD 800. Metallurgy in Ancient West Mexico has two distinct phases, from AD 800 to AD 1200-1300 and AD 1200-the Spanish invasion. The primary influence of the first phase, which began with the introduction of metal in to West Mexico, came from the Ecuadorians culture located in South America. The second would be from further south, in southern Peru and the adjacent Bolivian Highlands.

The Ecuadorian cultures used copper, silver gold, as well as combinations of the metals and their alloys and trough trade, introduced these to the West Mexican cultures. Similarities are found in not only in physical features but construction methods of sewing needle, open rings, fishhooks. Use of the lost wax technique for the casting of bells was also introduced to the West Mexicans. South and Central American culture used most metals, especially those with low tin content for everyday items, whereas the West Mexican transformed them into status symbols. A small portion of West Mexican artifacts can be attributed as imported good, through the maritime commerce network established between in the Americans at the time. The oldest metal artifacts were, probably, in fact, trade goods from South America. Mexico offered its spondylus shell, which were considered sacred items in the Andean highlands in exchange for metal good from the Peruvians and Ecuadorians.

The second phase of in the amalgam of West Mexican metallurgy came in AD 1200, when they expanded the use and capabilities of metalworking. An increase trading between southern Peruvians and people of the Bolivian Highland helped to create the uniqueness of West Mexican metallurgy. Four variations of shell tweezers designs date back to this period, as do looped-eyed needles. Paper-thin axe monies were created. Much to thin to be used as tools, they too were items transformed from everyday items into status symbols by the West Mexicans. Evidence for stronger influence from the south come from the presence of similar artifacts in West Mexico and Peru or Bolivia, but the absence of these same objects in Ecuador and Central America.

CLARITY: 5
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Hosler D. Ancient Mexican Metallurgy: South and Central American Origins and West Mexican Transformations American Anthropologist 1988. Vol. 90: 832-855

Hosler’s objective in this article is to explain the existence and development of metal working technologies in South and Central America and Western Mexico. There are many similarities of usage of the metals in the different areas of central and South America. Different metals were used for different purposes and they used various techniques for shaping and enriching the surface finish of the metals they manufactured. The metals they used for decoration and display of status tended to be copper, gold and silver among other alloys. The metals they used for making tools derived from different alloys of bronze. The lower tin content in the bronze was used for other utilitarian devises such as tweezers and axes. The use of the lost wax method for casting of masks, containers and other adornments was used extensively with gold and gold-copper alloys in this area. There are similarities between the design and manufacturing technique of these artifacts in the area of Ecuador and Western Mexico during the same period.

The theory that there was a trade route between these two areas would support the idea that there was a sharing of materials and techniques for manufacture. In a later phase of manufacturing the Western Mexicans used different alloys and developed new techniques for crafting the metal. There was a continuing similarity in the design and usage of metals between South America and Western Mexico. Therefore there must have been continued sharing of techniques and design through the trade routes.

Hosler includes many different illustrations and comparisons to support her theory. The illustrations were of historical artifacts and the similarity of objects from different regions.

This is an interesting though complicated account of the manufacture of tools and decorative adornments in these respective areas. The author uses far too many large and overwhelming words in one sentence. This makes reading the text more like reading a thesaurus than explaining her view and theory. Otherwise the theory of the growth of manufacture and design in these areas was understood.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
LIZA POH York University (Naomi Adelson).

Jarvenpa, Robert, Brumbach Hetty Jo. Socio-spatial Organization and Decision-making Processes; observations from the Chipewyan. American Anthropologist March 1988 Vol 90(3): 598-615

The article seeks understand the spatial principles within hunter-gatherer societies, most specifically focusing on the southern Chipewyan. The findings will be interpreted as a framework in furthering the understanding of these societies as they exist and move into three distinct organizations: the concentrated summer bands, winter staging communities and the dispersed winter hunting encampment. The data used as research dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Chipewyan’s descendents, the kesyot’ine regularly with supplied the Hudson Bay Company and its rivals with furs.

The concentrated summer band was located near the Big Island and began around late June to early July. It was used a solitary mechanism. It was a time of unity for the various tribes to remind themselves of their origins. It was a time of intense trade with the furs traders. The winter staging communities began around late October and was a small village composed of around ten nucleus families. The domiciles were made of log. The staging communities were a wide variety of social and economic tasks were completed during the long winter months. The winter Hunting encampments were the smallest and most dispersed of the organizations. The families usually live in canvas type houses. These are the hardest to track. In the article, Jarvenpa and Brumbach make good use of maps and specific cases to showcase the various family units in existence. The decision making process of the Chipewyan was very much influenced by their choice of socio-spatial organization. Each organization is given several explanations for the rationale of the people that lived and conducted business within them.

CLARITY: 3
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Jarvenpa, Robert and Brumbach, Jo Hetty. Socio-Spatial Organization and Decision-Making Processes: Observations from the Chipewyan. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 598-618

Jarvenpa and Brumbach studied the Chipewyan Indians through analysis of the sites in which the hunter-gatherers decided to settle, the way the community was structured and the way in which the resources were used. They address the way in which the Chipewyan Indians, as a hunter-gatherer society, are socio-spatially organized.

The Chipewyan consist of nomadic, hunter-gatherer families who structure themselves according to the seasons. Jarvenpa and Brumbach describe their organization as hierarchical and divided into three recurrent phases: (1) concentrated summer band, (2) winter staging communities or domestic settlements, and (3) dispersed winter hunting encampments.

Summer gatherings would consist of fishing in Lac Ile á la Crosse, but would also be defined by the trading with merchants in the region. They would exchange their furs to cancel debts and to obtain supplies for the hunting during the summer and winter. The winter settlements, which the Chipewyan call eyana’de (sizable encampment where many people live together), would then be formed by crossing the river before it froze. In these settlements, children would be given nurturing and socialization, and tools and materials would be produced for later trade, or for Chipewyan use. Moreover, the settlements served as pools for manual work for men. Building up on this settlement, the Chipewyan then dispersed into winter hunting encampments consisting of the smallest units of the hierarchy. Men would then embark in two-three weeks hunting expeditions, while the children, women and elders remained at the camp.

Although this organization constrains the individual, since (s)he has to follow the cycle and ‘rules’, Jarvenpa and Brumbach suggest they are also the result of previous individual choices, which have adaptive values. Their adaptive efficacy is shown through cultural stories that portray the consequences of not abiding to the customs. They tell of how families or individuals who do not follow these principles will meet with environmental or economic disaster. Moreover they underline the need for a minimal aggregation of families for subsistence during the winter.

In accordance to the findings, Jarvenpa and Brumbach conclude that the goals that dictate the socio-spatial organization of the Chipewyan, are (1) the desire to maintain social contact with bilateral kinships members, friends and other members across large band communities, and (2) the need of physical dispersion for subsistence.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
RAQUEL ZEPEDA York University (Noami Adelson).

Lomnitz, Larissa Adler. Informal Exchange Networks in Formal Systems: A Theoretical Model. American Anthropologist March, 1988 Vol.90(1):42-55.

Larissa Lomnitz develops an interesting approach to viewing informal exchange networks by placing them in formal systems, not normally thought to be studied. Her article addresses the issue of the informal exchange networks and their benefits to those who value these networks. Lomnitz also explains the reasons for the emergence of informal networks, no matter what formal system is in use. In this article, Lomnitz shows that the activities found in informal network exchanges, such as trading influence, the patron-client relations, bureaucratic favors, and preference in legal matters, are not random, but have rules by which “business” is to be conducted.

Lomnitz uses her article to discuss many arguments for the development of informal exchange networks in formal systems. Her first argument is that the more bureaucratic a formal system is and the more it is unable to fully satisfy the people who live under that system, the more likely the creation of an informal system will occur. Secondly, informal systems use the faults of the formal system to thrive and compensate for whatever shortcomings the formal system has. Thirdly, every informal system varies by culture and country. The rules which govern the informal system change according to the closeness of the two people involved in the exchange and the amount of danger involved in the “favor.”

Lomnitz uses three main examples to supplement her argument. The three examples she uses to set the foundation of her argument come from pre-1970 Chile, Mexico, and the Soviet Union. The article includes a graph, interviews, and several secondary sources to help Lomnitz support her point of view. All of Lomnitz’s arguments are supported through the evidence, and strategic thinking. The article ends with a summary of all the arguments presented, and a brief discussion of the legality of the activities found in the informal networks. Lomnitz continuously reminds the reader throughout the article that “Order creates disorder. The formal economy creates its own informality.”

CLARITY RANKING: 3
VERONICA M. ALVAREZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Lomnitz, Larissa. Informal Exchange Networks in Formal Systems: A Theoretical Model. American Anthropologist. No Month, 1988. Vol. 90: pp. 42-55.

