American Anthropologist 1992

Brumfiel, Elizabeth. Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: Breaking and Entering the Ecosystem – Gender, Class, and Faction Steal the Show. American Anthropologist September, 1992. Vol.94(3)551-567.

This article deals with what archaeologists may have mised while utilizing the ecosystem theory for the last thirty years.While she admits that the theory has been highly productive, she shares her concerns concerning the ecosystem’s approach neglecting social changes and its causes. Ecosystem theorsts often ten to analyze populations as a whole, not recognizing that network alliances often have a direct impact on occurrences o social change. These networks are usually formed on the basis of class, gender, and faction.

The ecosystem approach was based on several questionable assumptions. First, it assumed that humans adapt to their environments through culturally based behavioral patterns. Second, it assumed that cultural change is not really determined by humans. These two assumptions ensure that attention is not placed on social actors but on cultural-behavioral systems. Because the ecosystem approach concentrates on cultural behaviors, its proponents tend to overestimate the effects of external forces of change.

Archaeologists tended to ignore gender even as recently as the 1980s, thereby failing to perceive one of the most common divisions of labor in human history. Ignoring class distinctions has limited archaeologists’ ability to study the effects of social hierarchy. Brumfiel recommends that archaeologists recognize that human actors are the main agents of change. Also, she urges archaeologists to recognize that cultural systems are derived from contingency and negotiation. She argues that recognizing human agency and action does not entail a return to cultural particularism but that human action occurs in a structural context that shape both goals and outcomes of actions.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
TERA CREMEENS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Charles, Douglas K. Shading the Past: Models in Archaeology. American Anthropologist December, 1992 Vol.94(4):905-925.

In this article Charles investigates the combining of archaeological models to best reconstruct the past. He begins by asking the question, “How do we best relate our models, as metaphors, to a presumed real past world?” (p.905). He alleges that individual models illuminate only portions of the past and that archaeologists can never totally comprehend the true reality due to its complexity. Since there is no single model that could possibly offer the only explanation of past processes, he suggests that archaeologists combine models to increase the understanding of the events and processes being studied.

As an example of his theory, he examines the origin of agriculture in the prehistoric American Midwest. He first looks at a Darwinian approach wherein “agriculture is the eventual outcome of the coevolution of a symbiosis between humans and those species of plants that become their domesticated crops” (p.913). Charles then adds the neo-Lamarckian model that states agriculture is the result of humans reacting to perceived problems, thus speeding up the process of cultural evolution (p.913). Finally he includes the structural Marxist model, alleging domestication to be a result of human action rather than an unintentional outcome of human behavior (p.914). Charles believes that the truth to the question posed does not lie in any one of these answers, but rather somewhere amongst the combination of all three models. Each model, he says, does “clarify some portion of the long process of plant domestication” (p.919).

Charles also provided a good introduction and explanation of structural and processual theories, and explains the positive and negative aspects of both, as well as how they may complement each other. He raises a good question in this article and proceeds to answer it very thoroughly. Indeed, single models should not be relied solely upon for answers to the past and a more holistic approach needs to be adopted by archaeologists to obtain more precise and valid results.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
BETHANY J. MYERS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill).

Duranti, Alessandro. Language and Bodies in Social Space: Samoan Ceremonial Greetings. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94(3):657-691.

This article examines the interaction of body movements, words and living space in the ceremonial greetings utilized in Western Samoa. Ceremonial greetings are the structured ways people use to recognize and acknowledge each other. A simple ceremonial greeting would be military men saluting each other.

The complexity of ceremonial greetings varies from culture to culture, and they all have different factors that play a part in them. These factors form different avenues of interaction, but they are all used to establish and maintain a “particular version of the social world.” The ceremonial greetings of the Western Samoans, involve a lot of body language and positioning within the meeting place.

Generally, the higher-ranking Samoan orators sit in the front of the house during a meeting. The lower ranking ones sit towards the back of the house. The front is more visible and those in the more plain sight have a greater responsibility to act properly. Before a ceremonial greeting is exchanged the newcomer must find his spot within the meeting. Often times he is invited to sit in a particular spot by a higher-ranking orator. Ceremonial greetings are usually only extended to those who choose to sit in the front of the house.

Additional to location within the house, body language also plays an important part in the ceremonial greetings. Often the orators avoid making eye contact in order to clarify differences in status. At other times the ceremonial greetings and handshakes will be exchanged without any eye contact. Entire conversations are carried out with both parties concentrating their gaze on some point distinctly separate from those they are talking to.

These exchanges help to integrate the newcomers into the group and to help define the stratifications that exist. These expressions change depending upon the time and the place they are used.

Overall, Duranti makes a good argument for Western Samoan ceremonial greetings being composed of several varied forms of expression. His evidence is solid, and his conclusions are well supported.

CLARITY RATING: 2
GLENN MYERS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Durrenberger, E. Paul and Tannenbaum, Nicola. Household Economy, Political Economy, and Ideology: Peasants and the State in Southeast Asia. American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol. 94 (1):74-88.

The article attempts to describe how households in Southeast Asia reside within political, social, and economic systems. Analysis was conducted in two areas: Lisu, a part of the southeast Asia main land that consists of egalitarian people, and Shan, a lowland area mainly populated by peasants. The article states Durrenberger’s and Tannenbaum’s intentions of using Chayanov’s concept of the on-farm balance. They state, “Discovering the locally relevant variables and their values at both the community and household level makes it possible to demonstrate how different modes of integration within the larger economic systems affect local production by explicitly incorporating them in computations of household equilibria.” Focus enters on production of the household and its effects on the overall economic, social, and political structure. In the case of Lisu, production is not neutral and under or over production affects the political structure. In Lisu, there is a system of reciprocity which if any shift in the production levels causes stress within the structure. An example states that when a household unit overproduces and gives more towards a household that under produces, there is strain on that household to compensate. However, in Shan, the state system establishes production neutrality. In the upland systems, production results in honor and prestige with its distribution. The focus of production is towards giving to the Buddhist temple in their area. A production unit can give as much as desired without affecting the structure.

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

Durrenberger, E. Paul and Nicola Tannenbaum. Household Economy, Political Economy, and Ideology: Peasants and the State in Southeast Asia. American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol.94(1):74-89.

This article is based on Chayanov’s concept of on-farm balance. Chayanov’s rule states that with less consumers as compared to workers, the higher the working capacity of a household. Conversely, the more consumers present, the more a worker will have to work. Using these ideas, the authors compare household economies of two examples: the Lisu and the Shan.

The Lisu are an egalitarian society of Southeast Asia’s mainland. In their society, power and honor are gained by wealth and proper conduct. By their beliefs, wealth cannot be inherited, so the only way to gain wealth is through one’s own productive exertion. In this egalitarian society, everyone has access to the same land and technology where they produce three main crops. They grow rice to eat, corn to feed their pigs, and opium to sell for consumer goods or to hire the labor of opium addicts.

