American Anthropologist 2001
Alvard, Michael S. and Kuznar, Lawrence. Deferred Harvest: The Transition from Hunting to Animal Husbandry. American Anthropologist 2001 Vol. 103(2):295-311.
In this article Alvard and Kuznar look back some 10,000 years to examine conservation, concerning the hunter-gathering societies of the past to that of present day animal husbandry. They suggest that recent empirical work has illustrated that resource conservation in traditional hunter-gatherer societies was not as commonly practiced as previously thought. Alvard and Kuznar, as well as a number of other researchers believe that conservation was unlikely in traditional hunter-gatherer societies because the resources were open-access, which means that everyone has the right to consume them, therefore animals were immediately pursued and killed. They suggest that husbandry, on the other hand, is prey conservation because “a short-term cost is paid for (the animal is not immediately pursued, killed, and eaten) and the benefit (the animal and descendants) are deferred to some future point.
Alvard and Kuznar suggest that resource conservation is rare among hunter because of issues related to ownership, also known as the private property and territorialism, or the collective action problem. They, along with other researchers, suggest that conservation is unlikely because everyone has open-access to resources and if everyone has a right to consumption, individuals are unlikely to sacrifice their consumption for the benefit of others. Alvard and Kuznar see ownership, a component of husbandry, as a means of “preventing competitors from free riding and can help solve the collective action problem”.
Alvard and Kuznar suggest that as societies became more complex and populations increased people became more dependent on husbandry. They also believe that they have provided an analytical model that provides a timeline that predicts the introduction of domestication and that they are able to suggest subsequent domestication events. I believe that the authors have done a terrific job of constructing a model that explains the tradition from hunting to husbandry as well as many of the reasons for it.
JONATHAN SPAULDING Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Aoyama, Kazuo. Classic Maya State, Urbanism, and Exchange: Chipped Stone Evidence of the Copan Valley and Its Hinterland. American Anthropologist, June 2001. Vol.103(2): 346-357.
Kazuo Aoyama in his article, “Classic Maya State, Urbanism, and Exchange: Chipped Stone Evidence of the Copan Valley and Its Hinterland” seeks to better understand the nature and role of exchange in the development of a Classic Maya state-level society. His specific research questions include “what was the nature of obsidian exchange systems through time in Copan and its hinterland?” and “what was the relationship between obsidian exchange systems and the development of sociopolitical complexity ?”(346). The results of his study suggest that the management of procurement and exchange of Ixtepeque obsidian blade cores, along with other factors, played a significant role in the development and maintenance of the Copan state. Further, Aoyama argues that intraregional or local exchange was far more crucial for state development than was long distance exchange. This view contrasts with other theories concerning the development of Maya civilization which have often viewed long distance exchange as the crucial factor. Finally, Aoyama argues that “the Classic Copan state maintained a centralized and integrated political and economic organization based on far more than kinship, ideology, and ritual (346).”
In support of his argument that local exchange may have been more important than long distance trade, Aoyama looks at 91,916 pieces of chipped stone artifacts found in and around Copan. Copan is one of the premier Classic Maya cities, which is also located near one of the primary obsidian sources for the Maya lowlands, Ixtepeque. The importance of local exchange over long distance trade can be found in Aoyama’s figures on the production of obsidian. They suggest that production was not of export scale, but that it was sufficient to supply the needs of local populations. Further evidence for Aoyama’s argument is displayed by looking at obsidian obtained from highland Mexico, including the green obsidian from the Pachuca source. The import of green obsidian was found to be a low-volume undertaking and both microwear and contextual analyses suggest that these artifacts were mainly “elite untilitarian commodities,” primarily of social and symbolic rather than economic significance. Aoyama speculates that the control of this material may have been important in legitimizing the political authority and power of emerging rulers in the Copan Valley during the Early Classic period. Local exchange was still more important for state development than long distance exchange.
Evidence for a centralized state can be found also in Aoyama’s results. Further study suggests that the ancient city of Copan functioned as a distribution center for Ixtepeque obsidian blade cores. The skewed distribution of the chipped stone artifacts suggests that the rulers had far greater access to Ixtepeque obsidian than did others in the valley. There are five lines of evidence to support this view and Aoyama concludes “that management of the exchange systems in such utilitarian commodities may have been important for promoting the general welfare of the Copan community and for consolidating and legitimizing rulers’ political authority (355).”
ALLISON V. CHILDS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Aoyama, Kazuo. Classic Maya State, Urbanism, and Exchange: Chipped Stone Evidence of the Copan Valley and Its Hinterland. American Anthropologist June 2001 Vol.103(2):346-357.
This article by Kazuo Aoyama is about the Copan Valley in Mexico and the Maya that lived there. Her studies were based on obsidian blade cores that were distributed to local leaders at Copan and then given to local rulers in near by regions. By studying these stones, Aoyama wanted to find out what the purpose of obsidian exchange systems were and what these systems relationships were to the development of sociopolitical complexity. Aoyama studied several pieces of chipped stone and came to the conclusion that exchange between nearby regions was more important and vital for the Mayan people than was trade with distant regions.
Aoyama describes all the artifacts studied in detail including size, shape, where they were found, and what time period they are from. She describes in detail how she went about studying the stones and what tests she did to determine how old the stones were. The stones she studied were between 1400 B.C.- A. D. 1100.
In her studies of the stones, Aoyama concludes that the obsidian blade cores played an important role in the development and maintenance of the Copan state. Supervision of the system of trade for obsidian blade cores was central for the common benefit of the community and for validating the authority of the rulers. While Aoyama found that long distance trade was a common practice among the elite class in the Copan Valley, it was only in small quantities and was usually for social and symbolic reasons instead of economic policy like local trade. Plus, long distance exchange only occurred between an elite few.
With its remarkable location near highly localized resources of obsidian, the rulers of Copan had direct access to high quality obsidian. They exported their resources to the lowland Mayan cities who were mainly consumers of the precious blades. Aoyama determined that the obsidian blade cores were the basic resource in the Copan Valley, and were consumed within internal contexts. The Copan state apparently acquired obsidian cores and allocated them to local nobles and local rulers of smaller regions. By placing importance on nearby regions and not long distance trade, Aoyama concludes that the Copan Valley preserved a very central political and economic organization.
I found this article to be very detailed and full of scientific vocabulary that cannot be understood unless one is familiar with archaeology. I do not believe there is another way that Aoyama could have written her findings since they rely so heavily on her detailed data.
TRESSA SABO Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Ausec, Marne. Urban, Patricia. Schortman, Edward. Politics With Style: Identity Formation in Prehispanic Southeastern Mesoamerica. American Anthropologist June, 2001 Vol.103(2): 312-330
“ Politics with Style: Identity Formation in Prehispanic Southeastern Mesoamerica” by Schortman, Urban, and Ausec appeared in the American Anthropologist in June 2001. The authors provide a thorough inspection and interpretation of the La Sierra complex that existed during the Late Classic period in the Naco Valley in northwestern Honduras. They are not merely concerned with the social organization at La Sierra but how political hierarchies were created and maintained.
The article begins with a model for the creation of a society by ruling elites. It is a logical construct that can be applied to any socially stratified system. Any ruling class must inspire the ruled to accept their social position. The authors assert that control of natural resources is the primary means of maintaining power. Resources that are procured from foreign territories further reinforce the status of an elite class because only the most powerful members of a society engage in exchange relationships across societies. Foreign valuables also create an elite culture that is recognized across borders. The powerful members in society must not only control resources but make these resources valuable in some way. Regulated distribution can therefore create a stratified society where members have to look to elite as a source of wealth and well being. Further, attributing religious significance to these sources can make it seem as though social hierarchies are intrinsic and god given. Citizens on the lower tier of society are less likely to question institutions that cognition tells them are natural.
The authors apply these principles to the La Sierra complex at Naco. Their conclusions occasionally seem too easily drawn, but the authors make a convincing case based upon archaeological data that the social political organization of La Sierra was commensurate with that presented in the article’s introduction. Analyzing archaeological data, the authors find that La Sierra was an extremely nuclear society whose architecture and labor efforts seem to be centered on the society’s capital. They suggest that evidence of an elite class is evident from construction of monuments they illustrate the existence of labor control. Elite members at La Sierra appear to have garnered and maintained their power by controlling production of various types of pottery. The authors present copious archaeological evidence that indicates pottery was the primary marker of social status. The rulers controlled production of pottery and task specialization in their society, which made some members dependent on others for obtaining the valuable art. The style of pottery seems highly regulated, and many foreign influences seem to have been ignored. This uniformity of craft corresponds with creation of a social identity at La Sierra. Pottery also appears to have been aligned with religious rituals that would have solidified its social importance. All of these factors led to the creation of a society at La Sierra with a strong having a ruling class because citizens their viewed the activities of the elite as essential to their well-being.
ROBERT BAKER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Barrett, Stanley R. Stokholm, Sean. Burke, Jeanette The Idea of Power and the Power of Ideas: A Review Essay American Anthropologist, 2001 Vol.103: 468-478
In the article, The Idea of Power and the Power of Ideas, Barrett, Stokholm, and Burke evaluate Eric Wolf’s Envisioning Power: Ideologies of Dominance and Crisis. Wolf promotes power as a fundamental concept in anthropology by connecting it with culture in three detailed case studies: the Kwakiutl, the Aztecs, and the National Socialism in Germany. Barrett, Stokholm, and Burke agree that Wolf successfully connects power and culture in the three case studies, but his discussion of “culture often refers to little more than ideas, and power borders on being analytically redundant, mobilized periodically to explain what already is obvious in the text” (p. 470).
The Kwakiutl is described as an excellent example of the “manner in which the ideational realm can intersect with the materialist realm and constitute a basis of power and stratification” (p. 470). It also shows how the elite can form ideology from the supernatural realm to remain in power. In Aztec society, cosmos were used to formulate the relationships between power and class. The rulers “would rearrange the cosmological ideas to create a self serving ideology” (p. 471). In German National Socialism, it is concluded that national socialism was intended to be more than merely a political party. It was meant to transcend party interests, to create a new society, a community of the Volk, distinct from and superior to the state itself” (p. 472).
The critique of Envisioning Power includes the limits of power, the abstract analysis of power, and the explanatory capacity of structural power. Barrett, Stokholm, and Burke argue that the Kwakiutl, Aztecs, and National Socialism were used by Wolf because they were societies in crisis, and “power stood out like a bull on a hilltop” (p. 474).
In the final section of the article, Envisioning Power is compared to the works of Weber, Geertz, and Parsons. Wolf is described as having a Weberian position since both believe “powerful interest groups have powerful ideas” (p. 474). Wolf is compared to Geertz due to their belief that “the concept of culture emerged to counter the enlightenment view of reason and uniformitarianism” (p. 475). Wolf and Parsons both refer to National Socialism as “a charismatic movement par excellence” (p. 476). Most of Wolf’s ideas are similar to Parsons, the only difference being that Wolf paid little attention to religion, while Parsons portrayed Lutheranism as “a major player.”
The major purpose of The Idea of Power and the Power of Ideas, is to evaluate Eric Wolf’s, Envisioning Power. The authors critique the three case studies presented in Envisioning Power and compare it to the works of Weber, Geertz, and Parsons. Barrett, Stokholm, and Burke conclude that culture is allowed to stand on its own as an independent variable in Envisioning Power.
STEPHEN GARCIA University of Notre Dame (Caroline Nordstrom)
Barrett, Stanley R. Burke, Jeanette and Sean Stokholm. The Idea of Power and the Power of Ideas: A Review Essay. American Anthropologist 2001 Vol. 103(2):468-480
In this article Barrett, Burk and Stokholm review the work of the late Eric Wolf, Envisioning Power. Wolf sought to make a connection between the constructs of power, culture and conflict. He defines power as being inherent in individuals and by imposing ones will on another, therefore power is gained. He suggests that power is control over that context in which people interact. The authors of this article seem to agree with Wolf’s ideas of how power is defined and related to culture but they find fault in the examples that he uses to support his reasoning. They suggest that Wolf should have selected different case studies. By selecting one case study in which ideas and power were clearly connected and another where they were not, his study would have been stronger and more objective.
Wolf’s argument is founded on three case studies, the Aztecs, National Socialism and the Kwakiutl, all of which are examples of extremely dominatrix societies, where ideas of power were extremely evident. As Barrett suggests, “ the cases are extreme in the they represent the far reaches of human variability, notably in the form of potlatch, human sacrifice, and genocide.” (Barrett et al 469) As Barrett et al. points out, this weakens his attempt to associate power with culture. This is a form of circular reasoning; or like saying that someone is beautiful because they are beautiful. By focusing on power he gives the impression that everything contributes to its evolution. Barrett et al. point out that there must be at least one other category opposite from power for which power can be evaluated, perhaps being called “not power”.
In sum Wolf makes a good argument that power is associated with culture to some unknown degree. He draws on some very interesting extreme examples of power to make his case. But his case is not universal because it only accounts for one variable within the phenomenon of power. The authors do a good job of pointing this out with out disgracing the work of the late Eric Wolf and leave the door open for future research that might further illustrate power and its relationship with culture.
JONATHAN SPAULDING Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Bestor, Theodore. Supply-Side Sushi: Commodity, Market, and the Global City. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol. 103(1): 76-93.