It is often the case that the urban poor are subject to much examination by anthropologist. Many a time, anthropological research shows how reciprocity plays an important role in creating an informal security system in order to survive. However, in the article “Informal Exchange Networks in Formal Systems: A Theoretical Model” Larissa Lomnitz examines a different aspect of “informality”. She argues that informal modes of exchange exist within the formal sector itself. These exchanges include various forms of trading influences and bureaucratic favors for equivalent services or cash. She shows that these activities, or economic crimes, are not random, but are based on informal networks following principles similar to those in patronage-based networks.

Lomnitz points out that social context of informal exchange introduces ideological components and that these components lend an almost “sacred” character to the performance of the obligations derived from the exchange. Market exchange arises when a personal relationship between the partners is precluded because of class differences or when the type of favor falls outside the category that can be justified with the ideology of friendship and family solidarity. For example, among the private business class of urban Chile, certain favors such as customs clearance or business licenses were obtained through bribes, because there was an explicit desire to draw distinction between the social status of the business person and of the administrative official involved. However, should a similar need arise for a member of the state apparatus, it would necessary first to make sure that the individual to be bribed does not frequent the same social circle. Otherwise, one could face much embarrassment.

Bureaucratic favors are not rare, but frequent in many elite circles. Lomnitz points out that bribes are not the only means in which elite exchange favors. Officials have networks of personal contacts where reciprocity is so rich and so pervasive that it constitutes a network of horizontal and vertical exchange relations that parallel the formal hierarchy. Consequently, as the state apparatus expands and its economic functions become more encompassing, the informal networks of reciprocal exchange and patronage invade the formal system and mimic its power structure.

Lomnitz concludes that every increase in centralization and every additional attempt to control the economy increases the losses and delays due to inefficiency and thus stimulates the growth of informality as a palliative to scarcity. Consequently, the more we organize society, the more resistant it becomes to our ability to organize it because order creates disorder.

CLARITY: 3
PATICIA MAIOLO York University (Naomi Adelson)

McGrath, Janet W. Multiple States of Disease Occurrence: A Note of the Implications for the Anthropological Study of Human. American Anthropologists 1988 Vol.90(2):323-332.

For anthropologists, theoretical epidemiologists, and ecologists it is essential to seek out patterns of infectious diseases in order to better understand their affects on populations. Many theoretical models have been formulated and McGrath gives some examples put forth by ecologists and epidemiologists. Their combined effort helps to determine the points at which populations are more susceptible to pathogenic organisms, macro-parasites, and micro-parasites.

Throughout history attempts to form models sing mathematics have helped the effort, yet they fail to surpass the human variation that exists in every population. These models, however, do aid in forecasting strategies for future epidemics. Ecologists have furthered the study by devising a plan that centers on the population demographics and the host-parasite relationship. This equilibrium can be thrown off balance; the ability of the population to return to a stable state determines the potential destruction of an invading disease. Populations with “multiple states of disease prevalence” are defined by breaking points, or how well outbreaks can be contained in local populations. A breaking point serves as a measuring stick to help clarify specific population parameters. McGrath states examples of some studies done by ecologists who have identified at least one relationship between populations and disease. Populations with high density and poor nutrition are more susceptible to disease outbreaks. McGrath implies that this may be an evolutionary tool used for population control.

The article, at the end, asks anthropologists everywhere to further examine and refine the existing models in hopes to better understand the relationship between disease and its affects on the population.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

McGrath, Janet. Multiple Stable States of Disease Occurrence: A Note on the Implications for the Anthropological Study of Human Disease. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90:323-332.

Disease and human infection are a problem in today’s society. Ecologists are trying to determine the nature of disease by looking at the biological and social implications. Particular diseases occur within and between populations and are assessed through general disease models.

The first model outlined is the theoretical model; this model is difficult because of the differences in all organisms’ lifecycles. Secondly, quantitative models that described disease processes began from the search for more general models. Mathematical models track the occurrence of disease and allow for prediction in control methods. Finally the predator-prey system has been the primary model of studying ‘multiple states of disease prevalence’.

Anthropologists in order to obtain data and interpret the knowledge into useful conclusions have recently adopted general and particularistic modeling strategies. Epidemics occur because of over crowded areas, people not having proper nutrition and new pathogens introduced to society. Population density is a problem because pathogens are spreading rapidly. Another host-parasite system is for example when Europeans colonized the Native Indians; the ‘natives’ were exposed to new diseases. Historical accounts of epidemics theorize that they were caused by already established pathogens and a change in population.

The main point of this article is determining how to predict ways in which diseases occur within populations, also to pinpoint shared characteristics in the transmission of diseases across groups. Understanding the complex interaction of disease within the population is achieved through the use of general and particular models with more in development.

CLARITY: 3
LARA ZENTINS York University (Naomi Adelson).

Mines, Mattison. Conceptualizing the Person: Hierarchical Society and Individual Autonomy in India. American Anthropologist. September, 1988 Vol.90(3): 568-579.

In Mattison Mines’ article she addresses the conflict between the ethnosociological approach to individualism and autonomy in India and the social-psychological approach to individualism and autonomy in India. She begins by simply stating the basis of each argument. The ethnosociological approach is “concerned with explaining Indian culture as a system and with examining the configuration of ideas surrounding the conceptual person.” She uses secondary sources such as ethnosociologist Louis Dumont and McKim Marriott. The social-psychological approach addresses the Indian culture and “the psychological and behavioral adjustments Indians must make because their hierarchical social system rewards compliance and punishes autonomy.” Once again Mines uses such secondary resources as social-psychologist, Sudhir Kakar.

Mines’ also presents her own work and theories about the Indian culture. In 1978-79, she collected 23 life histories from various Indians ranging from 23 to 83 years in age. They also varied in educational, economic, and social backgrounds. From these life histories, Mines concludes that there are three stages that Indians go through after the transition from childhood to adulthood. The first stage occurs during the early 20s, and is defined by a dependence on the elders of the community and family. There is also a conformity to cultural and social standards. The second stage occurs during the late 20s and early 30s. This stage is defined by a growing motivation and actions “that question or rejects acceptance of dependency and compliance with the wishes of family and seniors.” The final stage occurs between the ages of 37 and 45 years of age. This stage is described as a period when the pressures of work, marriage, and parenting are no longer a major stress. Mines’ uses the life histories and the development of these three stages to form her conclusion. Using her research, she states that the histories reveal that as Indians age they find more time to enjoy private hobbies. They view their life as the result of their choices or indecisions, and not as a result of cultural forces.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
VERONICA ALVAREZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Mines, M. Conceptualizing the Person: Hierarchical Society and Individual Autonomy in India American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 568-579

This article is an attempt to contradict the popular conceptions of a non-individualistic and social hierarchy dependent India. Mines uses the various personal accounts and life stories of 23 Indian individuals expressing personal autonomy and personal desire to debunk the agreement among scholars on an India devoted exclusively to caste and family relations where the individual serves society as a whole.

Mines goes further to say that the two bases for this non-individualistic approach, ethnosociology and social-psychology, are too ideological and theoretical, failing to find actual evidence in the behaviour and self-examinations of the people of India.

Mines’ 23 subjects ranged in age from 23 to 83. Mines chose people of different castes and diverse locations, with different economical and educational backgrounds. Mines found that each individual became less interested in social conformity and more intune with and expressive of his or her personal desires with increasing age. This insight into the minds and lives of those in Indian society do not seem to conform to an idea of India denying individualism and personal autonomy.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
ELISE GRETO York University ( Naomi Adelson )

Odell, George H. Addressing Prehistoric Hunting Practices Through Stone Tool Analysis. American Anthropologist June, 1988 Vol. 90 (2): 335-353

Odell’s article addresses prehistoric hunting practices. He states that he will do this through stone tool analysis. To begin his article, Odell outlines approaches to lithic analysis. He presents two different assumptions as to what projectile points were used for. In doing this, he adds a brief description of a projectile point only after the first assumption. After the second, he simply begins to discuss the “use-wear” technique. The rest of his Lithic Analysis section is on this “use-wear” technique. Odell then begins to discuss the application to hunting practices. He then discusses hunting practices in relation to the type of weaponry employed. Odell then ties in information from the Illinois Valley. These sites are only outlined briefly before he discusses he Relational Assumptions.

This article was fairly lengthy and did not seem very consistent throughout. It does have good information on stone tool analysis though. It includes graphs and charts of the information.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHRISTINA ROSER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Odell, George H. Addressing Prehistoric Hunting Practices Through Stone Tool Analysis. American Anthropologist. 1988 vol. 90: 335 – 355

The article generally addresses the approaches to prehistoric hunting practices by studying stone (lithic) tools, mainly “projectile points”. This has been the traditional approach for archaeologists. However, the author expresses that this approach is inaccurate and can be proven by employing the technique, use-wear analysis. The author illustrates how lithic analysis can be used to reveal prehistoric hunting practices by discussing the application of some research techniques to archaeological data gathered from the Illinois Valley. Past assumptions about lithic data is examined and new interpretations of prehistoric hunting apparel and behaviour of Midwest America is offered.