The Shan, on the other hand, live in the valleys of southern China and certain provinces of Thailand, but they are economically and politically separate from the rest of Thailand. Being Buddhist, the Shan warrant the distribution of wealth and power on the basis of karma. In the rainy-season the Shan produce irrigated rice, swidden rice, and sesame, whereas in the dry-season they produce soy beans and garlic. In their society, households do not depend on wage labor for support, but people grow enough rice to eat and grow enough cash crops to buy the things they need.

In comparing these two societies, our authors compare production in an anthropological method as opposed to an economic fashion as illustrated by the theories of Chayanov. In both of these societies, values determine production, but these values are determined by the systems of production themselves.

CLARITY RATING: 4
CHAD KALBFLEISCH Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Edens, Christopher. Dynamics of Trade in the Ancient Mesopotamian “World System.” American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol.94(1):118-139.

Edens’ article is a study of Bronze Age Gulf trade, but it also considers the kinds of goods consumed and the changes in the politics and environment that affect trade. He neatly summarizes his study by saying, “This exploration will first stake out the conceptual ground of the study, by arguing that local consumption and regional politics provide contexts in which trade acts in ancient center-periphery relations” (120). The article also looks at trade on a macroscopic level, in order to see the big picture of how outside forces affected the center-periphery relations.

The study focuses on four main regions: “(1) southern Mesopotamia and Elam, with principal pot cities at Ur, Lagash, and Susa; (2) the southern littoral and islands of the upper and central Gulf, and especially the island of Bahrain and Failaka; (3) the peninsula of southeastern Arabia; (4) and the Indus Valley civilization with its coastal settlements between Sutkagen-Dor and Lothal” (118). The article begins with Eden’s statement of what the study is, and the areas he is focusing on. He proceeds to give some background on the center-periphery relations in the Ancient Mesopotamia, plus a quick discussion on Wallerstein’s world-economy model. He follows that with a run down of the major commodities that the trade system revolved around, and in what areas they were most important. Eden also gives five of the major moments in the changing trade market, and discusses the big picture of what the moments mean. He ends his article with a conclusion that brings all the information together. Throughout the article, Eden uses various secondary sources, and figures/graphs of his own making to further illustrate his point.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
Veronica Alvarez Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Edens, Christopher. Dynamics of Trade in the Ancient Mesopotamian “World System”. American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol.94(1):118-139.

This article deals with the complex center-periphery relationship Mesopotamia had with other societies of the Arabian Gulf. Although this article tends to focus on trade, Christopher Edens attempts to incorporate all other aspects, both social and political, of these societies’ relationships. Although only giving an account of material exchange, the long distance sea routes provided goods that can be shown to have linked social status and economic wealth. The different supply and demand aspect of copper for the Mesopotamians, and barley, wool, and textiles for the Gulf, demonstrates the progression these goods take from luxury to necessity. With luxury being a minimal factor of these trade routes, the Mesopotamian center approached the peripheral societies with a more forceful attitude.

The author also illustrates political and social dimensions, and the importance trade had to them. Various precious goods established the elite in Mesopotamia, and other basic goods could be taxed. Any change in traded goods, whether it be volume or the actual product, had a major effect on production, exchange, and consumption, all of which are ultimately responsible for social stratification. Based on archaeological evidence along with actual written evidence, Edens offers examples including copper and silver, and how they helped form the Mesopotamian political economy. Mesopotamian imperialism at this time also greatly benefited from resources such as grain that other societies would eventually rely on not as a luxury but as an inevitable necessity. In that sense geography played a major role in the uneven exchange present in this center-periphery exchange which ultimately staged Mesopotamian prosperity. Although this article does not deal much with the effects of an entire “world system” which encompasses the Indus valley as well as societies outside the Gulf, it does provide an adequate framework of the core-periphery relations.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
KEVIN CONNORS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Ferguson, James. The Cultural Topography of Wealth: Commodity Paths and the Structure of Property in Rural Lesotho. American Anthropologist. March 1992 Vol.94 (1): 55-73

This article starts out explaining the difficulties in trying to differentiate between the different types of wealth. It begins with a theory but is unable to use it because it is complicated by the convertibility between the different types of wealth. Then the conclusion was made that in order to understand how different property holdings empower persons/households in social and economic life, it can look at the structure of wealth in the village by focusing on six households and looking at fields, livestock, housing, cash and consumer goods. This results in the acknowledgement that applied anthropological assessments of poverty cannot be made without eluding to the need to form cultural analysis that is often more concerned with academic anthropology. To understand poverty practically in any setting the grasp of a specific culturally constructed form of property and exchange must be perceived. The author goes on further to illustrate that in order to do more research on the topography of wealth there must be a way to outline the principles according to which different categories of wealth can be introconverted.

CLARITY RATING: 1
Allison Newton Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Ferguson, James. The Cultural Topography of Wealth: Commodity Paths and the Structure of Property in Rural Lesotho. American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol.94(1):55-73.

James Ferguson begins this article by attempting to instill the proper mindset for analyzing wealth in Mashai, Lesoto. He actually presents a linear scale and attempts to rank people based on these Western notions of free exchange of commodities. Either he learned very quickly that such a method is entirely ineffective, or he was offering a specific example of how not to view these people. The remainder of the article deals with the actual mechanisms of wealth and exchange based on their (non-western) cultural principles. Most importantly, there are several non-transferable measurements of wealth. Furthermore, wages and wage labor, while establishing social status at an immediate level, ultimately has little impact on a persons long-term economic success. The author does offer the main sources of value within this society. Land has value of a sort, but is actually unconnected from other forms of wealth since a person is unable to buy or sell land. The land is distributed to the men by a committee established by the king, which is then passed down within a family through inheritance. The greatest source of wealth, at least in regards to status, is the possession of livestock. Livestock carry a high level of prestige, and are seldom sold for cash or anything else. However, livestock is often used in bridewealth payments, enabling seniors to claim that wealth in order to gain even more prestige. The young working men can even invest their wages in livestock in order to prevent their women and family from claiming his earnings. Of course, people are in a sense considered possessions too, also contributing to a man’s prestige. Women can also attain wealth by having children, even outside of marriage (although providing for them can be an obstacle). The author portrays the many different levels their wealth can exist on in order to reveal different obstacles of measuring wealth in unfamiliar cultures. He expands on that even further by claiming, “applied anthropological assessments of poverty cannot escape the need for forms of cultural analysis more often associated with academic anthropology.” Different moral, legal, and cultural roles all have an effect on the way different cultures view wealth. Any notions of universal exchange have no place in an accurate cultural analysis.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
KEVIN CONNORS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Friedman, Jonathan. The Past in the Future: History and the Politics of Identity. American Anthropologists 1992 Vol.94:837-859.

In this article Friedman confronts the very ambiguous subject of identity and how it is formed using the past as a basis for tradition and origin, and the present as a tool for unification and vitality. He zooms out to find the identities of two distinct nations who, for various reasons, have fragmented national identities. First, is the modern Greek nation who has a long, but splintered history. They are often identified with the ancient Greeks who are known for their art, science, democracy, and overall culture. They once symbolized European sophistication, but when the Roman Empire was converted to Christianity they were marginalized as pagans. They were considered of lower status and forced to unify as a result of their outsider rank. This produced the early stages of the Greek identity that we know in modern times.