It is difficult to tell when reading this article, what the author intended when he set out to do this study. Bestor says early on in the article that his main question revolves around the link between cities, markets, and globalization; focusing mainly on whether or not globalization changes the role cities play in market trading. Although this is his main question he only addresses the issue sporadically during the essay, and comes to a very loose conclusion at best. Bestor argues that, in the past, a market and a place complimented each other because the market was set for one designated time and location where a gathering would occur. In today’s society many people believe this link is deteriorating. Bestor sets out to prove it is still there, but that the link is different. To show how this is happening, Bestor focuses on the Transnational Tuna Trade.
Bestor’s article takes a turn at this point, to explain a little about the Bluefin tuna trade. He points out many inventions that would allow this market and place (like a city) link to continue overseas in a new globalized market. Included in this is commercial refrigeration and jet services that would allow fresh fish from Boston Massachusetts to travel to Japan without spoiling. The bulk of Bestor’s article explains in detail the catching of the fish, how they are haggled over once caught, pricing, and the way in which quality in a tuna is graded. Though Bestor is concerned with globalization, he spends most of this article outlining the Bluefin trade itself, and not on how it is affecting the link between markets around the world with the people who are in each city. A very good quote at the end summed up Bestor’s entire argument in a neat package, (Bestor, 92) “[Cities] are places with especially intricate internal goings-on, and at the same time reach out widely into the world, and toward one another.”
Bestor’s article does come full circle, and in the end he finally concludes, yes, a market and place are still connected in today’s world, but this article could have been much shorter and with a lot less complexity. The detail that the author poured into this article was fascinating, very well thought out and thorough, but still was not completely necessary.
KERRY WALTON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Borofsky, Robert. A Conversation about Culture. American Anthropologist Mar-June, 2001 Vol. 103:432-446
There are so many ways to answer the question “what is culture?” Robert Borofsky believes that cultures will be different in different areas because people are molded over time. Culture is created through communication, actions, and beliefs. Culture is developed through patterns and behaviors.
Borofsky believes there are two major ways in which culture develops over time: accumulation of patterns of actions, or “elements of further action.” Cultures that are sociocentric put an immense amount of stress on “what is true, good, beautiful, and efficient.” According to Isaiah Berlin, culture is manifested in “the speech, laws, and routine practices of some self-monitoring group.” Although cultures vary from place to place, each culture has a set unity. There are certain beliefs and actions that people act upon in their communities that will be perfectly normal because it is “known” in their cultures, but if they act like this in other communities, others may find their behavior offensive problematic.
Finding universal patterns of culture would be ideal, but is impossible. Certain cultures have certain beliefs that will probably never change, not even over time. Many people would defend their system of culture by saying, “that is our custom” or “that is the way we have always done things in our culture.” Sometimes there are two cultures in conflict with each other and Borofsky explains that, “the concept of culture per se is not a theory of the ‘good,’ although cultural analysis is probably not possible without reliance… there are no such things as objective values and that only might (power) makes right.” He is basically saying that just because it is not something someone would understand and believe in another culture, it is not necessarily wrong. If someone was brought up with certain beliefs, it is morally wrong to put them down for what they believe in.
Borofsky also questions why we believe in culture. “Human beings are robots or putty or blank slates.” This is a very legitimate argument because people do act like robots. They do what they’re told, and act a certain way because that is how they are expected to act. Human beings are brought up by others telling them how to act. If they are born in a completely different areas, different things may be important to them. In one culture, it may be extremely important and they have to act a certain way. Yet, if they were in another place, it may not have the slightest importance.
One cannot say that if everyone discounted culture “there would be no cultural conflict and no ethnic hatreds, which does not necessarily mean that the world would be at peace.” On the contrary, says Borofsky; there may be more hatred and conflicts because there would be mixed beliefs. There may be more problems and there may not be any way to solve them because there would not be any single set of beliefs or regulations from which to work. Although culture varies from country to country, they remain consistent within one country.
In the end, culture will still play its role as a “tradition.” There will always be set beliefs and ways of acting in certain settings no matter where one goes. A culture is a “thing in itself,” which means it will always remain constant throughout time and other cultures. Culture exists everywhere and will never die.
CAROL DIXON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Borofsky, Robert; Barth, Fredrik; Shweder, Richard; Rodseth, Lars; Stolzenberg, Nomi Maya. WHEN: A Conversation about Culture. American Anthropologist, 2001 Vol. 103(2):432-446.
This article, which reads like a dialogue, explores when to use the idea of culture as a tool for analysis. Barth and Rodseth argue that the culture concept is best used after data has been collected, an inductive approach. Conversely, Shweder and Stolzenberg assert that culture should be used to develop important questions before and during an ethnographical study. Borofsky introduces the article and notes that many embrace the idea of culture in an abstract sense, but still disagree about the details of the concept. Furthermore, he states that culture has never been defined such that all anthropologists agree upon it, and therefore the idea is best used as a tool with many different possible applications.
Barth’s piece follows the introduction. His primary theme is that an inductive approach to culture is best, namely that anthropologists should collect data, observe people in action, attempt to discover what a specific group of people believe, and then apply the concept of culture as a tool to frame the previous analysis. This idea stems from the opinion that data should be as untainted by our personal biases as possible. More specifically, Barth recommends focusing on social action, as the most useful method to conducting an ethnographical study. Next, Shweder agrees with Barth on several points, but also asserts that beginning with the cultural concept will move us towards the questions anthropologists usually want to consider. Essentially, Shweder does not believe that there is any particular danger in viewing a group of people in a cultural context early on, because he does not see any significant separation between the study of culture and Barth’s idea of social action.
Next, Rodseth responds. He argues that Shweder’s rebuttal is really directed at more extreme supporters of the anti-cultural movement than Barth. Rodseth also notes that Barth is not completely against the use of culture as a tool, but rather, believes it is best for the field as a whole if human action is first separated from our models and social constructs. Rodseth thoroughly disagrees with Shweder’s idea that only a few anthropologists have abused the cultural idea, stating that anthropology was dominated by cultural determinism for a significant length of time. In the last section of the article, Stolzenberg presents an argument for the deductive use of culture, agreeing that its use creates ambiguity, but asserting that it also allows for creativity and imagination. The ability to be flexible, to encompass all of the positions in an issue to create a better understanding is an aim of anthropology, and it is something that she believes can be attained with the use of the cultural concept to begin a study.
JOEL SCHAFFER University of Notre Dame (Nordstrom)
C. Loring Brace. Frank Spencer (1941-1999) Historian of Biological Anthropology. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol. 103(1):171-173.
This writing, by C. Loring Brace, is an obituary about the life of biological anthropologist Frank Spencer. Brace simply recalls the accomplishments of a good friend and colleague.
After briefly describing Spencer’s childhood years, Brace goes on to mention where Spencer was schooled as well as how he began his career as an anthropologist. Brace talks about all of the successful projects Spencer headed in his short career, including Spencer’s doctoral dissertation, his decade spent as department chair of the Department of Anthropology at the City University of New York at Queens, his work on the Piltdown forgery, and, finally, his two-volume History of Physical Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. Next, Brace makes this obituary a little bit different than others by admitting that Spencer wasn’t perfect. Most obituaries concentrate only on the positives, but Brace admits that Spencer’s work may have been a little more effective had it been written by scientific historians. However, Brace does end on a high note by stressing Spencer’s great work ethic and determination. Some criticized Spencer for trying to do too much too fast, but Brace refutes this by referring to Spencer’s work as a building block for future generations.
In this obituary, Brace mentions that Spencer was a student and friend of his. Because he was so close to Spencer, it makes sense that Brace would be able to write a good and clear account of Spencer’s life. The obituary seems to be very genuine, because Brace not only talks about the accomplishments of his good friend, but also areas where Spencer wasn’t quite as successful. Overall, the essay is very well-written, clear, and, thus, easy to understand.
STEVE SOLLMANN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Bridgman, Rae. I Helped Build That: A Demonstration Employment Training Program for Homeless Youth in Toronto, Canada. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol.103(3):779-795.
This article describes the development of ‘Eva’s Phoenix’, which is a pilot project to provide a long term transitional housing and career-oriented employment-training opportunities for homeless youth in Toronto, Canada. Bridgman’s research focuses on the construction-training program for youth and explores some of the tensions that can be created in a welfare project. Those tensions include consulting the youth themselves about the project; encouraging the participation; promoting the project and by whom reconciling different values and expectations of partnering organizations and participating youth. This article also looks into the obstacles that homeless youth face today and analyzes the types of services or interventions that may help them. This research emphasizes on challenges related to youth participation, representational authority, and potentially conflicting values of welfare projects such as Eva’s Phoenix.
Bridgman concludes that sensitivity to the privacy, needs of youth, and careful management of media relations are required for such an ambitious project. Contradictions naturally occur when an organization’s mission is for youth to develop a sense of agency although they are not yet ready to take a responsible position in the workforce.
According to Bridgman’s studies, homeless youth have multiple and intersecting needs including housing, employment, development of life skills, and medical care. Welfare projects, such as Eva’s Phoenix, demand collaboration of various organizations and funding agencies. Bridgman suggests that it is essential for those people involved in this welfare program to be well-educated in order for youth to participate in the programs as fully as possible.
This research introduces a problem in the conversion of the scholarly emphases on agency into welfare programs and initiatives for homeless youth. Eva’s Phoenix has found it hard to mediate between their organizational goals of recognizing and enlightening the sense of agency of young people and the more hierarchical professional cultures of their partners in industry. A question that must be raised and studied in the future is how to formulate an agency for marginalized youth while training them to accept employment restrictions simultaneously.
HYE-JIN KIM University of Notre Dame (CAROLYN NORDSTROM)
Cashdan, Elizabeth. Ethnic Diversity and Its Environmental Determinants: Effects of Climate, Pathogens, and Habitat Diversity. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103 (4): 968-992.
This article explores the geographical patterning of ethnic groups. Cashdan theorizes that ethnic diversity is mainly influenced by environmental variables. Some of these variables are unpredictable climate, pathogens, and habitat diversity.
Cashdan uses two sets of data (Ember 1992, Price 1989) to show that diversity appears to be greatest near the equator. Neither study claims to be a complete sample of all ethnic groups, nonetheless, they are large compilations of most known groups. Cashdan gives two reasons for this Latitudinal Gradient. First, she discusses European conquest and its role in geographical distribution of ethnic groups. She argues that Europeans conquered mostly regions of high latitudes, leaving ethnic groups living on the equator the opportunity to flourish uninterrupted, while groups from the north were displaced to the south or were incorporated into preexisting groups. However, Cashdan notes that conquest cannot be the only cause in the latitudinal gradient because it also appears within colonized zones.
The second explanation Cashdan gives for the Latitudinal Gradient is the effect of climate variability. She claims that many climatological factors are associated with latitude, and her finding show that there are strong correlations between latitude gradient and climate. She claims that some ethnic diversity results from climate and environmental factors. Her data shows that diversity is primarily due to two causes: greater pathogen stress, and reduced climate variation and unpredictability
The role of ethnic affiliation is also important since it provides protection and insurance against risks. The rationale is that a wide ethnic network buffers unpredictable and highly variable variation in resources. Ethnic groups in unpredictable climates will rely on a wider range of resources, and social relationships with others will affect the amount of resources.
Cashdan then goes on to look at pathogen stress and its effect on diversity. Using a study from McNeill, Cashdan shows that severe pathogen stress was associated with increased diversity. She argues that conquering armies from the north may have been susceptible to outbreaks of disease because of the lack of suitable medical attention in war settings. These same pathogens are found more in tropical areas. Due to the abundance of pathogens and the army’s susceptibility to disease, it would have been difficult to conquer tropical areas. This is a likely reason for the latitudinal gradient in ethnic diversity.
Finally, Cashdan discusses habitat diversity. She states that ethnic groups often specialize in whatever habitat they inhabit. Her data shows that habitat diversity is strongly correlated with ethnic diversity. Her study concludes that the three main variables (unpredictable climate, pathogen stress, and habitat diversity), all play a major role in ethnic diversity in carrying degrees.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
WILLIAM MCCARTHY University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Chavez, Leo R., F. Allen Hubbell, Juliet M. McMullin, and Shiraz I. Mishra. Beliefs Matter: Cultural Beliefs and the Use of Cervical Cancer—Screening Tests. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103 (4):1114-1127.
Chavez et. al. study the explanation of behavior due to cultural variables by researching beliefs about the risk factors associated with cervical cancer and the use of Pap exams. It is argued that the process of acculturation is made more difficult due to different cultural models in a geographic area. This study examined three groups of women in Orange County, California. Initially, ethnographic interviews were conducted with Latin immigrant women, Chicanas (American-born women of Mexican descent), and white women. They, along with area physicians (female and male) were asked to consider different factors that could play a role in acquiring cervical cancer and then rated these factors in order of importance. The initial findings were then applied to large-scale surveys conducted over the telephone and through the mail to gather more data and determine to what extent variation existed in each group.
It is concluded by Chavez et. al. that both cultural factors and structural factors, such as medical insurance, education, and employment, explain behavior. Medical insurance alone is not a predictor of the use of Pap exams; the factors that increase the risk of cervical cancer also play a role in a woman seeking out an exam. Therefore, cultural factors influence this behavior independently of structural factors.