Archaeologists have mainly focused on the “projectile point” relying on morphological analysis, holding the following general assumptions: If an item looks like a projectile tip, then it was used as such, size of a tip reflected that the projectile type spear was the predominate kind of hunting behavior, bow and arrow hunting was developed after the spear and adopted late in the American Midwest. Studies of breakage patterns support morphological analysis, but is not applicable to questions about the relationship of this type of study to other artifact classes and does not deal with other kinds of damage other than breakage.

Morphological analysis is contested by use-wear analysis, which involves studying damage patterns resulting from usage, on the edges and surfaces of lithic tools. Use-wear studies are done by comparing prehistoric damage to damage caused by experiments that involve common tasks such as cutting and scraping. Use-wear analysis also involves studying of damage patterns resulting from usage on the edges and surfaces of lithic tools. Experiments include non-projectile and non-use forms of wear. Understanding of the nature and variety of impact damage is provided by conducting a series of projectile experiments in New World forms. Damages are frequently compared to random and intentional technological factors that might have produced similar results. Use-wear research is applied to archaeological data obtained from the Illinois Valley of Midwestern America.

To exemplify use-wear studies, detailed analysis of sites used in the Illinois Valley includes description of geological layers and features, numerical data, maps and chronologies of experiments from each site are illustrated. Data is further illustrated by a graph comparing functional activities of use-wear projectile points to morphological projectile points, which lacked traces of utilization. Projectile points are classified by assemblage type, size, debris, functional and morphological. Physical descriptions of materials are studied, and a diagram of a stone projectile point flake (debris) is provided for further understanding of data. Sampling of retouched and unmodified projectile tips and lithic debris are examined for damage rates through studies of non-projectile activities and functional causes.

Blind testing of the use-wear techniques has produced a significant amount of accuracy. Use-wear analysis of Midwestern materials suggest that most were never utilized as projectiles, and there is some evidence that spear and bow and arrow hunting were at some point in history, contemporaneously existing hunting behaviours

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ANOULONE SOUPHOMMANYCHANH York University (Naomi Adelson)

Officer, James. Philleo Nash. American Anthropologist September, 1988 Vol. 90 (3): 952-956.

Philleo Nash attended the University of Wisconsin in 1927 and became part of the Meiklejohn Experimental College. This was an experiment that attempted to develop educational methods without the use of exams, courses, or grades. In 1932, Nash received his baccalaureate degree from Wisconsin and enrolled in the University of Chicago graduate school. His dissertation concerned itself with the spiritual revival of Native Americans, with the emphasis on the Klamath Indians of Oregon and received his Ph. D from the University of Chicago in 1937. After graduation, he began working at the Royal Ontario Museum and teaching at the University of Wisconsin. It was here that he accepted a position as a special assistant for domestic operation at what would later be called the Office of War Information. His duties consisted of monitoring and alleviating the racial tensions that had developed in American cities as a result of WWII. Working in Washington under the Truman administration, Nash assisted with addressing the racial discrimination issues and inequalities in America. In 1946, Nash contributed to the development of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. Philleo and his wife, Edith, founded the Georgetown Day School, which was one of the first racially integrated schools in Washington. He became the state chairman of the Democratic Party from 1955-1957 and returned to federal service under the Kennedy administration. In January 1961 he became a member of the staff for the Assistant Secretary of the Interior. Here he served on a special task force that was developed to bring new directions to federal Indian administration. During 1961, Nash was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs and quickly established new programs for housing, education, and economic development in American reservations. Nash became very popular with his constituents, but resigned from federal service years later. After his resignation Philleo Nash continued working very closely with the Georgetown Day School and many other projects. He served as Treasurer of the American Anthropological Association (1968-1970), President of the Society for Applied Anthropology (1970-1971), became a faculty member of American University (1971), Secretary of Section H of the American Association for the advancement of Science (1974-1978), and President of the Anthropological Society of Washington (1975-1976). In 1977, Nash returned to Wisconsin but continued speaking and writing about his profession. On October 12, 1987 Philleo Nash died of renal cancer at a hospice in Marshfield, Wisconsin

CLARITY RATING: 5
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Officer, James. Obituary: Philleo Nash. American Anthropologist 1988 90: 952-955.

Nash was a renowned anthropologist especially with the Native Indians and in the political field, as well. The cause of his death Renal cell cancer, which took his life on October 12, 1987. Shortly before his death he was honored with two awards from the anthropology association. Nash was from a working class family and fought hard against racism by trying to implement certain policies. His Ph.D. was received at Chicago University, which was based on American Indian religious revivalism. The office of War Information is where he finally decided to work after other jobs with universities and museums. Nash and his wife were also involved in the implementation of a Day school, which was racially integrated. Many non-whites were helped by Nash from Native Americans for education and social services or helping to promote anti-racism agendas. Eventually he moved back to Wisconsin, where he was from originally, and where he also past on.

CLARITY RATING: 5
SHERISSE SEQUEIRA York University (Naomi Adelson)

Ortner, Donald and Jennifer O. Kelly. Obituaries: J. Lawrence Angel. American Anthropologist. March, 1988 Vol.90 :145-148.

After a long career and many contributions to the field in Physical Anthropology, Dr J. Lawrence Angel died on November 3, 1986 from non- A, non -B Hepatitis.

In his obituary, written by Donald J. Ortner trace Dr. Angel’s career, which began as an undergraduate at Harvard University. It was there where his interest in Anthropology first germinated. Later, his fieldwork in Greece, which consisted of studying the remains of skeletal material, implanted in him a focus in physical anthropology.

After receiving his PhD. from Harvard he developed a methodology for studying the microevolution of the human skeleton. He took particular interest in the studying of disease and aging on skeletal material. Although he enjoyed research, he never lost his desire to teach and influence many students. He was invited to teach at numerous undergraduate institutions. Later, he was given a position in the department of anatomy at Jefferson Medical College, where he remained until he was appointed curator of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian intuition.

While working for the Smithsonian he began his focus on forensic anthropology. Forensics gave him a “very strong sense of community service…” (146). He worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other Law enforcement agencies.

Because of his numerous contributions to physical anthropology, he received numerous awards. They include the Pomerance award, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the Distinguished Service Award.

CLARITY RANK: 5
CLAUDIA GUZMAN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Ortner, Donald J. and Jennifer O. Kelly. J. Lawrence Angel. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90: 145-147.

Dr. Angel lived from 1915 to November 3, 1986, and he lived a very full life up until his death. Angel was a man who was greatly influenced in both his life and career by his parents.

While at Harvard his interest in anthropology developed. Following is graduation in 1936; he did his graduate studies in Greece where he was part of an excavation. Here he studied the human skeletons that were recovered. After his field work, Angel returned to Harvard where he completed his studies, and received his Ph. D in 1942. Angel and his students led in the development of the early stages of physical anthropology.

In 1943 Angel joined the Department of Anatomy at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he remained until 1962. At this point Angel was appointed Curator of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian. Here Angel continued his research in areas such as; human skeletal biology, paleopathology, and human evolution. With this he also took on the duties of the previous Curator, and worked with the FBI as a consultant in forensic anthropology. Angel was a man who had a strong sense of community service, as well as commitment to justice.

Angel still taught throughout his career, and he was acknowledged with many awards throughout his life. He was recognized by his fellow anthropologists as someone who made a great contribution to the field.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
SHAIZA MURJI York University.(Naomi Adelson)

Parker, Seymour. Rituals of Gender: A Study of Etiquette, Public Symbols, and Cognition. American Anthropologist June 1988 Vol 90(2): 372-384

In his article, Parker explores the world of etiquette and manners and the meanings behind everyday gestures and gender-related expectations towards people of the opposite sex. Parker asks three questions in detail in his study: a) what are the meanings behind symbolic gestures and are the participants in the gender rituals cognitive of there actions, b) can these meanings be answered empirically, in replicable situations, and c) if the actors are not aware of the symbolism of there actions, is it a valid meaning? Parker uses his study on the rituals of gender to expand the development of symbolic anthropology.

After a brief explanation into the history of symbolic anthropology and the redundancy of previous etiquette studies, Parker proposes three basic hypotheses: a) there is a positive correlation between gender stereotyped interactions and the semantic understanding of gender related words or concepts; b) the higher the perception of traditional gender roles creates a higher need to maintain and conform to the standards, c) most people are not cognitive of significance behind their gestures. Parker’s study of 190 participants used pre-coded questions on how people ought to behave. The response of these surveys were categorized into three areas: response that were rejected, ones given because of traditional boundaries and ones indicating that their response was to a specific situation or impediment on the other person’s part.

Subsequent data analysis showed that the population referred action in line with traditional gender roles, which is in accord with Parker’s first and second hypotheses. Parker also notes a cognitive awareness on the part of the participants on their gestures and rituals. Because of this cognition, he also reasons that there is a conscious association with gender terms and their possible influence on social norms and structures. Parker believes them to be a vehicle for possible social change.

