American Anthropologist 2002
Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 783-790.
The main concern of the article is to determine if Muslim women do actually need saving. The focus is on the mandatory wearing of the veil, or burqa. The author discusses many groups that maintain that the Muslim women do need saving from the oppression that binds them to wear the burqa. The author also maintains that anthropologists, among others, should not be overly culturally relativistic but that they should recognize and respect cultural differences. Do those same petitioners that try and save the Muslim women also try and save the African women from genital mutilation or the Indian women from dowry deaths? No, they do not because they have been taught not to judge cultures based upon their own.
The basic argument of the author is that there should not be so much focus on the burqa, but on the other mandates that the women are forced to oblige. The burqa is not an imposition. The author states that should the women be released from this mandate, they would most likely choose another form of headcovering to wear. A headcovering is the appropriate form of dress for their community. The burqa symbolizes a woman’s modesty and respectability and provides protection from strange men in the public sphere. A burqa is a symbol of a “good woman” who is able to stay at home, not working outside with the public. The author refers to the burqa as a kind of “mobile home” in that the women would be in the “inviolable space of their homes, even though moving in the public realm”.
The author described the burqa and the practice of wearing one in Afghanistan and other Muslim societies. She also noted that the Taliban did not invent the burqa but they did impose the wearing of one on all women as being “religiously appropriate.” The author presented her arguments in a clear manner but also admits that she is not an expert on Afghanista
FAYDRE L. PAULUS University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and its Others. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 783-790.
This article examines the world’s response to the September 11th terrorist attacks and the War on Terrorism that ensued. George W. Bush argued that the War on Terrorism is fought for many reasons, among them to “save” Muslim women from what many believe is oppression in their countries. This implies that the US believes Muslim culture is inferior to “Western” culture because Westerners believe women suffer if they are not like them. Abu-Lughod states that she was inundated with questions about why and what Muslim women believe, and that these questions foster feelings of superiority in their free, Western askers, because Americans argue that Muslim women’s needs can only be fulfilled through unveiling Westernization.
Abu-Lughod suggests that cultural relativism is a dangerous way through which cultures can be expressed because it brings the idea of “others” to the forefront. Non-Muslims do not realize that Muslim women are generally fine with wearing burqas, and that burqas are a sign of respect, so that strangers (men) will not gawk at them, and because it signifies their life in the home and their important job in their homes. Abu-Lughod suggests that that is why, since the removal of the Taliban, Afghan women are not throwing off their burqas: for them, it is not about oppression as much as their clothes signify respectability.
Abu-Lughod wants to prove that just because Muslim women are not like Western women, it does not mean that they want to be unveiled: veiling is part of their faith, and they should be able to believe and practice what they wish. Also, using the excuse of “saving” Muslim women for the War on Terrorism is wrong because it implies women need to be saved from their culture, which then implies that the “savers” believe they are superior.
Abu-Lughod argues that instead of trying to save Muslim women, “we need to develop, instead, a serious appreciation of differences among women in the world – as products of different histories, expressions of different circumstances, and manifestations of differently structured desires” (783). Women wore burqas before the Taliban: their oppression under the Taliban was not about being covered, but about many more restrictions placed on the women of Afghanistan. She also suggests that Muslim women who do not cover themselves are comparable to Hasidic Jewish women who do not cover their hair, or women who “wear pants to a WASP wedding” (785). Instead of using cultural concepts to distinguish and to criticize cultures, we should come to realize that any conflict is a result of history, not culture.
NATHALIE NEPTUNE Columbia College (Paige West)
Abul-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others. American Anthropologist, 2002. Vol.104 (3): 783-790.
The issue at hand is whether or not Afghanistan women should be required to wear veils, and what intervention should be taken by the Americans. The article takes an anthropological vantage point on the ethics of the “War on Terrorism.” Abu-Lughod upholds that the there needs to be an appreciation for the differences of women and their cultural practices. The main question the article deals with is whether the “War on Terrorism” is justified by the possibility of liberating Afghan women. There is a plethora of information that can be used to support the limitation of interference in the women’s requirement to be veiled. The article offers reasons for not forcing women to be veiled, while at the same time explaining the veil.
The writer is puzzled with the recent emphasis on the Muslim woman’s plight. She feels that there are many unanswered questions about the Christian woman or the Jewish woman and their personal struggles. The focus on the religio-culture explanations, instead of the global explanations, of the problems has worked to divide the world into separate spheres. The speech that was made by Laura Bush on November 16, 2001 was greatly criticized for the lack of interest that it placed on the poverty felt by the Muslim women, rather the speech called attention to the inability of women to wear nail polish. Along the same lines, colonial policies have the wrong idea. The goal is to save the Afghan woman, but again it displaces the importance of an education.
The Western woman cannot understand the purposes of the veil. The women do not celebrate and take off the veils when they have the chance to. They see the veil as “portable seclusion.” For them it is a factor of modesty, respectability, and conventionality. The Muslim women do not wish to immolate American women and their undesirable challenges. The article explores the issues of cultural relativism and the problems that it attempts to solve. The idea of cultural relativism is not favored, but the understanding of differences is.
Abu-Lughod would rather there be a solution formulated for the overpowering existence of the military in people’s live, than to worry about the veiling or unveiling of the Muslim women. She cares for the safety of the women and their happiness.
ERIN WESSELDINE Columbia University (Paige West)
Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others. American Anthropologist, September 2002. Vol.104(3):783-790
It seems as though Abu-Lughod is trying to assess the involvement of Muslim women and culture in the United States’ attempt to rectify the attacks of September 11. She feels that it would be more practical to examine the history, government and international relations of the Taliban as oppose to researching their religious and cultural beliefs. The author also believes that it is unnecessary for the introduction of the treatment of Muslim women into this matter; fore it is utterly unrelated to the terrorist attacks on the U.S.
To suggest possible U.S. motives for the sudden focus on the treatment of Muslim women, Abu-Loghod points out past colonial relations between areas such as Britain and South Asia. She mentions the common trend of “white men saving brown women from brown men” and asserts its use as a maneuver to justify various types of intervention within less powerful countries. In the case of the United States, it seems as though the treatment of Muslim women is another rationalization for their presence and action against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In the heart of the article, Abu-Lughod attempts to provide an answer to the question that is initially posed in the title. She uses this issue to support her view that cultural attacks should not be used as a tactic for government intervention in Afghanistan. She deconstructs the history, symbolism and views behind the Muslim burqa or veil that is worn by Muslim women. The veil is described as “portable seclusion” and is commonly viewed as a symbol of the oppression inflicted upon Muslim women by Muslim men. Abu-Loghod also states that the veil has become a symbol of Muslim culture and religion and women may not necessarily be ready to rid themselves of their veils in celebration of the decline of their oppressor, the Taliban. To further support her view, the author introduces the anthropological term “cultural relativism” to assert her belief that the United States should not try to “save” these women from a practice that had become associated with their culture, but, instead, they should attempt to understand it. Abu-Loghod uses the notion of cultural relativism to point out that the United States should respect cultures that are unlike its own. She feels that their efforts to liberate Muslim women from their cultural practices would support ethnocentrism.
Abu-Lughod had successfully used evidence consisting of cultural, social and international relations to assert that the use of Muslim women’s rights, or lack there of, in the justification on U.S. intervention in Afghanistan is unwarranted. She clearly proves her point, using the conflict over U.S. intervention in the treatment of Muslim women, that cultural concerns should not be confused with or combined with the motives and the political interests of the United States government.
VICTORIA GAREL Barnard College (Paige West).
Andriolo, Karin. Murder by Suicide: Episodes from Muslim History. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 736-742.
In the article, Murder by Suicide: Episodes from Muslim History by Karin Andriolo, the history of how and why assassins came to be is the focus of this article. According to Andriolo, the word assassin comes from the 11th century Nizari of Syria and Persia. The word the Nizari used for an assassin was fida’is, and their unwavering loyalty to their master was unmatched in the ancient world; they would go so far as to kill themselves in the process of assassinating their target. The question of why these men would commit their lives to someone else is the underlying theme in this article.
The explanation that Andriolo asserts is the assassin’s belief that they will be received in paradise for what they have done, and that they will be remembered by their community as a martyr for their cause. Their masters employed all sorts of devious tactics such as: lying, drugging and brainwashing in order to make the fida’is believe that they would be forgiven their sin of murder, and they consequently would dwell in paradise for eternity for their actions on Earth.
The fida’is fear of death was overcome by drugged encounters with paradise, orchestrated by their masters, in order to solidify the fida’is belief in the afterlife and convince them of what awaited them in death. This theme of the martyr being whisked off to paradise is still employed as a convincing tactic in present day Muslim suicide bombers. This same sad theme was employed throughout the Muslim world’s history, and the article goes into detail on both the Juramento in the Philippines and the assassination of Husayn at Karbala.
This article was clearly written and the concepts discussed were easy to comprehend. It is evident from the long history of the murder by suicide tactic employed throughout the Muslim world that this practice will probably go on so long as there are people who are willing to die to prove a point. The fact that their influential masters tell them they will end up enjoying paradise for eternity only goes further to compound their resolve. It is sad that there are actually people who are willing to extinguish the lives of those who believe in them as a means to further their own agendas, but it is even more disparaging to think that those people who kill themselves truly believe what they are doing is just.
KIMBERLEY A. PIERRE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Andriolo, Karin. Murder by Suicide: Episodes from Muslim History. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):736-742.
The author examines the manner in which murder-by-suicide operates and analyzes the construction of the murder-by-suicide ‘script.’ The author begins by presenting three examples from Muslim history. First, the Nizari of Syria and Persia trained and groomed a cadre of young men to assassinate Sunni political leaders; the assassins were nearly always killed in the process. The author discusses the complex dogma engrained in the assassins by Nizari leaders that produced a mentality wherein life no longer carried any meaning and death no longer loomed ominously. The promise of paradise and its imminent pleasures became the driving forces behind the assassins’ actions.
Next, the Muslim minority in the Philippines participated in Juramentado, an extremely lengthy process that consisted of oaths, ritual preparations, and ultimately, a suicidal attack on a hated Christian. Juramentado differed from Nizari assassins’ activities in that there was no commanding leader of the movement; rather, the decision if and when to participate in the process was left entirely to the individual (he did, however, need to receive approval from his parents and religious leaders). The author notes two variant forms of Juramentado in which the murder-by-suicide scenario is inverted to become suicide-by-murder: (1) a man, held for a serious crime, ‘goes Juramentado’ to avoid execution; (2) a man, desiring to end his life, evades the religious taboo of suicide by participating in the socially venerable process of Juramentado. As a result of the many facets of Juramentado, the process blurs the distinctions between killer and being killed, suicide and murder, slaughter and sacrifice.
Finally, the example of the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Husayn at Karbala is presented. During an historical period of immense obsession with wealth and power, Husayn’s suicide was a last ditch effort at reminding Muslims about the proper values of justice and morality. The events that took place at Karbala are ritually reenacted every year during the month of Muharram, thereby both immortalizing Husayn’s martyrdom and fusing past and present. Various leaders have used Husayn’s martyrdom as a rhetorical device to ignite the passions of suffering and fighting among their peoples, most notably during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The more general advocacy for suicide and martyrdom not only inspired the events of September 11, but continue to serve as the central motivating factors for the operations of the Palestinian Hamas.
The author concludes that all three historical examples of murder-by-suicide share a common thematic backbone: all attempt to obliterate distinctions between sacrifice and sacrificer, between past, present, and future, between killing oneself and killing others. However, as they blur these boundaries, they also express one remarkable distinction: the difference between the righteous minority and the larger corrupt, deceitful community by which they are surrounded.
SAM MYEROWITZ-VANDERHOEK Columbia College (Paige West)
Andriolo, Karin. Murder by Suicide: Episodes from Muslim History. American Anthropologist September 2002 Vol.104 (3): 736-742.
In “Murder by Suicide: Episodes from Muslim History,” Karin Andriolo examines the nature of suicide bombing throughout Islam by analyzing segments of Muslim history. The article reviews three cases of suicide terrorism: the Assassins of Syria and Persia, juramentado in the Philippines, and Husayn’s martyrdom at Karbala. Andriolo uses psychological interpretation, ethnographic records, and historical evidence to assert her theory. Andriolo argues that in each of these episodes, the martyr engages in ritualized preparation that seeks to erase his or her fear of dying. The stratagems alleviate transition anxiety, symbolically fuse murder and suicide, and project the past into the present.
The author uses both local hearsay and historical studies to explain the murder-suicides enacted by Ishma’ili Shi’ite Muslims in Persia and Syria around the 12th century. In an attempt to counter Sunni political ascension, young men were trained and commanded to assassinate powerful Sunni officials and accept death with their victims. A master would train a small group of boys to kill their victim with a dagger, to accept their death as imminent and honorable. These ideas were impressed upon them through ceremonies. The loyalty to their masters reinforced their belief in the promise of direct entrance to Heaven. According to travelers’ tales at the time, the boys were drugged and transported into a garden and then removed from the garden in order to acclimate them to death and the afterlife. These rituals prepared them for the transition from this world and the next.
Andrioli then examines 16th century Muslim attacks against Christians in the Phillipines, which often resulted in the attacker’s death. This suicidal attack entitled “juramentado” is prefaced with the martyr’s voluntary oath to fulfill the mission, permission from family and local authority, and ritual preparations. A person who wants to commit suicide for personal reasons was often encouraged to engage in juramentado in order to avoid the sin of normal suicide. The suicide attack, on the other hand, is perceived as commendable. This merging of suicide and killing, and self-destruction and destruction enables the attacker to successfully kill without fear.
Finally, the author describes the death of Husayn, Muhammad’s grandson and eventual successor to the throne who was murdered because of deceitful promises of political support. Shi’ites assert that their chosen ruler’s death was voluntarily enacted in order to denounce the political corruption occurring during the Umayyad dynasty. Every year, the Karbala citizens reenact the events of Husayn’s murder in order to fuse past and present. Sunni Muslims also project past actions of religious heroes into their own suicidal actions. Andriolo argues that these three episodes indicate that the rituals and images of the martyrs enable them to overcome traditional fears of the suicidal attack.
TALIA FALK Columbia University (Paige West)
Anglin, Mary. Lessons from Appalachia in the 20th Century: Poverty, Power and the Grassroots”. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 565-582.
This article discusses the ways in which anthropologists convey insights of Appalachian people and culture. Using three examples: eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and western North Carolina, Anglin addresses the prospects for political action on the part of poor, rural Americans, the ways in which racial and gender hierarchies are maintained and contested within the political context and the various modes of collective action taken to fight for social and economic rights. In doing so she focuses her research on the question, originally posed by David Harvey, of whether Appalachian activism can produce new political identities, or if it would maintain a conservative stance and the white, male dominated status qou in regards to divisions of power and labor.
Anglin first details to struggles of mine workers who employed tactics of the Civil Rights Movement in defense of their union. In addition to this a key element of their strategy involved a carefully projected image of coalfield communities in Appalachia. The combination of both ultimately allowed for success on the part of the miners. The second example involves the reorganization of mica processing, the shifting of its connotations as easy “women’s work” to legitimate labor. In this instance workers asserted their identities as members of settlements and local kinship structures to combat exploitation. The third instance involves the high rates of unemployment caused by economic restructuring in central Appalachia and the efforts on the part of local communities to combat the staggering rates of poverty and the low level of available education.
Anglin concludes that these cases illustrate the diverse array of cultures and struggles grouped under the title of title of Appalachia. In addition she states that the issues explored in her article make clear the need for residents to take an active role in their own public policy and, in conjunction with this, for Appalachians to assert and identity that is of their own creation, rather than a fabrication of anthropology and media.
This article was very clearly constructed with strong examples and adequate commentary on the arguments presented. The issues were explored in depth, yet analyzed only the relevant points, thus avoiding unnecessary length and detail. The three case studies were relevant to Anglin’s thesis and were illustrative of her conclusion. In addition this article is written in a manner that makes it engaging and easy to understand.
JULIA MCCALLUM Barnard College (Paige West)
Anglin, Mary K. Lessons from Appalachia in the 20th Century: Poverty. Power, and the “Grassroots.” American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104 (2): 565- 582.
From the early l900′s Southern Appalachia has had the reputation of-being the slum of America, and the poster child of poverty in the U.S. despite efforts to teach residents better farming practices This article talks about the power, social relations and viability of these southern mountains in the l 9905s Appalachia’s poverty has been attributed to a culturally transmitted traumatic stress syndrome.
An overwhelming depression had disrupted relationships and they are trying to figure out what is wrong with the poor. What had been witnessed was that poverty went deeper than just economical, it was mental poverty as well. The factors at hand in relation to understanding the unemployment was derived from the coal miners strike. The workers felt over worked, in hazardous conditions, with out health care. By 1989 more than 3,000 miners lost their jobs, and about 20000 jobs after that became unstable. Given the shortage of employment opportunities, residents of Appalachia have relied on government assistance. Since then the welfare reform restricted their government assistance, and put eligible recipients on the temporary assistance program to passively try and motivate these communities to pursue employment. These policies did little to address the problems of-these economically distressed communities. A project that included called The Blair Development association and the Eastern Kentucky Project worked together to fight poverty in this area. It was developed in the early 1990’s as an effort to promote economic development. It operates on a combination of government grants, public money’ charitable donations and proceeds from second hand clothing. The project was successful in developing some small businesses in Blair, Kentucky. Unfortunately the efforts have only slightly decreased the poverty level in Appalachia. In conclusion, the argument of-this article has to do with the fact that there is little help for the poor, and a lack of motivation of-the people to try to help themselves. This combination of attitudes, in my opinion, will inhibit growth of economy in this area, as well as deter the progression in the society.
LENA MALAVENDA University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Bauer, Brian S. and R. Alan Covey. Process of State Formation in the Inca Heartland (Cuzco, Peru). American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104: 846-864.
Bauer and Covey used a tried and true method of interpreting behavior; cultural analogy. Specifically, they use other cultures attempts at State formation and conquest. They also note that the there are several factors that need to be in place for nation building to take place. Of core importance is a unified heartland where the ideology of the new state is strong and dominates the distribution of resources. Bauer and Covey also note that there must be reorganization of the economic system. The smaller states that are to be integrated into the larger state must direct their resources towards this larger body. This reorganization is usually manifested as labor given to the leading class or administrators and the use of tribute. The new economy is then solely focused on the task of nation building. Once the ideology and resources of these groups are integrated it is then possible for conquest and expansion.
According to Bauer and Covey the Incas employed such strategies during the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. In the Inca case, the core region was the Cuzco Valley where conquering groups sprung from. At the Cuzco Valley the leadership made use of the growing population size and density to form a support base from which they expanded. The Cuzco Valley Incas were particularly successful whereas other Incan alliances failed. Bauer and Covey note that these other alliances apparently failed due to language and cultural barriers. Again, this would support there theory of a unified ideology and labor force leading to statehood and make expansionist ambitions possible. Finally, to solidify the territory gained the leaders set about making new allegiances, often through marriage. This would also support Bauer and Covey use of cross cultural comparison as this practice can be seen in many other cultures.
CHRIS SHEFFIELD University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Bauer, S. Brian and Covey, R. Alan Processes of State Formation in the Inca Heartland (Cuzco, Peru). American Anthropologist, September 2002. Vol. 104, No.3: 846-861.
“Processes of State Formation in the Inca Heartland” examines the dramatic social transformations that occurred in the Cuzco region during the Late Intermediate Period, between C.E. 1000-1400. Bauer and Covey argue that rapid Inca expansion was made possible by long-term processes of state formation and regional consolidation. During the Late Intermediate Period, Inca transformed into a well-integrated state capable of dominating the central Andean highlands. To present this transformation, Bauer and Covey begin by examining the ethnohistoric record to construct multiple lines of evidence for state formation processes. They begin with a comparative anthropological perspective on empires. Next, the territorial aspects of state formation are discussed due to its importance as a factor in state formation, revealing the increase of territoriality and boundary maintenance with sociopolitical complexity. Furthermore, economic control in the emerging states is presented because the development of state administration involves some changes in the regional economic system. Along with this territorial expansion, Bauer and Covey confirm that human labor will be in demand, leading to a population growth. After conveying the general scheme of a society’s development, Bauer and Covey begin to explore the historical past of Inca in particular. By presenting a brief overview of research on the development of the Inca heartland before the 1970s, Bauer and Covey reveal that there used to be a commonly held belief that Inca political origins stemmed from the personal achievements of Inca rulers. However, they refute this idea by revealing that the political origins are a result of long-term regional political processes. Furthermore, Bauer and Covey refer to Bauer’s archaeological surveys to explain their view of Inca history. They present a picture of the heartland before C.E. 1000, and then turn to the sociopolitical conditions in the Cuzco valley during the Late Intermediate period. They examine the Inca state’s interactions with other groups living to the south, west, northwest, north, and east of Cuzco. Bauer and Covey reveal the diverse strategies that the Inca used to consolidate regional power over allies and rivals.
ERICA GREENBERG Barnard College (Paige West)
Bauer, Brian S. and Covey, Alan R. Processes of State Formation in the Inca Heartland (Cuzco,Peru). American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):846-861.
In this article the authors analyzes the processes of state formation during C.E. 1000 – 1400 in the Inca heartland in the central highlands of Peru, that after C.E. 1400 led to rapid Inca expansion. The article compares various settlement patterns in the Cuzco region before C.E. 1000, during C.E. 1000-1400, and after C.E. 1400. Using extensive ethnographic material and archeological survey data from Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire and its surrounding regions the article shows how the Inca’s extended its direct administrative control over numerous neighboring groups.
Before C.E. 1000, also known as the Middle Horizon, the central Cuzco region was dominated by the Wari. Most villages where located to the south of the Cuzco Valley near the valley bottoms that provided excellent locations for farming. Pottery findings in the neighboring regions of the Cuzco valley are isolated fragments demonstrating Wari participation limited to only religious or economic influences. During C.E. 1000-1400, also known as the Late Intermediate Period, Wari control declined and competition between various groups lead to political development. Population within the Cuzco Valley increased with the development of new settlements and the increase of existing settlements. Villages in regions to the north and south of the valley also developed.
The Inca Empire used many strategies to incorporate these new territories and ethnic groups into the existing Cuzco Empire. The city of Cuzco itself developed into an urbanized center controlling all the surrounding villages. The vegetative landscape provided for the growth of more settlements that had its agriculture and trade controlled by the central elite individuals who lived in the Central Cuzco Valley. Various groups had different relationships with Cuzco. Some had frequent conflicts and violence like groups located to the north and west of Cuzco. These groups became associated with Cuzco only through marriage exchanges. Others who tried to assert local autonomy were conquered through military actions. To the east of Cuzco, groups had formed more alliances but there were more ethnic and cultural differences. To the South, many small groups had cultural affiliations that led to peaceful incorporation into the Cuzco Empire. The many ethnic and cultural differences formed complex social and political hierarchies. While the Inca Empire developed into one of the largest native empires in North America is was not at the expense of a reduced ethnic diversity, political competition, and administrative redundancy.
The most evidence for this research came from new in depth archeological expeditions and surveys. Earlier archeological studies would either focus in depth on one particular region, especially sites that contain large monumental architecture or collecting surface artifacts over a limited number of sites. The archaeological surveys in this study are more extensive and spread through a wider region then any of the studies done previously. Three cumulative projects done during the years 1984-1999 cover over 1,200 square kilometers and document the location of more than 2,000 archeological sites. They focus on the center of the Inca polity in the Cuzco Valley as well as the lands of several ethnic groups north and south of the capital. The authors also use survey studies, colonial documents, and other historical sources to develop the intensive history of the Cuzco region development.
IRENE TENENBAUM Barnard College (Paige West)
Bauer, Brian S. and Alan, Covey R. Processes of State Formation in the Inca Heartland (Cuzco, Peru). American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104(3): 846-861
The article by Bauer and Covey focuses on the details and reasons for the swift Inca expansion that took place between 1000-1400 C.E. They are trying to prove that this event took place as a result of lengthy processes for the formation of the state and acquisition of the neighboring lands. The article begins with a brief synopsis of the history of Cuzco, Peru. Then the authors go into a discussion about evidences and causes for a state formation. Bauer and Covey inform the reader that the state comes about after the region is expanded through marriage alliances, acquisition of the nearby lands, improved agriculture and is strengthened by controlling the people in the area with “loyal state administrators”. Furthermore, the state needs more natural resources, the utilization of which requires human labor hence an increase in population has to take place. Increase in the population is achieved through attaching or taking over nearby people, encouraged immigration, or alliance with neighbors. Both authors dispute, prior to 1970’s version of Inca’s coming into power, which is that two Inca rulers were able to unite and take over the lands thus creating the mighty Inca Empire very rapidly. Bauer and Covey believed that the actions of just two individuals over such short period of time couldn’t be the reason for the emergence of a state. They argue that with the new archeological data provided as a result of excavations, it is possible to declare that the empire came about in a more lengthy process of acquiring nearby lands by having “alliance building, intimidation, and isolation of rivals”. In addition to that, Inca had developed an improved agriculture and created more resources. As a result of this conquest Inca transformed Cuzco region into a less ethnically diverse place where they nearly had the monopoly in political power.
The article started of with a clear aim and ended with a satisfactory conclusion. Moreover, authors used plenty of examples for each of the point hat they wanted to prove and understandable explanations for the historical processes. The paper is filled with charts and maps that elucidate the claims that are made.
LENA PANOK Barnard College (Paige West)
Bello, Charles A. and Richard Veit. Herbert C. Kraft (1927-2000). American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 640-641.
Herbert Clemens Kraft, acclaimed Northeastern prehistorian and expert on the Lenape, died of pancreatic cancer on October 31, 2000. Over his forty-year career he significantly enhanced our understanding of New Jersey’s prehistory with many contributions to Lenape/Delaware archaeology, ethnography, and history. His interest in archaeology was sparked with his discovery of a flat stone, incised with an effigy face, near the Newark International Airport when he was nine years old.
Herbert earned his B.A. in Business Administration at Seton Hall University in 1950 and his master’s degree in History from Seton Hall in 1962. He went on to earn an M.A. in Anthropology from Hunter College, City University of New York in 1969 where he studied under Dorothy Cross. He did doctoral research at the City University from 1971 to 1973 and received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Kean College in 1981 to honor his contributions to New Jersey archaeology, ethnography, and history. Herbert spent his entire career at Seton Hall University, teaching and conduction excavations in the Upper Delaware Valley.
These excavations provided the Seton Hall University Museum with an amazing material record of Native American societies in the Northeast for the past 10,000 years. In 1964, Herbert became the Archaeological Field Supervisor for the New Jersey State Museum’s excavations at the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. During these digs he promoted large-scale excavations instead of smaller sondages and trenches, along with employing radiocarbon dating, floral, and faunal analyses to get a more rounded understanding of Native Life in the Delaware Valley.
Herbert’s greatest legacy, his publications, include “The Late Woodland Pottery of the Upper Delaware Valley: A Survey and Reevaluation” from 1976 which is one of the cornerstones of pottery analysis in the Delaware Valley. He also published many monographs, including his best known work, The Linape: Archaeology, History, and Ethnography in 1986.
He was a member of many scholarly organizations. He served as president of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological conference, the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, and the Archaeological Society of New Jersey. Herbert was the recipient of numerous awards over his career including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Archaeological Society of New Jersey.
DAVID T. KENNY University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Bernstein, Jay. First Recipients of Anthropological Doctorates in the United States 1891-1930 American Anthropologist 2002: 551
Jay Bernstein’s article seeks to show the origins of the professionalization of anthropology by examining and considering doctoral dissertations in the field of anthropology, as well as the authors who produced them. Bernstein studies the characteristics of hundreds of dissertations and their authors by treating the works as numerical data. The article focuses on universities and programs that offer the field of anthropological study. Bernstein uses content analysis to categorize the dissertations by subdiscipline and regional focus, and includes dissertations written by individuals who wrote dissertations on anthropological topics regardless
of the discipline in which they earned their degree. Bernstein considers age, sex, ethnicity, and postdoctoral occupational status of the authors of all dissertations when conducting her study and writing this article.
According to Bernstein’s research, colleges in the United States prior to 1976 contained a “largely ministerial faculty, a classical and tradition-centered curriculum, and a small class body
highly selected for gentility and social status (552).” Anthropology was regarded as an isolated field of inquiry that received little to no institutional support. Anthropologists were self-taught and practiced as “an avocation of wealthy all-around scholars and hobbyists (552).” Yet after 1976, the field of anthropology became an academic discipline. An entire scope of education rose up surrounding the interest of anthropologists, and extended out into the world as more than an extracurricular interest.
Bernstein acknowledges the notion that anthropology has developed into an extremely common and accessible discipline within our nation’s educational programs today. She points out that one third of all the dissertations she examined were written by individuals pursuing a field other than anthropology. She questioned whom these people were and why they chose to write about anthropology. Her inquiries revealed that the fields of economics, sociology, and government, in addition to several more disciplines of study all include concentrations in anthropology. “To this day, the dividing line between cultural anthropology and sociological anthropology is fine and arbitrary (553).” Bernstein states that the same can be said about works written in archaeology, physical anthropology, and linguistics. In addition, the overlap of anthropology with economics, psychology, geography, and botany is also considerable. Philosophy and history
of region also concentrate on anthropological information and techniques. Bernstein concludes that many college programs link these disciplines because they are closely related and revolve around similar ideas, techniques, and interests when you study each closely.
GRACE COYLE Columbia College (Paige West)
Boggs, James P. Anthropological Knowledge and Native American Cultural Practice in the Liberal Polity. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(3): 599-610.
The author sets out to inform the reader of the paradigm shift from liberal theory to cultural theory and apply it to Native American cultural practices, specifically the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, a controversy over the rights to a religious stone used by a group of Native American Indians in Wyoming and across the Western Hemisphere, as well as the infamous Exxon Valdez case recounting the oil spill in Alaska.
The basic argument of this article is that there has been a paradigm shift from liberal theory to cultural theory. He proceeds to define the two theories according to his subjective view of what they mean and then describes the “incommensurability” of the two. It is not until the final pages of the text that he relates this paradigm shift to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel controversy, in which he was involved, and the Exxon Valdez case. However, he leaves it up to the reader to piece how the cases relate to cultural theory.
The author oversimplifies this paradigm shift throughout the text, attempting to make sure that he is completely understood, instead completely confusing the reader. The issue within the title of this article is not addressed until the end of the text – citing the chronological events of this legal matter. There is an undercurrent of political science based argument throughout the text. It is almost as if he is taking a political science based stance on this issue and attempting to relate it to anthropology – which can be done – but is not successfully done in this article. Overall, this is an interesting article if one can trudge through the redundant jargon of the first half of the text. The information regarding the Bighorn Medicine Wheel controversy is compelling and relatable to his argument – but don’t expect him to do it for you. It is not until the end of the text that the inherent objective of Boggs’s article is evident, “We have neither here reviewed the debate over culture theory within anthropology itself, nor sufficiently developed the claim that culture significantly undergirds the postmodern turn in the social sciences and humanity. These inquiries are being pursued in other work” (Boggs 607).
ILEAH GREEN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Boggs, James P. Anthropological Knowledge and Native American Cultural Practice in the Liberal Polity. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol.104: 599-610.
This article is about a controversy concerning the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, “a ‘prehistoric’ stone alignment” located on Medicine Mountain. This mountain is located in the Bighorn National Forest (BHNF) and BHNF management plans to make Medicine Wheel a tourist attraction. Native Americans are opposed to the commercialization of this sacred place. Increased tourism, an expanded parking lot, the addition of a photo platform and nearby logging would ruin qualities of the site that make it spiritual—a place of vision quests and ceremonies. Under the National Landmark program, the author carried out ethnographic research to settle the dispute and investigate the claims of both parties. This piece is his research data. He finds that the controversy is due to a clash between liberal theory and culture theory.
The author opens his article with a thorough history of liberal theory and culture theory. Culture theory describes a human being as cultural and bound in time and tradition while liberal theory places a human being in nature beyond time, space, history and tradition. He states that there is a present transition from liberal to culture theory thereby creating a disjunction between these theories and public practice since present policies were created in context of the liberal theory.
The Medicine Wheel is then introduced as evidence of this disjuncture. The non-Native Americans claim that Native Americans have not visited Medicine Wheel for religious purposes since the 1980s. These claims do not calculate the fact that government policies were constructed to keep Native Americans from the Medicine Wheel. The federal government discouraged religious practices of Native Americans. To perform a ceremony on Medicine Mountain would have made Native Americans subject to penalty for breaking federal laws. This clash of what is “reality” or historic reality is an example of the clash between culture and liberal theory.
The author clearly favors culture theory and points out that ethnographic and anthropological work is important especially in application to public policies.
This piece describes the history of culture and liberal theory yet its meaning and significance fails to be materialized in the reading. The ethnography concerning the Medicine Wheel was clear and interesting but the abstract thoughts concerning the theories and its primary role in the controversy were still vague.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHRISTINE MESIAS Barnard College (Paige West)
Boggs, James P. Anthropological Knowledge and Native American Cultural Practice in The Liberal Polity. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2):599-608.
Boggs explores “liberal” and culture theory” and how they diverge in modern Western society in “Anthropological Knowledge and Native American Cultural Practice in Liberal Polity.” Boggs defines liberal theory as that which “posits a human being whose nature is rooted in nature, outside the contingencies of history, place, and tradition” (599). Culture theory “posits a human being, . . . , whose nature is cultural—relatively fixed in relation to tradition, but variable and indeterminate across traditions” (599). In other words, culture theory sees the history of a people as significant, and deserving of attention, whereas liberal theory objectifies the subject, isolating him/her from a cultural context. Boggs explores the dynamics of U.S. Indian law and policy to ultimately assert that culture theory supercedes liberal theory in its ability to illustrate “the realities of human social life and the range of observed differences between peoples” (600). Resultantly, Boggs asserts that recently Western culture has placed more emphasis on culture theory.
Boggs elaborates on the relationship between liberal and culture theory by demonstrating how the theories diverge. Liberal theory sets the modern West at the pinnacle of the world, thus making invisible its culture. In contrast, culture theory sets the West as a universally dependent culture. Cultural theory acknowledges that every society has an unavoidable culture. Boggs states that while the superiority of culture theory may be accepted as discourse, it has not necessarily materialized.
Boggs explores the debate of whether or not to make the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, “a large ‘prehistoric’ stone alignment” (603) which serves as a Native American ceremonial sight, a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Big Horn National Forrest wished to make this a more hospitable tourist sight, whole the Native Americans argued that this would disturb their practices. Research was necessary to determine if the Native American claim was substantial. Both liberal and culture theory were implemented. Liberal theory explored the more empirical aspects of the situation, such as how frequently the sight was visited by Native Americans, and discounting cultural and historical claims. This resulted in those who wished to improve the sight as a tourist attraction claiming that it wasn’t employed by the Native Americans until recent times, and thus didn’t merit being maintained in its current state. However, when explored through the lens of culture theory, it was found that the local residents had forced Native Americans away from the territory in the past, making it necessary for them to build similar sights in other places. The resurgence in the frequenting of the Medicine Wheel by Native Americans was directly related to the fact that they were no longer kept off the land. Through this example Boggs demonstrates the vitality of culture theory in understanding an increasingly global world. While he admits that his work falls short of analysis of culture theory within anthropology itself, he demonstrates its importance in a greater social context.
ADRIENNE DAVIS Barnard College (Paige West)
Borofsky, Robert. The Four Subfields: Anthropologists as Mythmakers. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 463-475.
Robert Borofsky’s argument in this article focuses on the lack of collaboration among the four subfields of anthropology. He notes the American Anthropological Association asserts anthropologists in the past had used and today should use a holistic approach in their work. However, according to Borofsky’s analysis, holistic analyses do not occur that often in the American Anthropologist, either in the past or today.
Borofsky bases his analysis on a close reading of the articles of American Anthropologist from 1899 to 1998. His data shows that out of 3,264 articles published in that time, only about 311 of them demonstrate significant collaboration between two or more subfields of anthropology. These numbers mean that only 9.5 percent of the articles bring the subfields together.
His decision to read all of these articles was a result of reading what Robert Murphy said in his article, “A Quarter Century of American Anthropology”. He writes, “A reading of the journal lead to another conclusion that contradicts anthropology’s self- image”(464). He is referring to the concept of holism. Borofsky wanted to know, in fact, if this was accurate. He read through all of the articles twice, just to make sure that his numbers were on target. The second time he got some of his graduate students to help out, and still the outcome was the same.
Borofsky goes on to explain why American Anthropology believes, despite the facts, in holism. He discusses Malinowski’s and Levi-Strauss’s theories of myth. He quotes Bronislaw Malinowski: “Myth as it exists in a savage community, is not merely a story told but a reality lived”(468). He seeks to demonstrate that despite the fact that holism barely existed in the past and barely exists today, it is believed in because it provides modern anthropology with meaning in fragmented, specialized times. “The contradiction anthropology lives will is its tendency toward specialization, all the while aspiring to be an intellectually, holistic discipline” (472).
In closing, Borofsky stresses the importance of addressing problems that reach beyond specialization to the broader concerns of the society. Addressing the problems of the broader world could provide a new integration for the discipline because it involves approaches that reach beyond a single sub-field as well as offers a way to test solutions to see if they actually work or not. Addressing the problems of the larger society offers a way to build a cumulative discipline on a foundation of solutions rather than a foundation of myth.
RAIN DAVIS University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Borofsky, Robert. The Four Subfields: Anthropologists as Mythmakers. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 463-480.
The four major sub-fields of anthropology are biology, linguistics, prehistory, and ethnology. In this article, Borofsky discusses the problem of specializing in a specific area of anthropology, and the limiting effect that specialization has on the scope of ethnographic research. Out of 3,264 articles published in American Anthropologist from 1899 to 1998, Borofsky and his assistants found that only 311 used more than one subfield of anthropology to interpret data.