White women and Chicanas most commonly pointed to family history as the leading risk factor for cervical cancer. Latina immigrants, on the other hand, typically thought that morally questionable sexual behavior would put a woman most at risk for cervical cancer because of the stress it would put on her body. Latinas that believe that sex-related behavior is the most important risk factor are less likely to request an exam. It is argued that the Latinas that view non-normative sexual behavior as an important risk factor do not seek out Pap exams because they do not want to associate themselves with this kind of morally wrong sexual behavior. Physicians also agreed that sexual behavior was a key risk factor, but for a different reason than believed by the Latina immigrants. They cited this because of the noticeable connection between the sexually transmitted disease HPV and incidents of cervical cancer.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHRISTOPHER OWENS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Childs, Geoff. Demographic Dimensions of an Intervillage Land Dispute in Nubri, Napal. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103(4):1096-1110.
This study focused on a conflict between two villages in Nubri, Nepal. These two villages, Sama and Lho came into conflict with each other because of a land discrepancy. In order to increase food production for their growing population, the people of Lho began to clear a portion of the Shala (this land was unclaimed and located in between the two villages) in order to grow crops. This caused an uproar within the Sama community, because the Sama’s believed that they were also entitled to this piece of land. In order to further understand the situation among these two groups, Geoff Childs, looked at demographic processes within both villages.
The different family systems, which operate among the two villages, helped to explain the growing population within the Lho community. Once the youngest son has married, parents of the Lho family move into a small home attached to or in the immediate vicinity of their former home, which is occupied by the youngest son. Therefore, the sons and daughter-in-laws become the primary caretakers of the elderly in Lho. In contrast, the elderly in Sama rely on unmarried daughters for support. There is a higher population of unmarried daughters within the Sama community, because many are sent to convents to become nuns. Restricting the daughter to marry by converting her into a nun allows the parents in the Sama family to retain labor within the household and assures them that they will not be neglected as they grow older. As a result, the low population growth in Sama is a direct result from choices made by parents to ensure that a caretaker will be around as they grow older. Also, the nuns help to keep Sama’s population and growth in check. Within the Lho village, converting daughters to nuns is not as highly stressed. Also, there is higher level of mortality among women then among men in Lho. Therefore, women are valued more as child bearers, than as nuns.
The population growth rates among the two villages is, therefore, partially responsible for the dispute over the Shala. Today, Sama residents must pay a salt tax to Lho each year in exchange for the right to gather wood at Shala, and Lho residents must pay a cash tax on each bovine that is herded above Sama every summer. The dispute is now resolved, and Shala is now recognized as part of Lho’s territory. (1099)
KEVIN ONEAL University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom).
Cohen, Jeffrey H. Transnational Migration in Rural Oaxaca, Mexico: Dependency, Development, and the Household. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol. 103(4): 954-967.
In his article, Cohen deals with the issue of migration and the use of remittances among the people of Santa Ana del Valle, a Zapotec community outside of Oaxaca City, Mexico. There are two ways of debating over this issue, either on the side of dependency or on the side of development. Dependency takes the position that migration is a negative thing because it is believed that remittances create economic dependency in turn making people unproductive and easily exploited. On the other hand, development is said to cause economic growth nationally and locally. It was a form of social advancement and helps people and families to participate in social and political life in their community. But if one wants to denote migration as either positive or negative, he or she must look at the historical growth and household decisions that must take place in this transnational movement and how these decisions affect the community.
His argument starts with two anecdotes about different experiences that people have had with transnational migration, one positive and one negative. He enforces the point that one must look into the situations that caused these experiences to turn out the way they did and that every situation that a migrant has, be it positive or negative, it is unique. Next he describes the research site, Santa Ana del Valle. He discusses how migration is actually a big part of their economic success and it is actually uncommon for people not to migrate. He then talks about the rates of migration in Mexico altogether and Oaxaca specifically from the 1930’s to the 1990’s.
Much of the article deals with the fact that the decision to migrate is a household decision, and it is very rare to find a house that doesn’t have someone that has migrated. The way it usually works is someone goes to the United States for a couple of years in order to earn a remittance to send back to their families in order to aid in a number of things. They then return for a few years in order to serve in their government, and it is highly likely that they return once again to the United States. It is ways for people to gain prestige in their community and at the same time provide for their family and contribute to their community. He also makes the flow of migration a stage specific process where migration rates rise, level off, and then eventually end.
He concludes his article by stating once again that the decision to migrate is a collective decision based on family, local, and other transnational networks that are available when one wishes to cross the border and search for work. It is very hard to characterize this movement based on just dependency and development. Santa Ana has followed two of the three stages set by Cohen, but its transnationality is cyclical and does not look like migration to the United States will ever fully stop.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
EMILY SCHRAMM Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Cohen, H. Jeffrey. Transnational Migration in Rural Oaxaca, Mexico: Dependency, Development, and the Household. American Anthropologist 2001 Vol. 103: 954-965
In this article, Cohen addresses the problem associated with the contradictory models of dependency and development that have dominated the debate over the outcomes of migration between Mexico and the Untied States. Dependency models center on the socioeconomic costs involved in migration, while development models focus on the economic benefits that can be used as a result of migration. Cohen states that in dependency models, “migration exacerbates local socioeconomic inequalities, increases economic inequalities, and drives unproductive consumption within peasant households while creating pools of cheap labor waiting to be exploited.” Development models give emphasis to the benefits of migration and the benefits that can result from proper expenditure of remittances.
To help shed light on the debate between migratory models of dependency and development, Cohen encourages the use of a transnational approach when considering the two contradictory views. A transnational approach not only breaks down the contradiction between the two models, but also defines the outcomes of migration and remittance use “as rooted in a series of interdependencies that emphasize production and consumption, class and ethnicity, and the individual and the community while transcending localities and national boundaries.” Cohen also argues the importance of giving detail to exactly how these interdependencies develop in home and migratory cultures.
In constructing his argument, Cohen focuses on data collected locally in a rural Zapotec community in Oaxaca, Mexico, and three main areas: the state-specific development of transnational movement; the domestic cycle, decision making within the household, and the outcomes of migration and remittance use; and the changing nature of community involvement. From data collected in Oaxaca, Cohen argues that the contradictions between development and dependency models are rooted, “not in an inherent quality of transnational migration, but in the historical development of the migration process and the migrant (and nonmigrant) households involved in that process over time.” After giving history and background information on the community in study, the author used his data on the Oaxacan migratory experience to illustrate the role migration played in community member’s lives. Cohen ultimately uses his vast knowledge on the subject and experiences in Oaxaca to assert that migration cannot be characterized by models rooted solely in dependency and development. The model he presents endorses the transnational approach as well as encourages the view that migration and remittance use must also be understood in terms of stage-specific development, household decision-making, and the shifting nature of community participation. As illustrated by his study in Oaxaca, a local approach to the transnational process is most helpful in understanding migration and remittance use.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
DAVID MARQUES University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Comaroff, Jean and John L. Comaroff. Of Fallacies and Fetishes: A Rejoinder to Donham. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol. 103(1):150-159.
Don Donham apparently criticized the Comaroff’s book, Of Revelation and Revolution (RR), which seemed to be the main focus of this essay. They simply defended their writings against Donham in order to retain any integrity that he left them. They do this defending by commenting on “five major foci;” and as they stated, “leaving aside many of the smaller cavils that trail across the pages as irritants rather than issues.” However, what I found very odd and confusing is that before they start commenting on these “five major foci” they comment already on one of these “smaller cavils.” If someone criticizes the title of their book, as Donham did, and they found it irritating why, I ask, do they waste valuable paper and ink retaliating to his comment? Post-confusing moment, however, the Comaroff’s bring everything into focus for us.
They start in, finally, on their points of focus. The foremost being “the accusation that [they]…ignore the effects of power.” In their second focus they defend against Donham’s comment that they “treat the two cultures in question as…’relatively solid homogenous wholes.’” In the third they comment on “The Question of Ageny, Effect – and Power.” Their fourth focus, like the fifth, is broken down into sub-foci: “the equation of vernacular modernism with capitalist hegemony” and “the assumption that all capitalisms require hegemony.” The fifth, and final, focus is on Donham’s comments about absence, storytelling, and house painting. The Comaroff’s defend all of Donham’s major points by using textual evidence from RR1 and RR2 that contradicts the way that Donham, himself, interpreted their work. However, at the end of the essay, yet another confusing moment weaseled its way into the paper.
They agreed with Donham that they “painted [themselves] into a corner.” To put it more clearly, the agreed with Donham that they did not make themselves clear on what RR was about. This ending confused me because, the whole time through reading the essay, I thought they were upset with Donham for having criticized their work. I found it odd that they would agree with someone that they were agitated with, knowing that I wouldn’t do the same. But this brought me to the realization that everyone is not like me, duh.
RAYMOND BOWLING Indiana University Bloomington (Anya Royce)
Luc De Heusch. Obituaries: Germaine Dieterlen (1903-1999). American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): 796-797.
In Germaine Dieterlen’s Obituary, Luc De Heusch focuses on the many great accomplishments throughout her life. Dieterlen was born in France in 1903 and passed away on November 13, 1999. Her reputation for her work in anthropology is well known throughout France. She was a mentor in the development of ethnographic research and contributed greatly to research on the religions of West Africa. Her number one priority was fieldwork and the vastness of her achievements shows her dedication and work ethic.
Germaine Dieterlen’s most famous work was with the Dogon of Mali. She worked alongside Marcul Griaule, her professor, until his death in 1956. Her study of the Dogon was the ‘longest program of ethnographic inquiry that has ever been undertaken in the field’. In Mali she investigated the cosmology, rites, technology and myths of the Dogon. Her research revealed a religious system that resisted Islamic pressures and was able to preserve the spiritual heritage of the ancient Mandé Empire. Using the data from their research, she and Marcel Griaule published a major work describing the cosmology of the Dogon entitled Le Renard pâle in 1965.
In 1969 Germaine Dieterlen formed a research unit at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS). The group consisted of young scholars devoted to the study of religion in Western and equatorial Africa. From this group of individuals came five successive volumes on the comparative study of sacrifice in different religions. During Germaine Dieterlen’s life she published several works of anthropological importance. One of her most renowned works is The Honorary Title of the Arou, which she published in 1982. The Honorary Title of the Arou is known as a ‘masterpiece of ethnographic precision’. The publication describes the enthronement ceremonies of a religious master, the “hogon of Arou”, which can be compared to the sacred kings of Africa.
Other notable achievements of Germaine Dieterlen include being elected president of the French Committee on Ethnographic Film. In this position she stressed the necessity of recording rituals on film to improve our understanding of them. She received her doctorat d’État in 1949 in Paris. What Germaine Dieterlen accomplished in her lifetime is amazing, but her dedication to fieldwork was what set her above her peers. At one point in her life she proudly proclaimed that she was an ethnographer and not an ethnologist.
JAIME VOLKMER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Donham, Donald L. Thinking Temporally or Modernizing Anthropology. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol.103(1):134-149.
Donham addresses the increasing presence of historical analysis in the anthropological arena. He contends that the discipline has not yet sufficiently developed the resources necessary to fully utilize historical analysis, and that its deficiency lies mainly in that it too often fails to deal with issues of temporality. Rather, he prefers a narrative approach to historical anthropological explanation, over theoretical abstractions. In other words, not only are static representations of societies and cultures inadequate, but narrative examples and depictions are necessary to explore and synthesize the complexities of current interdependent systems of influence
The means by which Donham chooses to convey his ideas are a series of critiques on the works of John and Jean Comaroff. He states that the Comaroffs are largely successful in expanding “the contexts typically examined in South African history,” but have difficulty in synthesizing instances where heterogeneity is present. Specifically, Donham asserts that the Comaroffs look to culture in the same sense of static containment as the structural Maxist would relate the same situation to economy. From this assessment, Donham looks into ill-defined themes of South African history to convey this notion that, while the Comaroffs further the scope of anthropological approaches to South African history, they fail to adequately address aspects of temporality. Thus, believing that narrative is entirely rooted in temporality, Donham continues to cite the shortcomings of theoretical generalities through complex historical examples of South Africa.
Essentially, Donham presents these instances where the Comaroffs fail to comprehensively explain historical progressions via anthropological theory. He sees this as being evidence that the discipline has become overly homogenized towards the concept of culture, which then limits one’s ability to understand the dynamic complexities at work in historical contexts. He emphasizes the idea that individuals are ultimately responsible for actions rather than the vague concepts of society and culture. Thereafter, he gives final attention to highlighting the importance of narrative in the advancement of anthropology.
MICHAEL ZAWADA University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Gibson, Jon L. Obituary of William George Haag (1910—2000). American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol. 103(4) : 1138—1141
Jon Gibson wrote this obituary in tribute to a fallen colleague and mentor. William Haag was an anthropologist who had a special gift for teaching. Haag did leave his mark on the anthropological community in the form of publications and positions, but the biggest mark he left was on his students. The impact that William Haag had on his students is best reflected in their own words. Gibson asked a few of Haag’s students what he had meant to them. These testimonials from students, friends, and colleagues show the side of William Haag that could not be found in any publication. Gibson then charts Haag’s life. From his early days as an amateur geologist, to his introduction into archaeology, and onto his teaching career at such locations as Louisiana State University, University of Mississippi, and Harvard University. Throughout his life, it can be seen that Haag was smart, hard working, and had a wit that made him able to rise to the ranks of the elite professors and anthropologists.