The second culture that Friedman studies are the Hawaiians, who after the colonization of the Americans experienced a severe blow to their national identity. They were forced to integrate into a foreign culture that failed to understand their native traditions. Today, modern Hawaiians are forced to re-create their past from poorly written accounts by missionaries. They function today, but their past culture is forever lost and their national identity fragmented. The similarities between the two cultures exists in the way that their past was unable to progress along natural adaptive lines. The Greeks were stereotyped by outsiders who forgot their illustrious past, while the Hawaiians live in modern times with no real idea of that their past was.

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

Friedman, Jonathan. The Past in the Future: History and the Politics of Identity. American Anthropologist December, 1992 Vol.94(4):837-859.

Friedman discusses the importance of history in establishing an identity. He compares the different cultural identities of the Greeks and the Hawaiians, which shows the practice of self-identification in certain social conditions and its connection with the past. Greek nationalism was an aspect of Greece expanding West and a product of its separation from the Ottoman Empire. Hawaiian identity was a result of a period of declining Western leadership, opposed to the establishment of modernism and plagued by tourism. By comparing these two different cultures, Friedman suggests a global systemic connection that provides the basis for anthropologists to examine others.

Friedman points out the difficulty that anthropologists encounter when attempting to represent the traditions of cultures. Friedman discusses how anthropologists need to maintain a broader, global perspective to understand the processes of forming an identity. He stresses that culture is negotiable for professionals but not for those whose identity relies on a certain structure. If identity were negotiable, it would not exist.

Friedman examines how modernism has come into direct contact with the construction of other’s identities. Modernity has effected many variations of identity, which includes postmodernism, traditionalism, and primitivism. The history of Western expansion is full of examples of the destruction of cultural identities and the events that follow. The emergence of cultural identity suggests the fragmentation of a larger unit and is often seen as a threat. To adequately explain the formation of identity, Friedman examined the relations between social conditions and the past.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
AMY CREASY Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Fry, Douglas P. “Respect for the Rights of Others Is Peace”: Learning Aggression versus Nonaggression among the Zapotec. September, 1992 Vol.94 (3):621-636.

In this article Fry explains the results of an ethnographic study of learned aggression and peace in two Zapotec communities. He concentrates not only on adult behavior, but also children’s behavior. He analyzes the effects that adult behavior has on the children in these communities. The communities examined are La Paz and San Andres. Fry’s study is centralized on three- to eight-year-old children and the intercommunity differences in children’s aggression. The San Andres community is somewhat more violent than the La Paz. The children of the San Andres community witness adult fighting at parties, roughhousing on street corners, and siblings beat each other with sticks. In this community play fighting among children is not disapproved of and is some times encouraged. In La Paz communities play fighting is very much discouraged and children rarely witness violence among adults. Fry explains that these two comminutes differences are reliant upon many factors. For example, respect and jealousy issues stemmed from shortage of land in San Andres. In totality, Fry relays that aggression in these communities over many generations is a result of learned social behavior, which begins during childhood. He explains that the children of these societies imitate, admire, respect, and duplicate the aggressive or nonaggressive actions of adults, especially their parents. This cyclic process is the very reason for these tendencies over the past several generations.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Fry, Douglas P. “Respect for the Rights of Others is Peace”: Learning Aggression versus Non-Aggression among the Zapotec. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94(3):621-639.

Fry has spent considerable time studying the Zapotec Communities in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. This article highlights a study of aggression among children in the towns of San Andres and La Paz. San Andres was a mining community up until about 1972. At that time the men of San Andres sought work elsewhere. La Paz had no such industry, and as a result has had less association with outsiders. The two communities have similar political structures and both rely predominantly on agriculture for economic support.

Both La Paz and San Andres espouse the same values regarding community, but violence and unrest are more prevalent in San Andres. The typical adult in La Paz is less quarrelsome, and the typical teenagers are less rambunctious. Drunken brawls in La Paz are ended quickly when one of the combatants walks away. In contrast, San Andres drunken fights go until the two men are pulled apart. The homicide rate is also noticeably higher in San Andres. Domestic violence is more prevalent in San Andres. Corporal punishment of one’s children is also more acceptable in San Andres.

Women also serve different roles in each community. La Paz women sell pottery. This pottery is a long-standing and respected source of income in the community. In contrast the women of San Andres have only recently begun to contribute to the local economy. The result is La Paz women are regarded with more respect than in San Andres. This disparity exposes the children of the two communities to different gender roles.

Fry investigates how these conditions affect the aggression levels of the children within these communities. He selected a group of children from each community and observed their play, looking for signs of aggression and discovered the children of San Andres were more aggressive. Fry believes this phenomenon can be traced back to the greater acceptance of aggression within the San Andres community.

Fry’s work is well written and thought out, but he neglects to clarify exactly what criterion he was using to evaluate aggression. There were not any specifications given to define what separates aggressive play from just regular aggression. Without these steady criterion, it is possible Fry’s own expectations may have tainted his results. Additionally, I wonder if Fry was truly measuring aggression. Aggression is an internal impetus and is not always visible on the exterior. Perhaps he was studying the acceptance of aggression instead.

CLARITY RATING: 4
GLENN MYERS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Graffam, Gray. Beyond State Collapse: Rural History, Raised Fields, and Pastoralism in the South Andes. American Anthropologist December, 1992 Vol. 94 (4): 882-899

Graffam writes about rural history, specifically that ancient states never collapsed completely. He says that the underlying structure of the peasant society played an important role in the wake of state collapse when the struggle for rural survival led to political and economic restructuring. His article focuses on social evolution and that societies continued to restructure after political collapse. The societies never discarded all progress that had been achieved thus far. Graffam article examines the construction and use of raised fields as they were maintained by rural farmers in the wake of state collapse in the South Andes. Some people say that the large raised-field systems would have been abandoned after state collapse because of the collapse of strong central authority. People also view such field systems as being tremendously labor intensive on a large scale. Graffam concentrates on how these raised field systems contributed to the restructuring of the fallen state. The rural society develops a new means of coping with new problems that arise from the states collapse. The case examined is the continued construction and use of raised fields in the Lake Titicaca basin after the collapse of the Tiwanka state. Raised fields were a means of subsidizing pastoralism in this region. After the states collapse, the economic restructuring was voluntary and within the context of reciprocal kin relations.

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

Graffam, Gray. Beyond State Collapse: Rural History, Raised Fields, and Pastoralism in the South Andes. American Anthropologist December, 1992 Vol.94(4):882-904.

From a broad perspective, this article deals with the notion that ancient states never actually collapsed completely, and the necessary appreciation of rural peasantry when dealing with such issues. That underlying theme is apparent throughout Gary Graffam’s argument that the collapse of Tiwanaku in no way resulted from the abandonment or shortcomings of the large raised-field systems utilized throughout the south Andes at this time. Furthermore, Graffam provides archaeological evidence supporting his claim that these raised fields were never abandoned at all, but were rather used in association with the Ayllu, and their immense pastoral system comprised of hundreds of thousands of animals.