CLARITY: 2
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Parker, Seymour. Rituals of Gender: A Study of Etiquette, Public Symbols, and Cognition. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90:372-383.

This article discusses the nature of symbolic anthropology. Three main questions are outlined which are central to the development of symbolic anthropology.

The first question posed is about identifying how people act and react in public rituals. The author then theorizes methods of interpreting the symbols people use in understanding whether or not they are aware of their behaviour.

This article describes fundamental problems in anthropology and it’s connection with psychological studies. Background issues in symbolic anthropology are outlined. The author also clearly looks at particular questions in methodologies of symbolic anthropology.

How one defines meaning, methods of interpretation and attribution of symbolic meanings are the three main questions at hand in the article.

Findings conclude that people are not necessarily conscious of their manners, and behaviour. In all the gender group’s traditional etiquette is linked into what people know as proper, appropriate and decent behaviour. People studied were found to make no references to gender meanings but because of the semantic differences their behaviour could be predicted.

This article shows that our society is constantly changing and gender relations are still often followed by traditional etiquette. Also the distinction between peoples behaviour publicly and privately are analyzed through the semantic differential methods of understanding symbolism.

CLARITY: 3
LARA ZENTINS York University (Naomi Adelson).

Pollnac, Richard B. and John J. Poggie, Jr. The Structure of Job Satisfaction Among New England Fisherman and Its Application to Fisheries Management Policy. American Anthropologist December, 1988 Vol. 90 (4):888-899.

In this article Pollnac and Poggie depict the psychological, social, and economic factors that are affected by different levels of job satisfaction among New England fishermen. They site examples that the Fisheries Management Policy may improve upon to insure the highest level of job satisfaction possible. By breaking down the needs of several different types of fishermen in different areas, they illustrate just how important job satisfaction is to the fishing industry and our culture as well.

Some of the areas discussed that are affected by job satisfaction include psychosomatic illnesses, anxiety, low self-esteem, tension, and impaired interpersonal relationships. These are very important problems in our culture today because they affect not only the person with the problems, but also those that surround that person. One example of this given in the article is how tension, stress, low self-esteem (to name a few) lead to family violence. Another example given which directly affects our economic system is absenteeism.

Pollnac and Poggie gathered their data from several New England facilities in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. They researched job satisfaction among inshore and offshore fishermen. A 22-item list was used to examine the composition of job satisfaction. Each item was rated by the fishermen on a scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. From this scale the items were put into categories: Factor I, Factor II, and Factor III. Factor I being love, belongingness, and self-esteem. Factor II being Physiological and safety needs and Factor III being self-actualization. The factors ranked in the following order of importance by the fishermen: III, I, and II. Some examples of the highest ranking items in the list for the fishermen include time away from home, hours spent working, and opportunity to become your own boss. This analysis was researched by Pollnac and Poggie in order to help the Fisheries Management Policy become more friendly to the fishermen and, in turn our economy. They took into consideration factors such as ethnicity, if the their father was a fishermen, marital status, age, entry level, and many others. I think the research of Pollnac and Poggie was done under a good selection of fishermen in many different areas that give the paper a good analysis with a little bias. This article contains insightful information that would interest not just anthropologist, but also economists and everyday people who realize the significance of job satisfaction and it’s impact on society.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Pollnac, Richard B. Poggie, Jr. John J. The Structure of Job Satisfaction Among New England Fishermen and Its Application to Fisheries Management Policy American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90: 888-901

This essay is a case study on the concept of “job satisfaction” in an ever-changing work trade or industry. Commercial fisheries were the subjects for this focus, perhaps, because, as the author points out, fishery management can take many forms. These forms include: the type of fish sought to inshore to offshore fishing. Furthermore, these changes seemed to have a significant effect o the fishermen and all associated with the industry. Therefore, the relationship between the structure of one’s work and forces like job satisfaction, social and psychological well-being became of ultimate importance.

The methods used to obtain these findings were surveys and interviews of fishermen at the New England Fisheries Management Council, which were based on general job satisfaction questions within the American workforce. Their findings were scaled against what was called, a ‘3 Factor’ scale where: factor 1 represented love, belongingness, and self-esteem; 2 represented physiological safety; and 3, the highest level, self-actualization, where most of the fishermen fell in the first.

CLARITY: 5
ANOULONE SOUPHOMMANYCHANH York University (Naomi Adelson)

Purdy, Barbara J. American Indians After A.D. 1492: A Case Study of Forced Culture Change. American Anthropologist. 1988 90(3):640-655.

In this article an effort is made to establish the following ideas of why American Indians were forced to change their culture. Radical changes occurred in Indian cultures in Florida early in the contact period, which can be proven by the canoes, and other artifacts found there. Secondly changes came from the Caribbean Island through trade and immigration to Florida by Native Americans trying to escape disease epidemics. Next, wetlands provide distinct archaeological evidence that is missing from most accounts of the time. Wetlands provide a great preservation of material from this time and are often undisturbed. Lastly, survivors of epidemics or holocausts are willing to do whatever it takes to escape the tragedy. The Native Americans were very mobile and able to move long distances in a short amount of time. They are also willing to unite with former enemies to evade these new intruders that threaten their subsistence and their lives. These make the reason for rapid culture change much easier to understand. When faced with epidemics, warfare, invasions and natural catastrophes a change appears to be a logical ending to the mayhem.

CLARITY RATING: 3
ALLISON NEWTON Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Purdy, Barbara A. American Indians After A.D. 1492: A Case Study of Forced Culture Change. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90: 640-655

Native populations and culture have developed in isolation from other ‘old world’ cultures for centuries. Cultural practice and lack of resistance to disease were probably the greatest factors for their isolation. They became ample ground for their eventual demise by conquest from the Spanish and Portuguese, since it reflected a higher ideal of what was considered civilized or even human.

The real culture change began quickly after the Columbus voyages. This change in culture, along with newer developments in trade and its effect on society at the time, is the main focus of the article. The developments came mainly with the advancement in tools, usually from wood or bone to metallic ones. However, the tolerance for these upgrades was also met by great epidemics, often wiping out large numbers of populations from different parts of the Caribbean especially Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica in December 1518.

Many groups avoided complete annihilation due to their resources for mobility and transportation. Constructing canoes and catarans that could hold up to 100 people, for example, was one way of defending trade and maintaining culture in different environments.

The case study, using a collection of wood and bone artifacts, presents evidence of the migration of native cultures from the Americas and the Caribbean and the ways in which trade and commerce was established in this period. Moreover, it is for this reason that Europeans held and economic interest with what they called the “New World.”

The article was fairly easy to read, but seemed to not be centered on any one subject. In the beginning, the Spanish inquisition was the focus of the change in culture among natives from the Americas, then the case study continues with a large body of its content on products made from regions where natives migrated.

CLARITY: 4
ANOULONE SOUPHOMMANYCHANH York University (Naomi Adelson)

Reitz, Elizabeth. Faunal Remains from Paloma, An Archaic site in Peru. American Anthropologist June 1988 Vol. 90 (2):310-322

This article discusses the faunal remains that were sampled from six units chosen at random from across the site at Paloma and fine screened to retrieve as much material as possible. The reason for this study was to settle the debate as to whether or not marine resources helped to facilitate the early settlement of permanent villages in the Late Preceramic period, before agriculture was a main dietary contributor. Since previous excavations had failed to note any exclusive use of marine organisms, the argument that people did not use small fish and other marine creatures as a dietary suppliment could be held as valid. This article does not, however, argue that there was a marine diet that totally excludes any sort of floral foods. The site itself is located near the coast of Peru about 65 km south of Lima. The results of this study show that marine creatures by far outnumbered the terrestrial creatures in the total count of the sample. Although most of the creatures were fish of marine invertebrates such as shellfish, not all were. There was some evidence of sea lion as well as marine fowl. Since most of the fish found consisted of speices that prefer the shallow waters off of Peru the peoples probably had an inshore fishing strategy using nets or scoops. Most of the animals found exist within the intertidal zone. In conclusion it is stated that most of the animal based subsistence strategy was based exclusively on the ocean.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
COREY REILLY Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Renteln, Alison Dundes. Relativism and the search for Human Rights. American Anthropologist March 1988 Vol. 90 (1): 56-69