The golden era myth is the belief that anthropology was at one point strengthened by the collaboration of all four subfields. Borofsky says that the structure of anthropology today inhibits an individual from having extensive knowledge about all subfields. This phenomenon manifests itself in anthropology programs of both graduate and undergraduate institutions (most departments try to encompass, via multiple faculty, all four subfields of anthropology). Borofsky uses the anthropological theories of Malinowski, Tylor, and Levi-Strauss to explain why the golden era myth would be perpetuated. Malinowski explains a myth as something that exists in a savage community. It is a belief that a primeval reality influences modern day culture. A myth in this case is a social charter. Levi-Strauss claims that myths are used to help depolarize the harshness of social contradictions, and allows people to cope with them more easily. Tylor claims that myth allows the inquirer to reason back from irrational tradition to the rational behaviors underlying it.
Borofsky then uses these theories to deconstruct the golden era myth. He emphasizes that subfield collaboration is not the one and only form of anthropological holism, and in fact, framing anthropological holism primarily in terms of subfield collaboration places rigid limitations on the structure of the field. Borofsky notes the internal struggle of the anthropologist, between moving forward (to prove academic progress) and remaining resolute, basking in the security of the successful, reliable methods of the past. Borofsky emphasizes that anthologists should not fear that questioning the subfield will lead to the destruction of the discipline. Instead, they should be trained in a variety of anthropological disciplines to address social problems beyond the university and draw conclusions and possiblitilies from this research in such a way that it makes anthropology accessible to the general public.
DANIELLE CHERRICK Barnard College (Paige West).
Borofsky, Robert. The Four Subfields: Anthropologists as Mythmakers. American Anthropologist. June, 2002. Vol 104 (2): 463-480
Brofsky’s article attempts to deal with the myth of the subfields and the way in which anthropologists actually incorporate them with each other. He points out that although a key idea of anthropology is the conversation between the subfields, he has found that in reality many of anthropological articles do not actually exhibit this kind of dialogue.
Borofsky reminds the reader of the Commission to Review the Organizational Structure of the American Anthropological Association which calls for anthropologists to draw the subfields together. However, after extensive research, Borofsky finds that in only 9.5% of articles in American Anthropologist are the four subfields incorporated. To acquire this data, Borofsky and a graduate student read through all of the articles in American Anthropologist from the years 1899-1998 and analyzed each article to the extent that it incorporated the subfields.
Borofsky then analyses the “myth” of subfield collaboration through Malinowski’s, Tylor’s and Levi-Strauss’ frames of reference. He concludes that anthropology serves as an historical basis and overall category for many specializations and that these specializations are today largely the reason for the lack of explicit dialogue between the subfields.
ABIGAIL ZAUSMER Barnard College (Paige West).
Borofsky, Robert. The Four Subfields: Anthropologists as Mythmakers. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104 (2): 463-480
This article presented the idea that there is not enough collaboration in anthropology between the four subfields of the subject—archaeological, biological, ethnological, and linguistic—and that anthropologists are prolonging the myth that this collaboration does exist. Borofsky and one of his graduate students read American Anthropologist issues from the last one hundred years and came up with a percentage of how many articles among those published had collaboration between different subfields. Borofsky argued that this number was fairly low for anthropology’s “’flagship journal’”– 9.5% — and hence views the notion of subfield collaboration as somewhat of a myth.
He also refers in the article to the analyses of myth by Tylor, Levi-Stauss, and Malinowski. Borofsky uses their work to explore why anthropologists would believe that there was more subfield collaboration than their clearly was — what he views as the myth of subfield collaboration. Borofsky feels the best way to keep anthropology the discipline that it is meant to be — one that is multi-faceted — is to address problems of the broader society with different collaborative tools for different problems.
Borofsky’s article was well-organized and clear. He managed to bring in various supporting evidence without losing the overall focus of the piece.
SARA LUDUEÑA Barnard College (Paige West)
Briggs, Charles L. Linguistic Magic Bullets in the Making of a Modernist Anthropology. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 481-498.
This article is basically about how language has caused problems in how anthropologists think about culture. The concept of culture has been used by anthropologists to distinguish it. It widely discusses Franz Boas and his views on culture and language. The article starts out by saying how Boas pioneered the concept of culture and used it to challenge the evolutionary perceptions of race at the time. “Culture” is what anthropology has based itself on. For Boas, language helped him “demonstrate that human mental processes are fundamentally the same everywhere and that individual languages and cultures shape thought in unique ways; it thus enabled Boas to present a broad outline of human universals and specifics- a model of culture” (p483).
Boas felt that culture has some warping effects: humans lack a universal perspective that would enable them to understand critically the forces that shape their behavior and consider possible alternatives tot heir own cultural norms; people lack awareness of even that part of the arc of human possibilities that constitutes their language and culture; and if people can not grasp the broad range of human possibilities or their own linguistic and cultural systems, they are certainly not capable of grasping the relationship between the two (p486-487).
Briggs discusses how linguistic anthropologists are used to produce “magic bullets” when their colleagues have need of them to establish modernity, but when they are not, they are pushed to the outer edge of the discipline. Briggs states this poses three problems: *modernity is constantly in flux with respect to how it is defined and the degree to which it generates authority. *many anthropologists are less interested in serving as legislators for the reform projects of modernity than in scrutinizing how anthropology has helped construct modernity. *this process seriously thwarts the integration of linguistically informed thinking within the discipline (p491).
He also claims that departments of anthropology in the U.S are seriously lacking in the linguistics department. They claim to be four-field, but really are not. He claims that many of the problems with the concept of culture lave been shaped and legitimized by language, and that marginalizing linguistic anthropology “hobbles efforts to extricate cultural theory from some of its most problematic foundations” (p494).
ANDREA ROWLAND University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington)
Briggs, Charles. Linguistic Magic Bullets in the Making of a Modernist Anthropology. American Anthropologist June 2002, Vol. 104(2):481-498.
This article examines the basic premises and methodology of traditional linguistic anthropology in the U.S. as represented by the work of Franz Boas, exposes the inherent assumptions about language that have informed the discipline and the concept of culture that grew out of it, and suggests an alternative paradigm for future work in the field.
While, for Boas, universal human processes underlie all language and culture, individual languages and cultures shape human thought in an unconscious process that largely forecloses both self-awareness and cross-cultural comparisons by the non-specialist. Traditional linguistic anthropology seeks to transcend these limitations to reach universal human categories of thought by mapping the vast spectrum of human language in an abstract “scientific” manner, relying principally on an examination of written texts.
As the author points out, however, this approach, while explicitly rejecting cultural bias, racism and classism, erroneously assumes that, as an “educated elite,” linguistic anthropologists occupy a privileged epistemological position that renders the languages and cultures of others transparent and objective cross-cultural comparisons possible. Biggs seeks to demonstrate that Boas’ approach not only proceeds on a narrow unilingual and monolithic cultural model, it implicitly drains language of much of its lived richness and variety and treats human society as relatively homogeneous and bounded. The result is a concept of culture that is largely a statistical fiction produced by and for an initiated powerful class of specialists.
By contrast, Biggs contends that linguistic anthropology can reclaim its rightful place and contribute to the study of human language and culture by abandoning a purely formal and analytic linguistic construct and its conceit that other people’s language and culture can be penetrated, but only by properly-trained scholars. According to the author, linguistic anthropology must in the future focus on a more complex and less reductionist concept of language and must recognize and produce a more nuanced and historical understanding of culture that makes room for individuals and the multiple, heterogeneous subcultures they inhabit. Above all, the project must abandon the “magic bullet” approach based on an unequal distribution of consciousness, authority, and power and substitute a critical understanding of the politics of culture in its place.
SUSANNE CHIAPPA Columbia University (Paige West)
Briggs, Charles L. Linguistic Magic Bullets in the Making of a Modernist Anthropology. American Anthropologist 2002 104(2):481-494.
The overall issue addressed in this article is to understand how concepts about language shape concepts of culture in United States anthropology. The author wants to better explain the role of linguistics in anthropology, both in the past and in current anthropology. He starts off by defining culture by quoting people who used language as a part of what culture is. He mentions how naming “culture” adds something to how culture is perceived and explains his purpose of studying language. He then goes on to explain the work and thoughts of Franz Boas. Boas introduced the importance of language into anthropology and ethnographies. He clearly states the order in which Boas constructed language in regards to culture by using six distinct principles. He includes a chart that Boas used in explaining his language concept to others. He looks at science and modern anthropology and language’s place in these times. He explains Boas’s thoughts on how language and linguistics distort the concept of culture by using 3 distinct points. The author also talks about how class stratification plays in to the concepts of culture and language. He ends by stating the fact that linguistics are not accepted in current anthropology because they are not given the value and importance that other fields are.
The author utilizes the work of Fran Boas into all aspects of this article. He begins with an abstract thought that explains what he will discuss and the purpose of this paper. He quotes two anthropologists before he even begins to defend his point. He inserts quotes and ideas from a numerous amount of other works in order to defend his point or the point he is reiterating from Boas. He gives clear definitions and is very descriptive and detailed in each argument made. When he makes a point that has more than one defense, he uses numbers and points to arrange the argument in order to make it more convincing. He has also divided the entire article in to subsections that are each labeled separately. They each have a distinct point that can be better understood because the ideas are well organized. He includes a chart to help prove his point. He presents counter arguments that he opposes in order to defend his point. The author ends with a conclusion that brings together every section of the article in order to remind the reader the purpose and argument that the author had in mind throughout the entire article.
NATALIE YBARRA Columbia University (Paige West)
Briggs, Charles. Linguistic Magic Bullets in the Making of a Modernist Anthropology. American Anthropologist. June 2002 Vol104 (2): 481-494.
This article investigates current debates concerning the role of language/linguistics in anthropology as a whole. The author, Briggs, feels that linguistics anthropology has been high marginalized and believes it is much more central than is perceived (as other anthropologists ask for “magic bullets” of linguistics to and avoid important complexity). As Boas developed much of linguistics and its importance, Briggs seems to focus on Boas’s work throughout the article, as he uses language to conceptualize culture.
He starts by introducing Boas and his major concepts. Language supported Boas’s attempts to demonstrate the fundamental commonality of human mental process throughout every culture, and the unique way in which languages and culture shape thought. Boas also proclaims that languages and cultures do not develop along simple, unlinear evolutionary sequences and that categorization and ethnocentricism by selectivity is deeply embedded into language. Briggs goes on to describe Boas’s take on modernity in American Anthropology. In analyzing the effects of US industrialization, Boas develops three dimensions of the distorting effects of culture using linguistic analogies. The first is that people lack a universal perspective which would enable them objectivity when examining cultures. This objectivity would increase the acceptance of cultural possibilities other than the norm. Second is that people are unaware of their own culture because they internalize linguistic and cultural patterns in childhood. Third is that if people are unable to comprehend the wide range of linguistic or cultural possibilities, they cannot understand the relationship between the two. This unawareness is furthered by the creation of the “uneducated” classes. The separation of classes due to industrialization leads to a division between the “lay” person and the “educated” person. Boas claims it is up to the “educated” groups to teach the masses how to overcome cultural provincialism in order to obtain an international perspective. Therefore, according to Boas, only anthropologists with a “purely analytical” approach are qualified to compare systems and generalize about linguistic and cultural differences.
Briggs moves onto the society’s reaction to Boas’ work and how it reflects cultural and language patterns. Boas’ work was critical of anthropology and people itself; therefore it was not accepted well. The censorship of his work (ironic in that it was anti-censorship) echoes Boas’ major theory that people must remain objective and open minded in order to accept different cultural ideas. Problems arise as Boas tries to insert linguistics into American anthropology. First, modernity is constantly changing and therefore the magical bullets will hit different targets depending on the stage of the flux. Also,that anthropologists are unwilling to reassess their previous views of linguistics and anthropology.
Because of this cultural unwillingness to change old views on anthropology, Briggs argues that linguistics is a missing field of study within anthropology. Recently, people have begun to realize its importance as it questions anthropology, and even Boas himself.
CLARITY RANKING: 1
JENNIFER MAGUIRE Barnard College (Paige West)
Browman, David L. The Peabody Museum, Frederick W. Putnam, and the Rise of U.S. Anthropology, 1866-1903. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(2): 508-519.
This article highlights Frederick Ward Putnam’s professional life, outlining his involvement with the Peabody Museum as well as various other organizations, institutions, individuals and publications. To do this Browman discusses the various ways Putnam supported a diverse group of individuals, concluding with a brief recap of the article’s underlying themes. Specifically, he uses the Peabody museum as the base for an examination of Putnam’s views and techniques. His examination contradicts the notion that Putnam was a “museum man who trained only the “elite,” in this case the white male majority of Harvard students.
The article’s concise overview of the Peabody museum previous to Putnam outlines the continuity between Putnam’s techniques and those of Jeffrey Wyman, Asa Gray, and Louis Agassiz. Browman details Putnam’s addition Harvard staff as its first anthropology professor in 1887, and his consequent impact on students and museum staff. He discusses Putnam’s methods of intensive anthropological training, as well as the identities and accomplishments of his first generation of students. He emphasizes here Putnam’s thoroughness in instructive methods, and consequently his influence on the evolution of anthropology.
Next, Putnam’s career is illuminated through his involvement in various scientific and anthropological organizations and publications. Browman emphasizes Putnam’s role in shaping anthropology due to his interaction with the Archaeological Institute of America, the Anthropological Association of Washington, as well as his involvement with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The article also notes Putnam’s role in the formation of the American Anthropologist Association. It also highlights his influence on publications including American Anthropologist and The American Naturalist. A summary of the various academic programs, expositions and institutes Putnam helped develop ends this overview. The anthropology program at Harvard, the Peabody Museum in Salem, the Field Museum, the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University, the Lowie Museum and the University of California, and the Columbian Exposition in Chicago are mentioned in this section.
The remainder of the article argues against the notion that Putnam’s anthropological sponsorship included only white Anglo-Protestant males. Browman discusses Putnam’s professional relationships with women like Alice Fletcher and Matilda Stevenson. Putnam’s link to various female philanthropists is cited; also his lectures at Radcliffe College, the female section of Harvard. In addition, Browman looks at Putnam’s sponsorship of minority individuals like Antonio Apache and Franz Boas.
Browman concludes with a brief look at the relationship of Boas and Putnam. Putnam’s support for Boas is highlighted. His analysis contrasts Boas’ “self-promoting” personality with Putnam’s modesty, speculating that this is the reason Boas is better remembered (Browman 2002: 515.) Overall, Bowman’s work extensively examines an often misunderstood but nevertheless integral figure in the diverse history of anthropology using a clear and concise manner.
AMBER SHANE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Browman, David L. The Peabody Museum, Frederic W. Putnam, and the Rise of U.S. Anthropology, 1866-1903. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104(2): 508-518.
This article is about the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and the rise of anthropology in the United States by Frederic W. Putnam. “The Peabody Museum played a crucial role in the evolution of U.S. anthropology for sevenscore years, and the individuals at the museum who were involved in the early development of this trajectory have had a major impact on the current organization of our discipline” (Browman 508). A large part of this success was due to Frederic Ward Putnam. Not only did he contribute over 400 publications and establish the anthropology department at Harvard, but he also founded many journals and founded anthropology programs at other universities and museums around the nation.
Putnam was the third curator of the Peabody Museum (following Jeffries Wyman and Asa Gray). His duties included administration, collections management, curation, and fundraising. He later found a passion in teaching and was proposed for professorship in anthropology at Harvard University in 1885. He began the foundation of several scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in anthropology. His course offerings and requirements became one of the most difficult during his time, which later led the Harvard anthropologist department into being the finest in the nation at that time.
Putnam encouraged study in all fields of anthropology, even though “some scholars have suggested that Putnam’s program was strictly focused on archaeology, not a broader anthropology focus” (Browman 511). However, judging by the Ph.D. dissertation topics of his students, Putnam was indeed one who supported the study of all fields of anthropology. If, for some reason, the resources at Harvard’s libraries were not sufficient for the student’s topic of study, Putnam sent that student elsewhere to receive further guidance.
Putnam was especially keen on recruiting a wide variety of students of different backgrounds to study anthropology. One group in which he was very actively involved was the recruitment of women into the discipline. He made sure the anthropology classes at Harvard were taught twice, once for males, and once for females (since classes were segregated by sex during Putnam’s time). He also helped the women to be elected into the Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) and secured them with connections to the Peabody Museum.
Though Putnam may not have been as well known to the public eye as such renowned anthropologists as Franz Boas, Putnam contributed a tremendous amount to the development of anthropology in the United States. One reason for his lack of fame was his humble and modest character. This was quite the opposite of Franz Boas, who strived fearlessly to be known in the world of anthropology. Nevertheless, though Putnam may not have been as prominent as Boas, his contributions unquestionably helped to push what anthropology has become in the present world.
YUMI CHO Barnard College (Paige West)
Browman, David L. The Peabody Museum, Frederic W. Putnam, and the Rise of U.S. Anthropology, 1866-1903. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104 (2):508-519.
This article consists of the amazing accomplishments of Frederic W. Putnam. Also discussed in great detail is how his work through the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard played a crucial role in the development of Anthropology in America. The author gives a biographical review of Putnam’s professional life, from his first position as a professor in 1855, to his death in 1915.
Referred to as “the father of municipal anthropological research institutions in America,” Putnam was appointed curator of the Peabody Museum, and also selected as the first professor of anthropology in 1885. He organized the collections of the museum, brought the scientific method back, and altered the methods of collecting. He became a professor at Harvard and was recognized as creating very rigorous graduate degree programs. In addition to playing a crucial role in developing the Anthropology department at Harvard, Putnam founded museums and departments in Berkeley, New York, and Chicago. In addition all of this, he helped develop and find many different journals and anthropological societies. The author goes into great detail of how Putnam proposed the ideas for the “Society for Archaeological Research,” American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association. Publications that Putnam was associated with include The American Naturalist and American Anthropologist. Also another impressive accomplishment was that of founding the Field museum. Putnam was also responsible for recruiting a very large number of people into the field of anthropology. What was very admirable was the fact that Putnam was also actively recruiting women into the field. He proposed membership for women to the Anthropology of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and also made sure that classes were available to women at Radcliffe.
The author emphasizes the fact that Putnam was very lucky to be able to collaborate with Franz Boas, “The Father of American Anthropology.” The two were very active and close to one another because their ideas were almost always in accordance with each others. Through this article, it is obvious to the reader that Putnam’s numerous accomplishments and vision have left a great impression upon the field of anthropology as we know it today.
CLARITY RATING: 5
NEETA K. MAKHIJA Columbia University (Paige West)
Clark, G. A. Neandertal Archaeology-Implications for Our Origins. American Anthropologist, March, 2002. Vol.104(1):50-64.
Clark discusses how the contrasting approaches to “Neandertal Archaeology” due to the different biases, preconceptions, and assumptions of various Old and New World national and regional archaeologies involved in Paleolithic research about the human past, create implications about concepts of the modern human origin. He focuses on the different ways and paradigms archaeologist compile their data creating two fundamentally different construals of the modern human origin that have been developed from metaphysical past paradigms that have not been criticized thus presenting them as omniscient portraying a sufficient basis or lenses in which scientist perceive patterns. There are, the “replacement” paradigm and the “continuity” paradigm.
The author disagrees with the replacement paradigm, or rather the theory that distinguishes archaic Homo sapiens and Neandertals. It is the idea that modern humans were derived from Africa 200,000 years ago, and that they spread out of Africa by replacing other hominoids (Neandertals) that were a product of earlier and similar radiations, through out competing, displacement, extirpating, and genetically swamping.
Essentially, Clark believes that the “Continuity” paradigm, which postulates a single, prolonged hominoid radiation out of Africa hence corresponding to the Homo erectus grade in human evolution arguing that moderns evolved from archaic predecessors in a gradual, but not necessarily regular state.
He diagrams to tables of major tenets for each paradigm, making it possible to generate test implications for each of them. The focus is on patterns in the archaeological and paleontological records of Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe. For example, first, he deconstructs the previous assertion that there is a shift in stone technologies (blades and flakes) between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic showing that previously conducted surveys of blade flake counts, supporting the replacement paradigm, were not accurate enough to make such an assumption and present as fact. Secondly, he denotes the idea that there is an increase and complexity in the stone tools in the various stages of the Upper Paleolithic due to the scrutiny of a supporting survey of the time-space distribution of the basic techniques for blade production shows that there is no empirical justification for stating such idea.
Clark scrutinizes previous numerous text supporting the replacement theory, thus finding many implications that show that there is more of a gradual transition from a Neandertal to a modern human origin, in the Upper Paleolithic, the Upper-Middle Paleolithic boundary, and the Middle Paleolithic, rather than an abrupt “replacement” transition. This is showed through the patterns in the data supplied in the archaeological and paleontological records of Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe.
Clark believes that the constant biases, and preconceptions of anthropological workers stems from the use and reuse of metaphysical paradigms of the past, that go unscrutinized thus allowing the overlooking of error, and the reproduction of it. The solution is to look at the traditional paradigms as a basis, and analyze them vigorously to promote the advancement of more accurate and precise information.
ADIA REVELL Barnard College (Paige West)
Clark, G. A. Neanderthal Archaeology—Implications for Our Origins. American Anthropologist, March 2002 Vol. 104(1):50-67.
Archaeologists are, according to Clark, “assiduous ‘pattern searchers,’” who often pay little attention to the framework through which they structure these searches, and that conflicting systems of thought can preclude any common basis for discussion. He begins by contrasting the ‘old world’ and ‘new world’ conceptual frameworks involved in Paleolithic research. The Continental archaeological community believes prehistory is, “history projected back into the preliterate past and that process in ‘deep time’” (p. 51), characterized by punctuated equilibrium, a series of discontinuous ‘cultures,’ while the archaeological communities of England and the United States is rooted more in culture studies, and emphasizes culture’s spatial and temporal continuity.
To illustrate his point, Clark selects the example of the replacement versus continuity debate within current physical anthropology. “Replacement” theory argues that modern humans first evolved in Africa, and then diffused throughout the rest of the world, replacing other hominids (i.e. Neandertals). Proponents of “continuity” argue that homo erectus evolved in Africa and radiated throughout the rest of the world and subsequently developed into modern humans.
Clark then provides a highly detailed discussion of archaeological and paleontological records, more specifically through examination of toolmaking and the concept of typological ‘toolmaking traditions.’ Stressing the variety of tools and the individuality of each site, he systematically dismantles the Continental notion of punctuated equilibrium and self-contained, normative cultures, citing the following evidence: most tool types are ubiquitous; the learned and shared behavior necessary for tool production is minimal; the range of processes humans use to chip stone is both limited and rather universal; this similarity contradicts the “culture” notion.
Clark argues further that these ‘cultures’ or ‘traditions’ are geographically so separate that they cannot be linked historically with any certainty. Therefore, to assume that similar tools dictate similar ‘culture’ is to assume (mistakenly) that these tools are “‘the same thing’ whenever and wherever they are found” (p. 63). In addition, there is no site sequence that can consistently illustrate a ‘culture’—they are so dispersed and so varied that we cannot construct these ‘traditions’ reliably.
The discussion ends with Clark’s conclusion that the replacement theory lacks the evidence necessary to support it. Further, he questions the validity of paradigmatic models, claiming that the wide acceptance of the replacement theory without proper investigation “does little to engender much confidence in the explanatory power of paleoanthropological research designs” (p. 64).
CLARITY RATING: 3
CATHERINE ISAACS Columbia College (Paige West)
Clark, G.A. Neanderthal Archaeology-Implications for Our Origins. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1): 175-181.
This article is about the debate over the archaeology and paleoanthropology of the Middle-Upper Paleolithic. Its position is that the archaeological evidence is not there to support the model of rapid replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans that has been proposed. Clark begins by making the point that the source of the debate is not the archaeological record and that the archaeological record will not solve the debate. Clark says that part of the problem is the idea among anthropologists that the “facts speak for themselves.” The source of the debate is proposed to be differences among anthropologists’ paradigms. He describes characteristics for two sets of paradigms in opposition with one another: old world and new world, continuity and replacement. Clark gives a description of the tool technology of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic and criticizes the idea that there is a marked transition evident during this period. It is Clark’s contention that this period reflects an archaeological “nonevent” despite people’s claims to the contrary. He outlines the problems in typifying tools and identifying them in chronology in the Upper Paleolithic associated with Bordesian systematics, a system that uses index tool types to characterize tool assemblages. Clark suggests that the Bordesian system causes archaeologists to miss “complex patterns shifts” in the Upper Paleolithic. Next, Clark challenges the notion that Middle Paleolithic tools are made on flakes whereas Upper Paleolithic tools are made on blades. He points out that any connection of blade technology with a specific hominid taxon, behavior, or morphology is faulty since blade production began “tens of thousands of years before the Upper Paleolithic.” Clark then indicates that variation in the material that tools were made from may have been due to differences in resources over time. He addresses the idea that the archaeological record shows more art in the Upper Paleolithic than in the Middle by saying that this idea is a result of the assumption of a change in cognitive ability and the resulting association of tool assemblages that include ornaments or bones with specific hominids over others. Clark also questions whether the artifacts that are identified as art are art at all. Last, he criticizes the idea that the two populations of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic had different subsistence strategies. This is an important paper to the debate about cultural adaptation and biological evolution in the end of the Paleolithic, however, it is a challenging read for those who have not studied the period extensively.
MWENZA BLELL University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Cole, Sally. “Mrs. Landes Meet Mrs. Benedict”: Culture Pattern and Individual Agency in the 1930s. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 533-543.
Ruth Landes was an anthropologist that was influenced and mentored by Ruth Benedict. She was intrigued by Benedict’s findings and gave Benedict much credit for her success in the field of anthropology. From Benedict, Landes learned that “cultures are integrated around a dominant pattern that brings the appearance of coherence to a social group made up of diverse individuals” (Cole 535). She took Benedict’s theory one step further and focused on power relations and “the necessity of negotiation by individuals” (Cole 535). Landes’ theory distinguished her as a prominent figure that linked culture and personality with power and structural dynamics, two key periods that have encompassed anthropological thought within the last century (Cole 535).
Landes listened to Benedict and decided to study “the guardian spirit belief system among the Canadian Ojibwa” (Cole 536) instead of continuing her study of African American culture in Harlem. Maggie Wilson, an Ojibwa ethnologist, informed Landes about Ojibwa culture. Landes became interested in the ways in which individuals ignored general rules to fulfill their own wants or needs. From Wilson’s stories, she learned that people “construct lives in spite of cultural rules, not how they live within parameters set by those rules” (Cole 537). Together, Wilson and Landes produced one of the first critical ethnographic representations of gender relations and instituted “work and marriage” (Cole 537) as being two key branches in the cross-cultural study of women’s lives.
Landes’ personal life experiences of social marginality, or abnormality, led her to focus on the individuals who were “culturally unprovided for in the dominant pattern” (Cole 540). She learned that individuals were not represented in the dominant or normal pattern because relations of power were deep-rooted in culture. Moreover, she really wanted to make evident the “cultural productions” (Cole 540) of the individuals that were not represented.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CRYSTAL MARSONIA Barnard College (Paige West)
Cole, Sally. “Mrs. Landes Meet Mrs. Benedict”: Culture Pattern and Individual Agency in the 1930s. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 533-543.
This article begins with the introduction of Ruth Benedict and Ruth Landes, two students of Franz Boas. The connection and friendship of the two is described briefly. Cole then goes on to describe the social and political environment of the times, including its influence on anthropology. She mentions that BoasÆs first generation of students was mostly male, but the second generation had equal numbers of males and females, and a higher percentage of minorities, with Benedict taking on more and more of the mentoring duties.
The next section describes Ruth LandesÆs personal background and the background of her parents, emphasizing that she was the child of immigrants and the product of a childhood spent hearing women campaign for equal rights and fair treatment at work. Her life is described in some detail up to and including her introduction to Boas, anthropology, and Benedict, and the resulting development of her personal and academic values. Next Cole writes that she believes Landes moved beyond BenedictÆs theory of culture pattern to focus on the individual, and informs the reader that she will use examples from the fieldwork Landes did under BenedictÆs supervision to support her points.
Following, Cole elaborates on Ruth BenedictÆs theories of culture, detailing BenedictÆs progress from studying culture as a whole, consistent unit to studying how individuals are marginalized, and how ônormalityö is culturally determined. She advocated the awareness of other cultural systems to promote greater tolerance for individual diversity within American culture. This is the framework on which Landes expanded.
Next, Cole describes LandesÆs research among the Canadian Ojibwa, the background of LandesÆs primary informant, Maggie Wilson, and the stories provided by Wilson to Landes. The stories, about the harshness of Ojibwa womenÆs lives, showed Landes that social norms among the Ojibwa also do not provide for all members of the society, resulting in marginalization.
In a new section, LandesÆs studies pinpoint increasing rigidity of male gender roles among both the Ojibwa and the Potawatomi. There is a description of the behavior of the winkta, a gender-crossing individual in Santee Dakota culture. Also notes are the ways in which women transgressed gender convention.
Then, Cole writes of Landes studying patterns of religious behavior, and concluding that culture is dynamic and adapts to changing material conditions, especially due to her studies of the Potawatomi reaction to racism and governmental intrusion. This theory continued development as Landes studied condomblT in Bahia, Brazil.
The final portion of the article touches on criticisms of Landes, but moves on to focus on why her fieldwork, which supports the theories of her mentor Ruth Benedict, is considered valuable. Cole writes that LandesÆs ethnographies are important today because they deal with power structure, and deal with questions which are still being asked on diversity and how individual diversity is unified into culture.
CRYSTAL CALHOUN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
D’Andrade, Roy. Cultural Darwinism and Language. American Anthropologist March 2002. Vol. 104(1): 223-231.
In this article, Roy D’Andrade argues that the process of cultural selection accounts for the distinctive reliance of human beings on the representative functions of speech. He goes on to argue that the use of representative speech created a selective advantage for human beings with large brains capable of storing and recalling information.
According to D’Andrade, culture can be defined as “the social heritage of learnings,” and may be viewed as a selective factor in human evolution to the extent that “our bodies and our psyches have been affected by a past history of living a cultural way of life.” Before embarking on a detailed analysis of the relationship between cultural life and language development in humans, D’Andrade enumerates the five apparently universal functions of language: speech acts may be directive, expressive, commissive, declarative, or representative. Representative speech acts—grammatically complex language patterns that refer to non-immediate or displaced subjects and objects—are specific to humans, and the focus of this article.
In accounting for the development of complex, representative language, D’Andrade argues that at some point during the course of human evolution, it became selectively advantageous for humans to know what was happening outside their immediately observable surroundings. The need for such knowledge, D’Andrade hypothesizes, coincided with the development of a “cultural way of life” insofar as this way of life required a mode of communication complex enough to convey and coordinate the differentiation of age- and sex-roles and daily routines within ancestral human groups. In this sense, it might be said that the unique human capacity for representative language represents a selective adaptation occasioned by culture itself.
Drawing upon recent, moderately successful efforts to teach symbolic language to primates and parrots, D’Andrade suggests that the first use of representative speech acts by human beings was not dependent on their possession of large brains. Rather, because in “cultural life” more knowledgeable individuals enjoy an advantage over less knowledgeable individuals, the growing reliance of the species on representative language created a selective pressure on the individual to store and process information more effectively. Insofar as brain size has been shown to be positively correlated to effective storage and processing, representative language likely acted as a selective factor spurring the proliferation of human beings with larger brains. In turn, according to D’Andrade, their increased intelligence provided human beings with an increased ability to participate in “cultural life,” and in so doing reinforced the very phenomenon upon which the entire process was predicated in the first place.
D’Andrade concludes his analysis by arguing that in addition to increasing its size, cultural selection also shaped the human brain into an apparatus with specific strengths and weaknesses: on the one hand, human beings are not particularly skilled symbol processors; on the other hand, human beings possess an extraordinary ability to recall detailed factual and sensory information, and formulate extensive plans for the future.
It should, in the end, be noted that Roy D’Andrade’s argument is not based on his own direct observations; in fact, he admits as much in the last paragraph of the article. However, to the extent that his is an effort to chart the evolutionary history of the human species while situating the development of representative language within that history, the nature of the research upon which he draws should not be surprising.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SETH CAFFREY Columbia University (Paige West)
D’Andrade, Roy. Cultural Darwinism and Language. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 223-232.
This article is about considering further the role of cultural as a selective factor in human evolution, especially on the topics of the development of the human brain and also the development of language. Author Roy D’Andrade gives a definition of culture in relation to the context it is being used. “Culture refers to the social heritage of learning.” He also claims that culture has two sides to it. The one side consists of physical actions such as talking gestures, pictures, etc., while other side deals with the mental aspect such as meaning and understanding. Communication is based on these two side coexisting. If the physical and mental meanings were not linked together then language would not exist and would fail to pass form one generation to the next.
The development of the brain is the second half of this article. This article provides many different theories and aspects into brain development in humans and non-humans. The most interesting and most fulfilling of these hypothesis’ is the one that was provided by Katerina Semendeferi. Her research found that human frontal lobes, which we believe is the difference between us and primates, has the same proportions as those of other great apes in terms of total brain size. Meaning there is a slight increase in the brain size but not as much as we expected. The whole brain size to language theme is based on cultural selection. Humans were the culture that was selected to have language and therefore resulted in larger brains. Another point that separates us as a culture is our ability to memorize things or in other terms recall. This article was very interesting and made some very interesting points. The only problem was that it wasn’t the easiest article to understand. It didn’t seem to flow smoothly from one idea to the next and was hard to follow.
STEVE ROBERTS University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
D’Andrade, Roy. Cultural Darwinism and Language. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol 104 (1):223-232
In this article, D’Andrade argues that the use of a language has proven to be an evolutionary advantage in human history. Cultural Darwinism is the same theory as physical evolution through natural selection, only it applies to culture. Thus, D’Andrade begins his article with his own definition of culture. He posits that culture is divided into two components: one physical and one mental. The physical component includes actions, gestures, speech and photographs; the mental is the understood meaning behind those actions, gestures speeches and photographs. He concludes with the argument that since this culture is something that is passed down through generations and has evolved, it must go through natural selection. Certain cultural traits, as well as physical, must be advantageous if this is the case. For further clarity, he gives the helpful example of the use of tools. Because humans could make tools, we advanced as a species; so in much the same way, because we had language, we have been more successful than other species.
Next he argues that language became advantageous when hominids began to form communities. These communities became increasingly helpful for survival, and those societies which were able to communicate more effectively were more likely to survive. Later, D’Andrade presents us with the flaw in his own reasoning, however. He points out that we do not know exactly what it is about language that made it so necessary for survival. Also, why do only humans talk if it is so advantageous?
He also talks about other traits that have affected our culture, specifically memory. He argues that humans have the best sense of memory, which is helpful in learning more language. Because of our larger brain size and various evolutionary coincidences, we are the most able of all the animals to learn and retain new information. The ability to store large amounts of knowledge is very good for survival, as it will help you remember details of dangerous or successful situations for future occasions.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JAMARAH HARRIS – Barnard College (Paige West)
Darnall, Regena and Gleach, Frederic. Introduction. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 417-422.
Darnall and Gleach are introducing the special centennial edition of American Anthropologist. They are reviewing the history of anthropology and its transformations over the last century. They note has the discipline contains diverse methodology and theory. Darnell and Gleach explain that despite the diversity among practitioners and their methods, they actually share, “some sense of common identity”. Darnall and Gleach present a summary of each of the eleven articles of the issue relating to their author’s point of view. All of the articles reflect the complex relationships between the perspectives about anthropology throughout the last century.
The first article by Ward Goodenough examines the substantive knowledge acquired in the four subfields of anthropology. His perspective is progressive accumulation of knowledge. Goodenough’s work has included both cultural and linguistic subfields of anthropology. He proposes an ethnoscientific methodology.
The second article is by Laura Nader, who offers an opposing viewpoint to Goodenough. Nader’s perspective reflects a focus on the external factors affecting anthropology and their political ramifications. Nader examines culture in a cross- referential view. Her commentary expounds the politics surrounding the Anthropology of the future.
Susan Trencher’s article follows. She is also concerned with the issue of politics in the future of anthropology. Trencher views the last century’s trends in anthropology as the proliferation of Boasian principles. A divide between science and politics has influenced the methods of anthropology in her opinion.
Robert Bororfsky’s article argues that the four-subfield approach is unnecessary. He suggests the subfield positions exist only for the sake of American anthropological tradition, not out of necessity. Thus, the future of Anthropology exists without subfields. Charles Brigg’s on the other hand focus on linguistics. He suggests linguist analysis holds the key to research in the other subfields.
Gleach’s article assesses the relationship of anthropologists to Native Americans. Gleach believes the future should contain anthropological research in America in order to revitalize and not to institutionalize despite the inevitability of professionalism. Contrarily, David Browman discusses Fredrick Ward Putnam’s contribution to anthropology. He accounts the professionalized work of Putnam. Ira Jacknis’s article also examines professionalism and institutionalization of anthropology at Berkley in relation to Kroeber and Boas. Jacknis suggests the Kroeber was not as influenced by Boas as history suggests.
Sally Cole describes a biographical account of the career of Ruth Landes. Cole notates Landes unsuccessful management of her professional career, because of personality as not just gender. Vernon Williams article observes the career of George Washington Ellis, an African American anthropologist. He was never fully professionalized despite ethnographic study contributions. The final article by Jan Berstein discusses professionalism of early anthropological doctorates. Berstein provides a view that encompasses a variety of “ancestors” upon which the field has developed. He shows the Boasian approach was not the only model.
In conclusion, Darnall and Gleach in the Introduction provide the readers with a sampling of the articles in order to demonstrate the diversifying and similarly unifying past perceptions in anthropology, and how they relate to its future.