First, any notions of this raised field system being too labor intensive are dismissed for a variety of reasons. He points out that a centralized management system is not needed in order to maintain this technology, especially when the higher yields are no longer necessary since there is no longer a central urban center of non-farming people. After the collapse, the larger populations of people would have spread themselves throughout the countryside. An excavation he conducted in the fields at Pampa Koani concluded that these raised fields were still in fact being both used and constructed after the collapse of the state. The evidence to support that claim is based on dating different material in the field, as well as the house floor, which is always in direct connection to these raised fields. However, these agricultural practices incorporated into the Ayllu system did in fact require high yields comparable to the state society. For the system to work, the author suggests the “simultaneous engagement in both pastoral and agricultural activities, creating an interdependency between the two economic sectors as a matter of complementarity.” But with minimal support from the Ayllu, this raised-field technology based on drainage manipulation, thermodynamics, and nutrient recycling, could feasibly be sustained. Basically, the key to feeding a still large population at this time was not based on surplus production for the elites, but rather the ability to subsidize what the author calls agropastoralism. The article again shifts gears and takes a broader approach in defending rural technology and abilities in relation to state-level society. These rural societies do lose any knowledge, or capabilities. And they do not regress in terms of social evolution or progression.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
KEVIN CONNORS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Gragson, Ted L. Fishing the Waters of Amazonia: Native Subsistence Economies in a Tropical Rain Forest. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol. 94 (2):428-440.

This paper analyzes the ways that fish are taken in waters of Amazonia. Ted Gragson compares fishing strategies in the different types of water in Amazonia along with what species of fish inhabit these waters in different conditions. He analyzes the success in fishing these waters and also compares these yields to those of hunting.

The author categorizes the different waters into three categories: white, black, and clear. Whitewater, characteristic of the Amazon River, is seldom found in the streams of Amazonia. This water is described as having a yellowish-ochre color along with a high turbidity. Blackwater, representative of the Negro River and some streams has an olive-brown to reddish color and is transparent up to almost three meters. Clear waters, the most common in Amazonia, are green to olive-green and are found in the areas of Amazonia that do not experience very much flooding, if any at all.

Gragson analyzes the fishing habits of people in response to climate changes as well as the behavior of the fish. He explains how the whitewaters are usually only fished during the dry season. This is because when the water levels are low, there is more fish per unit of water thus making the fish easier to find and catch. Blackwater, on the other hand, is fished year-round. During the wet season, fish can move into the flooded forests where they feed on other fish, as well as insects, leaves, and fruits provide by the tree-cover. This allows the fish to reserve fat for the dry season when they usually fast. On the other hand, in areas not subject to flooding, fish rely on dissolved and suspended particles in order to survive and reproduce.

In comparing hunting to fishing in Amazonia, fishing has a risk of failure of about thirteen percent while the risk of failure while hunting is a chancy forty-five percent. Gragson explains that fish have a much higher production rate than birds and mammals taken as food in Amazonia.

The author explains that fish, until recently have not been recognized as an important resource to the subsistence of Amazonia. Fish are more abundant year-round than game are and can be taken year-round as well. Gragson concludes that fish are more reliable than game are in Amazonia and more comparisons to hunting tactics and strategies are needed.

CLARITY RATING: 5
CHAD KALBFLEISCH Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Hard, Robert J. and Merril, William L. Mobile Agriculturalists and the Emergence of Sedentism: Perspectives from Northern Mexico. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94(3):601-620.

Hard and Merrill studied the Raramuri of Rejogochi in northern Mexico to investigate Binford’s assertions about the transition from a mobile lifestyle to a sedentary one. The Raramuri were chosen for this study because many of the families are still mobile. The authors found patterns in these lifestyles often correlate with economic situations. The Raramuri are largely agricultural. Reasons for mobility are numerous, but the authors focused on growing season and winter movement. Since both men and women inherit land, married couples usually have fields that are a distance from one another. In these cases, the family will often farm all plots and have to travel between homes. Families with sufficient land in the valley of Rejogochi tend to remain there, and this appears to be the ideal situation. There is not enough land in the valley to provide food for everyone, and so those who are lacking land in the valley must make use of distant fields, if they have them, or else find a way of earning wages to buy food.

It is not common to transport food from the scattered fields to the more permanent homes, and very common to simply live where the food is until supplies run out. For this reason, among others, the entire family moves, rather than just a ‘task force.’ Mobility in the winter seems to depend on livestock preservation. Winter homes and rock shelters are warmer, drier, and are a good way to avoid illnesses and deaths associated with winter weather among the livestock. Some families with large herds do not move in the winter, and instead find other means of keeping the animals safe from harsh weather.

The authors believe that the Raramuri data partially support Binford’s ideas. The families do tend to remain sedentary when resources allow them. Binford also suggested that dependence upon stored food indicates less residential mobility and the use of a ‘task force’ instead, however the Raramuri depend on stored maize and at the same time the entire household takes part in the mobility strategies. The authors identify complex situations that help explain the partial mobility, finding that Binford’s view is overall too simplistic.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
RACHAEL WILLIS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Harris, Marvin. Distinguished Lecture: Anthropology and the Theoretical and Paradigmatic Significance of the Collapse of Soviet and East European Communism. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol. 94 (2): 295-305

In this article, Harris writes that economy of state communism in the former USSR is threatened with extinction. He states that its amazing that the USSR is looking for outside aide and equally amazing that it fell because of the explosive ethnic politics among its citizens. He wants his essay to initiate discussions among anthropologists about a shift in paradigmatic issues. Because of the collapse of the state communism, many people thought Marxism was dead. Harris says that Marx’s communism theory was distorted. Western Marxists blame the collapse of the USSR on political incompetence and not systematic failure. From here, Harris goes into the structure of the former government and its declining efficiency. One of the governments main problems was that it lagged far behind the Western world in the application of high-tech innovations. The former USSR was slow to technological change.

Harris is thorough with his explanations, and he explains things well.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHRISTINA ROSER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Hill, Jonathan D. Contested Pasts and the Practice of Anthropology American Anthropologist December, 1992 Vol.94 (4):809-815.

This article overviews the debate between historical discourse and anthropological practice. In essence, it attempts to describe an anthropology of anthropology by describing elements that are inherent in the construction of anthropology. The article centers on interpreting anthropology not only as a practice that examines the history of ideas but also the social context which history is surrounded by. Through anthropology, the notions of a neutral entity of the human past become invalid. Anthropology allows for an awareness of social processes and a transmitter of human knowledge of culture and society. The article focuses on the discourses of Native American attempting to create a culture process of empowerment after the historical experiences related to colonial domination. Anthropologists attempt to address these questions regarding the history of disempowered people and contemporary issues facing them. Anthropologists become well prepared to handle issues and interpret culture and history’s changing context. Through Anthropology examination of history and culture allows for a deeper interpretation that other disciplines cannot provide. Anthropology is a discipline that gains new opportunities that allow it to create new methods of examining and documenting processes of culture. Anthropology has advantages over other disciplines, in that it allows a unique perspective on history and culture. Many times it provides a perspective from cultures that have first hand experience with history in a negative manner. These perspectives allow for a better understanding of the events of history and its effect on people.