Gibson tries to put into words the importance of William George Haag. In order to accomplish this task, he writes of people singing Haag’s praise. He then shows that all of these praises are well warranted. Gibson outlines all of the major turning points in Haag’s academic career. He gives us a look at why Haag had the anthropological perspective that he had. Haag’s interests shaped what he studied. Haag was very interested in such things as pottery and aboriginal dogs, which led to him studying these topics. His contributions to the study of these topics are well documented.
CLARITY : 5
COLIN QUINN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Headland, Thomas N. An Obituary of Kenneth Lee Pike (1912-2000)
Dr. Kenneth Lee Pike died at the age of 88 on December 31, 2000. Dr. Pike was and still is an extremely accomplished linguistic professor and doctor. Dr. Pike received his bachelor’s degree in 1933 from Gordon College and his Ph.D. in linguistics in 1942 from the University of Michigan. Since he began his work in the field of linguistics, Dr. Pike has made an enormous impact on the world through advancements in the understanding of remote languages. He was the president of many associations like the Linguistic Society of America and an active member of such institutes as the American Anthropological Association and the National Academy of Sciences. While being a member or head of all these things, he was also a Professor Emeritus of U of Michigan and also of the SIL. (Summer Institute of Linguistics) During Dr. Pike’s lifetime he had many publications to his credit. He published 20 books, 200 academic articles, and over a thousand poems he wrote. Over 20 encyclopedias have published entries on Dr. Pike as well.
Over his lifetime, Dr. Pike has had numerous contributions to the study of linguistics. His first theory on linguistics was that of tagmemics. His theories on Phonetics were published 60 years ago and are still used by students in courses even today. Dr. Pike also developed a method which helped to learn previously unknown languages called the “monolingual approach” which was his calling card.
Aside from being a great teacher and researcher he was a religious Christian. All during his life he worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators to help translate the bible to different languages without it and also helped to point people towards religion.
Overall, Dr. Kenneth Lee Pike was a great man who was intelligent enough to solve the linguistic barriers between remote languages and also was good enough to pass his knowledge onto others. A collection is being compiled by SIL called the “Kenneth L. Pike Special Collection” in which all of his works and the works of his family members and other writings about him will be kept and available to academic researchers around the globe when it is completed.
Headland, Thomas. Obituary of Kenneth Lee Pike. American Anthropologist June, 2001 Vol.103(2):505-509
Kenneth Lee Pike was perhaps one of the greatest and most influential linguist anthropologists ever to live. He was also an internationally renowned Christian theist and educator who was a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan and President of the Summer Institute of Linguistics. He was born in East Woodstock, Connecticut on June 9, 1912 and passed away in Dallas, Texas on December 31, 2000 after battling a brief illness.
Dr. Pike served many leadership roles throughout his life including President of the Linguistic Society of America, President of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States, and chair of the University of Michigan Linguistics Department from 1975-1977. He was also the nominee for honors such as the Nobel Peace Prize, and was the recipient of awards like the Presidential Medal of Merit from the Philippines. He has been the topic of over 21 encyclopedia entries, and has published many books, poems, and articles.
Dr. Pike made several major contributions to the field of anthropology. As early as the 1940’s he was developing tagmemics, which was an important theory of linguistic studies. He wrote a complex book in 1954 that covered 763 pages on this theory, and in 1982 he also released an abbreviated version entitled An Introduction to Tagmemics. Furthermore, one of his earliest works, Phonetics (1943) had a profound impact on anthropology and is still used in the classroom today.
Dr. Pike strived to teach his students how to solve their linguistic problems. He established workshops throughout the world geared towards solving the challenges of learning different languages. He taught his students how to learn many “endangered” languages that very few speak and will soon be extinct. His methodology has led to many linguistic documents on over a thousand indigenous languages. Dr. Pike also developed the concept of emic/etics, a tool for understanding other cultures, which is commonly used among anthropologist today. Also, as an avid Christian theist he never hesitated writing and discussing the correlation between Christian theology and the academia. Religion was so important to him that he considered himself a hybrid between a linguist and a missionary.
The “Kenneth L. Pike Collection” has been created so that his correspondences can be open to scholarly research.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
WILLIAM TOBLER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Henrich, Joseph. Cultural Transmission and the Diffusion of Innovations: Adoption Dynamics Indicate that Biased Cultural Transmissions is the Predominate Force in Behavioral Change. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol.103 (4): 992-1010.
Henrich’s objective was to study patterns of human behavior. The article suggests that cultural transmissions or social learning, influence behavioral changes more than trial-and-error learning or cost-benefit analysis, but that they do work together. Henrich discusses threes types of biases that affect one’s behavior; direct, prestige, and conformist. Each type is analyzed to find out how much of an effect they have on human behavior.
Henrich uses many examples to explain the environmental learning model along with his own. Detailed explanations using equations and graphs (S-curves and R-curves) go into rationalizing the different theories of what changes human behavior. The environmental model says humans learn from doing things on their own and figuring it out. The cultural transmissions model says humans learn through imitation; imitating those around them, those they admire, or the actions of a majority group.
The article is very well organized with the author going through each area of his analytical process step by step. Other researchers and past research data in the field are cited and used to support his argument. He even answers the questions that shed doubt on his findings, showing how graphs indicate that human behavioral changes are more drastic when cultural transmissions are accounted for along with environmental learning. S-curves are never formed through environmental learning alone, but they are always produced by biased cultural transmissions.
This article is very well written and straightforward. The discussion provides a good synthesis of the study and brings up more questions that need to be answered. The organization and clear language makes the article easy to follow and understand. However, the detailed explanations of all the equations, calculations, and graph charting tend to be long and tedious. Overall, the author provides a compelling study very well supported.
NJIDEKA MOTANYA University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Hill, Jane H. Proto-Uto-Aztecan: A Community of Cultivators in Central Mexico? American Anthropologist, 2001. 913 – 931.
Jane Hill sets out to prove two facts, that the Proto-Uto-Aztecan (PUA) community was from central Mexico and that they cultivated maize. To support her claim, she references Bellwood’s Southern Origin Model. And in order to make her claims justified, she responds to arguments of opponents, who support a theory that the PUA came from America and moved south. These opponents include Lamb, Romney, Hopkins, Nichols, Miller and Fowler. Much of her evidence is based on linguistics.
Hill has five arguments expanding and supporting Bellwood’s model. Her first argument is in response to Romney and Fowler. Their argument is based on lack of words in their language that would refer to a homeland in central Mexico. Hill counters this by saying that words can be lost if there is no use for them. Hill’s second argument is the similarity in vocabulary in subgroups that branched off of the PUA. She has specific evidence on words and phonetics that are related from the subgroup families. These branches off of the PUA are found in Southwest America. This is evidence for her argument that the PUA migrate north and then spread out. Her third argument is the presence of vocabulary that refers to maize and cultivation in the PUA language. One of the branches off of the PUA was the Hopi people. Miller, an opponent to Hill’s theory, claimed the cultivation words in Hopi were borrowed words. Hill has found new data on Hopi language that shows the words for cultivation and maize to be from their ancestral language before they separated from the PUA. Along with this was that fact that the arrival of plants, maize, squash and beans all occurred at different times, coinciding when the words in PUA or branches of the PUA appeared. Hill argues that maize is the oldest word indicating its early cultivation, and that the spread of the other foods indicates the spread of the PUA. This is support for her argument that the PUA were maize cultivators. A fourth argument is the presence of words for irrigation in the PUA language. This would indicate a culture of cultivation.
This article can have political consequences that are mentioned in the article as well. These are concerned with the claim of Chicanos, who are the descendents of Mexican Indians, to the land in Southwest America. If Hill’s arguments hold up, the Chicanos have no claim. These articles that support or refute a native people’s claim to land are very controversial, but not often talked about enough. America has a history of taking land that is not its own, and anthropology must be careful to use its knowledge without unintentionally exploiting already exploited people.
KAYLENE LANDON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Jane H. Hill. Proto-Uto-Aztecan: A Community of Cultivators in Central Mexico? American Anthropologist December 2001 Vol. 103(4):913-934.
In the article’s introduction, the author, Jane H. Hill, stated her case; “the Proto-Uto-Aztecan speech community was located in central Mexico.” She has plenty of her own evidence, as well as some from Bellwood, that supports her hypothesis. She also includes some witty replies for the arguments that contest her hypothesis. And at the same time she introduces us to the other main hypothesis “The Northern Origin Model,” and shows its lack of consistency with evidence; thus, making her and Bellwood’s hypothesis correct.
Evidence that she provides of her own ranges anywhere from the “rake-like” sub-grouping of the Uto-Aztecan language all the way to how these peoples say squash and beans in different areas of Mexico. And she provides evidence from Bellwood such as: “few historically attested or archaeologically demonstrated cases in which foragers have adopted cultivation while maintaining their linguistic…integrity” and “primary cultivators are unlikely to replace or assimilate one another.”
Towards the end of the article she defends the hypothesis against the “four main lines of argument.” This is the best evidence, that she provides the reader in order to make her opinion correct. She poses the argument and then very blatantly states her defense. This is best seen, with the second argument; “the late date…for the final breakup of PUA does not give sufficient time for the diversification of the northern languages. My reply to this argument is…”
However, before she provides any evidence supporting her hypothesis she introduces the reader to “The Northern Origin Model.” In this case, she provided only about half a page of text describing and supporting this hypothesis. I believe that she does this to make it appear as though it doesn’t have enough evidence to be correct, whereas she provides much evidence to support the other. If this is the case, it proves to be very effective. Even though I knew nothing of this subject before hand, I agree with Jane H. Hill after having read this article.
RAYMOND BOWLING Indiana University Bloomington (Anya Royce)
Hill, Warren D. & Clark, John E. Sports, Gambling, and Government: America’s First Social Compact?
The role of gaming and sport in pre-historic Mesoamerica played a much more critical part to everyday society than the sports of today. The games introduced a structure to the area that could impact every one of the people living in the village. It is not known whether or not the early governments were a result of the introduction of gaming and sport, but it is a possibility. The games themselves were a way to have fun, compete, or even engage in a smaller scale and much less severe type of warfare for some communities. Never the less, sports, gambling and government were highly impacted by the games and the people surrounding them during the prehistory of Mesoamerica.
Playing of the ballgames in Mesoamerica produced many reactions within the community itself. There are three ways from gaming that would possibly lead a person to power or in the opposite direction, sometimes resulting in death. Gambling your way to the top, gaining prowess through participating in the games, or being a sponsor of the games or festivities that sometimes came along with it are the different ways that power could be achieved during the times of chieftain emergence in Mesoamerica. These ways were surprisingly more inclined to get a person to the area of high prestige and status before the more common ways of deceitfulness and treachery would.
Gambling was a staple of the ballgames in Mesoamerica. Everyone who wanted to could gamble on the game whether they were wagering common items such as beads and produce to even themselves or their families. Status could be increased or lost through gambling, but in all actuality the odds even themselves out in gambling. Unless the gods were on your side during hefty bets, you lost everything you owned including your freedom, or the game was rigged, nobody really climbed the ranks in society through betting.
The players involved in the games could amass great fame within and around their villages and communities. Unlike today though, wealth and political power is not a necessary side to competing in the games. Although, high status would most likely be owned by a player due to the fact that sporting was basically enjoyed by the elite class. If a player were to build a large amount of wealth, it would be through gambling on the games themselves and collecting their fair share of possessions.
Sponsoring was probably the most sure fire way to gain high status, as long as one has the funds in the first place. The ball courts themselves were investments to the village and possibly the owners. (If there was indeed one owner) Being able to rent out the courts for feasts, games, or festivals would be a large income. Also being able to associate your name to the events themselves would build enough prestige to make oneself well known within the village as well as between the surrounding ones. It could be compared to in a larger scale like today’s associations with stadiums such as the Kraft family in Pittsburgh and large corporate companies like RCA or Trans World Airlines, etc.
The thing that sums up the act of sports in this essay to me is the fact that it develops a community or communitas among the people of the village. Much like sports today, the village would rally around their teams and support them and use them for bragging rights to other communities around them. Referring to their teams in such ways as part of them just shows how much the ball games and the teams were a part of society. The games were a social event as well as a place to gamble and compete. It was a way to have other villages exchange beliefs and ideas due to the fact that the “away” team would come with people from their village as well.
Holtzman, Jon. The Food of Elders, the “Ration” of Women: Brewing, Gender, and Domestic Processes among the Samburu of Northern Kenya. American Anthropologist, 2001. 103(4):1041-1058.
Holtzman’s article provides a comprehensive overview of the Samburu household in relation to the production of alcoholic brew. The Samburu household is first equated with the cooperative conflict model. This model rests upon a differential commodity that has a real societal value. The process through which resources are exchanged between men and women supports the claim that the Samburu household operates under the bridging of conflicts to produce cooperation.
Holtzman seeks to show how the Samburu of northern Kenya use alcohol brewing as a means of resolving issues regarding gender roles and identities within the household and society. Brewing, in essence, is a process whereby conflicts between men and women within the household are resolved. Domestic processes are explained in terms of “cooperative conflict”, where individual conflicting interests are brought together to produce cooperation. What brings individuals together to bargain their differences, then, is the consumption of alcohol by elders of Samburu society.