DORIE A. ERDMANN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Durrenberger, Paul E. Structure, thought, and action: Stewards in Chicago union locals. American Anthropologist, 2002. Vol.104(1):93-105
This article tells about the relationships between the unions in Chicago. Durrenberger analyses the structure and the organization that goes behind unions. In order to do this, power, history, and culture must be looked at and understood. There are two theories that are derived from class structure and thought: individualistic and structural. Durrenberger turns to Newman for these theories. The individualistic theory is that “people are the masters of their own destinies, those who succeed are morally superior, people who get into trouble deserve it, solutions are up to individuals, individuals are not subordinate to larger forces, hierarchy is based on merit, inequality is natural, people get what they deserve, rewards go to people who are really deserving, and the market defines morality”(94). The structural theory says that individuals are not responsible for their unemployment. They are not in charge of layoffs and factories closing; remote authorities are. The majority of those who believe in the individualistic theory are white, middle-class people; while the structural theory mostly serves more minorities in the lower class.
So, is there any connection or relationship between the members of the union hierarchy? This is what Durrenberger asks and he tests it by triad tests. For example, he would use the triad of “supervisor, coworker, union rep” and ask a worker which one does not belong? Depending on which word is selected determined whether if the worker felt if they belonged to the same class as those in a higher position. The conclusion was that most people showed that they had a union consciousness: they were very much aware of the hierarchy and their station.
CLARITY RATING: 4
CHRISTIE AUW Barnard College (Paige West)
Durrenburger, E. Paul. Structure, Thought, and Action: Stewards in Chicago Union Locals. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104 (1): 93-105.
In this article, E. Paul Durrenburger analyzes the relationship of social structure, thought, and action among Chicago union locals. He argues that it is the realties of life in the everyday workplace that determines a person’s patterns of thought, or culture.
To come to this conclusion, the author collected ethnographic data from triad tests of union workers that were designed to show their degree of “union consciousness”. The tests revealed that there was a correlation between union consciousness and the place of the union in the organization of the workplace. These results therefore provided the initial data which allowed the author to begin forming his hypothesis about relationships between patterns of thought and social structure. He continued his research by conducting interviews with union stewards to gain an idea of what mattered to them most as stewards: organizing new work sites and getting union-friendly politicians elected or resolving work site disputes. From his interviews, he got a consensus that solving daily worksite disputes were more important to these stewards. While recognizing that electing union-friendly politicians and organizing more sites would help them in their jobs, this is not the reality they confront on a daily basis. All their effort goes towards resolving issues at their workplace and therefore organizing more sites or getting certain politicians elected is not high on their lists of priorities.
From all the data he collected, the author contends that this demonstrates that a person’s everyday realities in the workplace affect their patterns of thought, rather than patterns of thought determining everyday realities. Moreover, Durrenburger argues, because the capitalist class has the power to shape the daily lives of workers in their workplaces, they have the power to shape the culture, i.e. patterns of thought these workers carry with them. So, it is not the hegemony of the upper classes over the cultural apparatus or their power to shape a society’s ideas, but the power to determine the environment of the everyday workplace that is of the most importance in forming culture. Durrenburger’s conclusions lead him to the conviction that the decline of the union movement in the U.S. since the 1970’s and 80’s is the result of a well-organized, large, and on occasion violent campaign waged by the opposition of the union movement instead of the apathy of union workers.
BROOKE MILEY University of South Florida (Kevin A.Yelvington).
Durrenberger, E. Paul; Structure, Thought, and Action: Stewards in union Chicago locals, American Anthropologist; Washington, March 2002; pg. 93
Durrenberger does ethnographic work among stewards and Union workers in Chicago and faces the question of what relationships exist between the structure, thought, and action of the union and management. He argues that “everyday realities are more powerful in determining patterns of thought than patterns of thought are in determining everyday realities.”
In the first section, he discusses two methods of thought with regard to class: Meritocratic individualism, which is in essence the idea that you get what you deserve, and structuralism, which for intents and purposes means you get what you get. He proposes that the poor, the working class and minorities will associate more with the latter, while the middle class will be with the former.
In the second section, Durrenberger discusses the structure of the work sites, the relationships between union members and management. In addition, he coins the concept of “union consciousness,” where do union members feel they stand? Do they stand with union officers, management? The union consciousness differed depending on the place of the union.
In the next section, Durrenberger discusses the International. The International was a concept put in motion by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in order to organize unorganized workers and elect labor-friendly politicians. Stewards believed in the theory, but in practice, the workers would rather put their money towards immediate services rather than towards a long term political gain.
In the following section, Durrenberger interviews several stewards and listens to their issues with regard to dealing with management and employees, and their opinion of the International. “Although stewards may be persuaded of the wisdom of organizing and the importance of structural variables, their everyday work lives are shaped more by individual factors, and this shapes their concepts” (Durrenberger).
He concludes that the consciousness of union workers may be shaped by the middle class not by means of hegemony, but because the capitalist class has the power to shape the daily lives of workers in their workplaces. Such is a connection between class practices and thought. Furthermore, he concludes that “[stewards] think in terms of individualistic models of consciousness and action, a powerful cultural model in the United States.” The stewards are therefore forced to think in a narrow-minded fashion.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
Durrenberger, E. Paul. Structure, Though, and Action: Stewards in Chicago Union Locals. American Anthropologist, March 2002 Vol. 104(1): 93-105
In the article, E. Paul Durrenberger examines the relationship between structure, thought, and action with respect to how everyday occurrences influence thought more than the reverse. Specifically, the author looks at stewards of a union local in Chicago. The stewards maintain that establishing friendly political connections and organizing new work sites are of little importance; instead, they focus on organizing other stewards to reach the goals of the International. As a result, daily activity for the stewards is highly structured. Thus, Durrenberger begins his article from this point.
His analysis of the stewards is organized into several parts. First, he studies structure and thought in two respects: class and work sites. In the former Durrenberger cites several anthropologists and sociologists and their views on the middle class versus the working class, as well as, the role of minorities. He concludes that in cognitive anthropology, the focus is less on the relationship between knowledge and action and more on knowledge and language. In the latter aspect of structure and thought, Durrenberger addresses the various roles of union members at the work site. In order to measure union consciousness, he describes and utilizes the triad test. From the test, he concluded that there is a discrepancy between how stewards think about the union and the stewards’ level of activism.
Next, Durrenberger discusses the International and what workers expect from their unions. The International established a program of education in order to support the notion that “if we change minds we change actions” (Durrenberger 96). Through this program, unions learn how to satisfy the workers’ needs and how to politically organize workers. The author presents the stewards point of view, as well. He describes the structural organization of the workers, which the International seeks to change. He concludes that the stewards feel that their primary concern is handling grievances and not establishing political relationships. Finally, Durrenberger discusses in “Everyday Work Lives” a specific group of stewards of Local 4. He presents four charts and several statistics which show a hierarchy of goals, the highest being industry organized and the lowest being friendly management.
Lastly, Durrenberger concludes that reality each person experiences on a daily basis has an immense power over the patterns of thought and not vice-versa. Even though the ultimate goal of the stewards is to organize workers, they must face the reality of keeping diplomatic relations with managers and politicians.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SHIMUL KADAKIA Barnard College (Paige West)
Etler, Dennis A. Jia Lanpo (1908-2001). American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 297-299.
Professor Jia Lanpo, who recently passed away in July of 2001, lived a life of contribution to Chinese archaeology. In fact, he witnessed the very birth of Chinese archaeology in the 1920’s and had the opportunity to work at the famous Peking Man site in Zhoukoudian. He played a major part in the establishment of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology, which was later named the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
Professor Jia was the teacher and mentor of many generations of archaeologists and was also the author of many works describing archaeological discoveries in China. He contributed greatly to China’s intellectual and institutional forging with foreign scientists and this led to his election as a foreign associate of the U.S. Academy of Sciences in 1994, among other accomplishments.
Professor Jia eventually worked his way to the top of the Peking Man research team. He discovered three relatively complete crania of Peking Man and published monographs of their cultural activities, geological age, and living environment. Professor Jia contended that, during the hundred thousand years that the Zhoukoudian site was occupied, northern China went through several climactic changes and that Peking Man had maintained the use of fire.
After the 1950’s, Professor Jia’s work was focused on sites outside of Zhoukoudian and he led many important investigations. In the 1980’s and 1990’s he became one of the main motivators for foreign colleagues to participate in Chinese archaeological research. Up until his death he was an ardent promoter of foreign exchange and archaeological conservation. Professor Jia’s cremated remains will be placed at the site of Zhoukoudian, where he first led his way into archaeological discovery.
KELLI DEESE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Ferguson, Leland. Joffre Lanning Coe (1916-2000). American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 294-296.
This obituary details the career of archaeologist Joffre Lanning Coe. Coe focused his professional efforts on several important sites within his native North Carolina, most notably that of Town Creek. Coe’s meticulous thirty-year excavation and mapping of this site came together in the volume Town Creek Indian Mound: A Native American Legacy (296). Throughout his work, Coe was not afraid to critique his own techniques and chronology, and went back to re-examine seriation and find more distinctly stratified sites to reconstruct some aspects of piedmont chronology (294-295).
Coe also made significant contributions to the understanding of Cherokee prehistory (295). Coe thought that the Cherokee had lived in the Appalachian region longer than was previously suspected, and used a grant from the National Science Foundation for his study, which culminated in several publications (295).
As a professor at the University of North Carolina, Coe had a lasting impact on the studies and professional lives of his students. Lewis Binford, Stanley South, and Leland Ferguson all studied under Coe, and they have given him great credit as a positive and influential mentor (296). Ferguson gives the picture of a personable, dedicated teacher and professional whose style and career have had a major impact both on the discipline of archaeology and on the lives and careers of colleagues and students alike.
AMY DE CEW University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Ford, Richard. J. James Bennett Griffin 1905-1997. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 635-637.
James Bennett Griffin, who died at 92, was a prominent figure in North American Archaeology for nearly seven decades. Jimmy, as they called him, played a key role in transforming American archaeology and making it a more scientific discipline. He led a well traveled life, did research throughout the entire United States and additional work in New Mexico, Europe, and then-Soviet Union. Much of his work was devoted to the origins of the America Indians and how their culture related to the New World. He earned a masters degree from University of Chicago and through a three years fellowship with the University of Michigan in 1933 he earned a Ph.D. in anthropology. With his incredible memory, he became an expert on the ceramic analysis and published many articles on potsherds. In 1940’s he was part of a team that surveyed the bottomlands of the Mississippi Valley, which were followed by two more in 1946 and 1947.
When radio carbon dating was introduced in Chicago, Griffin and H. Richard Crane began complying dates on data they had. They published over 2,000 summaries that revised all the chronologies in the East and showed a much longer timescale for its prehistoric cultures. This work awarded him an election into National Academy of Science in 1968. His research on how past cultures adapted to environment lead to a better understand of how people during the Pleistocene and Archaic period adapted to alterations. He also collaborated with Adon Gordus to determine to source of material found on digs by using activation analysis.
In his distinguished life James Griffin had many well deserved honors and awards. In 1957 he was voted the Viking Medal by the Society for America Archaeology and in 1972 University of Michigan awarded him its Henry Russell Lecturer. He was a pioneer in American Archaeology and provided some of the earliest dates for eastern prehistoric cultures that continued to aid Archaeologist in their deconstruction of the past.
TAYANA ALVES VIEIRA University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Gleach, Frederic W. Anthropological Professionalization and the Virginia Indians at the Turn of the Century. American Anthropologist, June 2002 Volume 104(2): 499-507.
In this article, Frederic W. Gleach critiques the practices of many anthropologists through a parallel discussion on the development of the Virginia Indians’ portrayal. Gleach coins the term “professionalization” to mean the way in which the representations of Indians have digressed in objectivity. He weaves a discussion on the science of anthropology and it’s obsession with the exotic ‘other’ with the Virginia Indian’ need to redefine themselves in terms of those perceiving them.
Gleach heavily emphasizes the loss of the Indians’ identity. In the past, Indians have been categorized by their biological features and cultural behavior; those with mixed blood could still be “Indian”. However, under modern identity politics, these groups have fissured into many sub-categories, among which are “Indians” and “descendants of Indians”. According to Gleach, this has the effect of granting racial attribution but denying them the culture. One of the consequences is the move towards cultural preservation and the search for “nativeness”, what is supposed to be the real. The community of displaced Indians became less of an attraction to those hoping to escape mainstream society as they had lost their “authenticity”. Gleach explains this authenticity as really the desire for the “other”. The issue of the “other” is explored by Gleach’s discussion on how anthropologists define themselves and their peers by their work with exotic peoples. Gleach describes a “hierarchy of exotic difference at play in professional rivalries and jockeying for relative position” (503). He further argues that many anthropologists assume that everything is already known about the familiar, and that the local people are just not very “other”.
The closely woven article on the Virginia Indians and the professional discipline of anthropology frames Gleach’s critique on modern practices. Professionalization, Gleach argues, “Has effectively defined boundaries for anthropology and institutions to maintain and teach those boundaries” (505). He concludes by saying that it is up to the individual to remain open and “be wary of arbitrarily dismissive attitudes” towards modes of understanding (505).
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KORWIN CHIU Columbia College (Paige West)
Gleach, Frederic W. Anthropological Professionalism and the Virginia Indians at the Turn of the Century. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 499-507.
In this article, Frederic W. Gleach attempts to relate two stories that were both bracketed by the turning of the 20th century. The first story concerns the disciple of the field of anthropology, and the second concerns the Indians of Virginia. He states the “erasure” of the Indians is due to a number of factors. These include social and economic marginalization, warfare, removal, and the “racialization of difference in the 19th and 20th centuries”. Before these categories were established, mixed-bloods were accepted as Indians by Indians. After racialization, they were further categorized as “white Indians” or “black Indians”. People also believed there were no true Indians left, only mixed-bloods and descendents of Indians who lacked the original language and culture.
According to Gleach, the romantic idea of the disappearing Indian at the turn of the century is part of the reason for their erasure and the loss of their identity and culture. The Powhatan tribe of Virginia exemplifies this idea. They were treated as extinct, and only as the descendents of the Algonquian-speaking groups. Everyone, including anthropologists, grossly underestimated the number of Indians and the amount of their culture left.
Anthropology at the beginning of the 20th century was based on two institutionalized traditions: The Smithsonian-based Bureau of American Ethnography (B.A.E.) and the developing university-based model, mostly from Franz Boas’ school of thought. Gleason said both of these emphasized the preservation of tribes based on the romantic nostalgia of the disappearing Indians. These views also lead them to treat the tribes as historic; too far culturally and biologically gone to do ethnographic research. Indians were studied mostly by historians and archeologists, and treated as a culture of the past.
Although Gleason feels the “professional discipline of anthropology is failing the people we study, and the larger society that could be interested in what we learn”, he also feels that the “practice of anthropology offers potential for relevance”. In his conclusion, he states that the professionalism of anthropology has reduced and abandoned certain kinds of research (local), and therefore lost more than it gained in the process. However, he also feels that anthropologists play an important service by working in place that would not otherwise be included in our understanding of humanity. He states we should value the contribution of those who do local work as much as we value the work of those who study “others”.
SARAH BRACK University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Gleach, Frederic W. Anthropological Professionalization and the Virginia Indians at the Turn of the Century. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2):499-506.
In this article, Gleach discusses the professionalization of anthropology in the last century and how it has affected the study of local groups, especially the Virginia Indians. Gleach argues that the development and professionalization of anthropology has left groups alienated and unrepresented as anthropologists seek ever more exotic locals in which to do their fieldwork. Professionalization, along with all the positive benefits it has brought, distinguishes between what is and what is not relevant to the discipline of anthropology. This division has cut off certain groups and people from being researched and alienated them in a way that may have proven detrimental to their existence.
Gleach focuses on a few groups of Virginia Indians, including the Chickahominies, Pamunkies and the Mattaponies. Beginning with English settlement in 1607, these Indians were slowly marginalized in culture and tradition. Through the practice of cross-cultural marriage, the Indian tradition was diluted with a loss of language, culture and genetic purity. It was this dilution that affected their value to anthropologists, which resulted in their under representation within anthropological work. Gleach argues that the professionalization of anthropology defined what was worthy of study and what was not. The Virginia Indians, too close to western civilization, were not exotic enough to warrant extensive research. Though Gleach’s essay focuses only on this group of Indians, he argues that all Eastern Indians suffer from this lack of exoticism.
The desire to explore and research in exotic, and inhospitable areas leaves groups, such as the Virginia Indians, unrepresented and vulnerable to social amnesia. It is the growing professionalization of anthropology, Gleach says, that leads anthropologists to ignore local areas in favor of more exotic fields for research. He concludes that research done in local and non-local fields both have value, in that they can be compared and contrasted. Because of this, those who choose to study local groups should be given similar levels of recognition as their counterparts researching in exotic areas.
NICHOLAS MAISANO Columbia University (Paige West)
Goodenough, Ward H. Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 423-440.
In this article Goodenough examines the growth of knowledge in four fields of anthropology. Anthropology covers all aspects of human existence and human history from its beginnings. It explores where and how mankind fits into the natural order. Goodenough believes that in order for substantial advances to occur in anthropology, there must be interaction and cooperation with other scientific and humanistic disciplines. By drawing in four sub-disciplines of anthropology (physical, archaeological and prehistory, linguistics, and cultural), he illustrates how the use of evidence from each help in reconstructing the story of human origin.
In the physical field of anthropology, Goodenough sees growth through the startling discovery of human remains in fossils. Bits and pieces of different bones (for example, jaw, skull and teeth) have been found in various parts of the world. Analysis of these specimens can lead to knowledge of human evolution; the development of upright posture, proportioning of body parts, brain size, etc. Also, modern DNA technology and increase in understanding of primate behavior, brings us closer and closer to mapping and linking present-day humans with its ancestral past. Archaeology and prehistory contributes by developing methods to date discoveries. It makes it possible to determine whether sites of different regions are contemporary or whether one is older than the other. Goodenough presents, with ample detail, how analysis of the types of goods traded and crafts made, the tools used, modes of locomotion, food gathering and food producing, all played a role in dating appearance and disappearance of particular groups in history.
In linguistics, anthropologists try to determine the ways in which different languages are related to one another. They come up with methods to reconstruct vocabulary and grammar of parent languages in order to understand the languages that descended from it. Anthropologists recognize phonetic and speech patterns in order to decipher and understand the language code that speakers use to express their thoughts. This linguistic component is of great importance to the study of culture. In the study of culture, anthropologists seek to “understand the knowledge, belief, art, morality, law, custom, and any other acquired capabilities by members of a society” (430). It is here that ethnographic fieldwork becomes a necessity in the field. Ethnographers participate in local activities, learning the language, and taking part in the environment of the peoples whom they study. By doing so, they can obtain a sense of how cultures are structured and how communities are organized.
In learning the history and culture of humans, an anthropologist must analyze information they obtain from records against their own knowledge of the subject. In doing so, they need to have a well-designed experiment as well as a way to organize collected data. Recording data in the anthropological field is a very important process; various ways to present data may lead to major advances in one’s studies. Goodenough notes how improvements in recording and analyzing events have lead to great advancement in the four fields of anthropology in the 20th century. He strongly believes that 21st century anthropology will undergo even greater improvements with the ongoing development of newer and better technology, and the growing knowledge and experience of anthropologists.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KAREN CHAN Barnard College (Paige West)
Goodenough, Ward H. Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 423-439.
Ward H. Goodenough’s article focuses on changes within the discipline of Anthropology from its inception until the present. He begins with a brief history of archaeology and linguistics and remarks that, originally, the major debate between anthropologists was whether human social groups progressed in a unilinear fashion based on laws of evolution or whether changes were the result of diffusion and trade. In either case, he notes that a progressivist model was used to define culture as something a group had more or less of, thus, ranking them on a scale of EuroAmerican values. However, it is the author’s premise that ecology and history, rather than biology, are the source of cultural differences.
He further states that substantial technological advances in archaeology, such as molecular genetics, have reshaped this branch of the discipline to better reflect the scientific knowledge of prehistory. Since anthropology is dedicated to the study of human and primate origins, Goodenough notes that technological advances in the field have refined methodologies used to uncover our common past.
It is Goodenough’s position that research utilizing the combined technical advances from the four subfields of anthropology is best suited to compiling a comprehensive record of humankind. Further, citing reevaluations of previous physical anthropological studies, he proposes that new research exploring the connections between genetic evidence with the fossil record will provide fresh insights in the 21st century.
The author goes on to explore the history of linguistics and its relationship to the structuralist school of cultural anthropology. He comments on the upheaval caused by Noam Chomsky’s development of ‘transformational-generative grammar’ and cites its subsequent effect on the fields of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. Goodenough sees a close parallel between the study of language and culture, and ties this into a short discussion of the various schools of thought within the discipline.
This article is designed to promote the idea of a cumulative bank of knowledge within anthropology. Although ideas wax and wane, only to resurface in another era, Goodenough shows that combined, they present a cohesive picture of the ongoing effort of anthropologists to redefine what it means to be human.
MARGO SMITH University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Goodenough, Ward H., Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond. American Anthropologist July 2002. Vol 104 (2): 423 – 440
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the study of anthropology has greatly changed and expanded its studies in all four of its subdivisions. Physical anthropology began to move away from the ethnocentric assumptions of the superiority of the Caucasian race and of western European cultures. Archaeologists began to interpret extinct cultures from the identified artifacts, rather than just identifying the artifacts. Linguists started to classify present day languages instead to devoting time only to historical linguistics. And finally cultural anthropologists moved away from the scheme of unilinear developmental scale of civilization and evolution.
The focus of anthropology is to explore where and how humankind fits into the natural order, to see how humans evolved as biological species, and how language and culture played a role in their evolution. In order to explore these topics, anthropologists have to use “carefully designed observation, targeted data collection, and, where possible, controlled experiment: the methodological strategies of scientific inquiry. In the 21st century they will also have to learn how to take advantage of new technology, which will help them collect, organize, and analyze data.
Physical anthropology explores the fossil records of the evolutionary ancestors of humans, such as Homo habilis. Most of these fossil remains were discovered in Africa and are dated to be as old as 4.4 million years. These skeletal remains demonstrate to already have the upright posture and skeletal modifications associated with modern humans. Other evolutionary classifications, such as H. erectus also demonstrate the use of stone tools, which are found to be different in Africa and Asia. Dating methods have been developed, such as the potassium-argon, and the electron spin resonance. These allowed the anthropologists to draw a clearer picture of their results. DNA testing also allowed them to compare populations based on genotype instead of phenotype, eliminating racial classification.
“At the beginning of the 20th century prehistoric archaeology was oriented toward classifying toward classifying site remains into a developmental scheme based on the idea that “evolution” meant human progress from primitive (savage) through and intermediate (barbarian) to a civilized stage.” Radioactive dating was beginning to be used to analyze artifacts that provided evidence of shift from a food gathering to food-producing economy in the early human cultures. Evidence for early trade, and domestication of plants and animals was also produced.
During the 19th and 20th centuries the division of linguistics developed a new comparative method of establishing phylogenetical relationships between languages, which became to be known as historical linguistics. In the beginning of the 20th century, anthropologist Franz Boaz began to record texts of Native American Languages in phonetic notation. Linguists began to attempt to describe the phonology and grammar of the unwritten languages through the method of structuralism. In the coming century linguists will have to go beyond the pure surface of the languages they study, and analyze languages’ relation to the meaning and thought of the people they represent.
Cultural anthropology analyzed the different paths that human societies took to progress from the “primitive” to increasingly “civilized” ways of life. The unilinear social evolution theory versus the theory of diffusion was the major debate in the understanding of cultural progress. The advances of ethnographic studies, including extended field studies, participant observation of local activities, and knowledge of local language, allowed cultural anthropologists to study and compare cultures more thoroughly. New fields like cross-cultural studies, emerging of female anthropologists, and the use of new biological evidence, all made anthropology a very exciting line of work for the upcoming century.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
YANA ZORINA Barnard College (Paige West)
Gordillo, Gaston. Locations of Hegemony: The Making of Places in Toba’s Struggle for La Comuna, 1989-1999. American Anthropologist March, 2002. Vol. 104(1): 262-277.
In this article Gaston Gordillo examines the interplay between hegemony and the production of places. Gordillo argues that hegemonic relationships and power struggles actually alter not only political spheres but also actual physical spaces. Gordillo uses the experience of the Toba, an indigenous group in Argentina to demonstrate the affects of hegemonic relations on the constant reconfiguration of space. She uses examples of the Toba’s historical development to present her argument.
The focus of this article is on the Toba and their struggle to obtain control over the la communa, the municipality of their region. A result of the tension is the constantly changing use and control over the local “bush,” an area that is used by the Toba for hunting and fishing. Conflict and negotiations deal with the allocations of coveted state jobs, resources, and electoral power between the indigenous group, the Toba, and outside groups. Paradoxically, Gordillo argues, the Toba, in their struggle for control over la communa demonstrate that the bush is a place that has been undermined by hegemonic forces but also an autonomous space.
Gordillo begins the article by developing the argument that anthropological research of hegemony does not necessarily just focus on political or ideological hegemony. Gordillo states that “in anthropology, there is by now a large body of literature on how hegemonic fields inform everyday practices, meanings, and forms of consciousness.” In this way, the struggle for hegemony of la communa is proven to have more implications than ideological power. Hegemonic power also impacts everyday lives in a physical sense with the allocation of jobs, resources, and land. Gordillo proves this point by demonstrating how to the Toba the trabojo or state allocated jobs are the most sought after. These jobs ensure a steady salary and also obtain respect for the worker.
Furthermore Gordillo continues her definition of hegemony by also arguing that hegemony is not a permanent state, but that hegemons must constantly battle to stay in power and must continually impress their ideologies upon the people in order to maintain the status quo. Gordillo quotes Raymond William as stating that hegemony “’has continually to be renewed, recreated, defended, and modified. It is also continually resisted, limited, altered, challenged, by pressure not at all its own.’” The idea that hegemony is constantly challenged, also helps explains how the struggle for hegemony over the la communa is a constant battle, that continually produces different results; which is clearly demonstrated in the Toba as there are constant shifts in political power that occur even a few day before elections due to unstable and strategic alliances.
The next point in Gordillo’s argument is the idea of spatialization of hegemony, although most anthropologists previous to this article have not specifically stated the physical affects of hegemony, the spatial metaphors that they have given when arguing the ideological affect of hegemony demonstrate the impact hegemony has on space and land. She demonstrates this point with an example from Toba history, as missionaries in the 1930’s established themselves in Toba; most of their indigenous cultural practices were censured. Eventually, as the missionaries’ presence became more forceful, such practices were relegated to the bush, as the bush became a place where the Toba practiced censured activities such as dancing, singing with gourds, or drinking fermented beverages.
Gordillo’s article on the Toba successfully argues the affects of hegemony on
JEEHO LEE Barnard College (Paige West)
Gordillo, Gaston. Locations of Hegemony: The Making of Places in the Toba’s Struggle for La Comuna, 1989-99. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 262-277.
The overall discussion in this article is focused on the creations and implications of hegemony in particular places. Gordillo argues and provides examples of hegemonic ideas are important in the creation of a sense of place. The case of La Toba proves to be an example in the creation of La Comuna because of the hegemonic ideas that work is important created by missionaries and the state.
Gordillo argues that a creation and description of “types of places” are what people see worth fighting for. La Comuna would not be worth the struggle that it has caused if La Toba did not feel the importance associated with work, or trabajo. In the past, La Toba were foragers who lived in harmony with “the bush” and did not need outside assistance. However, the hegemony was created and spread by the need of the Argentinean military for protection. It later continued to spread as La Toba relied on British Anglican missionaries for education, healthcare, and other forms of assistance. These people exposed La Toba to the idea that their ways were “savage” and stressed the importance of working for the government and helping the state that was giving them aid. Through this hegemony and clash of ideals, La Toba was given an ethnicity that did not exist before they were confronted by these powerful forces.
The hegemony that created La Comuna can also be illustrated in the uprisings that characterized the history of Pazo de Maza. An angry uprising occurred in 1995 when the new mayor tried to lay-off people from positions, where the workers were often paid extremely low wages, which they now felt to be very important and even prestigious in some cases. They had come to see their work as a reward of some sort.
La Toba seemed to forget about “the bush” in their creation of La Comuna, except when trabajo was declining. The conflict between politics and their traditional way of life is illustrated here, and throughout the article.
KELLY GILLIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Gordillo, Gaston. Locations of hegemony: The making of places in the Toba’s struggle for la comuna, 1989-99. American Anthropologist March 2002 Vol. 104: 262-277.
Gordillo sets out to examine the role of hegemony in the production of place. Acknowledging that hegemony is ever-changing, Gordillo studies the relationship of hegemony and place with an indigenous group of the Argentinean Chaco,
the Toba of the Pilcomayo River. He describes the Toba’s political struggle over the area known as la comuna, the region’s municipality. He uses as evidence personal anecdotes with individuals as well as the history of the area.
Gordillo finds that hegemony informs and even defines space. Spaces become politically charged, and these politics are deeply influenced by hegemony. This holds true for la comuna, and the result is a very contradictory, and thus tense, space. The area means two different things simultaneously. The space is given the meaning of being a place of autonomy from government, a place that is “Toba,” and of the poor and marginalized. It is considered to be beyond the power of the government and outside influence, when in fact, Gordillo argues, it is a product of hegemony and outside dominance.
The study hegemony and space, and the resultant spatial tension, reveals how hegemony permeates the daily lives of people. Gordillo’s study clearly shows that locales intended to be meaningful are always affected by hegemony. This, in turn, affects the political discourse of the Toba people. Gordillo’s core argument is that hegemony permeates and informs most everything, and space, while considered something autonomous, is also in reality a vehicle for hegemony.
KATHLEEN CARR Columbia University (Paige West).
Handwerker, W. Penn. The Construct Validity of Cultures: Cultural Diversity, Culture Theory, and a Method for Ethnography. American Anthropologist March 2002 Vol. 104: 106-122
This is very lengthy, scholarly article, which I found very inaccessible at some parts. It relies on methods of ethnography that I am completely unfamiliar with, most notably those involving very scientific statistics.
That being said, the focus of the article is an interesting one. Handwerker explores the notion of the individual as it relates to culture, ultimately validating another anthropologist’s claim that “culture is not bounded in ways many people have long assumed” (p. 106). He explores the significance of individual psychological make-up rather than “culture” in decision-making, for instance variables such as cognition, emotion, and behavior. He rejects the work of earlier anthropologists who relied on assumptions in fashioning ideas of other “cultures,” and who did not account for individual anomalies, thus creating “false models of reality” (p. 107). That being said, he does not reject the idea of “culture” altogether, but would like to explore where the actual boundaries arise. He also notes, very importantly, that cultures are not only ethnic, but also relate to variables like age, gender, and class, thus concluding that no one participates in a single culture.
From here, Handwerker uses a case study on different models of parent-teacher relationships in Connecticut, at first trying to gauge differences between Connecticut Yankees and Puerto Rican migrants to Connecticut. While I did not understand Handwerker’s methods for collecting and analyzing data very well, from what I gather, the two “cultural” groups he went into the study trying to study do not exist in this case. The two cultural groups which do are called “Separate but Equal” and “Mutual Decision-Makers.” These groups are simply preferences which occur in individuals seemingly by chance. Thus, “culture,” especially ethnic culture, is not as clear-cut as some would like to call it.
As stated previously, I was completely unable to understand or interpret Handwerker’s complicated charts, graphs, and scatter-plots. I also do not understand how the arbitrary nature of one small variable in people’s lives, parent-teacher relationships, can give significant evidence that “culture” does not exist as we know it.
CLARITY LEVEL: 2
KATHRINE RUSSELL Columbia University (Paige West)
Handwerker, W. Penn. The Construct Validity of Cultures: Cultural Diversity, Culture Theory, and a Method for Ethnography. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 106-122.
Handwerker’s article begins with stating that Tylor’s definition of culture has overlooked two issues relating to culture. The first issues that has been neglected is “culture that specific people use to live their lives constitutes an evolving configuration of cognition, emotion and behavior unique to themselves.” The second issue that Handwerker states is cultures “consist of evolving configurations of cognition, emotion and behaviors at the intersection of individually unique cultural sets.” The problem occurs within ethnographies when trying to describe the intersection of culture and its variations. After identifying this problem Handwerker describes different people and how one person cannot be from just one culture. A person can belong to many cultures depending on their gender, career, family and ethnic backgrounds.
Handwerker’s research on cultural diversity in the United States shows that culture can affect the way a child performs in the classroom. The study took place in a Connecticut public school system focusing on the parent-teacher relationship among Puerto Rican and Connecticut Yankee families. The parents were placed in one of two categories actively engaged or not so engaged. The results from Handwerker’s study are that the variables he thought would contribute to cultural diversity did not. He sees that culture is not bounded the way people once thought. The different types of cultures studied did not show a different approach to the child’s performance in school. What mattered was how involved the parent was in the parent-teacher relationship.
Handwerker concludes with the idea that the definition of culture should be changed to include the relationship between ideas and behavior, not just focus on a single element.
HILARY POLSON University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Handwerker, W. Penn. The Construct validity of Cultures: Cultural Diversity, Culture Theory, and a Method for Ethnography. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104(1):106-122
In the opening section of this article, Handwerker outlines his entire argument on identifying and describing different cultures, and explains the different methods he goes on to use in order to identify “culture.”
Starting with basic threads, Handwerker labels “cultural differences” along lines of class, gender, and ethnicity. Within each of these categories lies the ability to relate and define itself with the others. These “bonds” move on to cause the reality of a social group.
The reality of a social group entails cognitive, emotional, and behavioral mixtures that in turn create “culture.” Different mixtures of social reality bring about different cultures. He goes on to state that a group or individual does not “acquire” their culture but rather, by simply living do individuals learn their social realities. This can be studied through the process of ethnography. These studies lead to recognizes cultures as “super- organic environments,” which are the patterned cultural differences.
Handwerker’s aim is to prove that it is the individual whom is the foundation of everything–that they have the ability to learn and project cultural data. The personal experiences of the individuals are the base line cause for cultural differences. Each individual has their own specific culture, so when brought together they create a “whole.” We continually grow and interact with other people and the surrounding world, causing an “unceasing” process that creates the patterns of behavior—termed social reality. His point is that the always dynamic culture of individuals leads to a process that the cultures that are created from the “whole” are always evolving.
Handwerker gets to the core of his argument of validity in cultures-with the idea that when culture based around the individual is matched to the sensory world around it, a larger image is created. This image represents the world. This match exposes the truth of validity to the idea of “culture.” It creates a relationship between the inner metal ideas of the world and the observation of the surrounding, outer world.
Handwerker’s argument of validity is then supported numerically, by the use of factor analysis—using variables, graphing data, and finding intersections. He shows example’s of graph plot-maps in order to find key patterns in culture. He supports this theory with an example of parent-teacher working relationships. His process is structured to find what the components of the relationship are, and he considers their importance. Then he plots the data he finds using a “mutual decision maker map”—that organizes the culture’s relationships qualitatively differently.
In his closing, Handwerker realizes that the theory of culture dominates ethnographic work and the studies of mental capabilities belonging to the individual. He believes that it is the individual that is mirrored to the greater outer world, and in fact controls culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 2.5
LAUREN BELIVE Barnard College (Paige West)
Handwerker, W. Penn. The Construct Validity of Cultures: Cultural Diversity, Culture Theory, and a Method for Ethnography. American Anthropologist, March 2002. Vol.104:106-121.
This article recognizes and attempts to resolve the idea that individuals are unique beings who make their own decisions and lead their personal lives, along with the notion of this same individual being constrained by the dynamics of a group and of society. We use our own observations and assumptions to identify distinct cultures, which leads Handwerker to question the validity of our own methods of ethnography, of studying and defining culture. He proposes to merge ethnography and ethnology; we must systematically observe and test the cultural variation among individuals in order to better understand the meanings and effects of “culture”.
Handwerker explains that an individual can not possess or be a part of a single culture; there are numerous factors that distinguish all individuals and that unite them as well. Gender, age, environment, different life experiences, cognition, emotions, and behaviors are all factors that distinguish some individuals while uniting others. Along with time and continual interaction with others come new ways of thinking, acting, and understanding our lives and the world at large. The culture of individuals therefore evolves, producing changes in the cultures of communities and groups as well.
Handwerker uses factor analysis to explain patterns seen among variables, and to identify the factors that explain the shared intersection among the variables. In order to study and understand culture in this fashion, one must identify the variables that people share, such as their configuration of cognition, emotion, or behavior, that unite them as members of a similar culture. As an example, he studies the cultures of parent-teacher working relationships; if one identifies the components of this culture, then one can identify similarities or differences among other informants. Informants who respond and act in ways that correlate highly among themselves but not as highly with other informants, will be part of a different culture. Interviews were conducted, tests were taken, and graphs were constructed in order to clarify and compare the information, and find correlation and variation.
The distinct paths of each individual are composed of their unique choices, experiences, actions, and their personal cultures. We all exert influences on others, and are, in turn, influenced by others as well. We respond to the behavior of others in ways that reflect our own culture- based on our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral composition. This creates a response from others, thus allowing each individual to possess distinct, individual aspects while still being part of a group and its culture. We must recognize the interdependence of how people think, feel, and act. Therefore, culture must be defined in terms of explaining the relationship between ideas and behavior using theories, models, or schemas.