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

Laitin, David. Guadalupe, Rodriguez Gomez. Language, Ideology, and the Press in Catalonia. The American Anthropologist. March 1992 Vol. 94(1):9-30

In this article the authors explore the language of political discourse in the region of Spain known as Catalonia. Catalonia is an area of Spain that has historically been very independent and self-governing in relation to the Spanish central government and the other provinces partly due to the fact that they speak a different dialect of the Spanish language. It is the author’s argument, therefore, that “Catalan language discourse style…differs significantly from the Castilian-language discourse style”(13). Furthermore, these separate discourse styles promote and reflect different ideologies.

The authors fall back upon the term “canonization” proposed by Bakhtin to explain their argument. It was Bakhtin’s belief that every language over time becomes reinforced against change. Laitin and Guadalupe look at how “canonization” has worked in the province of Catalonia where two languages exist simultaneously.

Their research methodology required them to find ideological differences among the political discourses they analyzed in four newspapers. Two of these newspapers utilized Catalan as their language and two of them were written in Castilian. Also, one of each of the separate language papers was “leftist” in its beliefs, and one was “rightist”. They go on to explain the history of each of these newspapers in an attempt to shed light upon the ideologies that they adhere to. Word usage is also analyzed showing that the center-right affiliated newspapers referred less to The Government and more to The Spanish Government. According to the authors this reflects the idea that the “rightist” papers are more alienated from the government then the “leftist” papers.

After analyzing the editorials written in Catalan and those written in Castilian Spanish the authors concluded that the Catalan papers reflected the canonization of their language and reflected the down to earth qualities of the Catalonian people. On the other hand the Castilian editorials were written in a manner that reflected the “Spanish view that language and politics ought to be expressive of the deep emotions and beliefs that are so much a part of daily life, personal and political”(14).

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHRISTOPHER GSCHWEND Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Lee Richard B. Art, Science, or Politics? The crisis in Hunter Gather Studies. American Anthropologist March 1992 Vol. 94 (1) 31-43

The author in this article examines the conflict that Hunter Gather Studies have had. He explains the field has always been marked with controversy, and eve the concept of hunter-gathers itself has flowed and waned in importance. The purpose of this article however as Lee points out is to define the range of anthropological practices that constitute hunter-gather studies today and to explore the social, ideological, and epistemological-of the fields crisis in representation. First he begins by examining the subject economically, by referring to those people who have historically lived by gathering, hunting, and fishing, with minimal or no agriculture and domesticated animals except the dog. Politically gather-hunters as stated by Lee are usually labeled as band or egalitarian societies in which social groups are small and mobile and in which differences of wealth and power are minimally developed.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

McGuire, Randall H. Archeology and the First Americans. American Anthropologist. December 1992 Vol. 94 (4):816-836

This article maintains that archeologists need to combine their study of Indian pasts with its descendents. This will radically change archeology in the United States, it will alter perceptions of the past, how to deal with living Native Americans, how future archeologist will be trained and how results are presented to the public. Archeologists need to recognize the contradictions that are placed on American national heritage such as: inclusion and exclusion and uniformity and diversity. Rather than being denied these inconsistencies should be embraced and put at the core of the dialogue with the Native Americans. Some cases are cited and given as examples, however, this needs to occur more frequently in order to understand the effects that such a dramatic change will have. Archeologists are able to utilize material remains to interpret past experiences and situations and should incorporate this to further their understanding of Native American culture. One of the major set backs is the fact that their is a large amount of mistrust of Native American communities and archeologist, but through gradually working to create this new line of communication the field should become wide open to a variety of possibilities.

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

McGuire, Randall H. Archeology and the First Americans. American Anthropologist. December, 1992 Vol.94(4):816-836.

McGuire begins this article by discussing the politics behind American government and territory. There is much political debate because of the issues of “tribalization”. This term is identified as, “replicating the political process of nation-state formation within the state by reducing complex multilingual-cultural regional systems into a simplified, monolingual-cultural, territorial, descrete “tribe” (pg.316). This description is causing many problems where the American Indians are concerned.

Archeologist have become a leading concern in this issue due to their liberal position toward the situation. Archeologist believe that the native Indian people deserve to be a part of the nation and that their past should be part of the national heritage. Both negative and positive situations can arise for native Indians because of this outlook. By saying that the American heritage can be considered as one common history, one must as the question of experience. Do all Americans share the same experiences throughout the years? Anthropologists and archeologists have been studying these issues for many years.

Since the 18th century, scholars have been studying the conflicts between Whites and Indians. American Indians acquired the definition as “noble savages, not worthy of their heritage” (pg. 319). It was not until the 1960’s that archeologist began to study Indians in terms of cultural change and look at the broader view of Indian heritage. Throughout the entirety of this article, McGuire presents various views and theories that unfolded during the last 200 years. In conclusion, he states what I believe to be the most important aspect behind this article, “Archeology as part of building national heritage needs to be transformed into the writing of specific peoples’ histories as a validation of their heritage” (pg. 830).

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CARRIE CROZIER Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Metcalfe Duncan, Barlow K. Renee. A Model for Exploring the Optimal Trade-off between Field Processing and Transport. American Anthropologist June 1992 Vol. 94(2): 340-355.

In this journal the authors present a model for exploring the best solution to the compromise between field processing and transport, which in turn will provide a basis for understanding differential transport of resource parts by past and present humans. They begin this study by investigating many types of hard data and identifying it quantitatively. The goals of these studies have been to explore the archeological implications of the transport of only some of the animal carcass parts that were consumed. Its studies such as these which make it easier to demonstrate that hunter-gathers can be very selective about which body parts are taken from the site of the kill to the community area. The processes used in determining these facts are field processing, which is the act of dividing the resource into its fundamental components at or near its place of obtainment with the goal of transporting only selected components. Next is the plot model the authors use in order to explain the data given. In which they use statistical methods in order to achieve their data and plot the information on the graph. The final graph or the exploring model as labeled by the authors shows the relationship between costs and benefits of field processing. In the concluding statements the authors note that the principle goals of this article is to encourage and guide studies of the differential transport of resource components among modern populations.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Metcalfe, Duncan, and K. Renee Barlow. A Model for Exploring the Optimal Trade-off between Field Processing and Transport. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol.94(2):340-356.

The difference between field processing and transport of animal and plant remains is a very important concept to archeological fieldwork. In order to fully understand the subsistence patterns of prehistoric peoples archeologists must try to determine the optimal procurement and processing strategies. Field processing involves the separation of a resource package into constituent components at the site where the resource was procured. Transport refers to the transport of non-processed resources back to the residence where processing will take place.

In this article Metcalfe and Barlow look at nut processing. They introduce an equation for comparing transport time versus procurement time. Z = Y0X1 – Y1X0/Y1 – Y0 In this equation, Z equals the point where field processing become economically profitable. Y equals the utility of the load with (1) and without (0) field processing, and X equals the time to procure processed (1) and unprocessed (0) resources. This part of the equation determines the travel time. If Z is greater than the travel time no field processing is expected, if Z is less than the travel time, field processing is the optimal method.