The theory of cultural relativism since its development has been subject to criticism and debate. In Renteln’s article Relativism and the search for Human Rights, she “attempts to clarify the issues central to the debate” and apply the basic concepts to gain support for the development of global human rights. Throughout the article, Renteln exposes the elemental premises that constitute cultural relativisms foundation, and in turn, uncovers its inherent flaws. The article tries to define the fundamental themes that the theory holds, trying to clear the misunderstandings that the theory has been subjected to. “The core of the theory is not just recognition of cultural differences in thought, value, and action. It is a theory about the way in which evaluations or judgments are made…. the theory calls attention not only to behavioral differences but to the perception of cultural phenomena…on gaining insight into what might be called the inner cultural logic.” She clarifies one of the greatest misunderstandings, stating that relativism was never about tolerance, but instead it was associated with ethnocentrism. The author calls for a reformulation of relativism, in which attention is paid to the role of enculturation and ethnocentrism in the redevelopment of the theory. Renteln subscribes to the notion that relativism in “meta-ethical”, meaning that “there are or there can no value judgments that are true, that is objectively justifiable, independent of specific cultures.” This mentality is viewed as allowing for the existence of what she terms, “cross-cultural universal”. These universals are values shared by all cultures throughout the world. “By seeking out specific moral principles held in common by all societies, one might be able to validate universal moral standards.” Reformulated with these new concepts, cultural relativism could allow the “launch of moral attacks” upon societies whose practices violate these “cross-cultural universals.” This new reformed relativism merits the support of establish global human rights.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Renteln. D. Alison. Relativism and the Search for Human Rights. American Anthropologist. 1988 Vol. 54: 56-71

The article “Relativism and the Search for Human Rights”, describes the ways in which the cultural relativistic perspective initially garnered much appeal, and then faded. The article described in great detail the problem with this approach and the reasons why many anthropologists no longer associate with it. The article says that initially the cultural relativist approach won popularity because it emerged from the theory of cultural evolutionism, which stated “human societies progressed from primitive to modern” (57). Many anthropologists realized their ethnocentricity and began to subscribe to the cultural relativistic perspective, which hold that tolerance is the ideal. The author goes on to discuss the many problem that the cultural relativist perspective holds. The basic problem that is demonstrated is that the cultural relativist perspective “undermines our ability to condemn repressive practices in other countries” (58). The article continues with a discussion on ethical relativism. That is, when individuals are discussing morality in other countries it should be described as ethical relativism. The article describes three different theories of ethical relativism. The first one discusses the notion that people differ in their basic moral beliefs. The second theory discusses “Meta-ethical Relativism”, which is, “In the case of basic ethical judgments, there is no objectively valid, rational way of justifying one against another” (61). Finally, the third theory elaborates on “Normative Relativism”, which argues that what is right and good for one society may not be right and good for another society, even if the situations parallel each other. Further, the article discusses the notion that enculturation if the basic argument of the cultural relativist perspective. Enculturation unconsciously forces people to adopt their own moral code and thus, end up preferring their own and deeming it superior. Hence, it is tolerance that a relativist will prefer because this ideal has been enculturated into the minds of Western anthropologists. The underlying theme of relativism, then, is its association with ethnocentrism, not tolerance. The basic theme of the article was to discern whether or not relativism allowed for cross-cultural universals. In discussing the different theories of cultural relativism, the article holds that relativism does indeed allow for standards that can be universally agreed upon.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
LAURA DOBROVICKIY York University (Naomi Adelson)

Ridington, Robin. Knowledge, Power, and the Individual in Subarctic Hunting Societies. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90 (2):99-108.

Robin Ridington explores the balance of individual self-rule and mutual reliance in cooperative living for Subarctic hunting societies. Autonomy in these circles is greatly significant and essential to society. Although each individual is unregimented in their strategies and opinions, the groups compatibility level is always at a constant high. Knowledge and power in these communities is consumed by individual experience. Empiricism is viewed extremely important and encouraged to all.

One way individualism is expressed in these societies is through dreams. Dreams are considered very useful weapons for survival to the Naskapi hunters of the Subarctic world. Dreams are regarded as soulful visions and direct the Naskapi in their hunting. A dream (or vision) of an animal suggests a shared experience of transformation between animal and man. These “hunt dreams” were regarded as channels to the unseen world for hunters and were helpful to their hunt.

The religion of these Subarctic people was the “soul philosophy” of each person. Each individual is encouraged to be thoughtful, willful, and intelligent. These ideas and practices were their overall adaptive body of laws or principles. Hallowell speaks of the Ojibwa people saying that “the identification of self with things, individuals, and groups of individuals” is essential for harmony in these societies. The value these people stress on freedom, flexibility, independence, and inner balance is fundamental.

This article is interesting because it gives wonderful examples of how these hunter-gatherers simple way of life, that many view as inferior to the governments and beliefs of today, is in many ways more harmonious than ours is and probably will ever be.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Ridington. Ruth. Knowledge, Power, and the Individual in Subarctic Hunting Societies. American Anthropologist. 1988 Vol. 18: 98-110

This article discusses the native hunter-gatherers of the North American Subarctic in the context of their feeling towards knowledge and personal autonomy and power. This article begins by saying that these people have consistently been shown to value “knowledge, power, and the individual autonomy” (98). The main point the article discusses is “can anthropology expand its own language to represent the ideas subarctic hunting and gathering people have about knowledge, power, and individual autonomy?” (98). The article then goes on to use a few anthropologists and their ethnographies and how they delved in to the ideas previously discussed. Frank Speck, one anthropologist studied the “Naskapi” people. He says that these people place importance on “the individual’s possession of knowledge about the environment and on his or her personal experience of transformation” (99). The author, after describing Speck’s work states that Speck has not compromised the ideas of the “Naskapi” people, but was able to harmoniously combine anthropological language and “Naskapi” culture into one. The article further describes similar anthropologist who have approached their ethnographies in much the same way. The article then goes onto discuss other ethnographies that have focused on what it means to be an individual for subarctic native people. One anthropologist says that for the “Slavey” people, an individual includes not only the self, but also animal and the environment. In day-to-day tasks the individual looks to animals and the environment as resources of help. In this way, they are as much a part of the individual as the physical and spiritual self. In the concluding paragraphs of the article, the author describes the ways in which understanding subarctic hunting societies has enabled anthropological language to expand itself. The importance of studying subarctic cultures is important because not only does it allow anthropological language to broaden itself, but also understanding their culture gives insight into the way they lived hundreds of years ago.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
LAURA DOBROVICKIY York University (Naomi Adelson)

Rogers, Alan R. Does Biology Constrain Culture? American Anthropologist December, 1988 Vol. 90(4):819-830.

Rogers’ article takes the debate between evolution and culture to a mathematical level. Roger evaluates two arguments in this article. The first argument states that “biological constraints on culture are so strong that it is reasonable for social scientists to ignore cultural transmission.” The second argument is in support of the idea that “biology has little to offer the social sciences, and further progress in that field will require attention to the dynamics of cultural transmission.” The article is an evaluation of the premises between the two arguments, making it unique as it does not debate the conclusions of the two arguments.

As support for his conclusions, Rogers uses a graphical and mathematical model of simultaneous genetic and cultural evolution. Rogers also uses a few secondary sources, and critical thinking to fully evaluate his topic. Rogers lays a good foundation for each side of the arguments he is discussing by sharing with the reader the statements made by the leading thinkers on each side of the debate.

The conclusions Rogers reaches are rather simple in thinking, as compared to his models of genetic and mathematical equations. The first conclusion is that natural selection is a little bit of both biological and cultural influences. Rogers states in his article, “It seems likely that both purely cultural and purely acultural theories of behavior will continue in importance.” The conclusion seems to end where the article started, but the incredible thinking that Rogers uses throughout the article is well worth the time to read it.

CLARITY: 2
VERONICA ALVAREZ Baylor University (Tine Thurston)

Rogers, Alan R. Does Biology Constrain Culture? American Anthropologist, 1988. Vol. 90: 819-831

Alan Rogers’ article examines biology’s effect on culture. Some scientists believe that the capacity for culture in humans was most likely the result of natural selection, while others believe that natural selection limits the ways in which culture can vary, and still others believe that any constraints are negligible.

Rogers begins by defining the term culture as something that we learn from each other. He follows up with the definition of cultural inheritance as inherited knowledge, attitudes, and behavior learned from our predecessors. This type of inheritance is called social learning. Learning from the environment is called individual learning. Cultural transmission occurs when people learn from each other as well as the environment.

Rogers then examines how much biology constrains culture. To do this, he creates his own hypothetical species, the “snerdwump”, which is characterized by a rudimentary form of culture, and examines the quantitative question through a graphical and mathematical model of simultaneous genetic and cultural evolution.

He concludes by stating that in field studies it may be useful to ask how efficient social and individual learning is in gaining particular behaviors, as well as what are the relative frequencies of the modes of learning. When the efficiency and frequency of social learning are high, the dynamics of cultural evolution are likely to be most important.