The argument rests upon Samburu household dynamics. Women are responsible for food allocation and men are usually the economic decision-makers. Women, too, are solely responsible for the production and sale of alcoholic brews. Both men and women, then, each possess a resource that the other wishes to obtain. The brewing market allows older men to purchase brew, which is high enough in calories to count as self-provisioning, and it allows women to obtain money for the purchase of goods that her husband would not normally allow. Domestic harmony is sustained by this redistribution of resources between two groups with differing amounts of power and status.
Brewing, however, has other equally important purposes besides cooperative conflict in domestic cases. Samburu tradition stipulates that men must buy brew from their wives if they wish to drink, keeping the men’s money in the household. Women can also use the profits of brewing to support a household without a husband. Although Holtzman’s article emphasizes the importance of brewing from a domestic perspective, women are the focal point of his argument. Women create the trade that ultimately grants them the means to obtain what their husbands, or men generally, possess.
MARIO NIETO University of Notre Dame (Nordstrom)
Horton, Sarah, Joanne McCloskey, Caroline Todd, and Marta Henriksen. Transforming the Safety Net: Responses to Medicaid Managed Care in Rural and Urban New Mexico. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol.103(3):733-746.
Within the past two decades, the explosion of managed care within the American health care system has had drastic effects on safety net organizations. The term ‘safety net organization’ is applied to groups or individuals that serve those who are without health insurance or who are otherwise socially disadvantaged. In their study, Horton et. al examine the factors that determine whether or not an organization sinks or swims under Medicaid managed care. Under the Medicaid managed care system, federal Medicaid funds are funneled through managed care organizations (MCOs), and then out to providers as a fixed amount of money allocated to caring for a group of Medicaid patients. This current system drastically reduces Medicaid reimbursements to safety net organizations leaving them with large financial burdens. Concerned that these burdens lead to an eventual compromise of the organization’s mission, including their commitment to social welfare, Horton et. al. seeks to identify factors that place organizations at risk under Medicaid managed care.
Over the course of three years, the ethnographic team studied a variety of health care organizations in New Mexico, a state with a high percentage of low-income and minority residents. After conducting interviews with health care personnel and patients at three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), one community health care center, and 14 private family practices, the team recognized the impact that size, location, and affiliation have on an organization’s success under Medicaid managed care. Both of the urban clinics studied fared better than those in rural areas due to their affiliations with larger hospitals and access to numerous sources of funding. Rural clinics were forced to face reduced Medicaid reimbursements without support from outside funding sources. These clinics have attempted to cover this loss of funds through state grants and by attracting patients with either private insurance or the ability to pay in cash. Private practitioners must cope not only with a financial burden, but also a bureaucratic burden due to the increase in paperwork that accompanies managed care. Some private practitioners have sought to resolve this issue by combining their staffs under a partnership. Others have engaged in “outreach,” providing services that do not rely upon Medicaid funds. Horton et. al. considered private practitioners the most at risk group under Medicaid managed care because of their “small size, lack of affiliation, and inability to seek out grants” (743). From their fieldwork, Horton et. al. concluded that the ability to uphold the safety net mission depends heavily on location, affiliation, and access to charitable funding. Those organizations affiliated with large hospitals in urban settings are able to combat the Medicaid managed care system without significant reductions in care provided to low-income populations.
ANDREA JOHNSON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Ilahiane, Hsain. The Social Mobility of the Haratine and the Re-Working of Bourdieu’s Habitus on the Saharn Frontier, Morocco. American Anthopologist June, 2001 Vol.103(2):380-394.
The villages of southern Morocco consist of three main ethnic groups: the Berbers and Arabs, traditionally landed aristocrats, and the Haratine, black Africans who have typically been second-class sharecroppers. Recently, however, the Haratines have improved their economic status through the acquisition of land. Applying Bourdieu’s idea of Habitus, Hsain Ilahiane explains the causes of this change in economic status of the Haratine, and its political and social implications. He supports his explanation with evidence from the village of Amazdar, including surveys, statistics, his observations, informant’s reports, and case studies of individuals from each ethnic group.
Bourdieu’s theory of Habitus is essentially the idea that internal social change must take place within the context of established rules and beliefs. That is, everyone thinks inside the box, even those seeking to change society. Thus, the Haratine have improved their status within the village society both economically, politically, and socially, but they have done so through existing means of improvement, namely acquiring land, and have improved their status within the existing system, not created an entirely new system.
The status change of the Haratine was made possible by colonial and post-colonial government intervention in southern Moroccan villages. The French colonial government did not change the discriminatory policies of the ruling Berber and Arab classes; indeed, it reinforced these policies. It did, however, incorporate villages into the larger market economy. Hartani were able to migrate to other villages and even to Europe, escaping the sharecropping system and earning revenue that could eventually be used to buy land. After independence, the government again interfered in the village by creating a constitution that granted the Haratine many of the rights denied them by traditional village government, including the right to vote.
As Ilahiane’s statistical data on land tenure show, many Haratine used their new political rights and financial resources to buy land. Haratine land ownership has increased, while that of Berbers and Arabs has declined. Because land in these villages is the most important source of public and political identity, the change in economic status of the Haratine has also improved their political status and granted them greater influence over village politics and policies. Ilahiane notes the presence of Haratines on village councils as one example of this new influence.
Because the status of the Haratine has increased and the overall determinants of status have not changed, the Arabs and Berbers have lost economic and political status. As the case studies of Arabs and Berbers show, they are very much aware of their loss of status. They resent the Haratine and feel they have disrupted the natural social and political order. To an extent, the Haratine have altered the village. In particular, ethnic consciousness – and hence tensions between ethnic groups – has increased. Yet, the fundamental values of the village, such as its emphasis on landholding and its Muslim character, remain. Though the old ruling classes regret it, the Haratine have successfully maneuvered within southern Moroccan village society to improve their economic, political, and social standing.
SUZANNE DOERING Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Ilahine, Hsain. The Social Mobility of the Harantine and the Re-Working of Bourdieu’s Habitus on the Saharan Frontier, Morocco. American Anthropologist. 2001 Vol. 103(2):380-394.
During the twentieth century, Morocco saw many sweeping changes in governance and social structure. The traditionally dominant social classes have now given way to an ethnic group whose place in Moroccan culture was always one of subordinance and often disdain. In Hsain Ilahiane’s analysis of the Haratine ethnic group, he reveals a shifting of the social structure of the nation, as well as a resistence to this movement. Ilahiane uses Bourdieu’s idea of Habitus to analyze this social phenomenon.
The Haratine are distinguished as an ethnicity according to the classifications of the Arabs and Berbers, whose roles in Moroccan society have always been prominent. Their attributes include a darker skin color, landlessness, a lower level of intelligence, a ‘client’ status, and a sharecropper class. The Haratine are deemed to be “like women” and are prohibited from participation in village government due to a land ownership requirement. When the Kingdom of Morocco emerged out of a colonialist government in the 1960s, the Haratine became eligible for the same civil rights as the other social groups. After the period of colonialism ended, the Haratine began to acquire land and to establish their own systems of kinship and identity. For the Haratine, the access to land “bred” empowerment. Many Haratine have since grown wealthy, and many Haratine have found themselves in lawmaker positions. They are, in a sense, creating a new reality for themselves, and restructuring a seemingly static system already in place.
This reworking of an established cultural code has been met with resistance, although not often in open conflict. Public discourse in the Moroccan villages recalls a happier, more ordered, and harmonious community when ruled by the Arabs and the Berbers. These groups see modern culture, as restructured by the Haratine, to be one of a demise in justice and law, what one Arab deemed “too much freedom for people who do not deserve it”(388). The Haratine viewpoint, on the other hand, depicts a community, not of lawlessness, but as one that is progressive and anxiously building a sense of belonging common to all ethnic groups.
This struggle is representative of Bourdieu’s ideas of Habitus in that there are institutions in place that constitute “self-perpetuating hierarchies of domination”(380). The Haratine wish to destroy a system that is grounded in this culture – one that is saturated with the idea that certain practices are the only ways to act. It is true that conflict was less apparent in the colonial villages, but this was especially because the communities experienced a very strict hierarchy of values. There are, in a sense, competing realities. The Haratine are competing against the Habitus of the culture from which they have emerged, while at the same time, are creating a new Habitus, through which they hope to establish a system in which they are recognized as equals.
Jones, Carla, and James Peacock. Koentjaraningrat (1923-1999). American Anthropologist. September 2001 Vol. 103(3): 1142-1144.
In Koentjaraningrat’s obituary, Jones and Peacock outline his contributions to the field of anthropology. A native of Indonesia, Koentjaraningrat was the founding figure in postcolonial Indonesian ethnology. Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands on August 17, 1945. Koentjaraningrat emerged at the time of independence to forge anthropological study based on the heritage of the Dutch. He also assimilated approaches of the Americans and British while working on his own ethnographies in Java and eventually the rest of Indonesia.
With the publication of his master’s thesis at Yale in 1957, Koentjaraningrat started to become known within American Indonesianist circles. This thesis described Javanese kinship and social structure. Later writings included descriptions of gotong royong (cooperation, Indonesian style), and villages throughout Indonesia. These were capable descriptions in functional-structural mode of Javanese and Indonesian social life at the village level. Later on he wrote about Indonesian value orientation, and then after that, published a comprehensive study on Javanese culture.
As a professor, Koentjaraningrat was revered by his students. Students particularly admired his conviction about moral dimensions of development and his courageous use of anthropology as a critique of government policies toward ethnic minorities in Indonesia.
In his retirement years, Koentjaraningrat was outspoken about the Indonesian governments approach to development. He was committed to national development and to understanding the roots of ethnic division and the barriers to national integration, but was critical of the government for what he considered its encouragement of shortsighted goals and instant gratification, both on the level of state policy and in the kind of citizenship it fostered in Indonesians. Later, he called for improved quality and dedication to education, rather than simply a government focus on economic development and GDP. Koentjaraningrat was particularly concerned about he state of education Indonesia and was devoted to the development of anthropology as a discipline there.
The scientific discipline of anthropology in Indonesia cannot be separated from the name Koentjaraningrat, for he is the Father of Indonesian Anthropology.
JOHN RANDAZZO University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Kingfisher, Catherine and Michael Goldsmith. Reforming Women in the United States and Kotearoa/New Zealand: A Comparitive Ethnography of Welfare Reform in Global Context. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): 714-729.
This article is a historical comparison between two relatively different welfare programs and it discusses how to combat the idea that welfare promotes “parasitic” behavior. The main focus is on women and the particular changes welfare systems have adapted that devalue the role of mother, and discourage them from relying on the government for monetary support.
The authors first analyze the changing systems of welfare in both countries using a neoliberal form of government, which focuses on individualism. This focus allows the government to take back their views of motherhood as a job. Mothers are seen as able-bodied individuals who are capable of holding down an occupation that gives monetary support in addition to a full-time position as caretaker. In addition, women are pressured to enter the workforce long before they feel comfortable parting with their children, leaving little time for appropriate care of the children. This has a negative impact on the children and leaves mothers and children alike with the belief that the country does not value its children and family relationships.
The article then takes a historical look at the welfare systems of both countries and how stable they have been in assisting women with children. The reforms due to the newer neoliberal systems are then compared to older methods, and interviews with specific women on welfare are analyzed.
These interviews portray opinions and problems with the new welfare systems. The authors use women who have experienced both the older and more recent welfare systems to better authenticate their research and the negative ideas and role that welfare now plays in the life of impoverished mothers. Problems such as work ethic, the role of primary caretaker, enough time and care for children and parenting as “work” are addressed. The overall feeling the authors leave with the reader is that the newer, current welfare systems are very unsupportive of mothers. This covers the withdrawal of the belief that parenting is a full-time effort. The neoliberal changes that are occurring globally are shown to be causing problems with social rights nationally through the stories of single mothers on welfare.
DANIELLE HULICK University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
LeCount, Lisa J. Like Water for Chocolate: Feasting and Political Ritual among Late Classic Maya at Xunantunich, Belize. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol. 103(4):935-953
In this article the article deals with the relationships among food, feasting and social relationships. LeCount deals with issues of how food and feasting are used to develop social and political status. LeCount’s article gives interesting and potentially useful information about the origins and content of ancient Mayan feasting habits. The article does a good job of exploring and describing their rituals in the context of their own culture. The author uses the analogy of food to interpret political and social hierarchies in society. I like the fact that she does not use a ridiculous amount of jargon in her article, unlike some of her colleagues. She seems to make an effort to do this. Despite this effort, some parts of her article are unclear. She starts giving information without sufficient history or explanation. The author seems to assume sometimes that the reader has previous knowledge of the subject matter.
The article is anthropologically sound because it relates a subject as obscure as ancient Mayan feasting and connects it to cross-cultural politics and the creation of hierarchies of power. However, the author leaves most of the interpretation to the reader. LeCount details the kinds of food consumed at different ritual and non-ritual feasts. She details the ingredients, preparation, presentation and consumption of these foods. The author focuses great attention on physical location when presenting her understanding on Mayan customs. She uses much archaeological evidence and speculation in her argument. LeCount does not appear set on proving anything, but simply on exploring the relevance of ritual feasting in ancient Mayan culture.
The relationship the author finds between food and politics is very interesting. The idea of prestige goods that LeCount introduces is valuable because it extends far beyond the realm of food. A prestige good can be anything that gives one group of people a social edge over another. Basically, prestige goods are the same as cultural capital. The difference is that while ideally, cultural capital can be obtained by all, prestige goods are reserved for the few.