One of the important variables in this model is whether the field processing improves the utility of a load. If nuts are being field processed to remove a useless part of the nut, the shell for example, the utility of the load increases. This increase makes it optimal to process the loads at distances shorter than Z from the above equation. In other words, greater load utility is worth field processing at shorter transport distances. Metcalfe and Barlow apply equations for the variable mentioned above as well as for other variables they note in their model. In order for these equations to be refined and made more appropriate to archeological sites, modern populations must be examined more thoroughly through this model.

CLARITY RANKING: 5
KELLY EILEEN JONES Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Nyerges, A. Endre. The Ecology of Wealth-in-People: Agriculture, Settlement, and Society on the Perpetual Frontier. American Anthropologist 1992 vol. 94: 860-875.

Nyerges describes the sociopolitical organization of the Susu, a West African tribal society, and emphasizes this structure as the key factor in determining settlement patterns and environmental use strategies in the area. Two main problems are present here: food insufficiency and environmental degradation. The Susu are spread widely and thinly throughout western Sierra Leone. The small population of these horticulturalists necessitates a demand for agricultural labor, control of which is seen as the epitome of political power. This is often afforded to elderly men who employ “junior” men and women as manual labor. Men and women are divided in responsibilities along the lines of seniority, with neither junior men nor women capable of reaching the political statuses held by elder men.

Within Susu culture there is a heavy emphasis on marriage and fidelity, perhaps because of the Islamic influence in the area. This ideology is manifested in the desire for women to be married for their whole lives even when they become widows. This often leads to disputes, as Nygeres notes, especially among half-brothers. The common solution is to leave the village or group to join another or begin anew. This environment of fission/fusion and transience impacts the subsistence and economic system employed by the Susu, and is begging to degrade the environment. Elders, the holders of power and distributors of resources in this remote land, use agricultural production as a means to reinforce and sustain their economic potency, particularly through the growth of the chili pepper-a cash crop. To maximize production, peppers are rotated on the more risky, yet higher yielding rain-fed fields because of the corresponding ease of maintenance in order to compensate for the lack of a stable labor pool. This also carries over into environmentally non-sustainable forays into swidden agriculture, destroying forested environments as well.

Nyerges suggests that it is the asymmetry of individuals in their access to resources or power that throws off the balance and creates an environment characterized by “patterned risk, change, and degradation.” This argument seems to be chiefly processualist in nature, suggesting that the volition of individuals acting to better their own interests without regard to subsistence or sustainability can be maladaptive in ecological terms.

CLARITY: 5
David Mason Santa Clara University (George Westermark).

Park, Thomas K. Early Trends toward Class Stratifications: Chaos, Common Property and Flood Recession Agriculture. American Anthropologist. March, 1992. Vol. 94(1): 90-117.

Park’s argument states that the flood recession agricultural lands, illustrated here by the Senegal River Basin, develop along a unique socio-political system established from their environmental situation. Boserup, suggested that advancements in agriculture were directly related to the amount of labor put into farming and that humans would gravitate toward agricultural activities that produced the most product. Park agues that recession agriculture, being easy to maintain after initial planting and weeding, is more efficient and would be the most logical system of farming. But not everyone can take advantage of this method of farming, which Boserup did not account for in her study.

Hierarchy of lineage groups has an extreme effect on how land allocated in this river valley. Since flood levels and water levels are nearly impossible to predict, farming in this region is risky. Therefore, the allocation of land is directly related to the productivity of this land. The land is owned by a core group of family members, and the allocation of this land is dealt with by an inheritance pattern decided upon by rights in the family line. Outsiders can make a deal and get a portion of the land as well, but they will come last in line. Obligations and tithes of land is related to the land is allocated. The tithing structure goes from lowest to highest, with the money going up until it reaches the highest level in the group. The common tithe is worth one tenth of a percentage of your yearly earnings.

But catastrophic environmental conditions can limit the availability of land and farming resources. Flood levels, best described in the records of flooding in the Nile River, are usually annual and predictable. But in extreme conditions, allowances must be made. Here is where class struggle plays the most important role. When conditions become extreme, the hierarchy reallocates the land and some must be removed in order to ensure the survival of the whole. Park terms this as “sloughing off excess population.” The land, in years of stability, is reallocated annually, and is valued by how much it produced in the previous year, and then given out once more by inheritance right.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
ANDREA CLOUTIER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Park, Thomas K. Early Trends toward Class Stratification: Chaos, Common Property, and Flood Recession Agriculture. American Anthropologist March, 1992 Vol.94(1):90-117.

Park explores the reasons behind the beginnings of economic stratification in areas that practice recession agriculture, a product of local flooding in regions with a nearby river. To better understand why a culture would practice recession agriculture Park points to an increase in the yield per acre per unit of work, meaning that a person could expect more from less work and small areas. The practice of collective holdings means that all members of the collective have responsibilities and gain advantage from membership. These aspects of recession agriculture lead to a hierarchical system where there is inherent inequality due to the reintegration of lands at the end of a growing season into the collective and the redistribution of lands to individuals at the beginning of the next growing season. Inevitably, some people gained access to better land than others, and those areas that were flooded more completely allowed for greater resources at the end of the season. Through this analysis of flood patterns and collective practices Park concludes that economic stratification based on the flood recession model makes it more likely that a group will progress towards a model of “state formation” based on its hierarchical and unequal social structure.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
TINA HASTINGS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Parker, Eugene. Forest Islands and Kayapo Resource Management in Amazonia: A Reappraisal of the Apete. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol.94(2):406-427.

In this article Parker investigates the validity of Darrell Posey’s research on apLtLs conducted in the 1980s among the Gorotire Kayapo Indians of the Brazilian Amazon. ApLtLs are forest islands that Posey argued were created by the G. Kayapo that are composed of useful plants for both medicinal and edible purposes. Posey stated that the G. Kayapo both created and maintained these complex ecosystems, thus increasing the local diversity of plant species. However, Eugene Parker, after conducting his own research states that the apLtLs do not exist.

Posey’s original research reports that “75% (of the apLtLs) were actually created by the Indians…98% of plant species found in the islands…. had perceived use values… and as many as 85% of these plants were actually planted by the Indians” (p.407). Not only did Posey believe these areas to be food resources, but he also increases their value by stating that they increase ecological diversity and are “a viable reforestation mechanism for the Amazon region” (p.407). Posey went on to state that the apLtLs are classified according to their size and complexity, and planting zones are differentiated by variations in light, temperature and moisture. He claimed that the “Indians not only recognize the richness of ‘ecotones”, they create them” (p.412).

Parker, in an attempt to reevaluate Posey’s research, not only finds many faults with the original reports, but also has very different results from the same research. Parker evaluates 87% of the plant species found in apLtLs to be co-occurring in the natural environment in abundance and reports that it would be unlikely that the Indians would labor themselves to transplant the species in a forest island since they are readily available. He also found that on average 25% of the plant species had no value other than animal, bird or fish food, again negating the trouble of planting these species, since they would not be for human consumption. Parker’s supporting evidence resulted from his interviews with the Kayapo Indians, of which not a single individual supported the idea of an apLtL nor had they any knowledge of their previous existence.