RACHEL KAHN Barnard College (Paige West)
Hefner, Robert W. Global Violence and Indonesian Muslim Politics. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 754 – 765
This article addresses the varied reactions of Muslims in Indonesia to the violence of September 11 and its aftermath. It examines the competing visions of Islam and nation among Indonesian rival Muslim factions. The author argues that the Indonesian threats of violence provoked by the US led campaign in Afghanistan were more influenced by domestic political tensions among Muslim rivals than by international terrorism. Hefner traces the history of Indonesian politics beginning with the nation’s transition from authoritarian to conservative nationalism under Soeharto. He shows how Islam became tied in state politics, and traces the development of different Muslim factions in the nation. He brings to light the shift in power from pluralist, democratic Islam to conservative, anti-Christian, anti-Western Islam. He then points out the reasons for violence and anti-American sentiment in Indonesia as lying with the political aims of the ultraconservative government to wipe out the opposition. He brings up examples of propagandizing efforts exercised during the Soeharto regime, that were clearly aimed at driving out the so-called enemies of Islam. He traces the expulsion of the democratic, tolerant government of Wahid, and the rise of Jihad militarism in Indonesia. However, he asserts that neofundamentalist, conservative views were not dominant among the Muslim majority as a whole, and that pro-democratic sentiment remained in the nation. Finally, Hefner argues that while the violence of September 11 and the aftermath of the campaign in Afghanistan have prompted new warnings of a “clash of civilizations” between Muslims and the West, the real struggle is actually taking place within Muslim societies, where ultraconservatives compete against moderates and democrats for the vision of Islam and nation.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
VALENTINA FLEER Barnard College (Paige West)
Hefner, Robert W. Global Violence and Indonesian Muslim Politics. American Anthropologists September, 2002. Vol. 104 (3): 754-765.
In this article Hefner explores the varied reactions of Muslims to the violence of September 11th and its aftermath in light of the rivalry that arose between Muslim groupings. Hefner’s main concern in this article is how a community that lead a Muslim-dominated democracy movement of the 20th century, just three years later, rallied behind a political agenda set up by openly antidemocratic Muslims? In order to answer this question, Hefner examines the background and impact of Muslims Indonesian reactions to the September 11th attacks and the subsequent U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan. Hefner argues that the turbulent response to the September 11th attacks and the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan was increased by three other crises simultaneously affecting Indonesia. These crises included: the attempted transition from the authoritarianism of the Soeharto dictatorship, the struggle to redefine the terms of Indonesian nationhood after the discrediting of Soeharto’s conservative nationalism, and lastly, the arguments over the position of Islam in the practice of governance and the idea of Indonesia (Hefner 2002).
Hefner uses a lot of research, personal experiences, and one on one interviews to collect his data. He worked among Muslim political elites in Indonesia for 11 years and also conducted research among the Jihad Militia during the summers of 2000 and 2001. To help prove his argument, Hefner uses a lot of historical facts dating as far as 1966, which was the start of Soehart’s regime. To organize his arguments better and to get his point across, Hefner proposes questions at the start of the article that are later answered using historical data. He also repeats his argument several times throughout the article using different historical data to support the argument each time. Hefner states many times, that three years of political and economic crisis, and the old regime elements had served to intensify a fierce rivalry between pluralist Muslims and their neofundamentalist rivals (Hefner 2002). Hefner also states that the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan provided the hard-liner Islamists with new armaments to use against Muslim democrats but that rivalry between Muslim groupings was heightened by previous political and economic crisis in the community.
MELISSA VERGARA Barnard College (Professor West)
Hirschfeld, Lawrence A. Why Don’t Anthropologists Like Children? American Anthropologist, 2002. Vol. 104 (2): 611-627.
Anthropologists have a tendency to marginalize children in their discussions and will rarely make them the focus of an entire work. The marginalize role of children is the result of the overestimated value of adult influence and an underestimation of children’s role in forming their own cultural knowledge. The impact of children as a subaltern group on cultural practice is also remains under appreciate. Maintaining children as a marginal anthropological interest hinders the general understanding of the development and sustenance of culture.
Cultural reproduction is the way people partake in cultural practice in a particular manner and the reason people come to perform those ritualized acts; it is root of all anthropological queries. Since it is of interest to know the about the practices of a regional group, than it must also be of interest to know how the groups it interacts with help form those practices. Anthropology has recognizes this supposition and recently has focused the majority of ethnography on the subaltern, or groups of less authority and seemingly subordinate interest, such as women and gays, who still have an impact on the group with whom they interact. The author proposes that children also fall into this category of influential sub ordinance during interaction with adults; therefore, it likewise beneficial to anthropology to take children into accounts of cultural practice. He asserts that it is a “theoretical imperative.”
The anthropologist’s tendency to eliminate discussions of children disregarding their eminent role in cultural reproduction by over emphasis of adult input is confirmed by studies of child play. Child play and game studies by Goldman, Lancy and Sutton-Smith are sited. They state that child’s play, without parallel in adult culture, is still viewed in terms of adult impact on the child. And, children’s behavior assessed by comparing it behavior of an adult proves the superficial understanding of child relations.
The classification of children as a subaltern group applies not only to the interest of adult influence but also to the underestimation of the child’s influence on adult culture. The author suggests that children have a unique intellectual architecture that determines their learning of cultural truth. This learning process will impose on the child’s reproduction of social truth as it is taught. The author supports his theory through discussion of “child culture,” the adoption of adult interpersonal relations to regulate child interactions. A study by the author on ‘cooties’ shows children to have integrated social contamination into child play with relations of authority and status that parallel adult culture issues such as race, caste and gender. These parallel but distinct practices, according to the author, show the child’s ability to learn culture to the extent that they can represent and manipulate it. This ability to synthesize and apply social teaching proves the integral role of children in the reproduction of culture. There is, he asserts, the subsequent need for child focused anthropological work, as in order to truly understand culture one must understand they way in which it is learned and relayed.
SUZANNE DEMAS, Barnard College (Paige West)
Hirschfeld, Lawrence A. Why Don’t Anthropologists Like Children? American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 610-627.
This goal of this article is not to provide support of the marginalization of children, as the title would suggest, but to address the issue and provide compelling reasons as to why child-focused research is important in anthropology. Mr. Hirschfeld believes that there is evidence to support his idea that children have been marginalized because anthropology has placed limited attention on two things that children do well. First, children are extremely adept at acquiring adult culture and second, children are adept at creating their own cultures. The author draws attention to two specific cases that support his belief that children maintain a distinct cultural tradition, similar to that of adults.
The two specific cases presented deal specifically with preadolescent cootie lore and “adult” construal of race. Mr. Hirschfeld demonstrates how the operation of a specialized learning program creates the conditions by which children create and sustain a “simple” game and compare it to how adults organize and sustain fundamental access to power, authority, and resources. The “cooties” game invoked by children can appear to be childlike; however, it is found that there is also evidence of strategic and serious scheme aimed at isolating stigmatized children. The author suggests that “cooties” functions much like a racial or caste system and policing and signaling of social relationships is achieved through the practice of this game.
Mr. Hirschfeld also points out the fundamental differences between the ways a child understands the concept of race, arguing that it is about relations of power pertaining to political, economic, or cultural relations. He found that race was not an innate concept and that it was historically, a relatively new concept, indicative of the notion that culture is learned and shared.
Throughout this article, the author provides evidence that the study of childhood behavior is as equally important due to the premise that anthropology is based on theorizing the acquisition of cultural knowledge. By evaluating the architecture and the way in which children process information, a better understanding of culture within a society will emerge.
JENNIFER PIPPIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Huey-Jacobs, Lanita, Mary Lawlor, Cheryl Mattingly. Narrating September 11: Race, Gender, and the Play of Cultural Identities. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104(3): 743-753.
This article examines the response of African-American women to the events of September 11, 2001. The authors also hope to gain a sense of how their subject group views the American society in general. The subject group consists of African-American women who are raising children with severe illness and/or physical disability. The authors use the vehicle of personal stories to explore these desired viewpoints. They look at narratives because narratives can portray a breach in everyday life, they contrast “public” acts with the internal psychic plane of beliefs, feelings and emotions and they allow for subtle moral readings of situations and actions (744).
To display their findings, the authors first define the three features of storytelling: the breach, the double landscape, and multiple positionalities. To make their definitions credible, they incorporate past results from other anthropologists. Following the definitions, they include excerpts from the narratives of the women. It is these excerpts that give the paper veracity. In the personal narratives, the authors identify their three definitions and glean the personal morals of their subjects. For example, to demonstrate the “interrupted” breach concept, the authors print the narrative of a woman whose entire morning routine was affected by the September 11 events.
In drawing conclusions from these narratives, the authors are able to amass substantial results. They record these results by analysis of the narratives and by creating detailed lists in the conclusion. They find that the African American community, particularly African American women, was not shocked by the attacks. These communities felt that the terrorist acts were most likely merited by the United States for the secret terrorist acts it commits continually. Moreover, these women face other traumatizing events during their daily lives and the September 11 crashes seem minor in comparison. An explanation is also given for the resistance of African-American women towards the war in Iraq. These women want to protect their children. They do not feel that their children should have to fight for a country where they face continual racism and abuse. The authors of this work capture one of the multi-positionalities within the United States. This paper becomes a voice for single, African American, mothers in Los Angelos.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JULIA NAGLE Columbia University (Paige West)
Iannone, Gyles. Annales History and the Ancient Maya State: Some observations on the “dynamic model.” American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104: 68-79.
In this article, Iannone suggests ways in which archaeologists may improve their understanding of past state dynamics. He believes that archaeologists have been guilty of applying too rigid frameworks, and in the process oversimplifying, what are actually complex and fluid social states. He asserts that archaeologists need to use more complex theoretical frameworks for their analyses and suggests that Annales, or “French Structural” history, provides a set of principles that would allow archaeologists to more effectively explore the dynamics of states.
Iannone demonstrates this by showing that using Annales, one can investigate the systems and processes of the ancient Maya state, and see that it constitutes a classic example of the contradictions between a long-term structure and medium-term cycle. He describes how there continues to be debate as to whether the Maya state was centralized or decentralized. Proponents of decentralization believe that kin relations were fundamental building blocks of Maya society, while proponents of centralization believe that non-kin based ties were also key building blocks.
There are a number of issues that remain unsettled as well as conflicting evidence. Therefore, a dynamic model is believed to be far more realistic than either one of the state constructs. The dynamic model suggests that the state oscillated between centralization and decentralization, and it is by employing concepts from Annales, Iannone argues, that this oscillation can be explained. The Annales approach provides a perspective that archaeologists can use in studying past societies, particularly in exposing the idea of rhythms of time, which relate to long-term structures and medium-term cycles, which much of archaeological research focuses on.
Iannone discusses the applicability of the Annales approach to the study of the ancient Maya state, and asserts that the Annales approach holds the key to explaining why most archaic states exhibit periods of centralization and decentralization. He suggests that archaeologists use complex theoretical frameworks, like Annales, in order to more effectively explore state dynamics.
MISHA ROBYN Columbia College (Paige West)
Iannone, Gyles. Annales History and the Ancient Maya State: Some Observations on the “Dynamic Model”. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1): 68-78.
This article is intended to provide suggestions of how to improve archeologists comprehension of past state dynamics, specifically the ancient Maya state. The author attempts to illuminate the weaknesses of some forms of interpretation and to suggest remedies, both theoretically and methodologically, for the ancient Maya sociopolitical cycling. One model that has been suggested is the “dynamic” model. In this approach the processes of centralization and decentralization are active on both spatial and temporal scales. After analyzing this model, the article suggests that the cycles of centralization and decentralization are a result of the tensions between long-term and medium-term organizational structures. In order to better comprehend these stresses, the fundamental tension between the institutions of kinship and kingships should be viewed through the use of Annales, or “French Structural” history. Annales is considered a means to better explore the dynamics of the ancient world. This approach attempts to mediate between the sciences and humanities, therefor initiating a neutral stance on methodology and data presentation. Annales also produces narratives, which can be beneficial in analyzing data. The Maya case is considered evidence of the success of this type of analytical approach.
In this article, Iannone provides a brief overview of decentralized, centralized and the dynamic models. There is an explanation of the Annales school as well as evidence of how this approach is beneficial to the study of the Maya state. The article is well written, although it is a bit dry at times. Overall, Iannone executes a well-constructed argument supporting the validity of utilizing Annales as an analytical approach to study the ancient Maya state.
TRACIE KILNER University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Iannone, Gyles. Annales History and the Ancient Maya State: Some Observations on the “Dynamic Model”. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1):68-78.
In the article “Annales History and the Ancient Maya State: Some observations on the “Dynamic Model”, Gyles Iannone argues the strengths and, more specifically, the weaknesses in the study of ancient Mayan sociopolitical cycles. Iannone suggests theoretical as well as methodological corrections to these problems. By doing so Iannone attempts to suggest improvements as to how archaeologists can advance their understanding of the dynamics of ancient states. Iannone’s intended purpose is to take issue with the many Mayanists who attempt to place ancient Mayan states within a rigid outline.
The argument is that one should not place ancient Mayan sociopolitical
dynamics within one structure or the other, but, rather, that it is possible and perhaps even probable that the Mayan state went back and forth between centralized and decentralized structures and, at certain points, perhaps even had a bit of both at the same time.
Iannone first takes the reader through the arguments for and against the characterization of the ancient Mayan state as having a centralizing or decentralizing structure. There is evidence for the support of both sides in this debate. After taking the reader through the pros and cons of each side through the use of various sources, mostly from the field of archaeology, Iannone concludes that the ancient Mayan state possessed neither a centralized nor a decentralized system but rather some combination of the two. Iannone argues that ancient Mayan sociopolitical interaction was fluid, very much along the lines of the dynamic model.
The purpose of Iannone’s paper is to raise the idea that there was a
mixed history of political development, or at least a non-static history, in the ancient Mayan state. Iannone ends by discussing the Annales school in order to make the point that it might be necessary for archaeologists to use information from across a wide range of disciplines as well as allowing for a wider look at the historic cycles of history.
The article, although for the most part not hard to understand, did call for some technical knowledge of archaeology, anthropology, and economics, specifically with the terminology.
AVIGAIL APPELBAUM Barnard College (Paige West)
Iannone, Gyles. Annales History and the Ancient Maya State: Some Observations on the “Dynamic Model.” American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1):68-76.
Iannone’s article provides suggestions for how archeologists can improve their understanding of past state dynamics. He analyzes models of the ancient Mayan state to highlight flaws and suggest theoretical improvements. The author proposes that by using Annales, or “French Structural” history, archeologists will come to the best understanding of the dynamics of the Maya and other states in the ancient world.
One of the large mistakes of Mayanists and other archeologists is that they tend to exploit a strict dichotomy between centralized and decentralized structures. Within models of a decentralized state, kin relations are the basis for Maya society, fusing into larger kin groups when there is an outside threat, and fissioning when the threat is gone. Hierarchies are loosely integrated, and economic and administrative autonomy is maintained at all levels. The centralized models tend to suggest that the bureaucratic state was involved in large-scale public works, and there was a great deal of economic and administrative specialization, creating not only kin but also non-kin units as basic building blocks for society. Evidence provided by Iannone reveals further points of contention in the debate.
Both models could be applicable if one adopts the view that social integration is fluid. The key is to understand how decentralization and centralization fluctuated. A number of archeologists have begun to propose “dynamic models” that emphasize the importance of fluctuations of time and space between them. Some authors outside of Mayan studies have pointed our that as societies become more centralized, kinship plays a lesser role in power relations. Zagarell has suggested that cycles are perpetuated by the centralizing force of kingship in contrast to the decentralized forces of kinship. Gailey advocates that there are some significant differences between kin-based and king-based institutions.
Iannone provides a brief summary of the Annales school of thought, stating that it emphasizes the need for scholars to produce generalizations, and deals with the rhythms of change that occur over time. Braudel defines three terms that deal with different lengths of time: Structures (long-term), Cycles (medium-term), and Events (short-term). Critics of Braudel say that he does not express the general with the particular, places little emphasis on ideology, and does not link his three lengths of time together well. In revising the Annales school, ideologies are incorporated, playing a role in long-term and short-term events. Peebles points out the Annales school’s ability to incorporate the “logio-scientific” within narratives.
Iannone says Maya Scholars should link the different timescales in order to better explore the tensions between them. When using the Annales approach, McAnay analyzes the friction between the kinship, the long-term structure, and kingship, the more medium-term cycle. There was a pulsing between centralization and dispersion, which was never resolved. The Annales study of the ancient Maya shows the potential of this type of analysis of the state. It suggests that a more narrative approach to studies in the future might be more appropriate than a logio-scientific one.
REBECCA JACOBS Columbia College (Paige West)
Jacknis, Ira. The First Boasian: Alfred Kroeber and Franz Boas, 1896-1905. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104 (2): 520-532
Jacknis sets out to provide a study of the interaction between Boas and Kroeber, while insisting that he is not writing biographies, but a review. Drawing on several readings to recount the factual history of the two academics, the author’s most revealing evidence comes in the form of letters between Boas and Kroeber. Most importantly, the article details the interplay of influence the two men have on each other in the first decade of what is termed the “Boas School.” Jacknis’ essential conclusion claims there was no “Boas School,” but a series of Boasians. He draws this idea from Boas’ own association with his students, supported with the presentation of the Boas-Kroeber relationship, and quotes from Kroeber.
The article begins by addressing the initial influence of Boas on the student Kroeber through his undergraduate and graduate studies. It then depicts the distancing between the two academics geographically, academically, and institutionally. Finally, Jacknis concludes his review with the metaphor of a father and son relationship which helps explain the tensions, divergence, and rebellion Kroeber exhibited in the field of anthropology, while still moving on to found a department much like his precursors (Jacknis also cites Putnam as a “grandfather”) had.
Jacknis’ article is very clear, and does not attempt to overstep its boundaries of presenting a review of the interaction between these two scholars during the transition of institutional anthropology.
IAN L. COFRÉ Columbia University, NY (Paige West)
Jacknis, Ira. The First Boasian: Alfred Kroeber and Franz Boas, 1896-1905. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 520-532.
This article is primarily about the relationship between Franz Boas and Alfred Kroeber. The relationship between the two was mostly that of a father and son. Boas being the father and Kroeber the son. Boas was always finding projects for Kroeber to take part in. He was always urging him on. He also knew when to back off, and let Kroeber find things out or work them out the hard way. But, as with all father/son relationships, it was never enough. Kroeber had that desire to be unique and do things his way. And Boas let him. Boas was Kroeber’s teacher. The way in which Kroeber conducted his research was learned from Boas. Both were very scientific when performing research. They would collect massive amounts of data every time they went out in the field. When working together, their relationship was one that built many foundations for anthropology. They were very much alike in many ways, except that Kroeber tended to get territorial at times. Being alike, they did not argue much about fundamental cultural theories but more about personnel definitions.
There were times when Boas was caught saying that he was disappointed in Kroeber. Boas wanted him to be more like he was. He wanted Kroeber to be very strong in all aspects of his research, not just those he was interested in the most. Kroeber saw Boas as a strong father figure. He was also a bit of a patriarch, but what father isn’t at some point? But none the less Boas was a great teacher. Kroeber found him to be broadminded, patient, and tolerant. All of those qualities are a must when teaching young students as Boas was.
CHRIS MARCINOWSKI University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Jacknis, Ira. The First Boasian: Alfred Kroeber and Franz Boas, 1896-1905. American Anthropology, June 2002 Vol. (104): 520-529.
In “The First Boasian: Aflred Kroeber and Franz Boas” Ira Jacknis displays the personal and academic elements that characterized and influenced the relationship between Boas and Kroeber. Jacknis ultimately attempts to demonstrate the distinctions between a school of thought and dogma versus what constitutes a Boasian or student of Boas.
Kroeber was one of Boas’ first and more influential students. Kroeber studied anthropology under Boas and, like him, was interested in studying Native Americans. At Columbia, where Boas had introduced Kroeber to anthropology, Boas was pushing institutional change and a reconfiguration of anthropology as a discipline centered on unilinear evolution and ethnocentrism to a discipline that interested in conducting heavy, detailed field researched that is premised on historical particularism.
As Kroeber and Boas matured in their studies and developed a collegial relationship, their works, methodologies, and theories conceded on some points and differed on other grounds. For example, both were firm believers that “anthropology was a personal mixture of the natural sciences and humanities.” As Jacknis places both men in parallel, comparable positions, their similarities and differences become more apparent. Both Boas and Kroeber believed that the evolutionists’ arguments were fruitless and contributed little to an anthropological discourse that does not misuse data or misrepresent people. Both were also caught up in the colonial context of their times. Boas and Kroeber’s interests in Native American tribes at times conflicted and they even argued over territoriality. Their arguments to some degree deflected attention away from the colonial issues that plagued these tribes. Friction between Boas and Kroeber became more difficult to eliminate because of bureaucracy, political, and institutional issues.
On methodological terms both agreed on the use of diffusionism and salvage ethnography (the culture of the Native tribes had to be preserved because it faced eminent danger of extinction as the Native population was dieing out and killed). Both, however, differed on the definition of culture and its treatment: they differed on the importance of language and ethnography, and methods of interpreting both.
Jacknis does a good job at shedding light on what makes a school versus a training or following. Boasians as term implies a group of people who belong to a school. Jacknis demystifies that assumption and emphasizes that Boas was never interested in establishing a school; rather he was more interested in giving students flexible tools to conduct anthropological detail. Even though Boas, as Jacknis supposes, differed on several issues with his students, in this case Kroeber, Boas did encourage his students to develop their individual styles. Boas believed that he would more justice to the American anthropology if he supported his students on their individual endeavors and develop their own theories based on specific cases, instead of strictly governing their research. Boasian, Jacknis suggests, refers to a group of students that followed in Boas’ rebellious attitude. It is, according to Jacknis, the Boasian anthropology that serves as the “fundamental set of assumptions” that “underlay much of the field” research.
JOEL MARRERO Columbia University (Paige West)
Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. Exchange across Difference: The Production of Ethnographic Knowledge-The Natives Are Gazing and Talking Back: Reviewing the Problematics of Positionality, Voice, and Accountability among “Native” Anthropologists. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104(3): 791-804.
Jacobs-Huey focuses on the practice of reflexive and native anthropology. There is an increase in the number of researchers who move to reflexive anthropology practice. Reflexive anthropology allows researchers to consider their own biases and different ways of thinking while interpreting cultures. Researchers are accounted for their positionalities, communicating ways in their production of representations, and the influences that they can have on the people whom they study. Many anthropologists are working within their ethnic minority communities. Native anthropologists who work in their own community face many challenges and complexities that Jacobs-Huey decides to focus on are the question of how native are native anthropologists, the centrality of language in their home community, confessions of failure in the field, and the dilemmas of translation beyond the field.
The first question is how native is a native anthropology. Native anthropologist is challenged between identities as a community member and as a researcher. Not only researcher identifies him/herself in both ways, but research participants also identify themselves in certain ways to researchers for different purposes. Research participants’ identities affect the people and the community that is studied, which then leads to the influences that research participants have on the research itself.
The second challenge of native anthropology is the importance of language in determining whether anthropologists are native or nonnative. Jacobs-Huey brings the term communicative competence in describing the ability to understand, use varieties of speech, discourse knowledge, and proficiency in the language appropriately in various contexts in his/her own language. The higher level of communicative competence can help researcher enter community and be considered as native easier. The opposite is when the level of communicative competence of a researcher is low; he/she can face many challenges in being considered as native. The author gives the examples of her own fieldwork about black hair in African-American womens. She has to use different strategies in getting information from participants at the same time show them that she is one of the natives, otherwise her nativeness becomes suspected.
Sometimes native anthropologists fail in conversational speeches and in establishing a good relationship among participants. These failures can mark native anthropologists as outsiders in their own community. Native anthropologists also face problems of translating their works in ways that are not suspected in both community audiences and academic audiences. Confessions of failures and their own positionality can make native anthropologists at the stakes of being considered as not native enough, dismissal of their professions in the communities of anthropology.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANH NGUYEN Barnard College (Paige West)
Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. The Natives Are gazing and Talking Back: Reviewing the Problematics of Positionality, Voice and Accountability among “Native” Anthropologists – A Review. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104 (3): 791-804.
In this article, Lanita Jacobs – Huey comments that, “anthropologists and other social scientists are increasingly conducting fieldwork in unprecedented places, including their own communities (Jacobs – Huey 792).” The article’s focus is on the “native” anthropologist and their ethnographic fieldwork, centering in on four topics.
The first topic sets out to analyze the question “How native is a native anthropologist?” The author presents evidence that native ethnographers cannot assume commonalities with the informants. For example, upon examination of a native ethnography Jacobs-Huey finds that social status may affect ones research (793).
The second topic focuses on the native’s knowledge of the language. Knowledge of a language is imperative when doing ethnography. It appears that the “native” would have the upper hand in the situation, but at times this is not the case. A communicative blunder may lead to serious consequences and impede research. “For example, verbal blunders committed by African American researchers during the initial stages of their fieldwork can invoke distrust and disdain among their research participants and make researchers vulnerable to the label of educated fools (793).”
The third topic evaluates the ethnographer’s confessions of failure, due to language, social status, ect. The emotional consequences of the failed situations can be seen in the confessions. For example a language blunder may cause suspicion of the anthropologist. This suspicion will lead to an awkward and tense situation (796).
The fourth topic focuses on the dilemmas of translation to the lay community and academia. Difficulties arise in this task because of differences in standards, expressions, and language. For example the word “kitchen” in African American studies of hair care is a sensitive subject. The author notes that it was difficult to bring up when doing research, because it implied “airing dirty laundry”.
In conclusion this article explored the native ethnographer’s fieldwork by examining different topics. The topics show the problems and difficulties that arise during the fieldwork. These problems range from native authenticity to conquering the different agendas of academia and the general community.
ELISE WENDLAND University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Jacobs-Huey, Lanity. The Natives are Gazing and Talking Back: Reviewing the Problematics of Positionality, Voice, and Accountability among “Native” Anthropologists. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol. 104(3): 791-804.
This article in linguistic anthropology evaluates the problems posed in trying to write about “native anthropology” while at the same time striving to construct accurate ethnographic data. Anthropology is a rapidly changing field, and recently a growing number of anthropologists have decided to conduct fieldwork at home, a break from the tradition of studying the “exotic.” While accounts by these “native anthropologists” explore the advantages associated with being a group “insider,” it inherently questions the legitimacy of the work being done due to the bias the anthropologist innately brings into her work.
Anthropology is a rapidly developing field in which significant transition takes place quickly. More recently, ethnographers have been increasingly including their own voices in their texts. Native scholars experience differences in their fields from other anthropologists including their degree of communication with their subjects. A “native” studying her own culture has the ability to appropriately use and understand the speech of the communities she works in. As Jacobs-Huey puts it, “linguistic proficiency and discourse knowledge are important prerequisites for ethnographic fieldwork at home or abroad.”
Jacobs-Huey’s own research focuses on African American linguistic and cultural practices focused on hair care. She finds that while fluency in speech variations among cultures helps her acquire a sense of belonging during her fieldwork, it may also exclude her in many situations and different contexts. Because of this, Jacobs-Huey believes that is essential for “native anthropologists” working at home to realize that their mainstream public experience will have an effect on their fieldwork experience and later representations of it through ethnography.
Researchers who work “at home” must make sure that their ensuing ethnographies do not isolate their research subjects, or themselves as researchers, “within their specific disciplinary cohort.” This requires native anthropologists to adopt original and innovative ways of envisioning their work. If done properly, the validity of native anthropology will increase and come that much closer to their goal of wide favorable acceptance in the anthropological community.
IRIS GOLDSTEIN Barnard College (Paige West)
Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. The Natives Are Gazing and Talking Back: Reviewing the Problematics of Positionality, Voice, and Accountability among “Native” Anthropologist. American Anthropologist. September 2002 Volume 104 (791-800).
Lanita Jacobs-Huey starts off her article by examining the supposed cons of native ethnographers. According to Jacobs-Huey, there are four main topics that do not support native anthropology. The first of these topics focuses on an obvious factor – native ethnographers are not going into a field of study “blind folded”. Already ethnographers have an understanding for the culture by already having been submerged in it. Their exposure makes it impossible to separate their community façade and research façade. The second topic is a sub-topic of the first, which is an underlying understanding for the language. By having an upbringing of the language, the researcher faces unintentional tendencies of intimidating his or her participants. Intimidation of the participants affects the overall outcome of the project because the portrayal of them becomes a bit more fabricated. The study is changed from its original form because the subjects of the study (being the participants) are changed through the intimidation from what they were originally when they were chosen to be studied. The third topic that helps the disagreement with native ethnographers is the confessions of failure. By using Nelsons example of failure with Mrs. Jones, Jacobs-Huey puts forth an idea that native ethnography is not productive because native ethnographers understand flaws in their society and can point them out more easily than an outsider. There is also the suggestion that the ethnographer is “one of them but not one of them”. This results in an awkward and judgmental assessment because the ethnographer is not able to place themselves in the situation. The final topic that Jacob-Huey addresses is that native ethnographers are able to tie a direct correlation between work and home. This flaws the final product because the aim becomes interwoven. The ethnographers interpretation on the culture becomes meshed with his personal views and what the culture actual is in itself. The ethnographer is not able to displace himself from the society when having knowledge on it, therefore creating the mesh between his personal view and the actual societal representation.
SYD WOLFE Columbia College (Paige West)
Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer. On the Limits of Life Stages in Ethnography: Toward a Theory of Vital Conjunctures. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104 (3): 865-879.
This article focuses on the limitations imposed by the life cycle model. Johnson-Hanks argues that the life cycle model is ineffective because it generalizes life, which is full of vicissitudes and is therefore wholly unpredictable. Consequent of an individual’s complexity, and life’s uncertain nature, the life cycle model can never truly explain transitions in an individual’s life.
Johnson-Hanks uses the lives of young, educated Beti women from South Cameroon to critique the life cycle model. The evidence presented counteracts the three basic assumptions of the life cycle model. In Cameroon there is no clear transition into female adulthood. Beti transitions from schoolgirl, employee and mother all vary and occur at different times. There is no specific order in the transitions in each girl’s life, and there is no common characteristic found in each transition. In this instance, like in many others, the life cycle model is not applicable. Johnson-Hanks therefore proposes a theory of vital conjunctures.
Vital conjunctures are based on aspirations for the future. These conjunctures represent possibilities individuals are faced with at a critical point of their life. For purposes of her argument, childbearing and marriage is considered the vital conjuncture; as women faced with these situations have the possibility of leading completely different lives-or not. The example of Marie illustrates the theory of vital conjectures. Her story elucidates how despite an unintended pregnancy, her aspirations to be an educated woman molded her social decisions and actions. Her story shows how her decisions involving her pregnancy and her marriage were orchestrated by a central aspiration in mind: her career.
The article argues for the replacement of the life cycle model with the theory of vital conjunctures. Johnson-Hank’s argument is simply that life transitions cannot be defined by a series of stages; rather it is a compilation of decisions each individual, different in his or her own way, has made when presented with a different conjuncture in his or her life.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ELIZABETH PANTALEON Barnard College (Paige West)
Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer. On the Limits of Life Stages in Ethnography: Toward a Theory of Vital Conjunctures. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104 (3): 864-880.
The author introduce this article by discussing the idea of transition from one stage to another, in her example, from boyhood to manhood. She argues that traditional anthropology often focuses on the rooted transitions-that is, as her example illustrates, the transition of a boy to a man upon turning 18 years of age. Her argument points at important events such as marriage and motherhood as being vital, but not stable in transition. She calls her model of study vital conjuntures. To show how this works, she uses ethnographic work on the Beti women of southern Cameroon.
The author explains that “Beti” is a term used to identify “nobles,” but has often been used in the past not as social identification but as ethnic identification. The author points out that the economy of the Beti has operated like a pendulum, with subsistence and politics constantly changing. Kinship through marriage, parenthood, and patronage has often been a stabilizing force in the absence of stability.
The author states that in a system like that of the Beti, where vital events such as adulthood represents more than one type of status for the individual, cannot be explained by traditional systems of life stages study. The events that define “adulthood” do not occur at the same time for the Beti women. The author points out that the timing of these events may extend adolescence for some women while others have the status of “women.” The author argues that the roles define the status.
Through various examples, the author discusses the complexity of vital events in the lives of several Beti women. She is able to argue the use of traditional studies of life stages. It introduces a new approach in cultural studies.
REBECA GALLIMORE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer. On the Limits of Life Stages in Ethnography: Toward a Theory of Vital Conjunctures. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104(3): 865-880.
In Jennifer Johnson-Hanks article “On the Limits of Life Stages in Ethnography: toward a theory of vital conjunctures,” she discusses the inaccuracy involved in specific anthropological analysis–particular methods can generalize a culture thus threatening the efficacy of the ethnography.
Johnson-Hanks argues that the notion of life course is an inaccurate way to analyze cultures in and through ethnographies. She contends that the theory ignores the differences in people’s lives and fails to interpret the diversity of different cultures. She argues that anthropologists who use the “life-cycle model” to analyze cultures, place an assumed identity on their subjects and preconstruct their conditions prior to their studies. Instead, Johnson-Hanks proposes a new model, which she calls “the Vital Conjecture,” that is based on how different phases affect an individual’s future. Rather than homogenizing the patterns of human growth, her model celebrates the variety of life stages between cultures. To avoid labeling, Johnson-Hanks suggests
that anthropologists move away from seeing life stages as doings which organize socially constructed lives and instead view and analyze them independently and uniquely.
The author uses various methods to portray and support her argument. She concentrates on Beti women in southern Cameroon and their experiences with marriage, birth and school. She follows two Beti women in particular and compares their life stages to life stages within the Western world, presenting the evidence in conjunction and in opposition with one another. In addition to the personal examples, Johnson-Hanks also provides numerical evidence in the form of graphs. Her combined strategies give for a unique and persuasive argument. The personal ethnographies and comparisons enable the reader to independently relate to her argument, further providing the reader with the freedom to draw her own conclusions regarding the author’s claims. The graphical evidence, however, provides the reader with a more convincing and persuasive supply of hard evidence that undoubtedly proves her point.
AMY GUITTARD Barnard College (Paige West)
Johnson-Hanks, Jennifer. On the limits of life stages in ethnography: Toward a theory of vital conjunctures. American Anthropologist Sep, 2002 Vol.104(3): 865-880.
This article challenges the commonly-taught anthropological view that life consists of several defined stages: birth, adolescence, marriage, the production of children, movement through social ranks, “occupational specialization,” and death. It argues that these life events are not as ordered as they are made out to be and presents a theory of life as a series of “vital conjectures” instead. These “vital conjectures” are events which bring the person experiencing them to a crossroads in their life. Their future is open; they have many choices available to them. Johnson-Hanks presents the view of life held by the Beti people of Cameroon as an example of a “vital conjecture” system.
The Beti earn their status as adults by showing that they have “good sense.” It is possible to be an adult in one area but not another. For example, a teacher who is highly educated but remains unmarried and childless is viewed as an intellectual adult but remains a child in matters of lineage. This view allows everyone to reach adulthood in their own way with their own specialties; parents raise their children as unique individuals and do not define childhood or adulthood by age. A teenage girl may be recognized as an adult by the Church and have undergone the Sacraments but still viewed as a child in matters of reproduction. Therefore, it is excusable for her to have an abortion rather than to disrupt your studies. Marie, a high school student, actually has her baby, gives it to the family of its father, and returns to school. If Marie had married and had another child she would have been classified as a woman, but her choice allows her to regain her status as a girl. She forgets her son and does not even include him when asked a question about her desire to have children in the future.
Johnson-Hanks embraces the idea that adulthood should not be defined by stages, but rather “vital conjectures”, events at which the future is undefined. She believes that the Beti, and other cultures which do the same, are correct in viewing adulthood as an ongoing acquisition rather than a status obtained due to age or another chronological factor.
ALLISON TITMAN Barnard College (Paige West)
Kealfoher, Lisa. Changing Perceptions of Risk: The Development of Agro-Ecosystems in Southeast Asia. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1):178-194
Kealhofer attempts to prove that the development of agro-ecosystems was an entirely different process than domestication. She defines agro-ecosystems as “irreversible landscape transformation” and uses data from Southeast Asia to prove her point. Southeast Asia has a tropical climate and development of agro-ecosystems was much slower in these types of climates: it occurred during the Mid-Holocene (7,000 – 5,000 years ago) when it stimulated an agricultural surplus. Domestication, which she defines as involving “morphological and genetic changes in wild plants and animals,” occurred as a result of a changing resource abundance and distribution at the end of the Pleistocene (1.8 million – 8,000 years ago—before agro-ecosystems).
She compares the transition and climate of Southeast Asia to the climate and transition of the Middle East and the neo-tropics, saying that the transition to agro-ecosystems in the tropics was slower due to issues including migrations, animal domestication, ecological and morphological differences of plants domesticated, and technological challenges. She also uses archaeological data to prove her point. She cites archaeological evidence of food production in Thailand as occurring significantly (5-8 thousand years) before the distribution of settled village sites there. She uses phytolith evidence (which highlights changes in weedy grasses, plants which often sense cultural disturbance) from sediment sequences from lakes and microfossil remains as well. Sediments of carbonized particles produced from forest burning as a method of land management are also used as archaeological data to prove her point. She goes into great detail regarding specific environmental evidence from Southeast Asia at the time of the change, including specific change in climate that may have occurred at the time.
She finishes the article providing a possible model for the transition from domestication to agriculture. The evidence discussed is quite exhaustive; the author covers many archeological as well as ecological bases. The author concludes that the groups must have been responding to different changes in each period, and asserts the need to reexamine agricultural models that combine processes of change which the author believes to be quite distinct of one another.
Although the author uses much scientific evidence to prove her point, this article is difficult to understand.
ZOHAR SHAMASH Barnard College (Paige West)
Kealhofer, Lisa. Changing Perceptions of Risk: The Development of Agro-Ecosystems in Southeast Asia. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol. 104(1): 178-194.