TIFFANNE MAHOMES University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Lewis, Herbert S.. The Passion of Franz Boas. American Anthropologist June, 2001. Vol. 103(2):447-463.
In his passionate, well-written article, Herbert S. Lewis aims to disprove negative theories and opinions of Franz Boas’s life and work. Boas (1858-1942) was a German-born anthropologist-scientist who moved to the United States to live and work. He is best known for defending human rights and opposing racism; however he has often been misunderstood and misjudged. Lewis lays out many of the important allegations made against Boas and defends him from every angle. Lewis’s basic argument is that Boas should be praised and revered, not criticized, for the work he has done in the field of anthropology as well as in the realms of sociology, politics and education.
To support his thesis, Lewis uses quotes from Boas’s books and articles, and excerpts from letters written by Boas to students and friends (and vice versa). The author also lists organizations Boas founded and participated in and highlights these organizations’ goals and achievements. Lewis divides his article into short sections which makes looking for specific topics (i.e. Franz Boas’s Ideals in Words and Action or The Race Problem and the African American Past) easy to find and understand. Evidence is presented in a clear, easy to read and understand manner. Lewis often begins by citing positive aspects of Boas’s life and career and then follows by stating the negative allegation made upon him in this particular area. Lewis asks how such harsh criticisms can be made in light of what he has just stated. Lewis’s article does well in disproving criticism of Boas, and at the same time it provides an excellent biography of his life and work.
ANNIE EFFINGER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Lewis, Herbert S. The Passion of Franz Boas. American Anthropologist, 2001. 103 (2): 447-467.
Herbert S. Lewis is a Professor Emeritus in the Anthropology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has taken a special interest in the life and work of the scientist and human rights activist, Franz Boas. Franz Boas, a German native born in 1858, was well known for a number of reasons, such as the use of a scientific approach to anthropology. In addition, Boas was one of the first to study areas of culture that were not yet studied, such as its specific beliefs, art histories, and linguistics. Lewis points out that after Boas’ death in 1942, his status as a scientist decreased. Nonetheless, his reputation as the defender of human rights and a racism adversary remained strong. Lewis’ purpose throughout this article is to explain and defend the work of Boas, because Lewis felt that Boas supported many aspects that America claims to stand for, such as rights and personal independence, freedom of speech, equal opportunities for all, and overcoming prejudice and sexism.
Throughout the article, Lewis speaks of different views that people had of Boas and his work over the years. In the mid-1950s, Boas was ridiculed for being an irrational old man whose only contribution to anthropology was to hold it back. Lewis feels that Boas was not appreciated then for his scientific knowledge, but he was respected for his work against racism and ethnocentrism. Similarly, in the 1960s, Boas was condemned for his own personal disposition. Critics accused him of actually being prejudiced against American scholarship, something that Lewis believes was untrue. Recently there has been an “efflorescence” of the attacks on the memory of Boas. According to Lewis, this caused his relationships, motives, ideas, and work to be reevaluated.
This article is filled with interesting views of the work of Franz Boas. Some appreciate his knowledge and studies, while others refute them. However, Lewis holds to his original purpose in writing this article; that Boas was in fact a very intelligent man who organized his work around important aspects such as human rights and prevention of racism.
JESSICA ROBERTS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Lindee, Susan. James Van Gundia Neel. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol. 103(1): 502-505.
Lindee’s obituary on the human geneticist James Van Gundia Neel (1915-2000), informs the public about Neel’s life and what he accomplished throughout his life. Because it is an obituary, neither an argument was intended to be made nor was the author set out to prove anything. Susan Lindee’s simple objective was to describe what Neel has done before he passed.
All of the data that Lindee uses in Neel’s obituary are either from his personal accounts or from other writings about his travels. The entire obituary is a history of Neel’s feats, findings, and personal life. She discusses Neel’s life as a son, husband, and a father on top of his successful life as a geneticist and anthropologist. Lindee even covers Neel’s “self-reported moment of epiphany” (p. 502) in his college years, when he conducted an experiment which led to impressive results about science.
Lindee presents her data and history of Neel’s journey through life chronologically. She illustrates Neel’s life smoothly and clearly, making the obituary pleasant and fairly easy to read. With respect to clarity, Lindee is successful at getting the information through to me, which sometimes can be tough. Lindee’s story of Neel’s life touched most of the high points in his life, but did not review his tougher times as an anthropologist or geneticist. The fact that Lindee did not discuss Neel’s hardships seemed to be the only weak point in her writing, although I’m not sure if it’s best to discuss a dead man’s failings in an obituary. Besides this small error, in my opinion, Susan Lindee’s essay is very well written and presented, which makes for an easy, informative read.
JOE THAMAN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Low, Setha M. The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear. American Anthropologist June 2001 Vol. 103 (1):45-58.
An increasing number of people and families are moving from urban neighborhoods to suburban-gated communities. The main motivation to move is safety, though statistics show that many cities, including two examined in the author’s reported study, have become much safer in recent years. The author proposes that it is the changing demographics in the urban neighborhoods that these people are trying to escape. As urban centers become increasingly culturally diverse, the people who have lived there for many years feel a “loss of place,” and this leads to a “flight of fear” away from city centers.
Low focuses her article on two gated communities, one in San Antonio, TX, and the other in Queens, NY. These cities were chosen because of similar demographics and size. Both have experienced a great influx of immigrants in recent years, causing changes in urban neighborhoods and, in turn, interethnic conflict. Both also display a strong movement of middle-class European-Americans leaving the city to make new homes in the suburbs, often in gated communities. The author believes that these two circumstances are highly correlated, and attempts to prove a causal relationship. The author attempts to show that these newly suburbanized residents have justified their cross-city move by believing themselves in great danger while living in urban areas. This danger may exist, but the author feels that the move is more likely motivated by these residents’ lack of tolerance for ethnic changes in their immediate surroundings: they are seeking out a “safer,” exclusive, and segregated place of residence.
Despite the walls, gates, and guards, these residents still do not feel entirely at ease. Many still keep their house alarms armed even when at home in the day. They do not trust their guards and question if the walls are high enough. The author brings forward two questions linked to this issue: what will be next or enough, and what effect will this have on their children, who are already displaying signs of xenophobia at young ages.
The author cites heavily from contemporary anthropological writings as evidence. The first section of the article serves to explain the central theme by providing background, as well as giving examples of urban fear, and advancing the idea that myth does not always live up to reality. The next section explains in detail the author’s fieldwork, and how she came to choose Queens and San Antonio. She takes great care to include as many relevant statistics as possible before moving on to explain her research design and methods. She spent time over a three-year period interviewing residents of gated communities in the two cities, and includes some selections from transcripts of these interviews. These excerpts further support her theory that the central reason for these examples of intercity migration is the need for security coupled with a fear of ethnic diversity in urban neighborhoods.
SARAH KANTNER Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Low, Setha M. The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol.103(1):45-57.
In this article, Low sets out to prove that systems of walls and class division are not a new concept. The structural readjustments to late capitalism of the 1970s and 1980s led to the creation of a two-class system of “haves” and “have-nots” and caused the need for many middle to upper middle-class Americans to hide behind gates and walls because of the culturally created dangers of the “others” that lurked outside. The need for these gated communities reflected their need for some form of spatial identity that separated them from all “others.” It has been the social homogeneity of the suburbs that has helped to legitimize and rationalize class-based exclusion strategies and residential segregation.
Low constructs her arguments chronologically, by providing a history of gated communities. She shows through time, how the intentions behind the movement to a gated community mirror changes in social values that accompanied economic transformation. Low then gives examples of how the government, and also such prejudiced and socioeconomic disparities subsidized by businesses, help to mediate the construction of spatial boundaries though implemented laws and regulations. These laws and regulations in turn reveal the need for many middle and upper-middle-class Americans to identify themselves apart from the “others” or those who are not from the same income groups.
Low provides a cross-cultural comparative study on two major cities where statistical data reveals that the discourse of urban fear is a culturally created concept; reality is never as grim or devastating as in the media’s portrayal. In addition, open-ended, unstructured interviews, as well as participant observation in New York and San Antonio gated communities revealed that fear of crime, increased social diversity, and neighborhood change brought about the fear of the “other,” caused many to flee urban neighborhoods with increased ethnic diversity to gated communities.
CHARLENE TRAN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Low, Setha M. and Gary W. McDonogh Introduction to “Remapping the City: Place, Order, and Ideology” American Anthropologist, 2001 Vol.103(1):5-6.
The primary concern of this article is to gain a better understanding of the city as a system. The author introduces inequality between the rich and poor as a problem when she contrasts affluence and mass public culture with the actual inequality of urban living. A compilation of diverse studies look at the meaning of the cities by integrating traditional studies of cultural geography, political economy, urban sociology and regional and city planning, and focuses specifically on the physical, architectural, and virtual form the city takes. The articles seek to develop an ongoing discussion about urban systems and the meanings people attach to them.
Through ethnography, the authors get a deeper look at the key material, ideological and metaphorical aspects of the urban environment. Ethnographic observation and discourse are used to uncover spatial relations, mass media, consumption, and urban planning and design patterns. In addition to shedding light on the structure, function, and meaning of the city the studies are a solid example of the potential the field of urban anthropology has. The use of anthropological method allows for a broad interdisciplinary understanding of the city. The ability to incorporate detailed local accounts as well as address global issues is unique to the field of anthropology and broadens the benefits of ethnographic study.
The use of in-depth studies is emphasized to add credibility to the problems and issues presented. Urban systems were studied for 15 years in different cities in different regions through out the world including; Hong Kong, Accra, Vienna, Chicago, Savannah, Barcelona, Philadelphia, San José, San Antonio, Long Island, Tokyo, Boston/Cambridge, and Hilo. The broad range of localities and the longitudinal method of study have resulted in new theories and improved methodological approaches for studying the anthropology of the city. Individual research teams studied each area across the fifteen years of study. The collaboration among researchers allowed for reasonable conclusions based on different observations, interpretations, and experiences across and extremely broad and justifiably generalized time from and geographic range. Most importantly the studies have created an open dialogue about the anthropology of the city.
These studies focus on the contradictions and dialectics of urban process, and are arranged based on “urban systems” such as governance, social/community order, and transnational systems. Five key observations have been made that shed light on the contradictory nature of how citizens view the city and how the city portrays itself.
COURTNEY SCHUSTER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
McEwan, Bonnie G. The Spiritual Conquest of La Florida. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol. 103 (3): 633-644.
In this article, McEwan studies the influence Spanish colonization had on Native American religion in the territory of La Florida during the seventeenth century. She explores colonization’s role on religious transformation primarily by examining the mortuary patterning of six Spanish missions in the area of northern Florida and southern Georgia. Through the data she collected, McEwan found that the mortuary patterning of Native Americans reflected a mix of Christian and traditional practices.
McEwan first looks at the way Spanish colonization influenced Native American burial practices. The proximity of the native burial sites to the churches shows one example of the Spanish-Christian influence because pre-colonization burials for the Native Americans were located inside mounds or houses. Secondly, McEwan points out that the interments in the six native missions were generally positioned in reference to a “spiritual focus” of the church (usually the altar). The dead were thought to be specifically positioned on their backs with their heads oriented to the east so that they could “face the rising sun and Christ during the Resurrection.”
McEwan also notes that Native American’s retained many of their traditional burial customs despite the Christian religious influence. For example, the practice of placing grave goods with the deceased, a fundamental burial ritual for Native Americans, was noted in nearly all mission cemeteries. Further, the location of the burial site in reference to religious landmark was also significant for the natives because it represented an individual’s social status.
All in all, McEwan does a good job in exploring the effect of colonization on Native American religion by looking at the mortuary patterning in La Florida. Throughout the article, she clearly incorporates a historical background of the Spanish missionary process while also providing archaeological data to support her claims. She ties all of this information into a coherent argument that shows why the missionary influence on native religion took place and how it can be understood.
COREY HARKINS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Merry, Sally Engle. Spatial Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order: Controlling Gender Violence through Law. American Anthropologist March, 2001. Vol. 103(1):16-29.
Merry’s article discusses the concern of governmentality and how the idea of punishment has evolved up to the present day. More specifically, Merry concentrates on the problem of domestic violence and how certain governments have begun to deal with it in recent years. She opens her article with the topic of Spatial Governmentality, a form of governmental punishment that “seeks to produce security rather than to prevent crime-to reduce the risk of crime rather than to eliminate it” (p. 16). The article is written to educate the public about how spatial governmentality, although sometimes magnifying inequalities, is a very good way to increase the safety of women, lowering the possibilities of domestic violence, called “wife battering” in the article.
The author describes and supports her topic with an example of a small town in Hawaii called Hilo. With Hilo’s small population, Merry is trying to simplify the subject for the reader. She provides a lot of statistical data on the city of Hilo to show how women over the past 20 years have responded and become more comfortable with the updated laws. This data presented isn’t necessarily written to convince readers of an argument she is making. Rather, the data simply supports her point that the new spatial governmentality is better for the deterrence of “wife battering.”
On the subject of clarity, the article initially was very difficult to read because of the vagueness of her writing and the use of terms such as spatial governmentality. However, as I got further into the read, it became much clearer, defining and describing much of the ambiguity that I struggled with in the first section.