It is apparent that Parker finds Posey’s reports to be falsified information used in an attempt to prove a non-existent research goal. However, in the support of Posey, the author does not go into any explanation as to the seemingly organized composition and construction of the apLtLs, nor does Parker mention Posey’s research and its validity to most of his interviewees. Parker concludes that the forest islands actually resulted from natural processes along the boundary between the forest and the savanna, in which the forest is actually spreading and fortuitously creating these islands.

CLARITY: 4
BETHANY J. MYERS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Rodman, Margaret C. Empowering Place: Multilocality and Multivocality. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94(3):640-656.

Rodman clearly states the premise of her argument at the beginning of this article, namely that, in anthropological writing, place should not be considered just “where people do things” (p. 640). In the same way that ethnographers have begun to address the multivocality of the people they write about, so should consideration be given to the “multilocality” of the places in which these people live. To this end, issues of agency and power as they relate to who has the control of assigning meaning to place in the anthropological context are discussed. In sum, she advocates representing place as being “…predicated on connections, on the interacting presence of different places and different voices in various geographical, anthropological (cultural), and historical contexts” (p. 647).

Rodman elaborates on these concepts through various ethnographic examples from contemporary Melanesia. Most interestingly, she utilizes her own work in Vanuatu (the ex-New Hebrides) to illustrate the multivocal / multilocal aspects of this location as it varies according to age and gender. For example, she demonstrates how one woman “landmarked” the village according to where she had given birth to her children; even if the actual physical structures were no longer there, “…for the old woman these memories were etched as clearly in the landscape as if they bore commemorative plaques” (p. 650). In conclusion, Rodman reiterates the objective of the article, which she succeeds in fulfilling—to demonstrate ways to look “through” places and explore links, consider the reasons why they are so constructed, and “…see how places represent people, and begin to understand how people embody places” (p. 652).

CLARITY RANKING: 5
LINDA SMITH Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Schlegel, Alice. African Political Models in the American Southwest: Hopi as an Internal Frontier Society. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol.94(2):376-397.

As the title suggests, the author of this article attempts to explain the political and social structure of the pre-twentieth century Hopi in the American southwest in the terms that had previously been applied to Africa by Kopytoff. The structure of the Hopi has traditionally been explained by ecological hypotheses in that the arid land had dictated how they organized. While Schlegel does not disagree with this theory she believes it to be somewhat incomplete.

The theory of “internal frontier societies” is used by the author to further explain the structural history of the Hopi. The process states that in areas where there were large open expanses between societies groups would leave the established settlements to settle in the open region. The author lists some issues related to the process including the movement in groups, social integration through kinship, the welcoming of late comers, similar cultural backgrounds, and the weak hold of authority in the frontier societies. Schlegel provides evidence through the description of Hopi political structure that the Hopi indeed fit many of the descriptions expounded by Kopytoff referring to the process of “internal frontier societies”.

The article is concluded with “several conflicting themes running through Hopi culture that are the result of its internal-frontier social and political organization”(387). The conflicts that she addresses are those of hierarchy versus equality, ascription versus achievement, and cooperation versus competition. Schlegel believes that while an observer of Hopi structure might say that hierarchy, ascription, and cooperation are the major ideas lying beneath the culture, the other more individualistic aspects played an important role as well.

This fits into Kopytoff’s description of the internal-frontier societies in that when a group would settle in a frontier it would attempt to establish some type of ruling group. However, with the influx of peoples from semi-separate backgrounds and the arrival of groups at later times, it followed that established rulers needed to allow for individualist ways in which to rise in society in order to promote social stability.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHRISTOPHER GSCHWEND Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Shaara, Lila and Andrew Strathern. A Preliminary Analysis of the Relationship between Altered States of Consciousness, Healing, and Social Structure. American Anthropologist March ,1992 Vol.94(1):145-160.

Lila Shaara and Andrew Strathern’s article on the relationship between altered states of consciousness, healing, and social structure is a jumble of figures and tables that confounds and dilutes any significant result that may be found therein. Much of their work utilizes that of Erica Bourguignon, including much of her data along with definitions of altered states consciousness, possession, and trance. Shaara and Strathern do mention data from their own field research but it is left unclear how much is theirs and how much is other peoples’.

The purpose of this study is a sort of cross-cultural analysis to seek out social factors outside of “complexity or political integration” that co-occur with altered states of consciousness and healing (p.145). The first problem they recognize is that of definitions. This is why they settle on Bourguignon definitions as a standard. However, it is difficult to tell whether this gets in the way of other data they are using from individuals who may define things differently than Bourguignon.

In essence, what Shaara and Strathern are doing is compiling an ambiguously comprehensive literature-data set (i.e., how comprehensive is it?) in order to statistically cross analyze specific factors to find correlations in social structure and the use of these kinds of healing systems. What they found did not necessarily prove or disprove anyone else’s hypotheses or findings, but they did find two co-variations previously unnoticed. (1) “Patients use of altered states of consciousness as treatments for illness is more common in societies with possession,” and (2) “there appears to be a relatively strong relationship between trance healing and cognatic kinship relationship structures (p.149). Whatever this may mean to someone working within the field of indigenous healing or possession ceremonies can only be negotiated by those individuals, but in terms of greater anthropological interests, this article serves very little in relation to understanding people and what people do.

CLARITY: 3
T.M. KEY Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Stiner, Mary & Kuhn, Steven L. Subsistence, Technology, and Adaptive Variation in Middle Paleolithic Italy. American Anthropologist. June, 1992. Vol. 94: 306-333.

In the article, “Subsistence, Technology, and Adaptive Variation in Middle Paleolithic Italy,” Stinger and Kuhn take an in depth look at the evolutionary fate of technology and subsistence of Neanderthal and anatomically modern man. Variations in fauna appear to have the most effect to Mousterian tool men. The study includes a period, which began 110,000 years ago and ending about 35,000 years ago. The analysis comes from four separate studies. The region of analysis took place in western Italy at four cave sites. The method used by the anthropologist included the study of animal carcass left behind. It was noticed that in most cases only part of the carcass was left behind. It was also noticed that based on tooth eruption of the carcass, most animals used for subsistence were older in form. From the data collected it was inferred that tools used had a strong correlation with foraging strategies. In addition, based on the cave analysis it was noticed that early hominids preferred to take animals used for food back to their cave. This allowed them to use the cranium as a source of food in time of animal scarcity. It was also noticed that evolution of technology due to change in procurement preparation does not imply very obvious changes in behavior.

Overall the article is easy to read. The researchers explained the method and background of their sample very well. However, it seems as if some of the data is “forced” to fit the hypothesis proposed at the beginning of the article.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
CLAUDIA P. GUZMAN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Stiner, Mary C. & Kuhn, Steven L. Subsistence, Technology, and Adaptive Variation in Middle Paleolithic Italy. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol.4 (2):306-339.