Kealhofer examines the development of argo-ecosystems or agricultural ecosystems, in Southeast Asia to explain why it progressed differently from other argo-ecosystems during the same time in other locations around the world. These irreversible landscape transformations are visible in the archaeology of the area’s cultures and in the soil and plant variations.
In the tropics of Southeastern Asia, the agricultural system formed in two distance processes. First, there was a change during the end of the Pleistocene towards plant and animal domestication due to a difference in resource abundance and distribution. The second occurred during the Mid-Holocene and was the formation of the argo-ecosystems. Kealhofer feels that the use of these new ecosystems stimulated the development of surplus agricultural production and was introduced as a result of new types of social risk.
Since the second agricultural formation occurred during a period of negligible climate change and the regional differences in its timing and adaptation are usually large, the key to understanding is an altered social risk. The first agricultural formation caused a change in social interaction as groups became more sedentary and larger. This new form of social organization increased social friction. The development of a food surplus provided many different ways of creating group cohesion from food redistribution to feast exchange. It was the ability of a certain food to be stored and exchanged which increased its popularity, causing the prominent use of the rice crop as a means of subsistence.
BETH CHILDERS University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Kovats-Bernat, J. Christopher. Negotiating Dangerous Fields: Pragmatic Strategies for Fieldwork amid Violence and Terror. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol.104(1):208-222.
This article addresses the issue of the growing number of “dangerous fields” in which anthropologists today are doing fieldwork and the incapacity of the current anthropological guidelines to apply to such conditions. The author defines a “dangerous field” as a site “where social relationships and cultural realities are critically modified by the pervasion of fear, threat of force, or (ir)regular application of violence…”. This article’s title illuminates a great deal of the author’s purpose; she outlines in detail the strategies and compromises that are practical and necessary in dangerous fields in order to maintain the safety of the anthropologist as well as informants and to collect viable data. The topics covered include the compromise of the rigid AAA Code of Ethics and data collection methodologies as dangerous fields become the norm, and the calculation of risk that anthropologists in dangerous fields often encounter. The author approaches the problem from all angles, in an effort to revise the anthropological guidelines and make them relevant to anthropology in dangerous fields. He proposes concepts such as “mutual responsibility” relationships with subjects and a “localized ethic” as possible adaptations that would better suit the dangerous field. The author uses his experience of doing fieldwork in Portail Leogane, Haiti with street children as evidence of the necessity of the changes he describes, citing specific incidents and examples. He uses the fieldwork of other anthropologists such as Christine Obo and Margery Wolf to support his experiences as well.
EMILY KNOPF Barnard College, Columbia University (Paige West)
Kovats-Bernat, J. Christopher. Negotiating Dangerous Fields: Pragmatic Strategies for Fieldwork amid Violence and Terror. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol 104(1): 208-222.
In this article, the author discusses negotiating in dangerous and pragmatic strategies for fieldwork amid violence and terror. Kovats-Bernat is relating this to his fieldwork done in Haiti conducted since l 994. First he refers to other publishing on the subjects including Nancy Howell’s Surviving Fieldwork (1990). Kovrats-Bernat goes on to describe his fieldwork with Haitian street children in Port-au-prince. In this study , he has been observing the impact of political violence and poverty on the formation of the cultural identities of these children.
Kovats-Bernat goes on to explain some situations which he was involved, including numerous street shootings. At times, he was in the midst of crosswise and civil violence. Kovats-Bernat then explains the idea of rethinking methodology in these dangerous fields. He claims we must redefine methodology, not as a rigid or fixed framework for research but, rather, as an elastic, incorporating, integrative, and malleable practice. Next, he explains calculation, collection, and survival and contemporary problems of colonial legacy. As Anthologists in these new age of study, we must break the norm of previously conducted strategies and begin a new way of thinking and conducting our fieldwork. At times this will require us to challenge the ethical codes with continuing the collect and protect the data.
In conclusion, Kovats-Bernat states that, as the anthropology of violence and terror grows also does the frequency with which anthropologists are thrust or are thrusting themselves into dangerous fiends. With a new methodology and strategy of conducting fieldwork, anthropologists can now collect the proper data and help to explain contemporary problems in dangerous fields. Anthropologists must be prepared to adapt and accommodate to these situations.
KEVIN PURCELL University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Kovats-Bernat, J. Christopher. Negotiating Dangerous Fields: Pragmatic Strategies for Fieldwork amid Violence and Terror. American Anthropologist 2002 104 (1) 208-222.
In his article, Kovats-Bernat analyzes the risks an anthropologist takes when conducting fieldwork in a dangerous situation. He cites his own experience in Haiti, and discusses how he and his research assistant had to employ extreme caution to protect themselves when working conducting interviews with street children in a violent area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His article is a study of methodology and how a dangerous field site can affect an anthropologist’s methodology. It is virtually impossible to employ an organized well-thought out field methodology when the situation is precarious at best. Kovats-Bernat discusses how unforeseen circumstances in dangerous situations cause anthropologists to have to rethink their field techniques on the spot. In some situations, cameras, tape recorders and notebooks, usually seen as essential tools to fieldwork, must be left behind due to the dangerous nature of the field site. He also critiques the “Code of Ethics” and the “Principles of Professional Responsibility” because they do not take into account situations where anthropologists are working in violent or otherwise hazardous situations. He refers specifically to the recommendation that the ethnographer maintain a complete transparency in relations in order to avoid deceiving anyone. He cites occasions where he had to lie about who he was to protect his life and instances where he pretended to be armed to avoid vulnerability. Another challenge of working in a dangerous field site is the duty of the anthropologist to protect sensitive information contained in their notes. He stresses that despite the use of aliases and codes, the notes, if in the wrong hands, could be figured out and mean death, torture or prison for the informants. Sometimes, minimal notes are taken or sensitive information is just stored in the ethnographer’s memory. In the face of violent situations, anthropologists must adapt and discover new ways of accurately reporting their experience without putting themselves or their subjects in danger. This article is written clearly and is easy to follow, Kovats-Bernat combines personal anecdotes from his own fieldwork and that of colleagues who also work in dangerous areas with new techniques of methodology.
This article is a valuable resource for any anthropologist who is traveling to an area which is known for political upheaval or violence.
MOLLY BYRNES Columbia University (Paige West)
Lewis, Herbert S. Morton Klass (1927-2001). American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 637-639.
Morton Klass had just completed a book on altered states of consciousness and religion when he died on April 28, 2001 at the age of 73. He was born in Brooklyn on June 24, 1927. He graduated from High School in 1943, and two years later joined the United States Merchant Marine. Although dreaming of a career as a writer of fiction, he became interested in anthropology after reading Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and then went on to receive his Ph.D from Columbia in 1959.
Klass was interested in the cultures of South Asia, and in 1957 went to Trinidad to seek out the descendants of East Indians. There, he found that they had managed to reconstruct a simplified, composite version of what their life had been like in India. His research in Trinidad led to the publication of his book, East Indians in Trinidad, which won the Clark F. Ansley Award in 1959. During the 1980s, Klass became interested in revitalization and new religious movements that led his return to Trinidad to study the Politics of revitalization, which was influenced by the Sai Baba religious movement in India.
Morton Klass, along with Sidney Greenfield, formed the Society for the Anthropology of Religion in 1994, and then managed to incorporate two other similar organizations. This new organization became known as the Anthropology of Religion Section in 1997, and Klass served as the executive board. Klass also believed that anthropology could help make humankind free and that the concept of culture is the key to an understanding of human behavior.
Klass began his teaching career at Bennington College in 1959, but returned to Columbia University in 1962. In 1965, Klass became chair of Department of Anthropology at Barnard College. For over 35 years, he flourished at Barnard and Columbia, where he was respected and beloved by his graduate and undergraduate students.
SAOUD MARDINI University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Lowe, Edward D. A widow, a child and two lineages: Exploring kinship and attachment in Chuuk. American Anthropologist. 2002 Vol. 104
Lowe studies kinship and its relationship to reciprocal needs in Chuuk, a lagoon in an atoll in the southwestern Pacific. Lowe makes the argument that the definition of a relationship is based on the types of needs that are fulfilled by that relationship. Drawing on the work of two other anthropologists, Lowe categorizes interpersonal needs into six categories: work related needs, material needs, companionship, practical advice, emotional support and finally interpersonal mediation. Most people in Chuuk, according to Lowe, depend on jobs in the public sector for a wage, while drawing on local foods such as fish for additional sustenance.
To support his argument, Lowe uses two different sources of data: a survey he took and an ethnographic case involving the family in which he lived. The survey incorporated 58 adults, 27 men and 31 women. Households were chosen to represent a variety of size, complexity and economic status. Lowe found that the relationships for the people he studies depend on the mutual needs and reciprocity in the relationship. He uses the example of Peace Corps volunteers and anthropologists who become the “children” of the house in which they live and “siblings” to those who they share a more egalitarian exchange of needs.
Lowe’s ethnographic case involves a woman who was recently widowed by the head of the lineage group in whose house he lived. Her husband’s male relatives decided that she should marry another member of the lineage group, in order to keep their control over her child and his education. The local Catholic priest objected on the grounds that such a marriage would likely end in divorce, while the woman wanted to move in with her own relations. Her husband’s male relatives finally agreed to allow her to make the decision.
Lowe concludes his article with a recap of his introduction, he restates his argument that kinship terms depend on reciprocal need fulfillment, regardless of the biological relationship between two people.
CLARITY RATING: 2
BRETT BELL Barnard College (Paige West)
Lowe, Edward D. A Widow, a Child, and Two Lineages: Exploring Kinship and Attachment in Chuuk. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 123-137.
The purpose of this article is to explore the connection between idealized cultural models of social relationships and family-based need fulfillment and the role they play in shaping actual social relationships among the people of Chuuk Lagoon in the Federal States of Micronesia. The research addressed three main issues: 1) What is the role of the interaction between (local) social organization and previous experiences of reciprocated need fulfillment in forming the idealized cultural models? 2) Describing the models. 3) How do these models influence the manner in which people conduct their relationships in everyday life? To answer these questions and provide the desired description, Lowe conducted a case study and survey, both of which are analyzed in the article. The case study is of a widow and her child, and the decision of whether they would remain with her husband’s lineage or return to her lineage. There were 58 participants in the survey (31 women and 27 men) who responded to 12 questions regarding to whom they would go to fulfill certain needs. The needs were classified into six types: work, material goods, companionship, emotional, mediation, and receiving advice. Lowe found that there are three important relationship pairs among the Chuuk: parent-child, sibling pairs, and affinal pairs. These pairs are considered special relationships, separate from everyday kinship relationships, most of which must be “created” by marriage, adoption, or client- or joint history-based. The former two are based on mutual reciprocated need and thus are established as kin-based relationships. Overall, Lowe asserts that the idealized models of social relationships are formed by patterns which emerge from occurrences of emotionally important relationships over the span of a lifetime. These models then serve to formulate a people’s expectations of need fulfillment, which consequently shapes the way that people conduct their everyday social relationships with others. Lowe also intends this article to help bring the psychological and social elements of relationships together with theories of cultural systems, and also to show the connection between psychological and cultural elements in everyday life.
AMANDA PARR University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Lowe, Edward D. A widow, a child, and two lineages: Exploring kinship and attachment in Chuuk. American Anthropologist March 2002 Vol. 104: (123-137).
In this article, Lowe focuses on kinship relations between the Chuuk, a people located in the West Pacific. He argues that their kin relationships are based on experiences that categorize behavior and expectation from birth. Within the Chuuk society, Lowe finds that kinship extends outside of related family and covers business relationships of all kinds down to life long friendships, where in any kind of relationship, it is essential to constantly reciprocate respect, love, and honor.
Lowe’s basic argument follows the theory of the origin of cultural understanding. He explains that cultural understanding begins at birth, where a child adapts to and picks up cultural information, known as the “process of attachment” (Lowe 124). Along with basic development, i.e. learning eye contact, smiling, imitations, crying, Lowe adds that humans simultaneously learn through the process of “emotional attachment”. Through both of these processes, people are able to interact with one another while behaving identically according to a specific social situation or the certain type of relationship they share.
Within his article, to prove this argument, Lowe uses examples of situations and relationships within the Chuuk culture. In particular, the example of a widow, her son, and what is to become of their future, is used most often. It is uncertain whether they should remain among their current patriarchal lineage and marry again, or return to the widow’s family, the matrilineal lineage. In addition to this example, Lowe enlists the help of a survey conducted to decipher the meaning of certain Chuuk relationships in relation to others in terms of the people different Chuuk members considered the most reliable and closest in kinship. Thus, what people in the survey participants lives, helped to fulfill their needs: work-related, material, companionship, practical advice, and emotional support (Lowe 131).
A dense piece of information, Lowe’s article is organized logically so that the reader is given the broad and overall idea of universal human development within cultures first, so as to be able to understand the association of specific Chuuk examples to Lowe’s use of cultural theory later, which are accompanied with an intricate description of a survey given to hold together Lowe’s entire argument once it arrives at its conclusion. Lowe’s main point in the end is to identify the long-lasting human understanding of relationship interaction, to that of the kinship relationship within Chuuk culture. Kinship, for the Chuuk, though extending outside of the family circle, incorporates the same ideals as other cultures: that of closeness, friendship and loyalty.
KIMBERLY WEST Barnard College (Paige West)
Lowe, Edward D. A Widow, a child, and two lineages: Exploring kinship and attachment in Chuuk. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1):123-137.
Lowe examines social relationships and how they are organized through human psychological needs and social identities. He looks at cultural models for such relationships and the correlation between need-fulfillment and kin-based identities. Lowe structures his article to address three questions. First, how do relationships of mutual need-fulfillment combine with social structures to form the accepted cultural models of human relations? Second, how can the content of these cultural models be described? Third, how are these cultural models used in everyday social relations?
Lowe begins his article with a discussion of attachment and the importance of need fulfillment from infancy forward. He then focuses on his work with the Chuuk, a culture that has been the focus of many anthropological studies. He provides a geographical and historical setting for the Chuuk, and then focuses on a particular event he witnessed in which the elders of the community gathered to decide the fate of a recent widow. The discussion concerned which of the two lineages, hers or her husband’s, she should join as a widow. This event concerned itself largely with kin-based identities and social support. As further investigation, Lowe conducted a survey of 58 Chuuk men and women. He asked each twelve questions concerning who they would go to for certain kinds of support, including work-related needs, material needs, companionship needs, practical advice, emotional support and interpersonal mediation. Lowe goes into an extensive analysis of his data, which proves that certain needs subscribe to certain kin, and thereby illustrates the cultural model of kin-based relationships existing in the Chuuk. From this he concludes that adults in the Chuuk do have an idealized cultural model that is formed by the psychological and social experiences of attachment and reciprocal nurturing. This cultural model exists in everyday social encounters, as certain relationships serve prescribed functions and contribute to the overall well-being of the people involved in them.
FRANCESCA SACASA Columbia College (Paige West)
Lucero, Lisa J. The Collapse of the Classic Maya: A Case for the Role of Water Control. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104(3):814-822.
The relationship between the political power of Mayan rulers and the availability of the water supply is well depicted in Lucero’s account of the historical collapse of the Mayan civilization. Lucero discusses the impacts of a fluctuating water supply on three civil-ceremonial centers – regional, secondary and minor. She also discloses the importance of religious ceremonies and faith in religious measures that the Mayan population maintained and relied on with regards to rulers. For example, a situation in which an unfavorable climate change caused insufficient amounts of water was blamed on ineffective authority and eventually, led to the ruler’s collapse.
Before exemplifying how political power eroded with declining water supply in certain regions, Lucero provides a background on how rulers sustained power. Rulers have more authoritative power over areas where the population and natural resources are concentrated as opposed to regions where they are dispersed. The latter is difficult to control and as a result, many Mayan farmers were able to use agricultural techniques without the domination of the elite, causing them to become self-sufficient and independent of the elites. In certain regions, however, droughts had a tremendous impact on the farmers and many were forced to move. Early rulers created large artificial reservoirs next to religious temples to concentrate larger numbers of people in one area so that they would not only provide them with water, but they would also have more power over them. Thus, people from the smaller local vicinities would migrate towards the centers where there is a larger and cleaner water supply. Lucero makes references to religious symbols and rituals associated with a supply of clean water by the rulers. An abundant supply of water signifies successful and prosperous rulers. Smaller communities were not able to build such reservoirs due to the large amount of necessary labor and resources. Lucero clarifies that the main point she is trying to make is that the mobility of farmers was due to the necessity and desire for more abundant and stable water sources.
However, even in the centers, the water supply was not always stable and many people would often migrate back to local communities, thus disintegrating the centers. The last part of the article describes three different kinds of centers in the late classic Mayan civilizations: Regional, secondary and minor. Lucero includes a descriptive and useful chart of the centers to provide the reader with a condensed clarification of the resources, economy, settlement patterns, water systems and other important sectors that were available (or not available) in each of them.
Subsequently, Lucero describes how political power of rulers was sustained by the availability of the natural resources within their region. She provides a clear description of how the sustainability of each sector affected the others.
Ultimately, she suggests that due to the interdependence that existed between areas, when there was a decrease in rainfall and weak water management systems, rulers’ power declined and it was this process that played a key role in the eventual collapse of the Mayan civilization.
CLARITY RATING: 4
LYUDMILA GOROKHOVICH Barnard College (Paige West)
Lucero, Lisa J. The Collapse of the Classic Maya: A Case for the Role of Water Control. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 815-824.
In this article the author explains how the role of water control impacted the Classic Maya civilization by contributing not only to the emergence, but also the demise of the society. A correlation is made between the scale of the water control and the degree of political power which is reflected in tree levels of Maya civic-ceremonial centers: regional, secondary, and minor. Ms. Lucero maintains that scholars have dismissed the importance of water resources which could help explain the differences in the historical trajectories of large and small Mayan settlements.
Regional areas which were located in the uplands of the Maya made monopolizing unlikely because of there was not an adequate water supply. Through the quarrying of reservoirs, building materials were provided for monumental construction projects. The settlement was dense in the regional areas and kings ruled over the domains of the concentrated reservoirs. With the ability to control water which was considered a restricted resource, these rulers organized the maintenance of reservoirs and received tribute in return in the form of surplus, labor, goods, and food. Because of the possible exploitation of resources, rulers abandoned the practices of political life which also contributed to the disruption of the secondary centers.
In secondary centers, rulers acquired some tribute due to their ability to monopolize nearby agricultural land in exchange for goods. The residents of the secondary centers lived above rivers on ridges and hills which may have influenced building plans and agriculture due to the saturated hillsides during the rainy season. Because of the inconsistencies in their distribution, it is suggested that their water systems had less of a political role in the secondary areas. The nonlocal royal ties that the secondary centers had with the regional centers may have been disrupted because of loss of power or diminishing surplus.
The minor centers were at located at lower elevations and saw consistently more rainfall than that of the regional areas. Because water was not as scarce, the wealth differences in this area consisted of various-sized residences and differential access to prestige items. Instead of relying on the water systems, the minor centers tailored their agricultural schedules and building practices to the annual flooding and recession of the rivers. One of the major factors that contributed to the prevention of acquisition of political power was the inability to monopolize extensive agricultural land and politically integrate the members of the dispersed society.
The political disintegration was not necessarily what caused the Mayans to disappear. As the conditions changed and rainfall declined in the regional areas, the result was the loss of surplus which was their primary means of support which ultimately led to their loss of power.
JENNIFER PIPPIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Lucero, Lisa. The Collapse of the Classic Maya: A Case for the Role of Water Control. American Anthropologist Sept, 2002. Vol. 104 (3): 814 –826.
Lisa Lucero discusses the collapse of the Classic Maya from a new perspective in this article. Lucero argues that water control played a significant political role in the rise and fall of the Maya, much more significant than previously thought. She states directly that her intention is not to try to disprove previous theories on why there was a collapse, but rather to focus on the progression of the collapse at very specific levels. Lucero discusses how civilizations usually spring up in areas with a ready water supply, but the Maya kings ruled from areas without enough water, resulting in erroneous scholarship that power and water were not intertwined. Arguing for the use of reservoirs and similar water storage facilities, Lucero believes that the Maya rulers controlled people aggressively with water by providing water in exchange for labor, food, and other goods.
Lucero uses numerous sources and types of information to prove her point. She uses maps, graphs, current research, older research, climate studies, geology studies, agricultural studies, archaeological references, architectural iconography research, and an endless stream of journals and books. Initially she broaches the subject of political control through natural resources, and then acknowledges difficulties associated with maintaining a clean reservoir due to the inherent problems with standing water. Lucero takes a fascinating detour about the water lily, and how it cannot grow unless the water conditions are shallow and pristine. She ties this information in with various images of the water lily shown on buildings and on various pieces found at archaeological sites. This is then used to try to tie in the knowledge of the water lily to a fully functional, clean reservoir. Lucero also explores the potential mobility of the Maya, beyond what has been assumed in the past, of course the manipulation of people by the rulers with water, and eventually climate changes. She believes that climate changes reduced the rainfall, reducing the water supply, thus reducing the people’s faith in their leaders. Lucero feels this was part of the process by which the Maya kings lost their power.
LISA SWYERS Columbia University (Paige West)
Lutz, Catherine. Making War at Home in the United States: Militarization and the Current Crisis. American Anthropologist Sept. 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 723-736
In this article, Catherine Lutz defines militarization and discusses its many effects both on America and on a global society in the 20th century. Lutz discusses the violence of September 11th and October 7th and contextualizes them historically in terms of America’s increasing global militarization. Lutz goes on to argue that the recent outbreaks of violence are the result of continuing developments in U.S. and world history, and are isolated, unrelated incidents.
This article begins with a brief outline of American history, which Lutz argues has been filled with the use of military violence for the gain of national power. The author points out that America was created not only through the American Revolution, but also through violence against Native Americans and again African peoples. She follows this trend of using violence as a process of gaining power and control to the 20th century, where she believes this militarization has been “sped up”.
Next, Lutz discusses the social effects of American militarization, pointing out the ideological alignment of a society needed in order for the use of violent force to be accepted. She describes the way in which the spread of military-based ideals had shaped the way Americans view race, class, and gender roles. More specifically, she details how the military gives a special symbolic citizenship to white, heterosexual males who fit a certain category of masculinity, and how this continues to marginalize all other groups of Americans.
Lutz continues, discussing how the production of both the machinery of war and of war itself has changed during the 20th century. Lutz argues that the industrial revolution has broadened the economic and social impact of the production of the machinery of war, making more Americans economically dependant on the production of this machinery. Likewise, Lutz says that the production of war itself has changed in the 20th century with the widespread use of “humanitarian” warfare and methods of violence. Lutz also argues that the military has been given the role of humanitarian aid worker within American society, making Americans even more dependant on and supportive of the military.
LAURA DRESSER Columbia College (Paige West)
Lutz, Catherine. Making War at Home in the United States: Militarization and the Current Crisis American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 723-735.
In this article, Catherine Lutz focuses on militarization of the United States and the “continuation and acceleration of ongoing developments”. Defining militarization as being “the contradictory and tense social process in which civil society organizes itself for the production of violence” (723), the author states that this process has “reshaped almost every element of global social life over the 20th century” (723). She continues by stating that militarization, although referred to as “military strength”, is actually one factor that caused the events of September 11th, and the recourse on October 7th.
The author poses that the United States is “a nation made by war” (724), referencing the three major bursts of militarization during the 20th century, alone. She notes that it is “widely accepted that military spending preserves freedom and produces jobs in factories and in the army” (724). She also mentions that several artistic works of “popular culture” have attempted to glorify war, by showing war as character-building, granting freedom to the nation waging it. But she counters this idea by stating “that these contentions are problematic becomes evident in the close ethnographic view of communities shaped by military spending” (724). Ms. Lutz points out work of several anthropologists who have attempted to “reveal… the indistinguishability and interdependence of physical and structural violence.”
Continuing, the author illustrates several characterizations of militarization. She refers to the process as “tense”, showing that it can cause conflict between social sectors. Also, militarization can create “contradictory processes”, for example “localism” set against “federalism”. She mentions the changes in warfare, such as the development of nuclear weapons, and the false sense of security created by the possession of these, as well as the changes in society and environment (for example, the surge of apartheid-like conditions, prostitution, and environmental destruction).
The author then turns her focus towards “the New Wars”: those of “humanitarian warfare” (729), which she states aim “to sow fear and discord, to instill unbearable memories of what was once home, to desecrate whatever has social meaning” (729).
Concluding her article, Ms. Lutz provides “hope” (731), by showing examples of opposition to militarization. Citing both Dwight D. Eisenhower’s dissatisfaction with the increasing military budget in the 1950’s and the work of the international human rights movement to dispose of Eastern European “police states” (731), the author shows that, although much emphasis has been placed upon the benefits of militarization, not everyone is “buying into it”.
MELISSA CORSON University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvingtion).
Mamdani, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol:104(3):766-775.
Mamdani looks at the historical events leading up to the terrorist acts of September 11th, to prove that the United States is not a completely innocent bystander in the tragedy. He uses historical events to contradict the views that have become prevalent today in a post-September 11th society. Mamdani looks at today’s society and encourages the separation of politics from culture. He points out that contemporary politics cannot be the only defining factor for a countries culture. Culture is ever changing and evolving, it is best defined by considering the countries recent history and recent political decisions, not from today’s headlines, from religion or from the traditional culture at a country’s origin. Mamdani feels that the United States is creating undeserving stereotypes of good Muslims and bad Muslims rather than differentiating between terrorists and civilians.
Terrorism must be understood as a modern construction, and the historical events that lead up to the recent acts must be considered. Mamdani turns the stereotyping and finger pointing on its head and asks not “Why do they hate us” but more like what can we do to stop this hate from culminating in the future. He looks closely at the Cold War and the effect of United States actions on their relationship with countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan and with the Muslim community. The United States incompleteness at the conclusion of the war is connected with recent terrorist acts. Mamdani believes that if the United States had ended the war with “demilitarization and a peace bonus” instead of “just walking away”, September 11th would not have happened. He concludes that the United States must begin to take responsibility for its own actions, be aware of “the relationships between U.S. policies and contemporary civilization” and that they must address important issues instead of just “forgetting”.
CASSIDY FOLEY Barnard College Columbia University (Paige West)
Mamdani, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 766-775.
In the article, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism by Mahmood Mamdani, his perspective that throughout the world the different races, religions, and societies have both positive and negative proponents is expressed. The emphases of this article are the mitigating and precipitating factors that helped to create the current terrorist influenced political/social circumstances found in both the Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries today.
While providing a general historical overview regarding the Cold War, Mamdani goes into detail on the involvement of the United States government through their CIA in the recruitment and endorsement of terrorist organizations in the countries then occupied by the Soviet Union. The CIA’s bid to amass an organized terrorist infantry to fight against their Cold War enemy was a success in that they were able to recruit Muslims from around the globe. Their unifying tactic was to create support for a ‘jihad’- ‘holy war’ against the repressive Soviet Union government’s political control over countries they apparently had no right to control.
The underlying theme of Mamdani’s perspective seems to be that were it not for the involvement of the American government in support of these terrorist movements, such as Osama Bin Laden’s Taliban in Afghanistan, then the term ‘jihad’ would have stayed buried in the Koran. The term is now widely associated with terrorists who routinely target the American way of life, and this is ironic since the Muslim religion had not seen a jihad for over four hundred years.
It is apparent from this article that not only did the American government support and recruit these terrorists to fight for them in the Cold War, but they also enabled those same terrorists to reign havoc in their countries after the Cold War was over by not disassembling and disarming what they themselves had created. It was only when those same terrorists turned their hatred toward the American’s who had created them, with the September 11th bombing of the world trade center, that our government then decided to take measures towards eradicating the terrorist of the world. This article was clearly written and Mamdani was concise in the information he presented.
KIMBERLEY A. PIERRE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington)
Mamdani, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 766-774.
After the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, international media increasingly linked Islam with terrorism; Mahmood Mamdani views this “culture talk,” the predilection to stereotype cultures by specific characteristics, as ungrounded, and in this article, he explores the history and context of today’s conflict. Discussing the commonly used labels of “modern” vs. “premodern” countries, Mamdani suggests that culture talk disguises the true causes of modern terrorist occurrences by dismissing terrorist acts as performed by those in “premodern” states who cling to antiquated traditions. Instead, Mamdani recognizes the Western actions that have contributed to terrorism.
The media, through culture talk, has divided modern, developed countries from developing, Muslim-majority countries and has also produced a dichotomy within the Muslim population itself, separating good Muslims vs. bad Muslims. Contrary to this claim, Mamdani argues that there exists a divide within civilizations where both Islam and Christianity carry the contradictory dual purpose of universalizing their respective “truths” while also promoting peace; he illustrates that Muslims are not so different from those who worship under other religions. Thus, Mamdani states that it is absurd to judge political actions based on religion or culture.
Mamdani continues by illustrating the events that led up to the events of 9/11 and shows U.S. culpability in its own attack. It all began in the Cold War when the U.S. used apartheid South Africa as a regional power against the Soviet Union. This move proved to be politically disastrous and, consequently, the Clark Amendment of 1975 outlawed covert aid to participants of the Angolan Civil War. For the ten years that this Amendment stayed in place, however, it did little to hinder U.S. strategy in the war; what resulted was U.S. support of many terrorist movements that helped counter regimes that were pro-Soviet. One example was the continued support the U.S. funneled to fourth parties who could participate, using terrorism, in the Angolan civil war. The outcome was a high death toll, especially in the civilian population, and great economic loss.
Because of this change in strategy in the Cold War and also because of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Afghanistan policy was formed. Iran’s hatred towards the U.S. led to the U.S. government’s plan of first uniting Muslims from all over the world in a religious war against the Soviet Union and then transforming the religious division in Islam of the minority Shia and the majority Sunni into a political dichotomy. To do this, the U.S. essentially produced the first jihad in 400 years, a just war with a religious sanction, by creating a marriage between guerrilla groups and Islam. To lead this effort, the U.S. CIA recruited Osama bin Laden. The U.S. CIA and the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence planned and supported an Islamic global war which utilized terror tactics. In fact, this war also caused the birth of Islamic neofundamentalism, which was driven by the desire for implementation of Islam as not only religion but as political policy. As a result of the neofundamentalist groups and their destructive war forces, the Taliban emerged from the misery of war. Mamdani thus proves that the Cold War participants, and specifically the U.S., used traditional, “premodern” traditions, such as the jihad, to wage a “modern” war.
Mamdani concludes by recounting the American tendency to deny responsibility for its faults. Claiming that forgetting the past is the answer to a progressive future, the U.S. paradoxically demands punishment of others while pretending its own crimes are legitimized by moral principles. The U.S. must recognize its faults and, as Mamdani observes, the U.S. must see that terrorism, backed by nihilists who will stop at nothing to promote a cause, cannot be stopped through military action but should instead by attacked through the issues.
CLARITY RATING: 5
JOANN WANG Barnard College (Paige West)
Mattingly, Cheryl, Mary Lawlor, and Lanita Jacobs-Huey. Narrating September 11: Race, gender, and the play of cultural identities. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104(3): 743-753.
In this article, the authors explore how the tragedy that occurred in New York City on September 11, 2001 and the ensuing violent events have been experienced, constructed, and narrated by African American women, primarily from low-income and working-class backgrounds, residing in Los Angeles, California. The authors concluded that these incidents have provided the opportunity for cultural identity to be reanalyzed and thus examine the personal stories told by various women in an attempt to do so. The authors’ decision to analyze the stories told by African American mothers, resulted with the focus of the article being primarily on the standpoint of maternal figures, which often was the rejection of violence as the solution for the terrorist attacks. Stories were chosen to be analyzed as the authors believed that they provided access to the complexities incorporated into the reworking of cultural identity, by providing the opportunity for the examination of the contextual dimensions of stories and there place in identity creation and community building among the African American women.
The authors address various questions in this articles that refer to the determination of cultural identity, the relationship among the tragic events, and the stories that have been told about them through the media and through personal tales. They do this by providing excerpts from women’s stories, by supplying commentary regarding the stories, and by discussing the wealth of information that can be derived from personal accounts of events. The stories and commentaries in this article exhibit the stances that the African American mothers have taken as a result of September 11 through the array of personal feelings that were expressed through talk. The discussions revealed that the women’s identity, as a result of their race, class, and maternal role, was relevant to the unpatriotic, anti-war, anti-American stance that they conveyed through their stories. Through the stories and commentaries in this article, the complexity of cultural identity is apparent because of the intimate, personal accounts that the women provided.
GEMMA FERGUSON Barnard College (Paige West)
Mattingly, Cheryl, Mary Lawlor, and Lanita Jacobs-Huey. Narrating September 11: Race, Gender, and the Play of Cultural Identities. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 742-753.
This article discusses how the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001 moved Americans to share private feelings through storytelling. Though all groups of people have shared their stories, the authors narrow these stories down to one group: working-class African American women living in the Los Angeles area. The authors seek to understand the way this “experience” played in the lives of these women, and whether their stories are similar or different from each other, as well as from the stories portrayed by the media. Here, the main question is how personal stories define life.
The authors go on to explain what their task is. They want to discuss the overall nature of these stories without taking away from the individuality of each story. Here, they refer to their approach as interpretive community. The authors also seek to understand the stories through what they refer to as a double landscape, in which the ordinary events are simultaneous to extraordinary events, as in the case of September 11. In addition, these stories reveal the complexity of the multiple “roles” of the group of women.
An interesting aspect of the stories told was that though they began the same as many other September 11 stories, in which the individual tries to explain their state of shock, the stories later diverge. For these African American women, the stories switch from extraordinary back to ordinary. In other words, for them, it was back to work. Their economic and ethnic situations are the underlying influences. They have families to take care of, and cannot afford to pause. Violence is more of a reality to them than may be for other groups. In fact, many of these women were upset by the constant replay of the events, and did not advocate the use of violence as a solution to the attacks. Here, gender is seen as the influence on the reaction.
The authors use these stories to explain how the subject matter can converge or diverge from national identity. This article was able to explain how the interpretive community met helped them answer questions of identity through narrative.
REBECA GALLIMORE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Meigs, Anna and Kathleen Barlow. Beyond the Taboo: Imagining Incest. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol. 104(1):38-49.
Meigs and Barlow address the concern that anthropological dialogue on incest has come to a stalemate. The incest taboo has been central to anthropological discussion since the field’s inception. However, Meigs and Barlow argue that anthropologists focus too fully on the fact that incest is taboo in most cultures, ignoring the psychological repercussions and effects of incest on its victims. The authors suggest that anthropologists incorporate psychological, feminist, and psychoanalytical theories on incest into their own discussion of the practice in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of incest and its implications in society. Meigs and Barlow use evidence from psychological and psychoanalytical studies as well as anthropological ethnographies to prove their argument. Their evidence relies almost completely on work from other authors, in an effort to show how people in different fields and different time periods have dealt with incest and the incest taboo. Meigs and Barlow begin their argument by discussing the history of the study of incest, explaining how early anthropologists and psychologists viewed incest as the result of uncontrollable biological urges. The authors show the importance of incest in understanding human nature by explaining how early anthropologists saw the incest taboo as the beginning of organized society and how Freud used incest and his Oedipal Theory to explain hysteria and other psychological phenomenon. After discussing how incest has been studied in various fields and showing how anthropologists and psychologists have taken different paths to explaining incest, Meigs and Barlow propose three new possible approaches to improving the anthropological discussion of incest.
First, they suggest cross-cultural studies of father-daughter relationships to test the Western hypothesis that fathers involved in early care-taking for their children are less likely to sexually abuse their daughters. Second, Meigs and Barlow propose that anthropologists examine the relationship between incest and social structure in various cultures. Finally, the authors recommend that anthropologists research the connection between the psychoanalytical idea of dissociation and the anthropological idea of possession. In this section, the authors use examples of ethnographies where anthropologists address incest, but do not explore it in any depth and virtually ignore the psychological damage of incest. Meigs and Barlow end their paper by discussing an article where Richard Castillo makes the connection between psychological trauma and the idea of possession. Thus, Meigs and Barlow show that much could be gained from looking at incest and its psychological implications in a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary context.
KELSEY RENNEBOHM Barnard College (Paige West)
Meigs, Anna and Barlow Kathleen. Beyond the Taboo: Imagining Incest. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104: 38-49.
Meigs and Barlow attempt to break the mold. Many anthropologists study the incest taboo but don’t really focus on issues such as the psychological damages that result from it. Their goal is to break anthropology out of its stalemate on this topic by shifting attention from the taboo to incest itself. Throughout the 20th century, anthropologists and psychologists have pursued the study of incest and its taboo along separate analytic fronts, utilizing an array of remarkably different assumptions and definitions. There are three reigning arguments. The social structural explanations emphasize that incest is a violation of the social design and interferes with the proper functioning of social groups. The social structuralists also argue that the function of the incest taboo is to compel the reciprocal exchange of women and that this reciprocity is the ancient and continuing condition for social solidarity in groups larger than the nuclear family. Biosocial explanations of the incest taboo argue that it is the taboo rather than incest that is natural and proximity in childhood leads to sexual aversion. The psychoanalytic argument is grounded directly in Freud’s view that humans are innately incestuous because of the psychological processes of family life and the insistence of the sex drive. There are new theories which take into account both incest and the taboo, the biosocial and social relations both focus on father daughter incest. And the psychoanalytic examines the role of real human relationships in the formation of the self. Meigs and Barlow conclude that the three types of explanations have reached a halt and the only way to continue is to examine other fields of research or take into account both incest and taboo. They present theories and an example of using HRAF. They also explain in detail three new theories and how they are better than the old ones. After all is said and done they are only pointing out what they feel would work instead of implementing it.
STEPHEN MARTIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Meigs, Anna and Kathleen Barlow. Beyond the Taboo: Imagining Incest. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104 (1): 39-46.