JOE THAMAN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom).
Miller, Barbara D. Female-Selective Abortion in Asia:Patterns, Policies, and Debates. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103(4):1083-1095.
This article focuses on the increased usage of sex-selective abortion in Asian contexts, and the reasons within these countries that it occurs. The author sets out to prove that there has been a marked increase in the ratio of male to female births in a few selected Asian countries, and that this increase is related to the increased availability of pre-natal sex selection technology.
The article’s main support for the increase in female selective abortion (FSA) comes in its first five pages where it presents evidence gathered on the sex ratio at birth (SRB) of the Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan, India, and Pakistan. Over the last two decades, each of these countries has shown an increase in the SRB for males over females. The increase in these numbers indicates that there has been an increase in male births from the normal values generally associated with natural birth. These data are divided by country.
The article describes each of these countries as patriarchal. This social construction is cited as another supporting leg of FSA because it puts less value on females in general, including the unborn ones.
The author also cites the emergence of technological advancements in detecting pre-natal sex as another reason for the increasing ratio of boys to girls in these Asian countries. The author uses data from China and India as support for this claim, as both have largely developed the use of ultrasound to determine the sex of the fetus for FSA. However, it should be noted that the author does not provide actual evidence that ultrasound is being used to this end, only that it is available for it.
The author then switches gears and discusses the policies regarding FSA. The Republic of Korea, China, and India, all have policies against the practice of FSA, but often lack the abilities to enforce their own laws. Little evidence exists about how, or when these laws are enforced, if ever.
Divergent views about FSA exist. The author describes one view which denies the seriousness of FSA, citing that small population fluctuations do not directly correlate with a shortage of women, and that other factors influence the increased ratio in China. These factors included the underreporting of female births and the adopting out of female infants. These two factors remove some of the impact that the author indicated FSA had on the SRB. A second view holds that FSA will increase the value of women, but evidence is provided to disprove this notion. A third view holds that FSA is preferable to female infanticide or mistreated females. A fourth view holds that FSA works to reduce overpopulation. The final view holds that FSA represents free choice of the parents to decide the sex of their offspring.
The final section of the article describes the value of balanced sex ratios. It describes the multiple factors that influence FSA, and that there is no simple solution to this problem, if it can be viewed as a problem.
CHRIS O’BOYNICK University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Moore, John H. Evaluating Five Models of Human Colonization. The American Anthropologist June 2001 Vol. 103 (2): 395-406.
The purpose of this article is to evaluate and determine the viability of five different models for colonization based on marriage practices, demography, and fertility. These five models are named (1) matrix, (2) beachhead, (3) string of pearls, (4) outpost, and (5) pulse. In the matrix model, bands of people gradually encroach upon new, uninhabited territory. In the beachhead model, boatloads of colonists arrive in a new area, create a stable living area, and then gradually expand along the frontier. In the string of pearls model, the people expand in one or two directions. The outpost model requires that a group move into the interior of an uninhabited region or continent. Lastly, the pulse model allows colonists to arrive in successive groups that are separated by years or even several generations.
Moore argues that the success of a colonizing group lies not only in making a living, but also in developing a self-sustaining marital and demographic pattern. In a small band it is very difficult to find a spouse, for potential spouses in a band are often closely related to each other and cannot marry. There is no magic number of band members that will guarantee the reproductive success of the colonizing band. Small groups of humans have relatively low birthrates, and thus are especially vulnerable to random acts of nature, such as droughts, floods, and other disasters.
ETHNOPOP is a simulation program that is written in C++ and runs on Access 97 and above. This simulation can be utilized to set concrete numerical values for factors such as initial band size, birthrates, death rates, and sex ratios at birth. ETHNOPOP can simulate the marital and demographic situation facing the small colonizing bands.
The results of this simulation show that long runs of baby boys are either damaging or lethal to the reproductive success of a band. This is because each boy born is a girl not born. Sex ratio is generally a more damaging fact than fertility.
A small population is more affected by the addition or deletion of one member of the community than a large population. The initial, risky period in band growth is referred to as its period of “Stochastic Crisis.” The increase of a band’s total population is called a “Malthusian Takeoff.” It is said that any small colonizing group experiences a Stochastic Crisis until the group becomes extinct, or it experiences a Malthusian Takeoff.
No population, regardless of the size, is guaranteed success, but every population has at least some chance of survival. At the end of the article, both the outpost and beachhead models are merged are merged with the pulsing model. In the end, we are left with only three major models for describing human colonization: (1) matrix, (2) string of pearls, and (3) pulses.
NICOLE DEFAU University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Moore, John H. Evaluating Five Models of Human Colonization. American Anthropologist June, 2001 Vol.103(2):395-408.
The issue addressed in this article of American Anthropologist is the validity of the current models of human colonization. The author used a computer program to estimate the viability of a model of human colonization based on predetermined probabilities of reproduction feasibility versus death rates. There were five models that were dealt with. The first was The Matrix model, which involved a grid work of settlements. The Beachhead model had the settlements radiate around a bay of water on the coast. The String of Pearls model consists of a string of settlements along similar connected terrain such as coasts and rivers connected to the coast. The Outpost model has a small grid work of settlements and one exploratory settlement farther out. The last model was the Pulse model that I did not understand completely because it seemed to be an extension of the Outpost model but possibly containing a moving “outpost” settlement.
The computer program took into account preset-probabilities for fertility, death, marriage, and boy versus girl births. The probabilities for marriage were based on allowing polygamy but not polyandry, age relationships, and the taboo of marrying first or second relatives. The study showed that in isolated communities that in a few centuries many settlements became extinct, although the more starting couples you had the more stable the settlement. (I thought it was interesting that four, six, and eight, starting couples seemed to do better than ten. I would have that that more starting couples would have always been better. After ten the curve seemed to become more predictable, in that the more starting couple the higher the genetic diversity and the more likely a colony was going to survive.)
The authors devised a theory that initially a settlement is in a state of “stochastic crisis”. This is where the settlement is extremely vulnerable to disasters such as a string of boy births with no girls (a string of girls can be married into a polygamous relationship), a natural disaster killing a large percentage of the population, general widespread infertility, etc. The “stochastic crisis” ends in either the extinction of the settlement or in a population boom referred to as the “Malthusian Takeoff”. The “Malthusian Takeoff” is enough of a population boom that it stabilizes the population in numbers such that negative effects towards the population can be absorbed rather than endangering the survival of the community. The authors determined that due to the isolation of the communities in the Beachhead and Outpost models, the likelihood of settlements surviving was not very good. When considering how a land was colonized in history the author recommends the use of the Matrix model, the String of Pearls model, or the Pulse model.
MEGHAN HANSON Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Morgen, Sandra The Agency of Welfare Workers: Negotiating Devolution, Privatization, and the Meaning of Self-Sufficiency September 2001
Sandra Morgen studies the neoliberal agenda of downsizing the state and minimizing its role in regulating the market and how it has shaped welfare policy and the work of welfare provision. More specifically, she examined the goals of the Family Support Act of 1998 from which brought about changes to the fifty year-old mission of Aid to Families with Dependent Children. This act, which formerly helped low-income mothers care for their families refocused it’s priorities and focused more on the reform of poor mothers, mandating employment or basic education and job training for recipients of welfare. As Morgen notes, there were several reasons for this transition of focus.
The neoliberal agenda attributes it’s downsizing the state and minimizing its efforts in involvement in governmental functions to two processes. These processes are termed devolution and privatization. Devolution, which has been defined as “the transfer of decentralization of government functions from higher to lower levels of the federal hierarchy” greatly affects the marketplace. It takes away higher powers of the government concerning work forces by believing that smaller agencies can bind together and create a stronger unit. Smaller, more local groups can effectively consider the voice of the public and be responsive to specific citizen needs. Privatization or “the shift of state services, assets, or functions to nonstate sectors, especially the market, is further implicated in shrinking the state.” By having both of these aspects aim their actions at decreasing national governmental power, the localized governments are given greater responsibilities. If such local organizations are poorly run or inefficient with small town issues, larger more important issues would do little more than overwhelm populations. This results in more and more families falling to welfare and putting larger stressors on these institutions.
What Morgan points out, is that in order for such governments to be largely successful, it is necessary that they are self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency comes through eliminating the vast amount of welfare families and getting them on a job program that puts them into good economic standing. Smaller incorporations cannot handle monstrous issues such as welfare and therefore one of the best solutions is to rid as many groups of it as possible. Morgen gives the example of Portland, Oregon where 74 percent of welfare workers found self-sufficiency to be a beneficial addition to governmental agencies. Welfare is an issue that will not be completely eradicated in the near future, but with the proper and necessary steps, the goal is not unfathomable.
MAGGIE JORDAN University of Notre Dame Professor Nordstrom
Mulder, M. B.; George-Cramer, M.; Eshleman, J.; and Ortolani, A. A Study of East African Kinship and Marriage Using a Phylogenetically Based Comparative Method. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol.103(4): 1059-1082.
The authors of this article put forth two goals—to evaluate, via statistical analysis, some of the major hypotheses regarding East African sociocultural variation in family organization, and to use their results to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the phylogenetic method in comparative anthropological research. They also hoped to determine, through these studies, if shared cultural traits were correlated to shared ancestry in any significant way. While they dealt primarily with the usefulness and applicability of the phylogenetic method, the authors also had a larger methodological question in mind. How should anthropologists approach the investigation of cultural traits across a number of different societies?
In order to perform this study, the authors drew upon the available ethnographic data from East Africa. They statistically evaluated hypotheses regarding six aspects of family and kinship organization: the size of the bridewealth payment, the timing of the bridewealth payment, the extent of divorce, the structure of the house-property system, the nature of co-wife relations, and the extent of gerontocracy. They studied these traits in 35 East African societies, which were demarcated by a phylogeny based on language affiliations. Setting out, the authors had hoped to reach the conclusion that anthropologists need not take into account the effects of shared ancestry when looking at patterns of social organization at the worldwide level. However, the Chi-Square Test revealed that this was not the case. They then modified their expectations, now hoping to determine that shared ancestry need not be accounted for in regional studies. Unfortunately, even this more limited conclusion did not stand up to analysis.
The authors partly resolved the discrepancy between this outcome and their original expectations by saying that their results were dependent on an uncertain phylogeny and on unsatisfactory methods for incorporating data from discrete ethnographic studies. However, they also acknowledged that their studies revealed a strong correlation between shared ancestry and some aspects of cultural variation in family matters. This discovery led to a new question—how could anthropologists sufficiently account for the effects of shared ancestry in their ethnographic analyses? The authors suggested that this matter would best be taken up by a different study.
CHRISTINA NOETZEL University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Judith Nagata. Beyond Theology: Toward an Anthropology of “Fundamentalism”. American Anthropologist 2001: 481-498.
Judith Nagata’s primary concern involves the evolution or “metaphorical expansion,” of the word Fundamentalism. The label of Fundamentalism has inflated to epic proportions, losing its explanatory effectiveness. In today’s complex world of nationalism, socio-religious movements and ideological expression, the term “Fundamentalism,” can, depending on who is speaking and who is listening, encompass all of these issues. To grasp why this term has such cross conceptual application in today’s world, one must trace the genealogy of the word back to its roots.
“The mother of all fundamentalism,” can be traced to turn of the century Protestant Christianity. Nagata gives an excellent account of the historical roots of fundamentalism: “The roots of this fundamentalism are situated in the self-righteously moralistic, revivalist strains brewing among assorted Protestants in the social, economic, and existential turmoil of industrializing, urbanizing, immigrant America, evolving in the second half of the nineteenth century.” This religious fundamentalism has five essential components in its make-up: Belief in the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, the physical resurrection of the body, substitution atonement, and the inerrancy of the scriptures. The public mind characterizes this generic fundamentalism as, “anachronistic, anti-intellectual and anti-science,” oriented.
Nagata proposes an Anthropological approach to Fundamentalism. She asserts that it is the responsibility of the anthropologist to maintain distinction between, “the voice of observer and observed.” Through this approach, the anthropologist must ignore the long held assumption that religion is the only basis for fundamentalism; essential to this approach is the understanding that other factors, such as political ideologies, nationalism, and cultural and linguistic purity, are catalysts to fundamentalist behavior. An excellent example of a non-religious based fundamentalism—linguistic fundamentalism, is that of the strict policies of the Quebec Office de la Langue Francaise. This institution forbids Chinese labels, or Hebrew kosher on imported goods. The anthropologist must define fundamentalism now that it has mutated from its religious connotations. What is this new anthropological definition of fundamentalism? Nagata looks for the answer in the people that embody the fundamentalism in today’s society: “Identified by their defensive mind-sets…their unwillingness to dialogue or compromise, bound by categorical thinking and “referential” modes of knowing.”
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DAVID SAMSON Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Nagata, Judith. Beyond Theology: Toward an Anthropology of “Fundamentalism.” American Anthropologist, 2001. 103(2):481-498.
In this article, Nagata explores the different meanings of the word “fundamentalism” and how it has expanded into other realms beyond religion. The word first had its origins in Christianity, and its connection with theology is still today the popular image. Early Christian fundamentalists focused on the idea of progress based on the spiritual, while others focused on moving away from that to the material. They began to stray from the assertion that religion, rather than the secular, was the way of life. The word also referred to Christian Protestants as well. A series of religious revivals occurred, characterized by intense expressions of faith, which led to publications asserting the “fundamentals” of the faith. It is this association with texts and scriptures that has led to stereotypes in dealing with fundamentalists in general.