CLARITY RATING: 2
SEVAAN FRANKS York University (Naomi Adelson)

Sanders, William T. and Webster, David. The Mesoamerican Urban Tradition. American Anthropologist September, 1988 Vol. 90 (3): 521-556

There is widespread debate among archaeologists concerning the evolution and function of urban centers in Mesoamerica. It has been concluded that Old World standards of development cannot be utilized when comparing them to the rise of New World “cities.” William T. Sanders and David Webster attempt to categorize the urbanization of Mesoamerica by utilizing the structural frameworks defined by Richard Fox’s Urban Anthropology. Sanders and Webster introduce three of Fox’s functional typologies of urban center. The regal-ritual city, administrative city, and mercantile, present the foundations of urbanization in Mesoamerica. Sanders and Webster conclude that most Mesoamerican cities reflect the regal-ritual functional typology based on the archaeological evidence gained. The regal-ritual city is defined as a political structure based on ideological/symbolic premises. The centralized populations tend to be small, limited to the political leaders and their immediate families and administrative faculty. Most centers that fall under this category contain structures that are religious in nature, consisting of mainly shrines and temples. The cities are quite small and minimally developed with very little differentiation between the urban center and the rural countryside. Population densities occur outside the urban centers and are made up of the rural peasants. Sanders and Webster categorize urban centers in Mesoamerica under this framework. They give further evidence of limited technological developments that limited the construction of large-scale administrative centers. The limited agricultural potential was limited in most areas of Mesoamerica, adding further constraint to the emergence of sophisticated administrative centers.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Sanders, William T. and Webster, David The Mesoamerican Urban Tradition. American Anthropologist 1988 90: 521-546

Sanders and Webster use Richard Fox’s model form his book Urban Anthropology (1977) to theorize about the process of pre-industrial urbanization in Mesoamerica. The Fox model focuses on, “…central places that are occupied on a permanent basis by people whose activities are differentiated in function from those of the bulk of the population and who exercise unusual amounts of ritual, political, or economic decision making.” Fox defines the urban city model in Mesoamerica as regal-ritual, administrative, or mercantile. Sanders and Webster use the term “central place” instead because it emphasizes major differences in the form and function of a variety of Mesoamerican sites, which change as the size of the “city” increases. However, this work is basically applying Fox’s model to Mesoamerican sites with further insights by Sanders and Webster.

The author’s point out that Fox does not take into account the “farmer” who resides in the cities and works in the hinterlands in his model. Whereas the archaeological and ethnographic literature conveys strong evidence that many food producers live in the cities and may be the largest group of the urban population. Also missing, according to Sanders and Webster in Fox’s model is the role of part-time specialists for the production of peasant utilitarian goods in the economies of Fox’s three city types. The author’s want the reader to keep in mind as they analyze Fox’s scheme that Mesoamerica is distinctive from their Old World counterparts in a number of ways including inefficient agriculture practices, limited surpluses of food; more producers than consumers; human labor as a valued resource and contend that produce had to be gathered and hauled from the surrounding area within the capabilities of the human energy source adding to the constraints of the inefficient Mesoamerican transport systems. Because of the “low energy” limitations, mercantile cities were hard to detect in Mesoamerica even though some form of commercial activity had to exist.

Sanders and Webster analyze Mesoamerican cities using Fox’s model, such as, Copan, an example of a regal-ritual city, Tenochtitlan is an administrative city, and Teotihuacan had major political and religious functions. Sanders and Webster contend that each center is unique and formed by their own environmental setting and cultural histories. By broadening the definition of the Fox model city to include all significant central places, all complex societies are involved in adding to the formation of Mesoamerican urban development.

CLARITY RANKING:4
ANJANEEN M. CAMPBELL Northwestern Illinois University, Chicago (Russell Zanca)

Service, Elman R. Morton Herbert Fried (1923-1986). American Anthropologist March, 1988 Vol. 90 (1): 148-152

This is a brief biography of Morton Fried who died of cardiac arrest on December 18, 1986 at his home in Leonia, New Jersey. Service describes Fried’s background from his schooling and his early career to his work with the Army. Service describes Fried’s work with the Army and the Chinese to a great extent. As Service talks about Fried’s fellow classmates in graduate school, Service digresses. He uses this moment to introduce himself into the article. He knew Fried when they were both in graduate school. From here, Service goes on to state his views on the school of Culture and Personality. He continues this for a good portion of the article, wrapping up with a few sentences about how no one complained about Fried’s lectures.

This article is short and easy to read. It does give good information on Fried’s work with the Army and the Chinese. Most of the article does focus on this part of his career.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
CHRISTINA ROSER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Service, Elman R. Orbituary: Morton Herbert Fried (1923-1986). American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90:148-152

This article, written by Elman R. Service from the University of California (Santa Barbara) is a delineation of the life’s work of ethnologist Morton Herbert Fried (1923-1986). Fried died of cardiac arrest on December 18, 1986 at his home in New Jersey. He suffered from his physical ailments for several years, enduring diabetic retinitis, two strokes and a lower leg amputation. Fried’s professional academic career was predominantly associated with the Colombia University Department of Anthropology. Fried received is B.S. in 1942 from The City College of New York, and then joined the U.S. Army, eventually studying Chinese under the Army Specialized Training Program at Harvard. He began his graduate work in Anthropology at Colombia University in 1956, achieving his Ph.D. in 1951.

The faculty at Colombia University’s Department of Anthropology during Fried’s tenure included such academics as Ruth Benedict, A.L. Kroeber, Margaret Mead, Harry Shapiro, William Duncan Strong and Gene Weltfish. Fried’s academic work was based largely in part on the materialistic theory of Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China (indicative of the major social and political issues in China during this period). His contributions to this topic (as well as war and social/political theory) were considered thoroughly comprehensive (more so than any other ethnologist). Fried’s ethnographic research began in Ch’u Hsienm Anhwei, Mainland China, in 1947-48. This research resulted in a book entitled Fabric of Chinese Society (published 1953). He then studied acculturation of overseas Chinese in British Guyana, between the years 1963 and 1964. Fried is best known for, however, his work on the socio/political implications of cultural revolution as illustrated in his book, The Evolution of Political Society (1967).

Influenced greatly by the Marxist school of thought, Fried introduced his own theory based on his work in China. The theory (detailed in Engel’s The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State), held increasing technological processes in primitive tribes (tied to ancient communism) led to surplus in production of commodities. This primarily led to the introduction of money-uses, and a commercial-capitalist class of profiting middlemen. This theory was embraced by three very influential anthropologists of the time: V. Gordon Childe, Leslie White, and Julian Steward.

Fried was an Associate Professor at Colombia University from 1957-61, and Professor from 1961 until his death in 1986.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
ARTHUR HAGOPIAN York University (Naomi Adelson)

Shlegel, Alice and Rohn Eloul Marriage Transactions: Labor, Property, Status. American Anthropologist. 1988:291-309

In this lengthy article by Schlegel and Eloul marriage transaction such as bridewealth, dowry, indirect dowry as well as the lack of any one of these types of transactions is discussed in terms of a patterned distribution across the globe. How a household provides its labor needs and how families distribute property was taken into account to decipher any patterns. This was matched up alongside the ways in which people maintain or enhance their personal and familial status within their culture. Utilizing ethnographic and historical data the article focuses on dowry and indirect dowry.

Dowry is the wealth bestowed upon a woman when she marries. Indirect dowry is a term first introduced by Goody and is refers to a presentation of goods from the groom’s side to the bride, it can be given directly to her father to gives it to his daughter of it can be used to pay for things like wedding expenses. The wealth may also be retained by the father of the bride as compensation for having reared her. Spiro, another researcher in the field of bridewealth calls this gift the dower.

Murdock was heavily used to explain marriage transaction throughout the article. Schlegel and Eloul suggest that in bridewealth societies like China and India there is a counter-circulation of women and goods. This is different from gift exchange because gifting result in an unequal exchange whereas women are exchange for what is considered an equal amount of goods or services.

Dowry keeps the wealth within the family, sometimes in form of premortom inheritance, but in some cases the daughter receive inheritance separately. Another type of marriage transaction is brideservice wherein the groom provides labor to the bride’s family. Adding to the pattern found globally is the presence of secondary forms of transactions. Gifts exchanged informally fall into this category.

A complicating factor in these types of transactions in complex societies is that there may be variability in social status, wealth, region, or ethnicity so the researchers in this article wrote only about the dominant types to find a general pattern.

A pattern noted was that bridewealth is likely to be paid where women contribute more heavily to subsistence where private property tends not to be in the form of land. Neither peasant nor tribesmen seem to allow for the accumulation of property beyond necessity. Poverty provides it’s own equalizer creating a less salient status consideration. Therefore labor status is more highly valued and women need to be replaced according to the labor wealth they have provided. So there are pattern among very different types of regions.

Marriage transaction is a way for a household to adjust their labor needs, their property transmission and their status. Throughout different societies there will of course be different desired goals and levels of these values. These transactions are both economic and political in nature and are of deep significance to the cultures that practice them.

CLARITY RATING: 3
PAULA PHILP University of Western Ontario (Independent)

Eloul, Rohn and Schlegel, Alice. Marriage Transactions: Labor, Property, Status. American Anthropologist June, 1988 Vol. 90(2):291-307.