This article is concerned primarily with the “incest taboo” in anthropology. It is said that the “incest taboo is as old as anthropology itself” (38). The incest taboo is accompanied by 150 years of anthropological debate and literature. Many anthropologists have complained that literature concerning the incest taboo is “highly speculative and theoretical” (38). Meigs and Barlow state that their goal in this article is to shift “attention from the taboo to incest itself” (38). They put forth three key arguments that provide the basis for discussing the incest taboo: Social Structural, Biosocial, and Psychoanalytic arguments.
The Social Structural point argues that incest is an abuse against social relationship and that it hinders progress of a society. The Biosocial point argues that “proximity” in youth leads to sexual abstinence. For instance, children who grow up together and later get married show a tendency to have fewer births and more divorce. Finally, the Psychoanalytic point, mainly set in Freud’s view, argues that it is human nature to be incestuous “because of the psychological processes of family life and the insistence of the sex drive” (40).
Meigs and Barlow use evidence from several debates between key scholars such as Westermark, Morgan, Bachofen, McLennon, and Freud. Westermark argues for the Biosocial while Morgan, Bachofen, McLennon, and Freud argue for the Psychoanalytic. Meigs and Barlow, however, take apart each of these arguments and discuss the problems that accompany each. In conclusion, they argue that incest cannot be debated until psychoanalytic, feminist, and psychological theories on incest are incorporated into the debate (46).
JOHNNY HESSLER Columbia College (Paige West)
Meigs, Anna and Barlow, Kathleen; Beyond Taboo: Imagining Incest. American Anthropologist March 2002 Vol. 104 (1): 38-49
Barlow and Meigs goal was to shift attention from the taboo to incest itself. They start out by giving a brief history and discussion of incest and incest taboo. The original discussion of incest taboo within anthropology emerged from theories of primitive promiscuity spread by Morgan, Bachofen, Mutterrecht and McLennan and later by Freud. In their views early human groups were dominated by biological urges. The theorist argued that the incest taboo transformed human groups into the ordered and incest free state. The article focuses on three frameworks for discussing the incest taboo: social structural, psychobiological and psychoanalytic.
The social structural explanations emphasize that incest violates the social design and interferes with the proper functioning of social groups. The psychoanalytic argument is reflective of Freud’s view that humans are innately incestuous due to the psychological processes of family life and the insistence of the sex drive. During the investigation of incest and its taboo two questions were asked by the authors: if there was a cross-cultural incidence of incest and what kind of attention has been given to incest in the anthropological literature. In addressing the first question, they turned to the Human Relations Area Files. The most extensive discussion of incest was found in a 1976 issue of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, in which David Schneider articulates questions that might be useful for the investigation of incest.
The authors go on to discussing three approaches to expanding the anthropological discussion. The biosocial and social organizational approaches focus on the cross-cultural salience of father-daughter incest versus brother-sister and mother-son incest. The third approach is based on research connecting trance and possession with incestuous experience. In concluding their findings, Barlow and Meigs state that until anthropologists integrate the complicated findings of psychological, feminist and psychoanalytic theories on incest, they are cut off from the main contemporary sources of explanatory power on this topic. They agree with Naomi Quinn in more synthetic approaches that will address the contributions of cross-cultural comparison, with regard to the methodological and ethnographic challenges in doing so.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
AMBER IQBAL Barnard College, Columbia University (Paige West)
Nadasdy, Paul. “Property” and Aboriginal Land Claims in the Canadian Subarctic: Some Theoretical Considerations. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(1):247-261.
Paul Nadasdy argues that the current land claim process, particularly evident in Canada, compels aboriginal individuals to speak the language of property and thus undermines the fundamental practices inherent in an agreement. Natives are forced to incorporate traditional land relations with Canadian political and legal institutions.
Nadasdy begins with a discussion as to whether the Indians possessed property in the Subarctic. He refers to Frank Speck who claims that by virtue that trespassers were punished and hunting territories were inherited, ownership of land existed. The land claims of the natives preserves their right to property against the more ‘civilized owners’. By attributing property to lower hunters, Speck defied Morgan’s belief of unilinear evolution and the idea that property in land only commenced with the advance of agriculture.
Nadasdy concludes this section by stating that anthropologists seek to define property as universal where each culture encompasses a social or legal establishment analogous to European legal property relations. The danger, however, in applying property cross-culturally and validating non-European social relations is that it justifies inflicting the states views on aboriginal people and aboriginal society. Nadasdy advocates that anthropologists should not define property but rather study individual relations to the various perceptions of property.
The state, in 1950, generated a system of ‘registered traplines’ that permitted owners to trap furbearers in specific areas. The majority of First Nation people endorsed this because it protected natives from infringement by Euro-Canadian trappers. Nadasdy then explained the tension that subsequently developed in the aboriginal world. It is a tension between the proper connection of individuals with land and the necessity to preserve their exclusive rights.
Finally, he discusses the Umbrella Final Agreement that establishes an agreement between the government and all Yukon Indian first nations over land, heritage, taxation, resources, and more. For example, it granted the aboriginal people the right to hunt throughout the entire territory. The agreement not only protected native values and conventional beliefs, but also integrated them into the Canadian nation-state. However, it failed to include other social practices essential to hunting, such as restricting trade commodities and relations. Nadasdy therefore maintains that translating native association with land and animals in terms of hunting rights is problematic. It limits the native’s link to the land and further defines these limitations via European principles of hunting that differ from aboriginal beliefs.
To uphold their close ties to land and animals, Yukon First Nation people were forced to use the language of property to define their values. This process introduces novel conceptions to evaluate land and animals that significantly differ from native aboriginal thought and beliefs.
Paul Nadasdy did fieldwork in Burwash Landing, a village in the Southwest of Canada’s Yukon region, between 1995 and 1998.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ILANA LAUER Barnard College (Paige West)
Nadasdy, Paul. “Property” and Aboriginal Land Claims in the Canadian Subarctic: Some Theoretical Considerations. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol. 104(1):
This article addresses the issue of the Kluane First Nation (KFN) people’s struggles with land claims in southwest Yukon, Canada. According to Paul Nadasdy, in their negotiations with government officials, these aboriginal people are having to learn to think and speak in the “language of property”(247). Yet, Nadasdy states, “the concept of property is in many ways incompatible with many Canadian First Nation people’s views about proper human-animal/land relations” (247). Nadasdy wants to establish in this article “that the land claims process…tends to undermine the very beliefs and practices that a land claim agreement is meant to preserve” (247).
To think in terms of property, one would have to think in terms of ownership, and because of the aboriginal people’s relationship with the land, they are having difficulty thinking in terms of owning the land as property. However, Nadasdy states that the aboriginal people are having to change the way they think in terms of ownership in order to negotiate the land claim agreement with the Canadian government. In this article, Nadasdy is examining what effect this is having on these people, how do they change their way of thinking to engage in the land claim agreement, and what are the implications of the changes. He answers these questions by examining the concept of property and its relation to the land claims process.
Nadasdy explains that “ ‘property’ is the fundamental concept on which the Canadian State has based its relationship with aboriginal peoples…” (248). He further states that the concept of “aboriginal title” is the legal basis for KFN people’s claim to land, and Canada views this as a form of property; however, the Constitution Act recognizes aboriginal people’s “rights to land,” and these rights are dependent upon the assumption that First Nation people “owned” the land. Nadasdy states that the exact relationship of “aboriginal title” and “aboriginal rights” is unclear and complex in Canadian law, but the Canadian Supreme Court treats aboriginal title as a subset of aboriginal rights.
Nadasdy further explains how anthropologists “from around the discipline” (249) attempted to define property. After examining different anthropological theories, he concludes that he is more interested in what the concept of property does than what it is in the Canadian land claims. He points out that “property” is a cultural construct and that aboriginal people did not relate to the land as property until they were faced with European colonial expansions. Now, according to Nadasdy, in order to have some form of control over their land, they must speak in the language of property.
Nadasdy speaks of the property rights of the hunters and fur traders in the Yukon and states that the First Nation people of the southwest Yukon and the Montagnais hunters that were studied by Frank Speck saw the advantage of using the language of property to protect their interests against Euro-Canadian encroachment. He further states that the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) enabled First Nation people to maintain their hunting rights, which, according to him, is an important part of their values, practices, and beliefs. Also, according to Nadasdy, “the right to hunt” is another problem in translating First Nation people’s relationship with the land and animals into the language of property because First Nation people do not see the killing of animals as a right but think of animals as a gift.
Nadasdy further states that the KFN people, especially the younger ones, are learning to accept the idea that they “own” the land and animals upon it because of their need to claim ownership in the land claims process.
In conclusion, Nadasdy presents evidence that establishes that, although it is incompatible with the values, practices, and beliefs of most KFN people, they are learning to use the language of property in order to protect their interests in the land claims process. This establishes that the land claim agreement is not preserving the beliefs and practices of the KFN people as a land claim agreement is meant to do.
RUBY WALKER University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Nadasdy, Paul. “Property” and aboriginal land claims in the Canadian subarctic: Some theoretical considerations. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1):247-261.
In order to claim land for their own use, Canada’s First Nation indigenous people must adopt the Euro-Canadian legal language of property. Paul Nadasdy analyzes the differences between this language and the First Nation people’s beliefs about the relationship of people to land, and concludes that translating their beliefs into the language of property results in distortion and tension within the community and with the state. Because of this distortion, the land claim process itself undermines the very beliefs and practices that it is supposed to protect.
Nadasdy frames his argument in the context of the debate, sparked by Frank Speck’s 1915 article in American Anthropologist, as to whether or not aboriginal people were territorial about land and family hunting grounds, and whether or not this was a consequence of colonialism and the fur trade. Speck stated that the hunting tribes he studied did have a concept of ownership over the land, in an attempt to disprove Morgan’s theory of unilinear evolution. Nadasdy summarizes the history of anthropological definitions of property, and concludes that they are either ethnocentric or too broad to be analytically useful. The decision to call a relationship “property” is basically a political one, and it is the power-based politics that Nadasdy says anthropologists should focus on.
First Nation people believe land cannot be “owned” by anyone. The relationship of people to land and animals is complex and reciprocal, and cannot be reduced to the European concept of owning property without distortion. The Umbrella Final Agreement between the Canadian state, the Yukon, and the First Nation people attempted to address the people’s need for land to continue their traditions. It granted them hunting rights on all Crown land in the Yukon. However, the term “hunting rights,” based on European concepts of hunting and land rights, is too limited to encompass traditional ways that people use the land. Tensions have formed among First Nation people as well, as those who have adopted the language of property confront those who reject it or are ambivalent. Nadasdy concludes that land claims, because of their one-sided terminology, end up leaving power with the state.
This article is long, complicated and somewhat repetitive. But its subject is complicated as well. Nadasdy includes several anecdotes to illustrate his points.
KATHERINE CAMP Barnard College (Paige West)
Nadasdy, Paul. “Property” and Aboriginal Land Claims in the Canadian Subarctic: Some Theoretical Considerations. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol. 104(1): 247-259
In this article, Nadasdy explored the impact of Canada’s land claim process on First Nation people. Nadasdy based his article on his fieldwork, which took place from 1995 to 1998, in the southwest corner of Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Nadasdy begins by recounting the argument among anthropologists as to whether First Nation people “owned” the land they had lived on before the Europeans arrived. Nadasdy points out that neither side of the argument ever questioned the concept of “ownership” and “property.” Rather, both sides argued whether or not the relationship that First Nation people had maintained with the land fit into the European notion of “property,” or more specifically, “private property.”
Noting this shortcoming in the argument, Nadasdy turned to those anthropologists who did theorize property. In attempts to make the concept of property less ethnocentric, most property theorists tried to universalize, to varying degrees, the definition of property. Although this expanded concept of property did make the idea of property less ethnocentric, the new conceptions of property were so broad that they stripped the word of any meaning.
Instead of theorizing property, Nadasdy suggested that anthropologists should try to understand why and how people struggle over concepts of “property” at all. Nadasdy pointed out that the relationship First Nation people had to the land had been translated into terms of “property” because this was, the language of the state of Canada. The First Nation people were compelled to use Canada’s language because Canada held the power.
Using the language of property meant translating the First Nation people’s conception of the world into a new understanding based on very different assumptions. Learning this new understanding of the world has affected different First Nation people in different ways. Some now view their land claims to mean that they “own” the land as Euro-Canadians “own” the land: with exclusive possession and control. In contrast, other First Nation people dislike, and reject, the Euro-Canadian idea of “owning” land. Although the use of the language of property has affected individuals differently, overall, the language has created a tension both within and among individuals concerning their view of their relationship to the land.
TALI SWANN-STERNBERG Barnard College (Paige West)
Nader, Laura. Missing Links: A Commentary on Ward H. Goodenough’s Moving Article “Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond”. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2): 441-447.
Nader writes in response to Ward H. Goodenough’s article, “Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond”, that he fails to address some major aspects of anthropological work of the 20th century. Things such as: the political economy, gender, representation, the Cold War, the Native American Grave Protection and Reparation Act (NAGPRA), the new physical anthropology, the anthropology of science, colonialism, and tourism. While Nader recognizes that Goodenough cannot include all of these issues, they are important in the evaluation of anthropology in the 20th century and noticeably missed.
Opposed to Goodenough’s assertion that anthropology progresses steadily over time, Nader proposes that the science of anthropology is complex and it evolves in an undeterminable manner. Numerous world events have spurred extensive debate over the validity of anthropology as a science. These debates have served to improve anthropology and reevaluate the relationship between the people who do the studying and those who are being studied and the means of acquiring information. What remains constant is the “anthropological attitude” to rethink common assumptions and to remain disconnected from what one is observing.
Nader asserts that intellectual advances of the 20th century are a result of a combination of new ways of thought and technology as opposed to Goodenough’s idea of technological advances acting as the primary sources of progress. History becomes important again as the concept of an “ethnographic present” where people are unchanging, and other misconceptions of the previously biased science of anthropology are abandoned. Nader argues that Goodenough fails to acknowledge the contribution of world events in raising important issues to be studied by anthropologists. Anthropologist assisted in response to these events by providing valuable information that effect the way later generations view and react to history. Among many developments of the 20th century, anthropology moved away from the idea that culture is received to recognizing that it is made.
SHIRA ZINBERG Barnard College (Paige West)
Nader, Laura. Missing Links: A Commentary on Ward H. Goodenough’s Moving Article “Anthropology in the 20th Century and Beyond.” American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol. 104(2): 441-449.
This article is a response to a paper presented by Ward H. Goodenough in which he offers a brief historical analysis of the discipline of Anthropology in relation to technological advances in the field. The author of this critique is Laura Nader who suggests that Goodenough’s assessment lacks cohesion because it omits certain critical motivators, such as politics.
It is Nader’s position that anthropology has not moved forward in logical sequences, but rather, has been coerced into redefining itself due to outside influences such as the Cold War, scientific discoveries, and globalization issues. While she grants that technological advances have increased the scope of research possible, she argues that inherent Anglo-American biases have dictated a narrow viewpoint that must be enlarged to include non-European perspectives and events. In this regard, she cites ‘ideas’ as a process that promulgates new methodologies in praxis, and suggests that technology alone is inadequate to account for epistemological nuances.
Instead, Nader holds that relations of power and economics must be considered when studying social groups, especially in the context of globalization. Further, Nader raises the question of the origins of violence, and notes that anthropologists must redefine how their work will affect those whom they study.
Like Goodenough, Nader views the four subfields of Anthropology as interdependent, and when operating jointly with other disciplines, combine to increase our knowledge of human social networks. She sees the principle change in Anthropology in the last century to have been a reversal from armchair theorizing to participant observation, but questions the validity of much of the ethnographic data due to researcher biases.
Nader’s view for the future of the discipline invites cooperation between researcher and subject in a collaborative endeavor, and understands that issues such as pollution, genetics, and restoration of indigenous peoples’ rights have come to the forefront of anthropological theory and praxis. Thus, she sees anthropology as a global discipline capable of overcoming the prejudices of the past, and forging a coherent and cohesive effort to understand our common humanity.
MARGO SMITH University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Nader, Laura. Missing links: A commentary on Ward H. Goodenough’s moving article “Anthropology in the 20th century and Beyond.” American Anthropologist June, 2002. Vol. 104(2):441-449.
This article is Laura Nader’s reaction to Ward H. Goodenough’s optimist synopsis of 20th century anthropological knowledge in the US. Although Nader found his article to be logical and expressive, she states that it was not comprehensive enough and takes it upon herself to address the issues that she feels are overlooked. First, she argues that anthropology is much more complex and encompasses more area than Goodenough suggested. Hence, Nader provides a extensive list of anthropological relationships and further states that the way in which anthropology is constituted has been dramatically affected by external developments. She expands on this by noting that because the observer and the observed are now so closely connected, anthropologists now have to carefully consider the conditions under which to obtain their data.
Nader also criticizes Goodenough for neglecting the fact that anthropology is rapidly becoming a discipline practiced throughout the world. As a result, foreign colleagues are criticizing traditional Anglo-American standards for its inherent biases and questionable scientific validity. The gap between the West and the rest is steadily closing; instead, the planet is being enveloped by anthropological commonality. Nader also mentions that Goodenough failed to give due credit to 20th-century British social anthropology, which gave the US greater insight to the political and social processes in other parts of the world.
By using an analogy to archaeology, Nader goes on to argue that Goodenough was wrong to suggest that technological innovation is the primary catalyst behind the progress of anthropological knowledge. Instead, she puts the emphasis on ideas and interpretation. But Nader then states that the most salient aspect of Goodenough’s article was its lack of reference to world events. She asserts that in order to understand the internal activity of any US science, one must comprehend the impact of both hot and cold wars. Especially neglected in physical and biological anthropology, the impact of the Cold War was in essence, revolutionary. It created crucial changes in all aspects of anthropology and the need for an ethnography of anthropology was finally acknowledged. Nader supports her argument with numerous examples of the Cold War’s global influence.
Towards the end of her article, Nader addresses several issues resulting in the turn the century. Furthermore, she anticipates even more change in the development of anthropology as well as a greater public need for it.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CAROL CHEN, Columbia University (Paige West)
Roseman, Sharon R. “Strong women” and “pretty girls”: Self-provisioning, gender, and class identity in rural Galicia (Spain). American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 22-37.
This article examines expressions of class and gender identity in a worker-peasant community in rural Galicia (Spain). While men who have worked in distant places define their own class positionality partly through reference to the unpaid, subsistence work done mostly by the women in the community, these same women proficiently “code switch” between a labradora (the peasant woman), or “strong woman” and as guapas (the pretty ones), or “pretty girls” manner through their work, activities, dress and use of domestic space.
One of the author’s aims is to suggest that more focus should be put on how laboring bodies become gendered. Women in Carreira self-consciously “code switch” between “peasant” and nonpeasant demeanors as part of their compromise of where they fit into a broader economic and social system. Their ability to transform themselves from “strong women” into “pretty girls” and back again is tied to ideas of different images of femininity. Also, this variable assumption of different roles is linked to the variable consumption of commoditized and noncommoditized products. Roseman points out that a full study of subaltern notions of labor, class, and gender should entail a consideration of ideas and behaviors associated with consumption.
The article points out that one of the key ways in which both women and men in Carreira define their own positionality within the structures of economic stratification is to reassert the priority of unwaged provisioning work. This includes raising crops and livestock as well as food processing and meal preparation. In addition to their recognition of women’s contributions to income, men in Carreira increase the value of their own nonwage traballo (“labor” or “work”) by actively participating in unpaid subsistence activities when they return to the village. It is also clearly shown that women, more than men, signify clearly that they are not members of the urban-based Spanish working and middles classes through their bodies. Not only do women perform the majority of the unwaged provisioning labor that helps the family meet their daily needs, they also symbolize this situation by dressing like the “peasants” they consider themselves, in part, to be.
Roseman specifically uses two women, Concepcion and her granddaughter Maria, to illustrate this code switching and the value Carreira places on women like them. The article shows that women like Concepcion and Maria not only code switch between provisioning styles but also utilize their domestic spaces, their own bodies, and their daily chores to negotiate an alternative gender and class identity. An example of this is when Concepcion and Maria are found butchering a pig in their well-furnished salon. By choosing to perform the preparation of the pig in their modern, ornamented salon, they explicitly played off the “pretty girl” consumer setting of the salon against the idealized image of the “good, country life” and their own role as “peasant” producers and consumers for their families.
This article uses the example of Carreira to talk about the importance of analyses of cultural expressions of class and gender identity that take into account the social relations of provisioning strategies. Roseman demonstrates that because subsistence production is the core of the alternative positioning of the Galician worker-peasants and is largely performed by women, it has caused men to define their own class identities at least partly through women’s unpaid labor. Overall, the aim of this article seems to be to accentuate the importance of anthropologists’, and historians’ analytical treatments of unpaid and paid labor, cultures of work, and work identities, and also of emergent expressions of class and gender identity in the context of mixed livelihood practices.
HANNAH AHN Barnard College, Columbia University (Paige West)
Roseman, Sharon. “Strong Women” and “Pretty Girls”: Self-provisioning, Gender, and Class Identity in Rural Galicia (Spain). American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1): 23-37.
Women of a small village called Carreira in Spain maintain their way of life by upholding the cultural practices of hard subsistence farm labor. In order to be respected in the village, a woman must be seen several hours of the day dressed for work, butchering and preparing meat, caring for children, and working in the vegetable gardens, essentially showing a strong woman” exterior. Simultaneously, the women create a network of cultural maintenance by putting down women who have bought into consumerism and commodities. Women who are not farm laborers are seen as lazy and are considered to have nothing to do, but clean already clean houses, spoil their children, and go to salons.
The men of Carreira also serve in cultural gate keeping. They work menial and migrant jobs to bring a small amount of money to the household, but publicly talk about how great it is that their wives work without wages. In some instances, a man will make a substantial amount of money or money will come into the family by way of inheritance. In cases like these, it is important for the family to downplay their comparative wealth.
Young people are experiencing a change in the society. Many young women of Carreira no longer wear the wooden soled shoes, long dresses, aprons, and handkerchiefs characteristic of farm labor, but do dress as ”pretty girls” when they have to go between worlds. They are also allowed to dress in that fashion during social events because it is considered appropriate when cine is looking for a husband. The new generation however is finding some benefits of rural living in the sense of community and delicious vegetables and meat.
EMILY M. VAULTONBURG University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Roseman, Sharon. Strong Women and Pretty Girls: Self-provisioning, Gender, and Class Identity in Rural Galicia. American Anthropologist, March 2002. 104(1):22-27.
In the rural Spanish town of Carreira, the people practice a mixed agricultural/wage labor economy, in which they take particular pride. One part of a family’s income is earned by men or women in the form of cash, and another part is earned by the women in the form of domestic work, which can include crops grown at home, livestock grown by the women and tended to daily, and other such products of the woman’s labor. The women are seen as co-earners of livelihood, and as strong supporters of their families, unlike in some other places, where the woman’s domestic role is not seen as very valuable and deemed “normal” and not very special.
As far as gender roles go, Carreira is different from other communities. There is a dual way for women of seeing their roles in the community, as the title of the article implies. These women are proud of being laborers and hard workers. Since the community depends on them for much of it’s income, being a laborer is important for the women’s social status, and they need to be hard domestic workers in order to be accepted. If a woman is seen idling, she no longer has the respect of the other women or men of the community. Women make sure that their neighbors know that they work a lot, and that they do hard manual labor outdoors, besides easier chores inside the house. They dress in working clothes and set themselves apart from mere “housewives” who do no outdoor labor and spend their days doing dishes, dusting the furniture and acting “ladylike”. “Strong women” is how they see themselves and wish others to see them. This attitude is very prevalent, as demonstrated by the case of Encarnacion, a middle-class woman with money, who could afford to have an easier, less labor-focused life, who chooses to downplay her social status and perform outdoor labor anyway, so as not to risk being scorned at. On the other hand, when it is socially necessary for them to be feminine (during a festival or a wedding for instance), they make an effort to look and dress like “modern women”, wearing stylish clothes and jewelry. This juxtaposition of femininity and strength is embodied in the article by a scene that the author encountered once, when she visited the home of an old woman from the village. She saw the old woman and her granddaughter dressed in working clothes, butchering a pig in their living room- a place full of expensive furniture, normally used only to receive guests and display family heirlooms. As a whole, Roseman makes a point in this article that the identity of individuals in the community is based in part on the public recognition of the woman’s role as a provider. The woman’s role is not directly tied to her husband’s social position, and the women in the community are perceived as both feminine and strong.
LIZZA PROTAS Barnard College (Paige West)
Roseman, Sharon. “Strong Women” and “Pretty Girls”: Self-Provisioning, Gender, and Class Identity in Rural Galicia (Spain) American Anthropologist, 2002 Volume 104: 22-33.
Sharon Roseman writes about gender and class identity in a rural, worker-peasant community in Galicia, Spain. She argues that members of this quasi-working class population developed general gender and class identity through the influence and respect of others in the community.
Roseman shows the class differences in material goods, clothing and speech as well as the inevitable blending of those differences in the households and lives of people in the community. In the article, it is explained that there are two types of labor, the paid labor and the unpaid labor. Traditionally, women always worked with out pay. Because of this, men found their self-identity and class identities through women’s unpaid labor.
Women in Galicia were often referred to as “Strong Women” or “Pretty Girls.” These “strong women” were identified as the unpaid laborers and the “pretty girls” were either housewives, or girls that went off to school. The “strong women” looked at the “pretty girls” as having lost their traditional values of supporting the household.
The traditional woman’s job was to grow the food and raise livestock for their family’s necessities. This unpaid labor work force not only dressed in a very traditional manner, which identified them as peasant-workers, but also spoke in a peasant tongue, different from Spain’s traditional Castilian Spanish.
Though there was a distinct difference between the “Strong Women” and the “Pretty Girls,” Roseman shows how the two can intermix, or “code switch” in modern day society. In one example Concepción, a “Strong Woman” performs a traditional task of butchering a pig in order to feed her family. What is interesting about this particular task, which represents the traditional side of her culture, is that she does it in her salon, or livingroom. The salon consists of new manufactured goods which is a symbol of prosperity and is a space where Concepción will act as a “Pretty Girl” during fiestas. This ‘code switching” thought of butchering raw flesh in the nicest room of the house almost de-emphasizes certain ideas of class status’.
Roseman shows the same idea with peasant girls who go to school. When at school, they dress and talk differently than when they are working on the farm at home. Also women seeking future husbands will go to discotecs and dress like a “pretty girl,” and appearance much different from their everyday, traditional life. Younger generations of the community find themselves conflicted between their independence and traditional ways of life. However, most end up returning home.
CLARITY RATE: 4
JOHANNE HORNSLETH Columbia University (Paige West)
Rowley-Conwy, Peter. Obituary: Sir Grahame Clark (1907-95). American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): l 009-1012.
The late Sir Grahame Clark was a revered British archaeologist, working in the fields of Mesolithic/Neolithic societal economies and ecologies, in particular. He attended Cambridge University in 1926, received his PhD. in 1934 and studied, taught or worked in Cambridge’s Peterhouse College for 54 years. He was an important part of one of the first interdisciplinary organizations aimed at archaeological research, the Fenland Research Committee, which included even captains of industry such as Gordon Fowler, and other non-academicians. His interest in the underwater archaeology of extinct landscapes was kindled when in 1931 he recovered a harpoon of bone from the North Sea and began looking toward Scandinavia where underwater digs were a focus. He even wrote that the fact that the prehistoric peoples used far more than stone tools and that waterlogged sites could be some of the richest stores of organic artifacts, again citing Scandinavia as an excellent example.
One of the early books that he authored is still considered to be highly influential in the study hunter-gatherer cultures, his 1936 The Mesolithic Settlement of Northern Europe. Continuing his studies of prehistoric cultural economies and ecologies, he also wished for a British site to compare to those of Scandinavia with the rich organic cultural materials and he found one called Star Carr. As with the site where he found the bone harpoon 18 years earlier, in 1949 and through 1951 he conducted excavations of a peat bog region of Yorkshire that was discovered by an amateur archaeologist in 1947. It has been noted that what he seemed to consider most important to the findings of Starr Carr were the pollen and animal bones recovered, which he placed before his own chapters in the final site reports. According to Clark and the author, Rowley-Conwy, Sir Grahame Clark authored at least 158 papers, texts and findings over his life.
MONTY WATSON University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Salzman, Philip Carl. On Reflexivity. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 805-813.
Philip Carl Salzman mandates that reflexivity is the most widely accepted postmodernist anthropological philosophy. Reflexivity, distilled, is the understanding of the self through the comprehension of the other. Through reflexivity one is continually reevaluating self-involvement within data and research. By way of this continual reevaluation, one comes to recognize personal positionality and biases. However, Salzman questions the real value of reflexivity within anthropology.
Salzman uses his colleagues to evaluate reflexivity, specifically Jean Brigs, Thomas Belmonte, William C. Young and Renato Resaldo. He uses Jean Briggs to assess whether the self is truly an accurate form of data, as he later deems it biased and self-created. Moreover, he used Young to reflect upon postionality, as Young claimed that by recognizing one’s own position and claiming responsibility for personal biases, we can achieve objectivity and truth. However, he is most critical of Renato Resaldo’s “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage.” Within this piece, Resaldo describes the impossibility of understanding “the other” without having the same or similar personal experiences (such as why one would want to behead another out of rage i.e. headhunters). Thus, positionality molds personal perspectives.
The author George Eliot articulates the main problem with reflexivity that Salzman realizes, “Who can represent himself just as he is, even in his own reflections?” (808). Experience cannot be represented as a realistic truth, because how we represent our own personal experiences, with the other or within ourselves, can never be presented objectively. Moreover, he utilizes Resaldo’s argument to deconstruct reflexivity: if positionality creates perception, then we cannot understand people unless we have analogous experiences. Salzman argues that experience does not necessarily create understanding, and by limiting the study of “the other” through the necessary comprehension of “the other,” we devalue our ability to sympathize and imagine through observation (not the same as experience).
Similarly, he disagrees with Young’s interpretation of positionality, as it is divisive, playing into stereotypes and categories, “One aspect of his ‘position’ is that he is a man. What exactly can we infer from this? Should we expect Young to tell us only about men and not about women?” (809). Thus, Salzman does not understand how the generalization which create positionality (i.e. gender, religion, race) explain much about perspective, particularly when it is a cultural anthropologist’s job to observe and not accept cultural stereotypes.
Salzman ends his piece with a reiteration of the undesirability of reflexivity, as self-reports are tainted. He concludes that the way to escape the impartiality of reflexivity is through group research and ethnography. Through a collaborative effort, others can continually question and test individual opinions or “positions.”
HANNAH GORDON: Barnard College (Paige West)
Salzman, Philip. On Reflexivity. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 805-813.
This journal deals with the concept of reflexivity. The aim of the journal is to provide a description of reflexivity as well as a critique. It first discusses what reflexivity is. The author starts this section by quoting the oxford dictionary and then supplying different definitions from different sources such as anthropologists. At the end of this section he defines refexivity the constant awareness, assessment, and reassessment by the researcher of the researcher’s own contribution of influence of intersubjective research and the consequent research findings. It then goes on to explore the ethnographic examples of reflexivity. He does this by citing to early and two recent ethnographies. For the early ethnographies he uses Jean L. Briggs and Thomas Belmonte. For the recent ethnographies he uses Renato Rosaldo and William C. Young. Next it states three uses of refexivity. First is the organizational effect. Within anthropology, reflexivity distinguishes the postmodernists from the modernists. Second, it is believed that reflexivity allows researchers to do better research. Third, reflexivity provides the reader of the ethnographic reports with information necessary to assessing those reports.
The journal then questions the validity of reflexivity. It does so by examining and critiquing the ethnographies that were cited earlier. He gives reasons such as self deception and creative manipulation of image. The author comes to the conclusion that reflexivity does not seem to posses the benefits it is claimed to have. Finally, the journal discusses the implications reflexivity has for ethnographies. The author believes that reflexivity has had a negative effect on anthropology. He feels that the advance of anthropology is best guaranteed not by introspection but by a vital and vigorous marketplace of ideas. He also suggests that the way to improve ethnographies is to replace solitary research with team research. He ends by stating that reflexivity proves to be unreliable and unhelpful. Furthermore, the concept of reflexivity may have been accepted and adopted rather too uncritically.
NICHOLE JACKSON University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Salzman, Phillip Carl. On Reflexivity. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):806-813.
In his article, Salzman analyzes the role of reflexivity, or the ethnographers integration of his own position into his work, and subsequently evaluates its use in an ethnographic text. Beginning with a historical definition and explanation, through both dictionaries and fields suc as psychology and philosophy. Formerly a tool for individual development, it becomes a part of postmodernist anthropology as it attempted to define itself against scientific method. The beginning of this era of ethnography, in the 1970s, finds its origins in researchers such as Bob Scholte, who refered to a hermeneutic which travels from the understanding of others, to that of the self, to self-liberation, to the liberation of others, then back to the understanding of others. Out of this thought process came a gradual universality of reflexivity which avoids objectification, then later evolves to a complete lack of objectivity which only a constant watch on the position of the researcher can solve. Salzman then identifies the uses of reflexivity, which include its organizational effect, its role as a route to better ethnography, and also its importance in aiding the reader in an evaluation. He then, however, labels this technique as “pre-freudian” in its neglect of man’s inability to fully understand himself. These methods are not knowledge building; they are only “paths of investigation.” These insights, asserts Sulzman, must be followed up by a measuring of these ideas against them. Insisting that we, as humans, can indeed understand other humans without being like or one of their kind, he mentions that this reflexivity seperates people into sociopolitical constructs which silences them as members of humanity. Self-analysis, Salzman proves thorough numerous examples, should not necessairily be equated with successful ethnography. This categorizing, or definition of seperations from ethnographer and subject, tell little of the individual’s humanity and mislead in an understanding of who the person is. A definition, in fact, of the ethnographer, could be more false even than a definiton of others, as the author proves that man has much skill in self-deception. Reflexivity, he concludes, does lead to fascinating insights, which, when merged with follow up through group ethnography. This multi-pronged anthropology does not shy away from introspection, but depends on it in close association with the respective responses of colleagues and their collaboration.
LEE NORSWORTHY Barnard College (Paige West)
Schneider, Jane and Schneider, Peter. The Mafia and al-Qaeda: Violent and Secretive Organizations in Comparative and Historical Perspective. American Anthropologist, September 2002. Vol. 104 (3): 776-782.
This article was based on an essay published after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, comparing the history and repression against organized crime and attempts to repress the al-Qaeda network. To many, there cannot be apparent analogies between the two groups because religious ideology and fanaticism set both groups apart. However, Schneider and Schneider concluded that despite the clear religious distinction, both the mafia and al-Qaeda share these common traits—transnational networking structures, revenge feeding their high energy levels, sponsorship by states, revenue from illegal and legal commerce, and violence committed by both groups lead to government crackdowns.
The article focused mostly on mafia history. Beginning with the Neapolitan Bourbons in the 19th century governing indirectly through powerful landowners who lacked the knowledge to deal with dislocations, employed bandits, called Mafiosi, as bodyguards for local landowners and government officials. Mafiosi claimed that their purpose was to restore order by condemning kidnapping, but secretly extorted money from rich landowners. The government turned a blind eye to these dealings until the Fascist movement during the 1930s where Mafiosi reemerged; during the 1950s, Mafiosi offered electoral support for Christian Democrats in opposition to the Communist Party of Italy. The mafia was at its most dangerous during the 1970s to 1990s; during the 1980s, mafia activity has been truncated with the help of “justice collaborators,” ex-Mafiosi who revealed the inner workings of the mafia. More institutions, such as banks, churches and universities, have helped in spreading awareness about the mafia, with volunteering, advocacy and protest. The al-Qaeda, in connection to the mafia, had a similar history of development in relation to fighting against al-Qaeda. Activists learned from other antimafia countries as they followed dirty money trails and discovered criminal evidence, citizen movements against violence materialized in Muslim countries, and a realization that state support isn’t unitary for these groups.
Schneider and Schneider believe that issues such as its target market, poverty, and rhetoric in classifying the struggles against the mafia and al-Qaeda need to be changed. Most antimafia discourse is aimed at the middle class, but the majority of mafia supporters were reported as coming from working class neighborhoods. The use of the word “war” has negative connotations for Americans and Europeans, causing people to mistake activism against terrorism for an actual war. Ramifications of political alliances must also, according to Schneider and Schneider, be seen in the long run—allegiance to certain nations and groups can lead to future dangerous situations. The al-Qaeda, for example, received support from Presidents Carter and Regan during guerilla warfare against the Soviets in the 1970s and 1980s.
SUE ANN NELSON Barnard College (Paige West)
Schneider, Jane, and Peter Schneider. The Mafia and al-Qaeda: Violent and Secretive Organizations in Comparative and Historical Perspective. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 776-782.
In the wake of the September 11th tragedies an understanding of the groups involved is critical. The authors ask us to examine some similarities between the Mafia and al-Queda. Some of these are their networked structures that extend over boundaries, their common motives of revenge, sponsorship by states, parasitic revenue avenues and their history of violence. The Mafia arose in Sicily from bandits employed by the most powerful landowners to keep order and protect them. Things have escalated throughout the years leading to the Mafia’s involvement in many economic and political ventures. An antimafia struggle in Sicily and Italy has been successful in lessening the effects of organized crime. They challenged the people involved as well as the government who had a hand in creating and keeping it alive. Although the movement was successful, the problems of poverty and unemployment that led to such a strong Mafia support have never been resolved. Schneider and Schneider have four ideas for the United States as we look towards dealing with al-Queada. First is learning from and working with other countries to follow people involved. Second, dealing with the shared responsibility that some of our agencies were involved in the creation and support of al-Queada. Third, recognizing the importance of anti-violence movements all over the world and finally, the primary concern, working against poverty.