This articles focuses on the Middle Paleolithic transition between the Neandertals and anatomically modern humans. It addresses the two main opinions regarding this controversial period; the side of researchers that argue for a model of sudden, large-scale population replacement and the other side that believes the transition was continuous and gradual. The three main foci in the research for these studies is techniques in lithic tool forms, the ranges of prey species, and the frequencies of symbolic or decorative art. The authors state that these three topics are used by the proponents of sudden change and by these arguing for gradual change and that the data is interpreted in different ways within each camp of “transition”. The authors assert that these three phenomena are the main fluctuations in human evolution, but that there are certainly different ways to investigate them archeologically. The current issues in the research about the transition are the degree of adaptive variation and evolutionary change.

Conclusions for this article include, first, that there is covariation between lithic artifact and hominid foraging; secondly, in scavenging situations the hominids chose to transport the head of ungulates to get at high fat and carbohydrate concentrations of the animal; thirdly, there are no definite visually striking connections between weapons technology and a dependence on large prey. Fourthly, patterns in lithic technology and animal utilization converge on the level of mobility and land usage. Next, there were varying frequencies in aspects of technology and foraging, such that tool manufacture was adjusted to meet the limitations and requirements of land use and foraging. Also, it needs to be said that today most predators exist in an equilibrium of hunting and scavenging to survive, thus there should be variation in representations of hunting and scavenging throughout hominid transitions. Sixthly, alternative approaches to tool manufacture and game procurement were implemented as parts of a larger adaptive system. Thus, looking at seasonal variation and intersite differences, that could have spanned thousands of years, will lead to overly simplistic results. Lastly, since the study deals with one small region, it would be wrong to generalize about the trends of the Mousterian as the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition took place over a wide area. The two transition explanations of adjustments of hominids to changes in resource opportunities and the trend of evolutionary change cannot be proven or disproved and the field is still very open to study.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
NIKKI JOHNSON Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Tooker, Elizabeth. Lewis H. Morgan and His Contemporaries. American Anthropologists 1992 Vol.94: 357-371.

In the article, Tooker gives a biographical account of the scholastic life of the early anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan. He was a contemporary of Karl Marx and is well known for his theories, which can be categorized as Marxist Anthropology. It was Morgan who recorded one of the best-known accounts of the Iroquois people in 1851 in his book the League of the Ho-de-sau-nee. His book is still widely studied, and for his time, despite his limited ethnographic study, it provided a new way of studying anthropology. During his academic career, Morgan came into contact with many famous people of his time and was considered to be great mind himself. Tooker’s overview gives a detailed history of his development from his study of the Iroquois to his theories about kinship and the progress of man. He was influenced by the likes of Tylor, how formulated also formulated ideas about the assent of man, but much of his conclusions were not based on ethnographic data.

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

Tooker, Elizabeth. Lewis H. Morgan and His Contemporaries. American Anthropologist June, 1992 Vol.94(2):357-375.

This article examines the historic and academic conditions surrounding the work of Lewis H. Morgan. Morgan was a pioneer in the field of Anthropology. Morgan’s work on the Iroquois has set the standard for all studies that have followed it. He is further credited as one of the people who influenced Marxist Anthropology.

There is a legend surrounding his ethnographic work on the Iroquois, but the truth is nowhere as exciting. The significant part of his life spent among the Iroquois Indians amounted to about half a dozen one to two week trips. The work he did to help the Towanda Senecas was unproductive and did not win him adoption into the tribe. He was eventually adopted into the tribe at his request after paying for the required feast.

Lewis sought not only to understand how things were among the Iroquois before European intrusion, but also to understand how Iroquois society worked at the time he was studying it.

Eventually, Lewis moved into the field of Philology. Philology is the study of linguistics. Morgan primarily concentrated on kinship terms from various peoples around the world. He would attempt to tie these kinship term systems together to establish relationships between peoples and to verify history.

The author’s conclusions about Lewis seem solid. They were based upon Lewis’ notes. While faithful and true to the original source, Tooker tries to cram too much into too small of a space. The entire article is difficult to understand without an excellent knowledge of the history of anthropology.

CLARITY RATING: 2
GLENN MYERS Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Jonathan Hill)

Welsch, Robert L., John Terrell, and John A. Nadolski. Language and Culture on the North Coast of New Guinea. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94 (3):568-593

This study reveals the relationship between language, cultural practices, geographical distance, and material culture on the North Coast of Papua New Guinea. Many of the people in this area of New Guinea share the same material culture and some of the same cultural practices. These people are located geographically in a some what close vicinity to one another. The strange thing is the vast amount of linguistic differences. It is shown that the variability in the culture material each group has is based on the differences in their cultural histories. Differences in cultural history may also account for linguistic differences. Similarities may be the result of intervillage trade and cultural diffusion. But why would their linguistic cultural remain so varied? The conclusion that is questioned is that the similarities and differences among these villages are most strongly associated with geographical propinquity. Three questions are raised about this conclusion though. First is the problem of linguistic diversity. Second is the problem of maintaining this diversity. Is it a result of the material traded among villages or some other aspect of this cultural network? Third is the problem of contact with foreigners. During the 20th century this area came into contact with things, such as missionization and a cash economy, that would most likely disturb their cultures and cultural network to some extent. The answers to these questions are not resolved here. The questions are laid out in a way that encourages others to try and answer them. It is suggested that ethnography be used to answer these questions, not just in one or two of these groups, but regionally.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL Baylor University (Tina Thurston)

Welsch, Robert L, John Terrell, and John A. Nadolski. Language and Culture on the North Coast of New Guinea. American Anthropologist September, 1992 Vol.94(3):568-583.

Welsch believes that the North Coast of New Guinea is a great place for an anthropological study because the region has “remarkable linguistic diversity”. Over 55 different languages are spoken there, but it has been noted that these groups share many different cultural traits. This suggests that at least a few individuals in each community were bilingual or multilingual. Much of the other analysis in this paper was based on the Melanesian collection of the Field Museum of Natural History. Objects were coded very simply in order to find out if there were any differences in usage from one tribe to the next. Albert B. Lewis gathered the bulk of this collection from 1909 to 1913. To connect the language and cultures of these peoples, the similar objects were related to the corresponding language of their tribe to see if any relation could be derived. Other factors like geography, and how that relates to the linguistic similarities and differences of the region, were also studied. The relationship of language to geography proved to be quite complicated for the author.

Lexicostatistics and cognate percentages are given in graphs and charts to provide the linguistic similarities and differences. As for how material culture relates to language, similarities are “…chiefly a consequence of the geographic clustering of related languages on the coast”. So, in a sense, all of these factors are interrelated. One interpretation of the results is also that there is a basic sense of cultural uniformity in the area, so people generally use similar tools, clothing, etc. In general, Welsch finds that variation in language really has little to do with variation in culture. His study also does not contribute to the idea that language is a deciding factor in a communities’ ethnic identity, although he admits that there is still much to be learned on the subject.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
ALAN THIES Southern Illinois University (Jonathan Hill)