Marriage transactions are often defined as exchanges made between the groom and the parents of the bride. This essay focuses on the different types of marriage transactions and the relations they have to labor, poverty, and status. The major types of exchange are defined in the article as bridewealth, groomwealth, dowry, and dower, with the main focus being on the bridewealth and dowry. Bridewealth is found widely in Sub-Saharan Africa, which leads to the belief that bridewealth will characterize societies at the middle range of complexity. It circulates property among households and removes goods from family access. Dowry is found throughout Eurasia, which are complex agricultural and commercial pastoralist societies and involves keeping property within the kin group by giving it to the new couple. These four types are most commonly found in pre-industrial societies. Most of the time these marriage transactions are understood as some way to compensate loosing or gaining a family member and adjusting labor needs, the transmission of property, and status concerns.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
ALLISON NEWTON Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Sinopoli, Carla M. The Organization of Craft Production at Vijayanagara, South India American Anthropologist September, 1988 Vol. 90 (3): 580-597

Sinopoli presents an examination of the organization of the production of textiles and ceramics in the medieval South Indian empire of Vijayanagara. She states that the textile industry was highly regulated by merchant guilds, master weavers, and weaving communities, and subject to intense taxation by the state. The ceramic industry was oriented toward meeting the domestic needs of largely peasant consumers. From her introduction, Sinopoli discusses craft production in complex societies. She states that “in complex societies we may distinguish between a number of modes of productive organization.” She lists these modes as: administered production, centralized production, and noncentralized production. She then defines these terms and proceeds to discuss each in turn. After outlining complex societies modes of production, Sinopoli begins to focus on her main objective: the production of textiles and ceramics in Vijayanagara, South India. She briefly covers the history of the city and what was found on digs. She then focuses on the textile production followed by ceramics production.

This article is very informative and very well written and well organized. It is very clear and easy to understand. Sinopoli is very thorough in her explanations and her writing. She discusses the production, distribution, and the importance of each in the society.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
CHRISTINA ROSER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Spaulding, Albert C. Distinguished Lecture: Archaeology and Anthropology. American Anthropologist June 1988 Vol. 90 (2):263-271

This article attempts to show how anthropology and archaeology are related to each other through their continuous evolution as professions side by side. Archaeology is a group of techniques used by anthropology to aid in the study of human behavior. Opinions as to whether or not archaeology and anthropology can be considered sciences have been questioned at times, but most current anthropologists feel assured enough so as to not feel that they need to defend themselves. There have, however, been no anthropological equivalents to some of the great minds in the other sciences, perhaps due to the failure to ask the right questions. The goal of anthropology, as for any science, is to follow the scientific method to test the relationship between facts and theories. However, it is possible that archaeology may be more of an art than a science as is stated by Hodder, who also accuses archaeology of being an empirical science. But the biggest problem with archaeology is its failure to have all the answers due to the limited amount of material that can be recovered. Our author, Spaulding, states that he believes that hermeneutic anthropology suffers from a flawed structure and that the most hopeful future is one of scientific archaeology, benefiting from a scientific anthropology that takes into account the human capacity to respond to their environment.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
COREY REILLY Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Spaulding, Albert C. Distinguished Lecture: Archeology and Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol. 90: 263-271

Since this article is in lecture form, it discusses a slew of important issues in anthropology. This article focuses on the dichotomy of art and science in archaeology and anthropology, and whether there can be any coexistence and compromise between anthropology as a science and anthropology as an art.

Spaulding states that his purpose is to examine the relationship between archaeology and social-cultural anthropology, and to include in his discussion linguistics and physical anthropology. He also talks about the theory, importance and sustainability of the postmodern perspective of anthropology. Spaulding argues that some aspects of archaeology are inherently both science and anthropology, so there is some correlation between the two. Although Spaulding admits that science requires well-defined properties, he sees nothing theoretically wrong with archaeology as a science, since the scientific method does not tell the researcher which questions to ask; historically, however, the problem with scientific archaeology highly involved the questions being asked. Spaulding notes that anthropologists have become more conscious of the dichotomy, and have taken their stand on either side of the line.

He goes on to discuss his views with respect to those of Spiro, Radcliffe-Brown, Leach, Levi-Strauss, Hodder and Crick. Spaulding concludes in saying that there is no easy accommodation for a scientific social-cultural anthropology in the current theoretical framework. Nevertheless, he hopes that scientific anthropology would take into account the human capacity for discrimination, since he believes that a scientific archaeology would benefit from a scientific anthropology.

Since this article is purely theoretical, theoretical examples and citations from other anthropologists are used as evidence.

CLARITY: 3
HANNAH WEITZENFELD York University (Naomi Adelson)

Turner, Nancy J. ”The Importance of a Rose”: Evaluating the Cultural Significance of Plants in Thompson and Lillooet Interior Salish. American Anthropologist June, 1988 Vol. 90(2):272-287.

In “The Importance of a Rose” by Nancy J. Turner the need for finding an effective way to assess the importance of plant taxa in ethnobotanical studies is the main focus. This brings up two questions: how can the level of importance of a plant taxon be documented, and is there a way to measure cultural significance in a meaningful way? An index of cultural significance formula was derived using the quality, intensity, and exclusivity of “use” as the factors, but this has problems because it looses much of the detail that has been researched and only gives a summary of the information. However, it still gives a tangible number that can be documented and easily compared to other plants from that same culture. The results by using this formula by Thompson and Lillooet both returned similar results and were in the same general range which increases the validity of this research tool. Other ranking have been given to plant taxon according to the various “uses” and are ranked on a scale of 5 to 1 which just gives a general account of the contribution this particular plant has to a culture. Eventually the ICS formula will be used more widely as the formula gains refinements, but until then will be the most widely used since it is the only available way to process ethnobotanical research.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALLISON NEWTON Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Turner, Nancy. “The Importance of a Rose”: Evaluating the Cultural Significance of Plants in Thompson and Lillooet Interior Salish. American Anthropologist, 1988: 272-290.

In her thorough article concerning the definition of what makes a plant culturally significant, Nancy Turner refers to research done in Thompson and Lillooet Interior Salish in British Columbia, Canada. Only plants relevant to native people were studied. She cited examples of failed researches on the subject and states the reason and limitation that caused these problems.

Hunn in 1982 “The Utilitarian Factor in Folk Biological Classification, and Berlin in 1973 ”Cultural Significance and Lexical Retention in Tzeltal-Tzotzil Ethnobotany, and Lee’s 1979 typology of !Kung san plant resources were all laden with problems. Berlin’s scale of evaluation cited four values of cultivated, protected, wild but useful, and culturally insignificant. Lee used primary, major, minor, supplementary, rare and problematic to evaluate his findings. These scales are too simplistic according to Turner because the do not account for all the variables involved.

Turner believed the research should be done by the natives themselves, not just based on the inherently bias opinion of an outsider. However, even Hays in 1974 who took this approach discovered that native consultants are using data they may not be wholly familiar with either. There may be elderly people who value some plants over others so there is a generation gap, there may be specialists in the village who value certain plants more than others and do not coincide with other people even within the same village or family.

Turner’s research on the lexical retention of plant names in divergent languages, on trade and material exchange between groups, on subsistence strategies, borrowing of plant names and plant products, exchange of information about plants, historical and archaeological ecology, and on folk classification were all considered to produce an index of variable cultural significance. Example calculations of the derivation of the index were provided. Turner states that while the index has many benefits and is a good research tool it also has its limitation.

Individual significance was found among the informants from the native cultures.

Realistically this is unavoidable as evidenced from the findings from Thompson and Lillooet cultures. The cultural significance of a plant taxon can be defined as the importance of the role it plays in that particular culture, also it can be said to be it’s use. Also the more widely a plant is used, the more use value it has, therefore the more cultural significance it carries. Some plants have a high degree of importance often have shirt, simple names in comparison to plants with low significance which have long, complex names which can be more easily analyzed.

Turner recognizes input as what affects cultural significance and output as what is affected by cultural signification. Input consists of ecological salience, perceptual salience and potential utility. Output consists of recognition, lexical marking, and reputation. The relations between these factors however, are not always direct and Turner notes that each needs to be further investigated.

Turner also introduces the Index of Cultural Significance or ICS which is made up of three parts, A – Quality of use, B- Intensity of use and C – Exclusivity of use. These factors are multiplied mathematically to produce calculations, which adequately reflects the importance and significance of the plant to a culture. The ICS cannot replace the original information but serves to summarize it qualitatively.

Turner goes on to recommend future research tools and methods and concludes with her research findings on Thompson and Lillooet showing the limitation of her research and her overall findings of the role plants play in cultural signification.

CLARITY RATING 4
PAULA PHILP University of Western Ontario (Independently Done)

Urban, Greg. Ritual Wailing in Amerindian Brazil American Anthropologist March 1988 Vol. 90(2): 385-399.