More similarities between the Mafia and al-Queda are their formation of small cells that are spread across different towns, countries and even continents. In each there are social bonds that tie the people together. They are both motivated by revenge and greed and present themselves as “men of honor.” The authors ask that Americans, in the spirit of the antimafia struggle, do what they can to limit their government’s actions that could lead to more problems. Some examples are conserving oil and a new approach to dealing with “the war on drugs.” The approach to al-Queda should be seen as an undertaking or task, not a war. They understand that this may not seem logical to Americans who see war as successful. In conclusion, the authors note that the ongoing talks about war as a solution to terrorism may not have the best approach and may alienate people that could be very useful to the cause.
AOIFE KEENAN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Schneider, Peter and Schneider, Jane. The Mafia and al-Qaeda: Violent and Secretive Organizations in Comparative and Historical Perspective. American Anthropologist September 2002. Vol. 104(3): 776-782.
The Schneiders here are writing in a modern context, a post September 11th context, concerning the role of violent, secretive groups in society. To prove their points about current terrorism, Peter and Jane Schneider relate the Mafia of the 80s and 90s to al-Qaeda of the new century. The authors confront that although many doubt the validity of the comparison, mostly because al-Qaeda is firmly based on religion, the Schneiders argue that the comparison is strikingly applicable.
The article uses a bulk of knowledge about the Mafia and some on al-Qaeda to trace the similar foundational qualities of the two. The structure of both groups and their relation to their own society and to global communities, as well, prove very similar. “This intertwining of aggression and an ideology of equity-murder and retribution justice-seem to us characteristic of violent and secretive societies, whether Mafiosi or al-Qaeda.” With vast knowledge, the Schneiders go to the origin of the Mafia, originally a group of people established to protect wealthy landowners from bandits in the Sicilian countryside. They began not only approved by society but necessitated by the weak, disorganized new Sicilian government. Clearly though, while the Mafia were still needed for this protection against bandits and later Communists, they proliferated and became a violent animal before the government had enough clarity to stop this emerging subgroup. What was once necessitated by Sicily eventually became dreaded by citizens, but only at a point when dissolving it proved very difficult because of its risky and intertwined nature.
Similarly was the development of al-Qaeda. Supplying guerilla movements against pro-Soviet Afghanistan during the Cold War through the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence), the US gave al-Qaeda movements in Pakistan greater momentum and vitality through the increased weaponry and increased success over Afghani groups. By the time violence became rampant by al-Qaeda, stopping the group was already nearly impossible.
The Schneiders thoroughly display how something originally fueled by society can become a menace to members of its own society eventually. And such becomes the problem globally when people outside of these societies black list the tainted society as a whole when in actuality, many within the society condemn the increasingly brutal practices of the subgroup as unacceptable. However, their stance is often a very difficult stance to take, considering their geographic location and social identity; the groups have historically been very intertwined to the place and the civilization. It is often hard to distinguish the terrorism and violence from the society that they originate in, but this article forces the reader to do so more avidly by explaining the situation of the Mafia and al-Qaeda from a more domestic perspective.
With much background research, the Schneiders successfully propose the idea that antimafia in Sicily reaches a similar level as antiterrorism within the geographic confines of al-Qaeda’s home. And by proving this as their point, the Schneiders also prove that terms like “global war on terrorism” deeply alienate citizens that are attempting to intellectually gather and prosecute those groups wronging society, whether these citizens are Americans or Westerners or whether these citizens belong to the intertwined society of the very group itself.
CLARITY RATING: 3.5
LINDSAY WARREN Columbia University (Paige West)
Shahrani, Nazif M. War, Factionalism, and the State in Afghanistan. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104 (3): 715-722.
Shahrani first addresses three popular theories that describe the present state of Afghanistan. The first theory, proposed by International Security Experts: Zalmay Khalilzad and Daniel Byman, explains that as a result of the withdrawal of the Soviet Red Army, Afghanistan fell into chaos, civil war, and fragmentation. The second theory represented by Goodson claims that the chaos is due to a “weak/failed state syndrome”. The fragmentary sections of the state are prone to violence for resolving intercommunal problems and are also susceptible to manipulations by outside powers. The third theory is offered by David Edwards. He suggests that the chaos is due to moral incoherence of Afghanistan itself and less due to divisions between ethnic and religious-sectarian groups.
All three of these explanations alone are recognized by the author as “not entirely satisfactory”.
The author suggests that to fully understand the conflict in Afghanistan the internal communal conflicts must be recognized in relation to a broader scheme of its history as a postcolonial (and post-Soviet) state, its multinational societies, as well as foreign manipulation. When analyzing all of the internal factors that contribute to the factionalism in the Afghan state, they fall short in encompassing all of the larger economic and political factors. The three basic foundations of organization in Afghanistan are Islam, ethnicity, and kinship. These three forms of organization have been manipulated and utilized by the groups, individuals, and the government for their own agendas often with unforeseen consequences. The foundations are not the causes of the consequences; it is the context in which they are used that is problematic. To begin to understand the contexts, first it is necessary to identify all the sociocultural principles that provide cultural ideas and norms for conceptualizing social groups and regulating social relations (which the author does in other articles). Second, it is important to understand the history of Afghanistan for the last one hundred years. The second point: understanding the contexts in which Islam, ethnicity, and kinship are utilized in a historical analysis is the main focus of the article which traces the recent history of the modern nation Afghan State. Afghanistan was created by Britain as a buffer state between czarist Russia and British India. Britain places Prince Abdur Rahman of the Pashtun clan in power in 1879; his reign of terror and torture is the model for all the later rulers to follow in the twentieth century. Another major problem was drawing national boundaries around non-similar groups and separating similar groups, which also disregarded the three foundations of organization. Then in the 1960’s under the USSR’s influence Afghanistan’s Communist Party was created which eventually took power which was met by resistance; so they “invited”the Soviets to invade the country in 1979 for a 24-year-long war. In 1989, the Soviets withdrew their troops, which were funded by the United States. Afghanistan, now completely vulnerable after two decades of war, is taken advantage of by its neighbors: Pakistan and Iran, which heighten its internal conflicts by funding. Finally, the state is relatively peaceful until: 1.) US oil coalition wants to build a pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2.) Pakistan wants the pipeline, 3.) Mullah Mohammed Omar is rising in power as the Taliban and can make the pipeline work with Pakistan and the US. Pakistan brokers a deal with Sudan to place Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan to raise Al-Qaeda militant troops to fight alongside the Taliban terrorizing the Afghan people.
It is not only the internal warring factions that are the culprit of the chaos, but also the way in which external forces manipulated the factions which was also detrimental. The problem is not that the diverse groups of people in Afghanistan rebel against a central authority, as is often perceived by the phrase of internal warring factions. The central governments have been cruel and corrupt. The most important way to rebuild the Afghan state now, is not to focus on who should rule, but rather how to rule according to its diverse groups of people.
MARIANNA DOUGHERTY Barnard College (Paige West)
Shahrani, Nazif M. War, Factionalism, and the State in Afghanistan. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 714-721.
The main point the article deals with is the explanations put forth to account for the rise of a foreign-led terrorist network in Afghanistan, following the September 11th attacks. The article opposes the ideas presented thus far as sole explanations. The explanations offered have focused on the role of outside forces especially following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989; the effects of meddling by outside powers; and the presence of deeply contradictory moral codes within the Afghan political culture.
Other international and regional security experts also explain the chaos in Afghanistan by “invoking the notion of a “weak/failed state syndrome”… states that have failed to build strong centralized government with capabilities “to penetrate society, regulate social relationships, extract resources, and appropriate or use resources” are weak states.” Among other hampering factors is the existence of many quarrelsome ethnic, tribal, and religious-sectarian communities. Another explanation offered sees Afghanistan’s political chaos to be due to the moral incoherence of Afghanistan itself, which is a product of “the conjunction of three contradictory and incompatible moral systems.” According to the argument of the article, none of these explanations is entirely satisfactory in itself.
An understanding of the current situation in Afghanistan also requires the recognition that its political and military chaos is not an isolated phenomenon, and the particular social and political dynamics of Afghanistan’s history. “This involves recognizing that internal communal conflicts in Afghanistan are part of a much wider affliction common to many postcolonial (and now post-Soviet) states and multinational societies.” The article argues that it was “the incessantly centralizing state policies and practices of internal colonialism,” which produced the negative impact on state-building efforts in Afghanistan.
Issues of social identity (ethnic, kinship, and religious), in changing power relations and attempts at state-building must be examined in relationship to its “structure of governance and political ecology.” The article further states that Afghanistan’s problems started way before the communist coup in 1978, and that it is a result of “the creation and re-creation of national frontiers that began with the drawing of boundaries of Afghanistan in the 1880s.”
Even though, by 1989 the Soviets withdrew their troops form Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran still encouraged the political parties to fight not only the communist regime and the Soviets, but also among themselves. It is also Pakistan that later offered money, weapons, and logistical support to the Taliban; who proceeded to “take the rest of the country by force, pursuing a policy of total war.” It is within this environment that the Pakistani Intelligence Service offered Osama bin Laden a safe haven in Afghanistan, “an act that laid the foundation for a Taliban-bin Laden alliance.”
As to the future of Afghanistan, the author suggest that attention be focused on “how a multiethnic society should be governed, rather that who should govern it.” Another suggestion is an allowance for local self-government, a right to elect or hire community administrators, and to create common regional administrative units. “Afghanistan needs to create a loosely structured federal government that is decentralized and adapted to the local and national conditions in post-Taliban Afghanistan.”
BELEN SISAY University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Shahrani, Nazif. War, Factionalism, and the State in Afghanistan. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.98(3):715-722.
Since September 11, many explanations have been offered to explain the rise of terrorism in Afghanistan. Many of the explanations have focused on the political vacuum left by the Soviets withdrawing from Afghanistan in 1989, the interference of foreign powers that play an active role in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, the failure of Afghanistan to produce a strong government because of ethnic factionalism, and that Afghanistan lacks coherent morals that are a part of Afghan culture. Shahrani asserts that in order to fully understand the situation, one must not isolate its political and military chaos, but to fully look at Afghanistan’s history and its social and political dynamics which have set up its current situation.
Shahrani tackles this dilemma by explaining the communal conflicts in Afghanistan in order to show that it is a part of a wider affliction that is common among multinational societies. By focusing on Afghanistan’s failed attempts at building a nation-state within the “broader geopolitical circumstance of foreign manipulation and proxy wars that have given rise to particular forms of ethic division”, one can then understand Afghanistan’s current situation.
Shahrani provides a thorough background of Afghanistan’s history in order to provide a clear basis for her argument. She shows, through history, that it was through the state policies and practices of internal colonialism trying to centralize Afghanistan that, in fact, hindered Afghanistan’s ability to establish a cohesive state. The colonialist powers hindered a centralized Afghanistan by using the ambiguities, contradictions, limitations, and conflicts of ethnic ideologies as it has resulted in “unforeseen consequences”. These concepts needed to be looked at within their contexts.
Because Afghanistan was weak and fragile, it was prone to failure, according to Shahrani. Afghanistan failed build a successful state structure because of the type of government implemented by the leadership of the nineteenth century. Afghanistan also failed to create a reliable domestic source of revenue. Shahrani argues that the consequence of policies of trying to centralize Afghanistan was the social fragmentation of groups. Because most of the population of Afghanistan lives in isolated rural villages, Shahrani asserts that they need a local self-government in order to be successful with a loosely structured decentralized federal government that is “adapted to the local and national conditions in post Taliban-Afghanistan”.
MICHELLE MORSE Barnard College (Paige West)
Sheridan, Michael J. An Irrigation Intake is like a Uterus: Culture and Agriculture in Precolonial North Pare, Tanzania. American Anthropologist 2002, Vol.104(1):79-92
Michael J. Sheridan’s article explores the conditions and infrastructure of precolonial intensive agriculture in East Africa, and in particular, the Usangi Division, which is the southern part of North Pare, Tanzania. Sheridan is arguing that irrigation existed in precolonial North Pare within areas of low population density, because farmers were motivated to invest their land as a result of a regional exchange network. In order to fully investigate and research this argument, Sheridan explores the political, social, and economic aspects of precolonial society and the connection they have with the agricultural conditions. He also notes that one must understand and study the relationship between technology and ideology, and draws on anthropologist Thomas Malthus’ research to form his own argument.
Sheridan finds it necessary to use demographic, economic, and social factors in understanding especially irrigation because the complex irrigation intakes and furrows in North Pare are the remains of a very intricate system that tells the a story of the history of the region. Additionally, he points out the fact that the information recorded on East African precolonial agriculture is sparse and of questionable quality. However, from his research, it is clear that agricultural systems of that time in East Africa were developed by individuals rather than society as a whole, and were intended to produce an individual’s wealth rather than acting as a survival mechanism. Sheridan also describes the topography of North Pare and the specific production of coffee, maize, and beans. He also draws the connection between how the agriculture was physically laid out within the land to the way that the chiefs of tribal communities in North Pare ran their societies. Specifically, chiefs extracted surplus from agriculture, and put heavy emphasis on the economic and symbolic significance of land and cultivation. North Pare agriculture was centralized around the production of bananas.
Division of agricultural labor was divided among gender lines, as women were in charge of balancing out their communities’ diets between bananas and other foods such as cereals, pulses, tubers, and yogurts. Men dealt more with the cattle. Sheridan also draws attention to the relationship between classes in North Pare and the way in which agriculture played a large role in defining classes and the relationships between the rich and poor. Regionally, North Pare depended on trade and exchange, and developed a caravan trade of ivory, guns, and slaves. This trade development cannot explain the North Pare irrigation and surplus system. Sheridan explores all aspect of the society in order to understand the symbolism, ideology, and importance of agriculture.
Much of the development of the system surrounding agriculture, such as labor division was dependent on gender, age, marital status, and social class. This did not just apply to actually working the land, but also to the acquisition of water. Irrigation, in essence, acted as a linkage between neighboring communities, which was a way that North Pare residents were expanding their worlds. Social relationships surrounding irrigation are also connected to male ancestral spirits, mystical forces, and fertility. Much of this surrounded around the building of ndivas, which were semicircular walls made of stone, built right below a spring with an outlet. Sheridan highlights the way that ndivas and women sexuality are inextricably linked, and that a ndvia symbolizes a women’s uterus, and therefore, must be respected. This relationship is loaded with different taboos and sanctions about sexuality. In essence, Sheridan concludes his article by drawing a major parallel between the intensive agriculture and intensive culture of North Pare, Tanzania, and shows, how one part of society cannot be understand without exploring and understanding all the others.
ELANA JAFFE Barnard College (Paige West)
Sheridan, Michael J. An Irrigation Intake Is Like A Uterus: Culture and Agriculture in Precolonial North Pare, Tanzania. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1): 79-92.
In this article Michael Sheridan shows that agriculture and irrigation in North Pare, Tanzania must be placed in a historical and cultural context in order to be properly understood. Using historical accounts, Sheridan reconstructs agricultural practices in precolonial North Pare and how these practices were related to culture and ideology. Contrary to traditional explanations of agricultural intensification which state that pressures from population increase lead to developments such as irrigation and use of manure, the example of North Pare shows that these developments can take place in areas of low population density and can be removed from the need to produce more food.
In an effort to encourage agricultural intensification in East Africa, governments and agencies have begun attempts to work with existing local practices instead of trying to replace them. Sheridan argues that the role these practices play for their communities can go beyond the practicalities of economics or subsistence. In North Pare, irrigation possessed social and symbolic meaning to the inhabitants.
Agricultural labor in North Pare was divided along gendered lines with women tending to crops and men to livestock. The society was structured of patrilineal family groups, each with an elderly male as the head. Livestock was an important commodity for the people and enabled the purchasing or renting of land and the securing of a wife. Land was the possession of males and women had access to it through them. Tending to irrigation reservoirs, or ndiva, was also the responsibility of men and women were forbidden to enter or operate the ndivas. The builder of the ndiva became its manager and neighbors who wished to use it to irrigate their crops gave gifts to the manager to do so. Often immigrants to the community were attracted to the location to make use of the ndiva. Through the building of a ndiva a poor man could bring himself “wealth in people” and earn valued commodities such as beer. Because of low population densities the building of irrigation systems was not the result of population pressure to produce more food. Instead, Sheridan argues that the desire for community building and reciprocal relationships were the main reasons for ndiva building. Another important aspect to the use of the ndiva is its symbolic meaning and the relationship between men and women in North Pare. While women farmed the land and used the water from the irrigation system on their crops, they were forbidden to operate the ndiva and instead must have the manager or a male from their family do so. This control of the ndiva by the men is seen by Sheridan as a symbolic control over the means of reproduction, with the water from the ndiva giving life to the crops in the field.
Because of the complexity of the use of irrigation in North Pare, Sheridan urges that deeper knowledge of such practices and their historical significance is necessary to properly understand the process of agricultural intensification in East Africa.
SARAH JUNKE University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Sheridan, Michael J. An Irrigation Intake is like a Uterus: Culture and Agriculture in Precolonial North Pare, Tanzania. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol 104 (1): 79-92.
In this article, Sheridan discusses the reasons for and basic aspects of agricultural intensification in precolonial North Pare, Tanzania. His main assertion is that one must look at the culture in agriculture to understand how it developed as it did. North Pare was an area that experienced agricultural intensification during a period of low population density, which goes against most economic models. By examining the culture of the East African region, one can see how this occurred.
Sheridan argues that the main reason for the agricultural intensification was because there were incentives for farmers to invest in land. Agricultural systems and, especially, irrigation systems were a form of symbolic and material capital. The ideologies of the people played a big role the agricultural intensification that occurred. Labor, land, and water were the three major factors of production in North Pare, all of which were controlled by a hierarchy where elderly men had the most power. This agriculturally based hierarchy helped to keep these men in power, and continued to keep women in a very low position.
The irrigation systems that were put in place did not provide sustenance for the people of East Africa—they subsisted perfectly fine on the banana trees that the women cultivated without the new irrigation system. Instead, the irrigation systems were to provide power and status to the men who owned and worked them. Irrigation and intensive agriculture led to a surplus of food that could be traded or sold, which in turn gave the men power. The surplus food was also turned into beer, which marked social prominence. The men also took care of livestock, which was traded for many goods, including bridewealth. Marriage was more or less an institution that provided men with a female laborer. However, when they farmed, women were not to unplug the furrows of the irrigation systems because it was a taboo (for instance, if she did unplug the furrows, she would not close up during her next menstruation and would bleed to death).
Irrigation systems also attracted immigrants, which set up a community around the founder of an irrigation system and he procured social mobility for both himself and his descendants.
In summary, Sheridan asserts that the society and societal norms of the time in precolonial North Pare contributed to the irrigation system in a place where normally one would not occur. The irrigation systems kept elderly men in control, by giving them more control over the women, and by giving them power through surpluses of food.
This article, while informative, was difficult to comprehend. Sheridan includes so much information about precolonial North Pare that it is hard to extract what his point is. Several readings of this article are necessary to fully grasp the argument that Sheridan tries to make.
ANNE ATKINSON Barnard College (Paige West)
Silverman, Helaine. Touring Ancient Times: The Present and Presented Past in Contemporary Peru. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):881-901.
In this article Silverman tries to illustrate the importance of concentrating on the local context when trying to understand how the past in manifested in the present and future. It is on the local level, not national or international, that archeological tourism is created. Silverman examines how creation of tourist attractions of archeological ruins and their nearby native people reconfigures identities. Through tourism local images, people and places are transformed into commodities and are pulled into modern economic systems. In particular, Silverman investigates how representations of the past are received by the people of two different cities in Peru, Cusco and Nazca.
The city of Cusco is the former capital of the Inca Empire, located in the south highlands of Peru. Cuscu’s Inca origin is obvious in impressive Inca walls that surround the city and well preserved architecture in the historic center. The local government actively tries to incorporate Inca heritage into Cuscu and is trying to recreate an ancient Inca city. Tourism has thus become a major industry and Cuscu is close to being the tourist capital of Peru. It is a challenge for authorities in Cuscu to create an ancient city for the international tourist while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the city for its residents. In general the residents, both native and not native, have openly accepted the Inca heritage of Cuscu and actively participated to make the city a tourist attraction.
Nazca is coastal city in southern Peru where the relationship between the archeological past and tourism has a very different configuration than that in Cuscu. There are no visible signs of a pre-Columbian past in the actual city of Nazca. Rather, the tourist site of desert marking is 24 kilometers away and only accessible by airplane. Images of the desert marking are pervasive throughout Nazca, however for most residents these images are irrelevant to their daily lives. Silverman comments that the desert “lines are not a part of the vernacular landscape in the way that the ancient remains intrinsically constitute the urban fabric of Cuscu” (894). In comparison to Cuscu where the city created itself as a tourist site, the desert markings near Nazca have become a popular destination because of foreign interest.
The two cities that Silverman presents represent the various relationships of archeological tourism in Peru. The cities represent a changing drama that affects “ruins, indigenous people, ordinary city residents, foreign tourists, the Peruvian government and its agencies, and the private sector” (897). Silverman concludes that archeological tourism is a vehicle for global culture flow; the consumption of the archeological past results in commoditizing and marketing images, people and places.
SARAH HARKNESS Barnard College (Paige West)
Silverman, Helaine. Touring Ancient Times: The Present and Presented Past in Contemporary Peru. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 881-902.
In this article, Silverman examines the archaeological tourism taking place in Peru, specifically focusing on Cusco and Nazca. She notes that Peru is an important country to look at because of the highly visible archaeological sites it contains. Also of particular interest to Silverman is the reception of and impact on different groups of people throughout Peru. Cusco is first considered in the article. While Cusco draws tourists for many different reasons, the focal point revolves around the city’s Inca past. For over 300 years, Cusco served as the capital of the Inca Empire, and today there are still remarkable archaeological structures and artifacts. It is reported that 470,000 people visited Cusco in 2000 (compared to the nearly 300,000 permanent residents). This number of tourists is in contrast with Nazca – the other town Silverman examines – which receives about 50,000 visitors annually. Only about 28,000 people live permanently in Nazca, but the tourists are accommodated without any trouble as most only stay one night. The main attraction is not the town itself, but rather the Nazca Lines, which are best seen aerially. A major distinction between Cusco and Nazca are their inhabitants: for the most part, the residents of Cusco are indigenous and have a cultural affiliation with their Incan ancestors, but the residents of Nazca are mostly mestizos, several hundred years removed from being an indigenous population, and lack cultural identification with the past. Silverman notes that one of the biggest challenges faced by the Peruvian government is the successful maintenance of the archaeological tourist market along with meeting the needs of the contemporary population. In Cusco especially, the residents have been of a lower class since the Spanish moved the capital from Cusco to Lima. But it is also argued that the people of Peru can utilize the archaeological tourist industry as leverage into the modern world. In closing, Silverman reminds the reader of the inescapable entanglement between pas and present for the Peruvian people, and the worth of further study on archaeological tourism and its interaction with a country’s modern population.
AMANDA PARR University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Silverman, Helaine. Touring Ancient Times: The Present and Presented Past in Contemporary Peru. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104: 881-902
In “Touring Ancient Times: The Present and Presented Past in Contemporary Peru,” Silverman presents two case studies that illustrate the complex “contradictory, negotiated, and contested” nature of tourism in modern Peru. Examination of tourism in Peru lends to an understanding of the presence of the past and the way it affects the Peruvian society socially, politically, and economically. (Silverman 881) Silverman argues that Peru is an idealistic location to study the impact of the past on the present, or the “present past,” because its impressive landmarks have influenced and continue to affect Peruvian tradition and ideology. As evidence, she then provides several examples of political movements, and publications that have looked to the past when formulating goals and policies. (Silverman 882)
Peru’s historical remains are regarded somewhat contradictorily, for though the remnants continue to be highly valued and influential, the native inhabitants who created such prized ancient societies were for a long time politically misrepresented and are still generally considered socially subordinate. Thanks to the efforts of a range of interconnected parties on a local, national, and international scale, Peru is becoming a “vast tourist project” concerned with preservation of its history arguably for economic reasons rather than because of a genuine want to preserve its tradition and heritage. (Silverman 883)
Cusco, a city of “crowded…conflicting dreams, multiple ideologies, overlapping identities, selective histories, and vibrant representations,” has been profoundly effected by tourism. (Silverman 884) Like an “open air museum,” Cusco has embraced tourism and is reinventing itself so to best capitalize on the interest that it generates from the rest of the world. The historic center of Cusco has become “absolutely other;” the “real and effective space” of the city has been “represented, challenged [and/or] overturned” to produce the most aesthetic, rather than accurate image. Natives are “sensitized” in school to tourism, and taught to treat tourists well and protect the sources of their interest. (Silverman 890) Thus, tourists experience a manipulated and only partially accurate Cusco that reflects a tailored and produced culture packaged to meet their expectations.
It is partially due to Peru’s captivating and popular “other…present past” that Peruvians are willing to represent themselves and their country misleadingly so to perpetuate the tourism providing economic security, which is ultimately abusing their history by turning it into a product that can be consumed..
EMILY PAULSHOCK Barnard College (Paige West).
Silverman, Helaine. Touring Ancient Times: The Present and Presented Past in Contemporary Peru. American Anthropologist September 2002 Vol.104(3): 881-902.
In this article, Silverman mentions the interpretations of (the presence of the) past. The past is often involved in s lot of factors: society, tourism, politics, economics, and what not. The author gives Peru’s cases as examples of how the past is made use of and distorted by the intention of different groups. In terms of the biographical past, for instance, Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori took advantage of the image of the legendary hero Tupac Amaru to imprint the heroic impression in people’s mind. As for the archaeological past, for Cusco and Nazca, to modernize is “to create ancient a new ancient city for the international tourist market…” (884).
Silverman argues that how the past is often fictionized in various ways. The past is treated as a sort of attractive commodity for national economy, so to speak, the archaeological past is “produced and marketed” (899). At the same time, the author indicates that the signification of the local observation. The local areas play a important role very actively concerning the tourism, and “the pragmatics and poetics of archaeological past are locally orchestrated” (897). It is obvious that the local tourism has a great influence on the national economy. To observe the tourism form this angle is very effective as an approach to contemporary tourism. Silverman writes: “[d]espite the transformation and globalization of the tourism industry that, to varying degrees, produce a homogenization of culture” (899).
TAKUYA TSUNODA Columbia University (Page West)
Silverstein, Michael. Joseph Harold Greenberg (1915-2001). American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vo1.104(2): 630-635.
This is an obituary for Joseph Harold Greenberg, a noted voice in the field of linguistics. Dr. Greenberg passed away on May 7, 2001 from pancreatic cancer.
Joseph Greenberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 28, 1915. He was raised hearing ”the not uncommon postimmigration Jewish plurilingalism of English- Yiddish-German-(liturgical) Hebrew” (p.630). During his college years, he studied Latin, Classical Greek, and Arabic, both in school and through disciplined self teaching. At Columbia College, he majored in comparative philology. He attended graduate school at Northwestern University, working along side many greats such as Melville Herskovits. He studied for one year at Yale before return to Northwestern and receiving his PhD. in 1940.
”Joseph H. Greenberg was long and widely admired among social and behavioral scientists as an important voice linguistics, achieving many ‘firsts’ of recognition as a scholar” (p.630). He was awarded the first Distinguished Lecturer of the American Anthropological Association in 1970 and is credited with establishing “the now accepted historical or ‘genetic’ classification of languages for the continent of Africa, thus allowing a proper culture history to be more securely explored for prehistoric as well as historical time periods” (p.680).
At the time of his death, Greenberg was the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor Emeritus of the Social Sciences at Stanford University. He was survived by his wife Selma.
JAMES HAGY University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Sosis, Richard. Patch Choice Decisions among Ifaluk Fishers. American Anthropologist, June 2002. Volume 104(2): 583-598.
In this article, Sosis studies how Ifaluk fishermen decide which patch they will fish on. He was curious to see if the men chose which patch to fish based on daily variation in the state of their primary fishing patch. Sosis begins his article with a discussion of optimal foraging theory. By this theory, a forager should pursue a resource only when it will increase the overall mean return rate of his foraging efforts. A brief examination of data from other experiments shows that foragers do not exclusively use the patch with the highest average productivity. A likely explanation for this is daily variations in patch productivity, and the consequent decision to use an alternate, more profitable, patch on the day of lower productivity.
The island of Ifaluk is a coral atoll located in the Caroline Islands, in Micronesia. There are four villages. Ifaluk has a subsistence economy, and most residents have no income. From December 1994 to April 1995, Sosis collected data on Falalop atoll. He observed men fishing in the different patches, and kept records of who went where, and how much they caught. There are five fishing patches, known as the Yellowfin Tuna Patch, Nine-Mile Reef Patch, Dogtoothed Tuna Patch, Reef Fish Patch, and Lagoon-Bottom Patch. A different method of fishing must be used at each patch.
After analyzing his data, Sosis found that all the men combined used only one patch at a time. In other words, there would never be some men on one patch, and some on a different one. Fishing for yellowfin tuna had the highest productivity rating, and as is to be expected, the men spent the majority of their time in the Yellowfin Tuna Patch. Because patch profitability varies from day to day, the men fished other patches on days when the Yellowfin Tuna Patch was thought to be less profitable than normal. They determine its profitability by looking at wind patterns, tide strength, and how many fish were caught the previous day. If these cues indicate that Yellowfin Tuna will not be profitable, then the fishermen choose another patch. Additionally, if the men work the Yellowfin Tuna patch in the morning, and do not catch many fish, they are likely to try another patch later in the day. In conclusion, Sosis determines that the fishermen are responding to the daily variation in profitability among the patches.
NICOLE MCMILLAN Barnard College (Paige West)
Sosis, Richard. Patch Choice Decisions among Ifaluk Fishers. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104: 583-598.
Sosis found a niche in the optimal foraging theory. The prey choice or diet breadth model predicts whether a forager should pursue a particular resource or continue to search for other resources. This model shows that foragers would only pursue resources that increase their overall mean foraging return rate. This model is only useful for random prey, whereas when there are nonrandom resources, called patches, the model doesn’t work. This article explores the patch choice decisions of Ifaluk fishers. Sosis uses them to study patch choice given daily fluctuations in an attempt to find a useful pattern. Sosis spends 75 days observing the fishing practices and records statistical data including, where, how long, for what, the nutritional value of the fish caught, and how much fish was caught. He observes five different patches that the fishermen exploit; Yellowfin Tuna Patch which is the primary patch that requires cooperation of all villagers, Nine-Mile Reef Patch that is located nine miles away and requires many weeks of preparation with the observance of many taboos, Reef Fish Patch is solitary fishing that could yield any of 62 types of fish, and Lagoon-Bottom Patch that involves several divers organized in a circle to drive the fish into a net. The conclusions that are drawn from the data presented offer some insight on the unpredictability of patch work models. Most anthropologists wonder why a people would utilize different sources than the one that yields the best return. The study shows that the reason many different patches were used is in response to daily variations, such as a low yield form the previous day, harsh weather patterns, or just a “feeling” that fishermen get. It is a very straight forward article with lots of statistical data to back up his conclusions. Daily variation can explain the imperfections in a patch work model.
STEPHEN MARTIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Sosis, Richard. Patch Choice Decisions among Ifaluk Fishers. American Anthropologist June, 2002 Vol.104(2):583-598.
Past studies have analyzed a range of decisions made by foragers, including the decision to exploit certain patches (defined by specific collection methods, locations, and prey) during foraging. According to Sosis, these studies have not conclusively explained why foragers do not always choose to exploit the patch with the highest mean profitability. Sosis believed that daily changes in environmental conditions were a likely cause of such behavior. What is usually the most profitable patch may not be everyday. Thus, he chose to evaluate patch decisions in response to daily fluctuations in patch profitability.
Sosis conducted his study at Ifaluk, a coral atoll located in the Woleai region of Yap State, a part of the Caroline Islands of the Federal States of Micronesia. Ifaluk consists of four atolls, two of which are inhabited. Each inhabited atolls contains two villages. The data used in this article was collected on Falalop atoll from December 1994 to April 1995, during the trade wind season. At this time 600 people inhabited Ifaluk.
Five patches are exploited in Ifaluk during the trade wind season. Most days the Yellowfin Tuna Patch (through morning trolling) is exploited. These mornings the men meet at the central canoe hut, prepare fishing lines, load equipment, and set out canoe fishing primarily for yellowfin tuna. The next patch is the Nine-Mile Reef Patch. Occasionally the men set out on 5-7 hour canoe voyages to a reef located nine miles from Ifaluk. There they use methods similar to morning trolling. The large sailing canoes are also used for torch fishing when exploiting the Dogtoothed Tuna Patch. This process is highly ritualized. Men must prepare for several weeks. They then set out at night, use torches to attract flying fish, and then use caught flying fish for deep water trolling bait. Also, several types of solitary fishing–primarily line fishing during the trade wind season–are used to exploit the Reef Fish Patch. Lastly, the Lagoon-Bottom Patch is exploited through Rope Fishing. Rope Fishing is a complicated atoll-wide event. The men create a circle in the lagoon with their canoes. They then dive into the water and use a rope to scare fish into a net.
The Yellowfin Tuna Patch, which proved to have the highest mean profitability, was exploited 77% of the observation days. This followed Sosis’ predictions. As well, Sosis correctly predicted that the men would most often chose to fish in alternative patches when the Yellowfin Tuna Patch had produced low returns (below the mean returns of the alternative patches) the day before or earlier that morning. While most of the data did show that the foragers chose alternative patches due to variance in the profitability of the main patch, Sosis could not explain why on a few occasions the foragers exploited the Nine-Mile Reef Patch and the Dogtoothed Tuna Patch despite continuous low returns.
NICO D’AUTERIVE Columbia College (Paige West)
Spielmann, Katherine A. Feasting, Craft Specialization, and the Ritual Mode of Production in Small-Scale Societies. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(1):195-207.
The economic intensification that has been documented in small-scale societies has been primarily attributed to either economic or political concerns. However, Spielmann argues that feasting and other rituals that result in the demand for socially valued goods are the driving forces behind much of this increase in intensity of economic activities.
In small-scale societies ritual activities are at the center of action and authority for the entire community. These activities require increased production of food, house wares such as cooking vessels, and other ritual instruments such as ceremonial masks or axes. These items, which Spielmann terms “socially valued goods” develop their worth from their ceremonial need as well as from a variety of other factors. The difficulty involved in their production resulting from the skill required, the time invested, or the potential danger of collecting the materials all contribute to the value of these goods.
Socially valued goods, which are valued and circulated widely, both within the village as well as to surrounding areas, are characterized by the way in which their production is organized. This type of production is described by Spielmann as “community specialization,” where different geographical areas or different villages contain aggregations of artisans specializing in the production of particular goods. This manner of specialization results in each area producing a particular good in surplus and trading to other areas. Therefore, argues Spielmann, it is this “ritual mode of production” that leads to economic intensification in each area involved.
In making her argument, Spielmann utilizes, as her principle source of information, ethnographies of Melanesian villages that fit the criteria of being “small-societies,” meaning that they have populations ranging from the hundreds to thousands and lack a centralized political system. This data was supplemented and was generalized through the use of additional ethnographies and archaeological information gathered from other areas.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
LAUREN D. BLOOM Barnard College (Paige West)
Spielmann, Katherine A. Feasting, Craft Specialization, and the Ritual Mode of Production in Small-Scale Societies. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(1): 195-207.
Professor Katherine A. Spielmann, currently with Arizona State University, wrote this article to address dilemmas within her current research interests. The article addressed her concern that a trend in the explanation of economic intensification was based more on economic and political stimuli and not examining possible social action and ritual performance within ‘small-scale societies.’
Spielmann opens the article by stating definitions and laying the groundwork to support her discussion. The article then presents an overview of the political economy position and how researchers have utilized the argument that privileged and influential individuals were the catalysts. She best states the failing with “political fortunes of individuals and corporate groups wax and wane, the ritual realm endures as a context for display, distribution, interaction, and consumption.”
The article’s body consists of sections covering the focal points to support the social and ritual observational approach. The ‘Feasting’ segment implies that it was the importance and overproduction driven by the need to support the function rather than a surplus of food when preparing for a ritual feasting. ‘Craft Specialization and Socially Valued Goods in Small-Scale Societies’ talks of the specialization of a product within a community and its importance as a part-time role for the craftsmen. ‘Qualities of Social Valuables’ discusses the different circumstances that establish an item as having a greater social value. These items could be given a higher status by the geographical distance, specialized skilled craftsmen, ritual enchantments, or the transformational process of becoming a refined product. ‘Organization of Production’ discusses the process of constructing a ritual piece and the significance attached to the item from this process. The ‘Discussion’ concludes the article with an overview of the argument and how the emphasis should fall on understanding the societies rituals and beliefs as a possible vehicle for production.
This article addressed a need to understand the motivator was possibly under a ritualistic guise, a Durkheimian approach. The thought process and organization led the reader on a valuable observational path when applying an additional perspective to research. Spielmann could have supplemented the argument with possible flaws from other ‘small-scale societies’ who conflict with the position to strength her stance.
JAMES S. AUSTIN University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Spielmann, Katherine A. Feasting, Craft Specialization, and the Ritual Mode of Production in Small-Scale Societies. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol. 104 (1): 195-207.
In order to understand variation and changes in economic practices, Katherine A. Spielmann argues the importance in focusing on ritual performance. Spielmann’s interest is in small-scale societies, in which economic intensification is a product of both individual and communal ritual elaboration and performance rather than political expansions. Small-scaled societies are characterized by uncentralized political systems and consist of several hundred to several thousand people in size. The common view of economic development concentrates on political power of a few over the ordinary participants, and ignores social interaction and rituals as the driving force for economic intensification. Spielmann makes a case that ritual characteristics such as ceremonial feasting and the need for socially valued goods cause economic change in small-scale societies.