Mr. Urban in this study examines the Amerindian, Brazil ritual, of wailing. In this article Urban argues that ritualistic effect are an indication, or a form if you will of communication for social interaction. In this article Urban examines the question of how such “ritual wailing” accomplishes the function of communication, by interaction. By observing the interaction of ritual wailing as a form of communication, this article tries to express that the act of wailing/crying at the same time on two distinct parallel planes. The first plane of apparent of expression of emotion in the case of sadness at separation or death. The second plane of concealed expression of the desire for friendly intercourse. Urban uses the studies of A.R. Radcliffe Brown and Neils Fock in order to make comparisons which show whether weeping is a spontaneous expression of sorrow or an expression of social bond between two or more people. The data Mr. Urban uses to prove his argument is first Table 1, which depicts the total lengths of the communication through the act of ritual wailing. The Sample is taken form the Shokleng of southern Brazil, the Shanavte of central Brazil and Bororo of west central Brazil. From these three civilizations we have a comparison of the use of ritual wailing as a form of communication. In Urbans conclusion he explains there are two distinct kinds of meaning associated with ritual wailing as a sign vessel. First exclaims the emotion of sadness or loss and the desire for sociability. In order for ritual wailing to enact sadness or grief, it must draw on the cross of linguistically interpretable signals of crying. Third he explains the meta signaling aspect of ritual wailing has to do with its musical or poetic character. Each line he explains is a symbol of other lines within a given situation.

CLARITY 3
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University

Urban, Greg. Ritual Wailing In Amerindian Brazil. American Anthropologist 1988 v:90 p.385-400

Greg Urban reopens Radcliff-Brown’s observation of ritual wailing expressing sorrow among the Andaman Islanders. This article focuses on Amerindian Brazil instead and tries to show that wailing functions represent two planes within the society: The overt expression of emotion (i.e. sadness) and the covert expression of the desire for sociability. Its purpose is to examine the formal and functional limits of ritual wailing and how culture comes to exercise control over the affective process.

The alchemy becomes the ‘meta-affect’ where one emotion (i.e. sadness) points to, or “comments upon” another emotion (i.e. the desire for social acceptance).

Urban discusses signs of grief being sound emissions described in terms of lines. He categorizes this into: Musical Lines (regularity), Line lengths (variability and invariability accounting for community/individual aspects of emotions), Intonation Contour and Voice (the range of variation). He then looks at three different tribes and their method of wailing. He explores the Shavante tribe and their use of vowels but not syllables or words; the Shokeling tribe, under which wailing uses spoken words, and the Borono tribe, similar to the Shokeling but with different intonations.

Urban then uses Icons of crying to describe the three tribes. There are four common crying signal types:

1. Cry Break: pushing sound from the diaphragm using vibrations to produce the sound

2. Voice Inhalation: typically involving falling intonation and contours reflecting on heightened emotional involvement

3. Creaky Voice: vibrating at a lower than normal rate, reflecting sickness or physical exhaustion of the one making the sound, and a lack of energy to produce the normal sound

4. Falsetto Vowel: usually shrieks or cries as a reflexive act (i.e. surprise).

He notes that wailing is the process of making public the feelings of the person

who is wailing. The wailing has no intention of being heard, but rather overheard. Ritual wailing can motivate others through kindling in them the emotion of grief or the desire to display that they too have the socially appropriate sentiments. The author goes on to describe wailing in different contexts (death, loss, grief) and signals of sociability alongside other tribal members.

CLARITY: 4
LIVY FELDGAJER York University (Prof. Naomi Adelson)

White, Douglas R, Burton, Michael L. Causes of Polygyny: Ecology, Economy, Kinship, and Warfare. American Anthropologist 1988 Vol.90(4):871-855.

This article seeks to define the parameters of polygyny in a cross-cultural setting. It formulates a model and attempts to explain the reasons polygyny is practiced over such a wide cultural range. White and Burton give a grief background on the studies of polygyny done in the past by such sociologists as Engels. Engels believed that polygyny was a custom indicative of the middle stage of social evolution between group marriage and monogamous relationships. More recent researchers give reasons that pertain to economic vitality and social dynamics. They overlook the social evolutionary concept and concentrate on a more empirical approach. Burton and White suggest that polygyny arises for a couple of reasons: household economics and agricultural intensification. Small farming and gathering communities are more likely to have polygnous lifestyles because they benefit greatly from a large family group. Studies have shown that women are able to produce more income through family labor than through wage labor. Therefore, as women become less domesticated and start receiving jobs outside the home the likelihood of polygyny greatly decreases. Polygynous household’s main objective, in this setting, is to maximize reproduction and consequently have many young males capable of labor. Another reason that polygyny might arise is the high mortality rate in the community as a result of war or other dangerous activities. If the sex ratio is unequal where women outnumber males, polygyny is expected to increase. Since polygynous families require a large amount of resources, there are several environmental requirements needed to support large family groups. Such characteristics include large open spaces like savannahs that have a great amount of available resources that are easily exploited. The presence of the plow, or communities that depend highly upon fishing has shown to discourage polygyny. The reason behind this is communities with strong dependence on the land lack the ability for great territorial expansion and therefore polygyny is inefficient. Another theory proposed is the presence of fraternal interest groups. Within a village male use wives a status symbol and import them from other communities for a bridal price. This practice sometimes leads to the capture of wives from other villages, which often leads to warfare. Studies have shown that from an economic standpoint, women as well as men greatly benefit from polygynous lifestyles.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Whiteford, Andrew. Kate Peck Kent. American Anthropologist. December 1988 Vol. 90: 956.

Kate Peck Kent was one of the most knowledgeable persons in the subject of textiles. Her specific area of interest was that of prehistoric Southwestern United States. Although she never obtained a Ph.D. in anthropology, she contributed volumes of information to the field.

Her bright academic career began as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate at the University of Denver. She then went to Columbia University to achieve her master’s in Anthropology. However, she abandoned the program to become a curator of Native American art at the Denver Museum. She resumed her studies four years later at the University of Denver, where she completed her master’s. Her master’s thesis: The Cultivation and Weaving of Cotton in the Prehistoric Southwestern United States, became the most important reference on the subject for years.

Aside from Native American Textiles she also traveled in Africa, where she researched East African Textiles. After returning from Africa, she obtained a part time instructor position at the University of Denver. She remained at the university, teaching and doing research, until her death in 1987.

CLARITY RANK: 5
CLAUDIA P. GUZMAN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Winans, Edgar. Obituaries: Harold K. Schneider. American Anthropologist. June, 1988 Vol.90: 415-417.

Dr. Harold Schneider died of complications during routine surgery on May 2, 1987. Dr. Schneider had an interesting academic background. He began working on his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Macalester University. This was briefly interrupted when he briefly attended Seabury- Western Theological Seminary from 1946-1948. He later resumed his bachelor’s work in sociology at Macalester. After graduating he pursued and obtained a Ph.D. in anthropology. His dissertation developed his life long interest in the Pokot of Kenya.

After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Schneider was offered an instructor position at Lawrence University and subsequently at Indiana University. He remained at Indiana University until his death. Throughout his career he became one of the leading ethnographers on the Pokot and East African societies. His focus was on the economic and social organizations of these people and the region. In 1981 he published one of his greatest accomplishments, The Africans: An Ethnological Account. This text is used by many African studies courses.

CLARITY RANK: 3
UNKNOWN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Edgar V. Winans, Obituary for Harold K. Schneider (1925-1987). American Anthropologist, 1988, Vol, 90, p. 415-417

Harold K. Schneider received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University in 1953 and was a student of Melville Herskovits who received his doctorate under Franz Boas at Columbia in 1923. Herskovits pioneered the study of African and Afro-American culture and as Schneider’s mentor played a key role in defining and advocating the doctrine of cultural relativism which expresses the idea that beliefs and practices of others are best understood in the light of the particular cultures in which they are found.

Schneider wrote his dissertation on field research carried out among the Pokot of Kenya in 1951-52 establishing a focus of area and subject that was to characterize his whole career. The Pakot (Suk) of Kenya, with Special Reference to the role of Livestock in Their Subsistence Economy, began the studies of cattle and their relationship with people in eastern Africa where agriculture is undependable. Schneider also did field research with the Turu of Tanzania in 1959-60 concentrating on economic issues and it is through his approach to economic questions that Schneider exerted his influence on the formalist-substantivist debate in anthropology.

Today anthropologists attempt to trace the compound relationships that give cattle key symbolic, economic, religious, and social roles shifting the debate to the “complexity of cattle” rather than the ‘cattle complex.” Schneider’s opposition to a distinction between formal and substantive economics found strong expression in Economic Anthropology (1968), Other works include, The Wahi Wanyturu: Economics in an African Society, (1970), Livestock and Equality in East Africa: The Economic Basis for Social Structure (1979) with the completion of his analysis of East African societies as a whole in The Africans: An Ethnological Account (1981).

Clarity Ranking: 4
ANJANEEN M. CAMPBELL Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago (Russell Zanca)