Spielmann makes her point clear by using both ethnographic (Melanesian ethnography) and archeological data. Food used in feasts and the production of objects, which are both, exchanged and desired, are crucial in social transactions. In feasting, the work invested on its production is closely linked with the status value of the food. For instance, it is encouraged to produce the largest surplus, which may involve planning over the course of a year or even more. Individuals and communities can specialize in a specific craft, generating products for exchange. These goods, used in ritual performance and social payments, are valued for certain qualities and unique properties. Objects found in distant, dangerous, and symbolically charged places are placed with higher value. Products were often polished and burned to increase its attractiveness, and modifications were made as it circulated, as this also increased its value.
The production of socially valued goods is characterized by community specialization although small-scale societies also may create these products. Spielmann focuses on ritual being the motivation for the variation in economic practices. In addition to discussing feasting, craft specialization, and qualities of social valuables, the organization of production is also focused on, in order to illustrate the importance of ritual practices that sustains economic intensification in small-scale societies.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
Y. ALICE KIM Barnard College (Paige West)
Spielmann, Katherine A. Feasting, craft specialization, and the ritual mode of production in small-scale societies. American Anthropologist, March 2002. Vol.104 (1): 195-207.
Katherine A Spielmann attempts to elucidate the patterns of economic specialization and productivity in small-scale societies. She believes, contrary to many others, that the ritual practices of the community proscribe the economic patterns. Others have attributed certain political practices as the causes of economic activity but the author believes that ritual drives and structures the society’s economic growth. The author seeks to demonstrate through the article the ways in which food production and the production of symbolic objects guide the development of economies in small-scale societies. Spielmann’s thesis is that the high demand for food and objects used in rituals propels economic activity and creates craft specialization. Other ethnographers have over looked the importance of ritualistic goods when assessing the economy of small-scale societies; they often view politics as the causes of increased economic activity.
Spielmann’s article is highly organized: she first elucidates her main theory and then follows by discussing culturally important foods and how their production is linked to ritual practices. She uses various examples of food consumption linked to ritualistic practices from a variety of different cultures to demonstrate the large-scale demand for the specific and often exotic foods required for rituals. Her argument is that the ritual creates a market because the food required for the rituals is not simply surplus food but specific foods that often are made specifically for the ritual ceremony. Many of her examples are extrapolated from other ethnographers’ data.
Following Spielmann’s discussion of ritualistic food consumption she discusses theories of craft specialization, demonstrating how rituals also create specific economies for crafts that are specific for rituals. Spielmann believes that ceremonial tradition and ritualistic obligations create and sustain markets for specialized crafts that are produced to fulfill the ritualistic demands. Spielmann notes a few qualities that are specific to objects used in rituals: their place of origin can determine how sacred the object is, the specific aesthetic qualities determine how sacred the object is, and objects used in rituals often require knowledge and skill to create. Discussing symbolic objects she says that the location of origin of the object gives it added significance. To prove this point she cites many other ethnographers who did research on the customs of mainly European cultures. She used their data to support her observations. The more obscure the location and the more difficult to access, the more sacred or desirable the object may become.
Spielmann said, in regard to skilled crafting, that the craftsman is thought to be endowed with special qualities that allow him to transform the object into an aesthetically pleasing object with ritualistic value. The craftsman is required to have ritual knowledge in order to produce the object. Much more time and effort are invested into ceremonial objects…they are made more beautiful and aesthetically appealing to indicate and imply their symbolic value. This leads to the need for specialized production, causing a special field to develop and be in demand. Certain objects gain value over time. They may be embellished, beautified, or simply gain history through recurrent use.
Much of the data Spielmann draws on is from Malaysian ethnography although her work is rich with citations of other ethnographers. In fact, she gathered most of her ethnographic data from the work of other ethnographers. Spielmann does present an abundance of data giving examples of the types of craft specialization that is dictated by ritualistic demands for specific crafts or food products. Unfortunately the constant citations (practically in every other sentence) make the ethnography difficult to read because each paragraph and many sentences are interrupted with by an accumulation of citations.
SAMANTHA SHAPIRO Columbia College (Paige West).
Stahl, Anne Brower. Colonial entanglements and the practices of taste: An alternative to logocentric approaches. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol. 104 (3): 827-845.
Recent anthropology has put too much emphasis on finding linguistic “meaning” for objects, Stahl argues, using the example of colonial Banda to elucidate the methodological and theoretical problems with this approach. Methodologically, it is difficult to reliably examine the change of meaning giving to objects over a certain amount of time; theoretically, an emphasis on meaning diminishes the importance of unconscious understanding about the objects being studied. Stahl suggests that, rather than focusing on meaning, anthropologists should look to “taste” or preference as a guide to understanding object worlds.
Using Bourdieu’s Distinction (1984) as a starting point, Stahl examines how taste can be used as an alternative to meaning. It is observable through choices made among things. It is practical and usually unconscious. Stahl discusses how taste is not a fixed property, but rather changes with availability, circumstances, history, and society. She states that tastes expressed by a community show much about the people in that particular community and how their society was structured. She claims that looking at objects recovered by archaeologists for a particular community can make clear the sources that led to objects coming into taste; this will then allow a researcher to analyze continuities of text through time.
Stahl cites data from an archaeological study in Banda. She gives three examples of objects found at the site and the change in taste each exemplifies. Cloth, for example, was once very rare and only worn by the wealthy and powerful to distinguish their lofty position; eventually, it became more commonplace and could no longer be used to characterize a higher class. Pipes, at first quite rare, were heterogeneous in appearance and produced locally; later, as colonization neared, pipes became homogeneous in appearance and were obviously the products of industrialized Europe. The shift in taste revealed that the process of monetization had reached Banta. Beads were originally locally produced, with a small number imported from Islamic countries: the local beads were homogeneous, and the imports were diverse. Later, beads from Europe became to taste; these were heterogeneous and employed for the female rites of passage; the imported beads were also shown to be much more common, as they were found in various places around the site, suggesting they were worn often and thus more easily lost.
By examining these objects to see what was “to taste,” Stahl was able to tell a lot about the society she was studying. Scarce objects were probably used by the elite, while a change from locally-produced objects to imports shows a change to European control and monetization. Stahl acknowledges that there are problems with this method; because one cannot find objects that were rejected in favor of those that were to taste in an archeological dig, it is difficult to know what the objects were chosen over, a very necessary consideration. However, taste, as an intuitive and language-less analysis, does seem, in the study of the world of objects, to be preferable to meaning as a means of analysis.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ARIEN O’CONNELL Barnard College (Paige West)
Stahl, Ann Brower. Colonial Entanglement and the Practices of Taste: An Alternative to Logocentric Approaches. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3): 827-826.
The Logocentric approach to studying a culture is a structuralist method of analysis, which focuses only on language and ignores non-linguistic matter. In this essay, Stahl tries to explore theory and the object world to study “colonial entanglement,” and to disassociate meanings that have been constructed logocentrically. Stahl uses archaeological material to utilize the “taste-centered approach” to study culture. The tradition of taste plays a role in the perception of foreign good and how colonial relations are structured. Tastes are “embodied forms of practical knowledge.” Therefore tastes can be used to explore the cultures affected by colonial entanglement. Stahl analyses how tastes have changed through time by responding to colonial interference. Stahl studied the Banda region of Ghana to show how taste can be used theoretically and emphasizes the importance of taste on social life. In this essay, Stahl looks at how taste can give insight into the cultural makeup of the Banda region of Ghana as it is affected by colonialism without the need to analyze language. Stahl begins with discrediting logocentric approaches and establishing the taste-center approach as a theoretical and object based study. Stahl ends with the analysis of how the tastes of the Banda region of Ghana have changed because of colonialism. Stahl explores the change in taste of clothes, pipes, and beads. The variables that affect taste are how the object is produced (household, craft or industrial) how close the source of the object is (local, regional, subcontinental, or intercontinental), how diverse the object is (homogeneity or heterogeneity), and how many of the objects are there. Stahl’s research is very materialistic. She feels anthropology, in recent years, has changed from cultural material analysis to cognitive and symbolic analysis and too much focus has been put on language meaning. For a wider approach to understanding culture, Stahl feels theory and objects need to be examined by anthropologists.
NICOLE L. FALK University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Stahl, Ann B. Colonial Entanglements and the Practices of Taste: An Alternative to Logocentric Approaches. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):827-845.
In her article Stahl is concerned with the logocentric privileging of meaning found in language as demonstrated in much of current anthropological study. Stahl argues that this preoccupation with deriving meaning from language not only misconstrues interpretations, but also cannot be applied to cultures whose language is not readily accessible. She suggests rather the exploration of taste, which she defines as “an embodied preference,” and the value of taste prescribed outside the realm of language. This approach will further illuminate the “colonial entanglements” that have affected the tastes of various societies throughout history.
For Stahl, taste is a key determinant of “supply and demand, production and consumption, shaped by past choices and dispositions.” In this way societies are informed by their experience of colonialism in a way that redefines tastes. Stahl also defines different variables in the production of taste that apply to the material world: production, proximity to source, diversity and quantity. These variables act as anthropological road signs on the path to cultural knowledge. Stahl argues that the study of taste is a more apt anthropological method as it precludes language, usually a secondary prescription onto social life as.
Stahl ends her article by applying her theoretical and methodological handling of taste to the Banda area of west-central Ghana. She studies the shifting quality of cloth, pipes, and beads in this region throughout history in order to create a “cartography of taste.” Examples of lessened diversity and heightened quantity or production of these goods demonstrates shifting taste-values through time and space. Stahl’s analysis also elucidates the mark left on the region by its history of colonization. Stahl’s article bravely re-conceptualizes the reading of culture as text (a system that celebrates meaning in language) and therefore makes for a fascinating read.
TASHA GREEN Barnard College (Paige West)
Stein, Gil. From Passive Periphery to Active Agents: Emerging Perspectives in the Archaeology of Interregional Interaction. American Anthropologist September, 2002. Vol. 104(3): 903-916.
Interregional interaction is a social process that can range from exchange to emulation to colonization. Archaeologists and anthropologists have historically given too much credit to interregional interaction as the driving force behind cultural change. More credit should be given to intraregional processes in a particular area.
Traditional world systems theory divides a given region into two zones—the “core” and the “periphery.” The core is the highly developed sector where material goods are manufactured and from where they are exported. The periphery is thought to be controlled by the core and is seen as the supplier of the raw materials for the core’s production. World systems theory relies on the assumption that the core is both politically and economically dominant over the periphery regions. World systems theory subscribes to the idea of acculturation—the notion that a periphery region will assume the traits of the core culture until the smaller culture all but disappears. It is important to recognize that the periphery regions have more to do with their own governance than has been traditionally believed, and it is necessary to reevaluate world systems theory to understand interregional relations that are more advanced than simple dominance.
Contemporary analyses see the establishment of culture as a joint effort at both the inter- and intraregional levels. The balance of power between a core and its periphery can be affected by such factors as physical distance, technology, population, disease, and military capabilities. The effects of each of these factors must be judged on a case by case basis. The balance of power is dependent on so many relations that one cannot make advance assumptions.
One way to understand colonies and core/periphery relations is the trade diaspora concept formulated by Ronald Cohen. Trade diasporas are exchange networks which can maintain any of three power dynamics between host communities and visiting merchant groups and their homelands. In diaspora marginality, the merchant group is seen as marginal and the host community feels free to exploit it at will. Diaspora autonomy allows a certain degree of self-governance to the merchant group in which neither the homeland nor the host community can fully control the group. Diaspora dominance is the dynamic we are most familiar with in which the homeland and the diaspora group control the host community. A prime example of the trade diaspora dynamic is found in the earliest known colonial network in Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have found evidence of two separately functioning communities, indicating an autonomy of a foreign culture in an Anatolian host community.
By developing a method of study that takes into account more permutations of power dynamics than the traditional methods, we will be able to learn a great deal more about interregional interactions in complex societies.
REBECCA POPP Barnard College, Columbia University (Paige West)
Stein, Gil. From Passive Periphery to Active Agents: Emerging Perspectives in the Archaeology of Interregional Interaction. American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):903-916.
Traditional archaeological approaches to the examination of interregional interaction have been based on classical models that make Eurocentric assumptions. The two most commonly utilized frameworks have been the world system model and the acculturation model. The world system model makes three main unjustified assumptions: the core dominates the periphery, the core controls unequal exchange with the periphery, and the role of long-distance interaction as the main determinant of the political economy of the periphery. Similarly the acculturation model assumes that the inferior groups, which are the recipients, desire to become more like the dominant donor societies that control them, and thus gradually change. Thus, both models assume that the domination by the core or donor cultures of the peripheral or recipient societies extends across many social and cultural groups. In addition, they assume a unidirectional flow of influence from the core/donor to the periphery/recipient.
Due to the flaws of previous models, Stein proposes a new framework for the examination of culture contact that incorporates many significant ideas. It rejects unidirectional flow, and recognizes that the organization of culture contact is a result of both inter- and intra-polity levels. It takes into account the different levels of interregional power. Moreover, the different interacting societies are recognized as heterogeneous, being composed of groups with different ideas and goals; consequently, the people cannot be categorized into colonizers and colonized, but rather according to class, gender, and ethnicity. The framework also considers the importance of internal dynamics, not just external occurrences, in forming the organization of the interregional interaction. Perhaps the underlying element of the framework is the idea that human agency plays a significant role in the organization of the interaction networks; the traditional models indicate that the periphery is passively influenced by the core.
For the proposed framework to be successful, a few changes in research methods must be executed. First, the effects of power relations between the polities must be empirically documented and not assumed. Second, the presence of artifacts from the donor culture cannot be used as a direct measure of acculturation or hegemony; so, the social contexts in which the materials were used will be compared in order to determine its importance and its role in the political economy. Lastly, the gender, class, and ethnicity, which influence how culture contact occurs, must be included in the examination of the interregional interaction.
Stressing the importance of not just analyzing the encounter as an unequal power relation between the colonizer and the dominated natives, Stein interprets the interregional relation as one between a trade diaspora and its host community. The relation between the two can vary along a continuum, with the three main forms being diaspora marginality, in which the host community treats the trade diaspora as inferior, diaspora social autonomy, which enables the diaspora to be free from full control by the host community or the homeland, and diaspora dominance, in which the trade diaspora controls the host community.
Stein applies the new framework and specifically the trade diaspora model to understand the interregional interaction in the earliest known network in the Near East. In doing so, Stein illustrates that the framework lacks the assumptions and flaws of the traditional models.
CORINNE VANBEEK Barnard College (Paige West)
Straight, Belinda. From Samburu Heirloom to New Age Artifact: The Cross Cultural Consumption of Mporo Marriage Beads American Anthropologist March 2002 Vol. 104(1):7-21
Straights’s article is a dual ethnography, following Samburu women and Euro-American women and their mutual desires for the same red oval bead. It builds towards a comparison of the ways in which the same bead is valued in two different contexts, and how the perception of beauty is constructed differently in each context. Straight argues that, in the West, the bead is more beautiful and powerful for its exotic component of “otherness”, whereas its beauty in the Samburu context is because of the association of mporo beads with fertility, wealth, and abundance in more general terms.
Straight begins her argument with a careful analysis and choice of terminology regarding commodification, drawing on Marx, Mauss, Weiner, Appadurai, and Gregory among others. As far I could gather, her goal was to define inalienable objects and the innate qualities that they possess, or rather that they are perceived as possessing. She uses the concept of ‘patina’ – the polish an object accrues after years of handling – to explain how the “otherness” can rub off onto the object.
Straight perceives the difference between the two contexts of consumption as follows: The Samburu women consider the beads to be laden with spiritual energy. Therefore, they only give the beads away to other women, because it is considered bad luck to sell them, and impossible to sell them to provide for food (as one would be ingesting ones own fertility). The Euro-American women also perceive the mporo as having innate energy, yet it is presented as either an authentic exotic beauty, or as New Age amulet powers harvested from some forgotten noble savage.
The evidence used is theory from the fore-mentioned sources, contemporary ethnographies of the Samburu, historical documents from turn-of-the-century Samburuland, contemporary interviews with Samburu, interviews of bead-shop groupies in the Midwest, and interviews with New Age practicioners who use the mporo in religious contexts.
Straight successfully shows that the Western appropriation of these beads is wholly dependent on the romanticization of the other. Whether it be in a secular context and just in terms of the “ethnic” beauty of the beads, or in terms of the New Age practicioners who perceive innate energy in the beads, a remnant of a pagan and egalitarian utopia. Yet I might add that the contemporary appropriation by the Euro-American women has come under much more scrutiny than the Samburu women’s appropriation of these Venetian-manufactured trade-beads at the turn-of-the-century. Straight cites some abstract archeological evidence that places large red beads in the region for approximately 4000 years. She uses this fact to demonstrate that the Samburu desire for mporo existed before exposure to the Venetian versions, yet mporo then were considered a scarce luxury good. We know from traders’ and explorers’ diaries that the import of the Venetian-glass beads was designed to emulate the red mporo beads present beforehand. The European traders desired to satisfy an already present market for regionally-produced, semi-precious stone, red beads; therefore, they named these new Venetian beads mporo as well. Unforunately, it’s a lot harder to figure out what drove the Samburu to mass-appropriation of this scarcely valued good in the first place (i.e. if it was so scarce previously, what use would they have for masses of them?), or even what made them accept the Venetian doubles.
My second point of criticism: Given the choice of Samburu women, would it have not better served the purpose of a dual ethnography to have a smaller, more defined group of Euro-Americans? Some other defining factor. I would imagine that the choice of a broad slice of society, given the consumer-cosmopolitan nature of life in North America, in fact dictated the nature Straight’s findings. I am sure that the urban, middle-class subjects participating in the contemporary appropriation of mporo beads in the West have led to this projection of the “other” onto the bead – perhaps if the bead was sold in a thrift shop in Lewisburg, PA, it might be a little less exoticized.
ERIC J. POSNER School of General Studies, Columbia University (Dr. Paige West)
Straight, Bilinda. From Samburu Heirloom to New Age Artifact: The Cross-Cultural Consumption of Mporo Marriage Beads. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104 (1): 7-21.
This article follows the desirability of the mporo bead through out history. The beads were Venetian in origin and are red in color. They were first introduced to Samburu women in the early 1900’s by traders and explorers and quickly replaced the carnelian beads that the African natives had been using before. Due to the massive availability of the mporo beads, the quantities of necklaces increased dramatically. The number of necklaces is associated with beauty and a woman’s juncture in her sexual carrier.
When a woman comes of sexual age, her parents will present her with numerous nonmporo beads so that she can acquire an Imurrani (warrior) lover who in turn will provide her with many more nonmporo beads at his own expense. When a marriage is arranged for her, she is presented with her own mporo bead necklace that has been made from her mother’s. Later in her life she will pass on those beads to her daughters and nieces for their wedding. Thus the beads are an affirmation of a social contract, marriage. Near the end of her life she will have very few beads left, but will have gained great power due to the association with frailty to the Samburu god Nkai.
However, with globalization Euro-American women are now seeking the mporo beads. The majority of these beads are sought for spirituality and power by neopagans, Wiccans and New Age seekers because of the “energy” which can be felt radiating from them. The result of which is that mporo beads are becoming scarce among the Samburu and they are in danger of losing one of their traditional symbols of identity.
PRESTON HILL University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Straight, Belinda. From Samburu Heirloom to New Age Artifact: The Cross-Cultural Consumption of Mporo Marriage Beads. American Anthropologist, March 2002 Vol. 104(1): 7-21
Straight explores the reasons why the mporo bead of the Samburu tribe in Africa made the transition from a cheap commodity originally created for trading purposes with European countries, to a traditionally significant gift between Samburu women. She states that Euro-Americans desired the beads because they felt it was bringing them closer to “the exotic,” and largely imagined, version of Africa. She analyzes the Western desire for the beads in terms of Karl Marx’s views on the status of an object which, whether as a gift or commodity, becomes synonymous with an exchange of “essences.”
The perspective of the Samburu people themselves on the history of their bead making is analyzed through Straight’s interviews of the Samburu women who make and exchange necklaces made of the beads. She found that, after it became difficult to obtain the materials for some of the beads, the women began to use them as gifts between a mother and daughter that symbolized a young daughter’s transition to womanhood and fertility. Before entering into an arranged marriage, a young woman is allowed to wear beads to attract young men. After a marriage to a man much older than herself (not her young boyfriend), she begins to acquire as many beads as she can (both mporo and non-mporo), and eventually she will pass these beads down to her own daughters.
She then examines the existence of the beads today as collector’s items and the use of them in haute couture, where they are examples of a continuing fascination with Orientalism and remnants of colonial exoticism in the imagination of the Euro-American consumer. She cites the appearance of the beads, in a photograph, around the neck of a white, Euro-American model in the magazine Mirabella as evidence of this. She also notes that the caption notifies the viewer of the pleasures of following African style, but warns the consumer to try not to be “too authentic.”
Straight concludes that it is the difference between the reality of the Samburu’s lives and the imagined, exoticized view of them by the Euro-American consumer that makes the same bead “beautiful” to women in the two very different cultures and contexts. This led the mporo beads and beads in general to become the symbols of a social contract to the Samburu, while becoming a rare and collectable commodity in Western society.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ALISHA ANDREA ADAMS Columbia University (Paige West)
Trencher, Susan R. The American Anthropological Association and the Values of Science, 1935-70. American Anthropologist 2002 Vol. 104(2): 450-460.
How should anthropologists act towards society? What responsibilities do they have? What place does anthropology have in the sciences? Trencher is concerned with how the American Anthropological Association would answer these questions after thirty-five years of debate.
Exploring these issues, Trencher contrasts the two schools of anthropological thought: academic anthropology (Boasians) and applied anthropology. Boasians questioned the used of anthropological findings for any purpose other than accumulating knowledge. They argued that being employed by a company or institution, such as certain governmental institutions, would cause the anthropologists to lose their scientific impartiality and risked being labeled propagandists. Applied anthropologists defended their practices by stating that they are citizens and professionals as well as scientists. Trencher maps the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) struggle with the nature of anthropology as a science and its relationship to the public forum. She contends that today the AAA has a different perception of itself than it did in 1935: the AAA is a scientific organization that upholds the relationship between the anthropologist and society rather than just a scientific organization.
Trencher employs the use of transcripts of AAA meetings from 1935 until 1970 to illustrate the evolution of the AAA. She also discusses historical events, such as World War I and the Vietnam War, that pertain to and have a direct bearing on the changes in the ideology of the AAA. Incorporating the transcripts and the historical occurrences, Trencher, effectively, goes through the AAA’s process of evolution and explains why the change was necessary. She implies that the turning point for the AAA was the 1970 election for a new AAA candidate. The new candidates represented the two conflicting sides and the election allowed the dominant understanding of the role of anthropology to prevail. However, Trencher concludes that the questions raised in those years about anthropology’s role in both society and science, are still unanswered.
JESSICA LEVI. Barnard College (Paige West).
Trencher, Susan R. The American Anthropological Association and the Values of Science, 1935-70. American Anthropologist, 2002 Vol.104(2): 450-462.
The American Anthropological Association has been through many changes from 1935-1970. The main issue involved in the changes is the interaction of anthropology and society in politics, professionalism, and as citizens. Anthropology has met and dealt with adversity since it’s beginnings dealing with the definition of it’s science and practice. The article cites different occurrences of this adversity through the years and outlines the progress that has been made within The American Anthropological Association.
Beginning in the 1930’s, the Anthropological Association went under review and a study went underway to address certain questions, in particular the relationship mentioned above. The results of the study turned out a focus on government, university, and museum work. The employers of anthropology were now under scrutiny and changes were inevitable.
The article discusses the 1945 meeting in which the second-generation anthropologists after the Boasian anthropologists, sought to re-organize and had a positivist view of science and a new idea of what professional anthropology should be. The 1946 meeting dealt with the approval of applied anthropology as a discipline alongside physical, linguistics, archaeology, and ethnology.
The meetings and the association continued to deal with new issues. After WWII, many anthropologists became members of the association and held jobs in anthropology. Human rights were looked at, a program was developed in Micronesia, and they fought for civil rights, academic freedom, and professional status of anthropologists. In 1966, the meetings had an “Anti-Warfare Resolution.”
These are just some examples of the article by Susan Trencher. The article is continues with a few more examples of the dilemmas dealt with through the years by the American Anthropological Association.
DAWN S. CARNEY University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Trencher, Susan R. The American Anthropological Association and the Values of Science, 1935-70. American Anthropologist, 2002. Vol. 104(2): 450-472.
In this article, the author concentrates on the struggles of the American Anthropology Association in dealing with the opposing views of it’s members concerning it’s practical function in relation to the changing economic and political times. This article describes the major hurtles that the AAA had to face in chronological order from 1935-1970 and shows how each problem lead the way to another debate over what anthropology consists of and how it should be used in the modern, shifting United States. Anthropological theories such as cultural relativism, ethnocentrism and scientific application are all used in various arguments throughout the article to justify the different viewpoints that are stated.
The article begins to examine conflicting viewpoints within the anthropological school around 1930, where the second generation of anthropologists started lobbying for more input in the proceedings of the AAA, which was run by the academic “Boasian” older generation of anthropologists. The second generation, who were more scientifically orientated, demanded that the Association, as part of the definition of anthropology, recognize the category of applied anthropology. Severe arguments between the two groups led to separatist movements by the younger generation, which were eventually quenched by the AAA who invited the leading second generation anthropologists, such as Steward, to head a reorganization committee within the AAA as well as accepting applied anthropology into it’s official definition.
The main criticisms the Boasians had about applied anthropology was that it threatened anthropologist’s “scientific impartiality,” because applying their knowledge to policies and politics compromised objectivity. The second generation criticized the Boasians, claiming that their methods were unscientific and produced unobjective results.
During the 1930’s applied anthropology expanded due to economic depression. This meant that there was a lack of academic jobs available for young anthropologists, who then turned to government jobs as part of the New Deal. During the war many anthropologists bended the rules of objectivity by collecting scarce data on enemy culture and made biased conclusions with it in order to assist the US on the political front.
In 1948 the AAA became caught up in several cases in which they had to choose whether or not to protect the personal civil rights of their members. The question was whether the AAA was overstepping it’s boundaries or protecting it’s professionals. After that, anthropology itself was once again dissected in response to the Association’s controversial anti-warfare statement of 1966. Cultural relativism was used again to determine the difference between the role of the scientific anthropologist and that of the concerned citizen. Critics of the statement claimed that an antiwar statement was ethnocentric and a cultural issue, not a scientific one; this lead to disputes in the 1970 AAA presidential election.
The scientific foundation of the Association was no longer disputed but the issue what that science consisted of and whether it was considered outside of culture or part of the social and political realm was fought over fiercely, along with what methods were appropriate to use in anthropological research. These issues continue to be a subject of debate.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ANYA CHERNEFF Columbia College (Paige West)
Trencher, Susan R. The American Anthropological Association and the Value of Science, 1935-70. American Anthropologist, Vol 104: 450-460
This article traces the history of Anthropology as a discipline from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, and in particular, focuses on the relationship between the discipline and science, and the relation between science and society. Throughout the article, Trencher constantly cites articles from previous issues of American Anthropologist, and this is particularly apt, as the article is concerned with the American Anthropological Association’s stance on these issues.
Trencher begins her article by describing the conflict between the first generation of anthropologists (the Boasians) and the second generation of anthropologists that were on the ascendant in the 30’s. The main point of contention is whether anthropology should be a pure science or an applied scientific discipline. The former stance was espoused by the Boasians while the other was adopted by the second generation anthropologists. She describes the changes in power structure of the AAA, internal politicking, the AAA statement on human rights and other issues as indicative of the ideological struggle between these two camps.
Trencher brings up another pertinent point in her article with the example of the Vietnam Resolution – should Anthropology as a discipline and science be value engaged, i.e. used for political or ideological purposes. Indeed, Trencher points out that certain members of the profession think that it is impossible to ever divorce the discipline from value engagement. She therefore tries to address the problem of defining the role of anthropology – should anthropology intervene in the lives of people, or should it remain a non-invasive, non-interfering discipline.
Trencher then concludes her article by stating that even after five decades of pondering on the relationship of anthropology and science and society, we are no nearer to a convincing answer, and new arguments are made everyday to make the possibility of discourse even more difficult. Yet she ends on a hopeful note that this is indicative that anthropologists have progressed in their thinking and ideologies through the decades.
DARREN ZHOU Columbia College (Paige West)
Tuzin, Donald. Derek Freeman (1916-2001). American Anthropologist September, 2002 Vol.104(3):
Donald Tuzin’s obituary of Derek Freeman provides some excellent insight into the live and achievements of one of anthropologies more controversial figures. As is to be expected, Tuzin briefly describes the situation in which Freeman is best known for, the critical analysis of Margaret Mead’s work in Samoa. There was however more to the life of Derek Freeman and Tuzin makes sure to mention a quite a few aspects which have been overlooked due to the notoriety Freeman had received from the hi profile Mead situation.
Derek Freemen was born August 16, 1916 in Wellington, New Zealand. Tuzin touches on Freeman younger years as a teenager and college student and mentioning one of his early influences, Ernest Beaglehole and Jiddu Krishnamurti. In 1940 he moved to Samoa where he stayed for just over three and a half years and became indoctrinated within the Samoan culture. Freeman then joined the Royal New Zealand Volunteer Naval Reserve where he was first introduced to the Iban of Borneo, which were to become the subject of much of his later ethnographic studies. Tuzin continues on describing other scholarly achievements of freeman through his years.
Freeman remained an opponent of Boas’ cultural determinism and supported most that questioning theories and research is beneficial to the progress of science. In fact he claimed his work dealing with Mead was not so much a critique of her actual work but of the Boasian doctrines.
In all Tuzin provides a rather positive portrayal of the life of a man who reveled in the idea of being called a heretic.
MICHAEL CLEMENS University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Urban, Greg. Metasignaling and Language Origins. American Anthropologist, March, 2002 Volume 104, No.1: 233-243
Here, Urban extrapolates the possible origins of the human language through a scientific look at metasignaling in relation to the development of language. He searches for a reason to why humans are possibly the only primates who hold neocortical control over their larynx. Although chimps show slight control, their actions seem to not have been neocortically shaped. Urban attempts to analyze how humans gain this ability and its capability to promote sociability.
He explains how a person must match a sound with the sound of its signal. The meaning of each sound is found in its resemblance to a certain signal. Unusual to most anthropological studies, his reasoning for this, and also what gives only humans this ability, is scientific. The ability to control the larynx, which is a task only humans have, sets them apart from other primates. Although primates seem to have control, Urban says these noises, which are so close to the same babbling of humans, are produced entirely by mouth vibration, but without the use of the larynx. The chimps placed in an environment, where their talking abilities were stimulated, still could not activate the larynx.
The next task Urban must tackle in his piece is how humans have this ability and no one else does. What sets them apart? The control over the larynx, he says, was a natural step in the development of language. The ability to turn the vocal cords on and off at will is a necessity to the production of language.
Urban proves the importance of these scientific connections through the development of sociability. The cause-effect relationships are constant, yet quite valid. The control over the larynx causes our development of language, which is individual to humans, and this causes an increase in sociability. This is what separates us from all other primates.
Humans, being the dominant species in this world have acquired many things, but why? Urban breaks this down and tries to understand one of these reasons and how it affects everyday life as well as the hierarchies of nature. As he states, the ability to have neocortical control over the larynx is due to “the strategic deployment of vocalization in an effort to communicate…” and also, an “attempt to copy adult forms for communication purposes.” Urban dissects the development of these characteristics with simple examples and helpful figures which allow the reader to understand why this control over the larynx has had tremendous effects in the powers of a human.
SUNITA KURRA Barnard College (Paige West)
Urban, Greg. Metasignaling and Language Origins. American Anthropologist March, 2002 Vol.104(l): 232-245.
Meta signaling, meaning signals having at least part of the signal meaning something else, is a ritualized form ornamentation using vocal apparatus to produce sounds that remind the listener of crying. These sounds are induced not just controlled. The intonational signals are the chimps way of expressing their desire for sociability. The difference is that the meta signaler must make a sound as if they were crying, in order to capture the attention of the listener. The sounds are very distinct, but sound similar. The main question in this article is do non human primates have control over their larynx, and could they be able to communicate with speech? The studies that have been done recorded in this journal conclude no, because mainly nonhuman primates are not able to speak on demand. Their vocal sounds have to be triggered by the limbic system, and they otherwise have little or no control over it. They have worked with chimps in the past and have taught them to communicate with words unfortunately, the words have only been mouthed, and little or no sound has been able to come fourth. So it’s not that these chimps do not have the capacity to speak, they can learn to, but in order for them to speak with sound is not possible at this point. There is evidence however, that chimps have the capacity to manipulate with communication. The limbic system must be involved due to the presence of sound, but infant chimps that are being weaned have been known to manipulate their mothers with crying, even if there is no apparent cause for the crying. An example is with a chimp studied by Jane Goodall named Figan. One particular day in the camp, Figan was left behind by the other chimps, at that point Figan was given bananas.
His excited call quickly brought back the other chimps, at this point they took his bananas. Another time same situation, Figan had been given bananas again but this time he still let out his cry, but he tried with all his might to suppress it. His calls were heard deep within his throat. Both excitatory signals as well as inhabitation signals were stimulated, and therefore, gives us more proof-that sound is triggered by the limbic system.
LENA MALAVENDA University of South Florida (Kevin A. Yelvington).
Walker, William Stratigraphy and Practical Reason, American Anthropologist, 2002, Vol. 104 (1): 159-177
In this article Walker talks about a criticism, made by Marshal Sahlins, of “practical reason” and the “oversimplification” it allows looks. Walker looks at how “practical reason” within archaeology, and in particular in the study of stratigraphy, has downplayed the role of ritual and religion in cultural practises. He focuses particularly on the American Southwest and the conflicting interpretations of violence and warfare in the area before the arrival of the Spanish. He believes that for the most part archaeologists have preferred to turn to war, accident and natural phenomena to explain the site abandonment and burnings in the area. Walker argues that by beginning their excavations with preconceived ethnocentric ideas regarding religion and value archaeologists are moulding what they find to fit “practical” confines and so overlooking more plausible, if less logical, explanations of ritual activity.
Walker believes that archaeology should follow more along the lines of ethnography by looking at ritual and religion in the context of everyday life. He looks at its role as part of the political and economic structure of societies and not separate or opposed to it. Previously archaeologists had studied ritual and religion primarily through artefacts but Walker sees a change in the field towards the study of activities and events as markers of ritual. He shows that in order to avoid ethnocentrism within archaeology there must be an acknowledgement of and attempt to understand social contexts in which ritual and religion were practised. Walker talks about the influence of Boas and the importance of history in understanding these contexts and promotes the use of things such as artefact life histories to follow these trajectories.
Walker structures this argument very carefully, dividing the essay into five stages. In the first stage he defines religion and ritual in an attempt to make the discussion and study of its traces clearer. In the second section Walker looks closely at the relationship between ritual, social relations and archaeology. In the third section he looks at the methods and pitfalls of archaeology and in particular the study of stratigraphic structure. In the fourth section he looks specifically at diverging archaeological explanations of data in the American Southwest. In particular he focuses on the link between ritual and violence or warfare. In the fifth section Walker concludes this case study by focusing on a particular site and the theories surrounding the finding there.
ALICE KENTRIDGE Columbia College (Paige West)
Walker, William H. Stratigraphy and Practical Reason. American Anthropologist, March 2002. Vol. 104 (1): 159-177.
Walker believes that practical reason—while sufficient for other areas of study—oversimplifies the behavioral variability that is at the heart of anthropology. By applying a universal logic to human practices, such practical assumptions tend to conceal the more “impractical” facets of behavior. Walker focuses particularly on the ritual organization contained in archaeological strata, the evidence for which is often obscured by utilitarian logic. He attempts to elucidate this organization by proposing a behavior-oriented life history approach to the study of prehistoric ritual stratigraphy. He illustrates this approach through a case study of ethnographic and archaeological evidence of ritual and warfare in the American Southwest.
In the first section of the article, Walker defines religion in such a way that encompasses both social relationships and the behavioral variation that would lead archaeologists to important inferences. He refers to the emergence of a new type of data: the abundant ritual evidence that forms the material structure of archaeological strata.
In the second section, Walker argues that the tendency to equate “ritual” with “ideology” exaggerates the importance of such practical realms as politics and economics, at the cost of obscuring the material value of ritual practices. Claiming that these practices have just as much impact in structuring the archaeological record as does something like politics, Walker advocates the view that all behaviors are a material reality of social relationships. As evidence for the very “realness” of rituals, he cites the complex relationships underlying Mae Enga weapons.
In the third section, Walker describes an approach to studying prehistoric rituals that involves the identification of religious organization spanning sequences of strata. He refers to the ritual abandonment of a kiva at Picuris Pueblo; this example demonstrates the way stratigraphic evidence may defy practical reason by exposing more irrational or improbable alternatives.
In the fourth section, Walker highlights a case study of warfare and ritual in the North American Southwest. Through this example, he illustrates the divergent interpretations of archaeological data that arise from two different types of theory: that based on practical reason, and that more closely linked to ethnography. Once again, this latter approach to examining stratigraphic data highlights the more “impractical” evidence of ritual and warfare in non-Western societies. Walker also argues that because impractical and practical reason are products of specific behavioral systems, they vary through space and time.
Ultimately, Walker applies subtle ethnographic methods to the archaeological record in order to offer a somewhat counterintuitive conclusion about the ruins of pit houses and pueblos in the Southwest. He argues that many of these sites were destroyed by ritual activity, not warfare (as would be the more practical hypothesis). In the fifth and final section of the article, he refers to the destruction at Paquime to support his claim that ritual abandonment is recorded much more extensively in stratigraphic data than previously imagined.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
NATALIE SEARS Barnard College (Paige West).