The word expanded from its Christian origins to be used in other religions as well, and its meaning began to shift to one of politics. In the case of Islam, interpreting the Qur’an took on a “fundamentalist” form, with no Muslim questioning the unchanging status of the Qur’an. It was accepted that there was no need to argue over or justify the fundamentals. Because of this, the word took on a more political meaning, with it being used as a weapon against other religious enemies. Now, most examples of fundamentalism in Islam are of sociopolitical movements represented by challenges to the elites. “Fundamentalism” has shifted from text based to political activism and even violence.
This term is also associated with social movements. New Islamic movements arose in Malaysia that showed this changing use of the word fundamentalism. One movement attempted to combine modern professional careers with a communal life, and another tried to have an independent lifestyle. Both of these paid particular attention to scriptures, which appear fundamentalist, but had very different goals. Fundamentalism took on a social importance rather than a connection to theology.
The idea of fundamentalism has many meanings spread across cultures, interest groups, and disciplines. It has moved out of religion and into political activism, nationalist movements, and also ideologies. “Fundamentalism” is an expanding word used for an array of circumstances and will continue to change to accommodate new situations.
JULIE GULYAS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Newman, Katherine S. Hard Times on 125th Street: Harlem’s Poor Confront Welfare Reform. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): 762-778.
Newman’s study in Harlem was conducted to investigate how the lower class deals with changes in welfare policy, and eventually dealt with such issues as “household organization, kinship network, reciprocal dependencies, intergenerational relations, migrations and gender (Newman, 2001).
Newman set out to determine if welfare reform was affecting how the poor lived. She studied fast food employees along with other low-paying occupations in 1993 and 1995. The 200 member research team she employed conducted initial interviews with the subjects. After the initial field was studied, the group was cut to 60 participants who were interviewed more extensively. From this group, a team of ten people was selected as “shadowees” (Newman, 2001). The “shadowees” were followed by ethnographers over the year-long project. In Newman’s article she goes into great detail about the lives of Kyesha Smith and Reynaldo Linaro, on their individual family lives, education, and economic position in the community.
Newman has a great deal of knowledge of welfare reform, race relations, and family structure at her disposal. Newman presents her views cleanly and concisely in this report, and lays down a solid foundation for future ethnographic research into the topic of the effects of welfare reform in the lower-class.
BRONSON HAYES Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Newman, Katherine S. Hard Times on 125th Street: Harlem’s Poor Confront Welfare Reform American Anthropologist Vol. 103, Number 3, September 2001
Can you live without welfare? Maybe you can, but there are a significant number of people in the United States that cannot. The problem is a simple lack of economic success and tough times in life. The welfare problem is not a simple issue. Beyond the person at hand, welfare affects a chain of people like the domino affect. Each person in the chain can be hurt by a reform in welfare. The basic idea of this article is that welfare reform must be studied, especially with the amount of extensive restrictions that people must go through in order to receive it. In the article, two main scenarios were given with two different people and those that are affected by welfare and how they are intertwined. Interviews are the key form of investigation done in this article. Throughout the study, the author goes from one story to the other on each point in a progressive way until the end.
From this article, many conclusions can be drawn, but it is clear that welfare reform and the daily lives of people are very much correlated. Not only are the direct receivers of welfare affected, but there are other people that are parts of their lives that receive a major impact as well. If restrictions are placed on welfare and welfare is reformed, some families will be able to survive after losing the aid. On the other hand, some families and groups will have nothing to turn to and will cause the problems to run through the family in a compounding way. This will lead to a life that is harder because those affected must work harder just to make up to the place they were, which was impoverished. From this study, an anthropological mind would naturally be compelled to want to learn more. Studies were only a year in this article, but more time is needed to get a more accurate and complete result of reforms on welfare and their true impact.
We will not know how people actually adapt to these reforms until some time in the future.
DAVID KELLY University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Noss, Andrew J. and Hewlett, Barry S. The Contexts of Female Hunting in Central Africa. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol. 103(4): 1024-1039
The group that Noss and Hewlett studied was the Aka group. They are forest foragers also known as “pygmies” who make their home in the Central African Republic. The women in this society net-hunt more often than the men and it is this behavior that has prompted Noss and Hewlett’s study of them. They did not set out to study the ability of women to hunt, but rather the contexts in which they develop these skills.
According to the human behavioral ecologists (HBE) that Noss and Hewlett cite, women are more likely to hunt when there is a low risk involved and also when the caloric gain that they get from hunting is more than that which they would get from gathering. Also, while hunting does not seem to increase infant mortality, women with infants are less likely to hunt and also more likely to hunt in groups rather than alone.
Cultural factors must also be taken into consideration. As Noss and Hewlett state, women are most likely to take up hunting when the means or technology required for hunting are made available to them and when male control over women is minimal.
In Aka culture, the roles of women and men in the hunt are interchangeable. The Aka are actually one of the most gender-egalitarian cultures represented ethnographic record. Violence against women and children in this culture is very rare and it is considered grounds for divorce.
In the Aka village of Mossapoula, women were the participants in the majority of the net hunts. The only exception to this was the hunts that were staged for tourists. Noss and Hewlett attribute this to the fact that the tourists assumed that the men did the hunting and so asked them to do the demonstrations. In reality however, hunts in which women are the predominant participants yield the greatest success. Therefore, hunts are most successful when women and men work together to compliment each other.
Noss and Hewlett hypothesize that if the women were not allowed control over the distribution, they would be much less interested in the hunt. The Aka women of Mossapoula don’t have many other available options for sustenance. Outsiders tend to only hire men for jobs because of their preconceived ideas of the division of labor according to sex and also because farmland is often not available to the Aka.
Regardless of outside opinion and other options, female hunting is usually based on cultural precedents. If a certain group has adapted female hunting as a viable survival strategy, then the females of this group are usually free to continue to hunt for as long as that culture survives. However, if it is not the cultural “norm” for women to hunt, then it is unlikely that they will take it up as a survival strategy. As Noss and Hewlett state, “..one reason Aka women hunt is that they feel comfortable doing so.” (page 1037).
REBECCA PHEND Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Noss, Andrew J. Hewlett, Barry S. The Contexts of Female Hunting in Central Africa. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103(4):1024-1038.
In “The Contexts of Female Hunting in Central Africa,” Hewlett and Noss attempt to describe the cultural and environmental contexts of female hunting among the Aka group in the Central African Republic. The study analyzes the gender issue and, in particular, the central role of women in net hunting. In typical hunter-gatherer societies hunting roles are specifically assigned to males. Many of these groups place cultural taboos on women taking part in a hunt or even holding weapons. Furthermore, in the cultures that do allow women to take part in hunting, the female role is often assumed to be inferior to that of men. It is assumed that a women’s primary role is child rearing, and thus it is not possible for her to play an active role in hunting. Hewlett and Noss try to dispel these myths and prove that in tribes such as the Aka, women play a central role in hunting activities.
In Aka society there is very little gender dimorphism. Men and women hold equal rights and share similar burdens, including hunting. To net hunt effectively requires fairly large groups (average 46), and Aka women almost always outnumber the men. In addition, women and men share similar burdens during the hunt. Each takes part in setting up nets, scaring animals into the nets, and butchering animals.
To prove that women do play such an active role, Noss observed 76 net hunts. In each one he carefully observed gender roles, participation of different genders, and the rituals associated with the net hunt. In his observations he noted women were much more likely to net hunt then men, women outnumbered men on net hunts, and that the participation of women often determined whether there would be any hunt at all.
BILL NESS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Orser Jr., Charles E. The Anthropology in American Historical Archaeology. American Anthropologist, 2001. Vol.103(3):621-632.
In his article, Charles E. Orser Jr. examines the place of historical archaeology within the field of anthropology and its relationship with American archaeology. The piece opens with a history of historical archaeology. He relates the frustration practitioners of the discipline felt as they tried to define how they fit within anthropology. They came to realize that they shared much of their methodologies with Old World archaeology, which focuses on literate ‘civilizations’. The question then became how much is a historical archaeologist an anthropological archaeologist, and how much a historian.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the development of New Archaeology removed the temporal boundary which placed prehistory in the field of anthropological archaeology, and written history into the field of historians, that historical archaeologists felt they could find a place within anthropology. The author then goes on to explain that even though the place of historical archaeology in anthropology is now recognized, there is still uncertainty about the mission of the discipline. There have been some attempts to rally historical archaeology around a subject and therefore unify the field. However many historical archaeologists feel that such a focus would create artificial boundaries. The author interprets this dispute over the creation of a subject of focus as evidence that historical archaeology is still not a conceptually unified field, and probably never will be. For some this is a positive sign of the diversity of the field, while others find it disturbing that the field of inquiry is still uncertain. The author then lists some of the diverse perspectives taken by historical archaeologists as they conceptualize their field. These perspectives are: a critique of modern history, a trans-temporal study of broad cultural trends and processes, and a particularistic study of specific places.
The author then details some accounts of actual work performed by historical archaeologists. Included in this was: Bonnie McEwan’s study of religious conversions in history, and the social variables in those conversions. Paul Shackel and his work in history construction and memory production. The work of Adrian and Mary Praetzellis in “contextual archaeology,” or using archaeology to tell the stories of real men and women. Also included was Elizabeth Scott’s analysis of faunal remains on Plantations, and finally a study by Amy Young, Michael Tuma, and Cliff Jenkins which discussed aspects of the lives of African American slaves, concluded the article.
PATRICK DAUGHERTY Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Orser Jr., Charles E. The Anthropology in American Historical Archaeology. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol.103(3):621-632.
Anthropology is not just one subject with one identified field. The ways people have evolved and continue to evolve barely scratches the surface of what anthropology is all about. Many aspects of anthropology can be considered when studying only one human and how he lived. Facial structures, the types of food he ate, sexual habits, how he related to others, how one constructs his environment to suit his needs are just a few aspects that anthropologists study when studying a culture. There are many more topics that are discussed when talking about anthropology. Prehistoric archaeology is one of them. Charles Orser Jr. discusses how prehistoric archaeology has evolved and struggled to become a field of anthropology. Orser does this by giving the history of how archaeology and anthropology became linked and by giving a few concrete examples of current prehistoric archaeologists (anthropologists).
Prehistoric archaeology was always seen as prehistory. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that historical archaeology was first recognized as a member of the archeology family. Historical archaeologists never knew exactly where they fit and their relationship with anthropology was unclear. Archaeologists who were trained in prehistory “sought to define the anthropological mission of historical archaeology and to justify the field’s existence to their archaeological colleagues (Orser 621).” The main question facing these historical archaeologists was whether they were historians or anthropologists.
This “crisis of identity” made the historical archaeologists feel insecure in their “self-identification as anthropologists (621).” The historical archaeologists trained as anthropologists even questioned their relationship to prehistoric archaeology, and this was their forté. This led to a debate about which sites belong to who and which sites can be excavated by the differing fields. The United States stepped in by passing the Historic Sites Act of 1935. This linked historic and archaeological sites and historic or prehistoric sites. This provided much employment for the identity questioning historical archaeologists and it allowed them to excel at what they were trained to do.
Orser says that the historical archaeologists never tried to “promote an anthropological connection to architectural work (623).” They saw themselves as anthropologists and they were trained this way but their place in anthropology was far from accepted. Anthropologists world-wide were already committed to “the creation of prehistoric cultural chronologies” (623) so this left little room for the historical archaeologists to find a niche. It was the diverse anthropologists who argued for the union of anthropology and history. It was Stanley South who “situated historical archaeology firmly within anthropology and effectively removed it from any real association with classical archaeology (624).”
The debate of whether historical archaeology is some kind of anthropological archaeology is basically over. There are those who are anti-anthropology, but their voices are small and do not carry much weight within the field. Most historical archaeologists believe their field has a distinct impact on our understanding of the historical roots of today’s world, including capitalism (625). The ones who reject the anthropological relation and lean towards the historical relation think that an archaeology that is not history is somewhat less than nothing (F.W. Maitland). Whether or not archaeology is history or anthropology will always be argued because the vast diversity of historical archaeology could lead one down many paths pointing to many fields. It all depends on how the individual relates his/her knowledge to the world around us.
CULLEN HARDY University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Parezo, Nancy J. and Stephenson, A. Rebecca. Laura Maud Thompson (1905-1933). American Anthropologist June, 2001 Vol.103(2):510-514.
This article is written in remembrance of Laura M. Thompson (1905-2000), a distinguished female sociocultural anthropologist, who made outstanding contributions to the development of applied anthropology. Authors Nancy Parezo and Rebecca Stephenson show how Thompson’s ideology and fieldwork with the Chamorro culture of Guam, in close association with the government, shed light on how anthropologists could help governments create enlightened policies.
Before discussing Thompson’s anthropological endeavors, Parezo and Stephenson show Thompson as a distinguished female sociocultural anthropologist. Thompson’s extensive educational background and academic pursuits enabled her to attain a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1933. By dividing her fieldwork in several phases of her life, the author’s show how Thompson progressed as an anthropologist through her attempts to make applied or developmental anthropology relevant in a dynamic modern world. One can also see her persistent attempts to build an integrated theory of human group behavior through hands-on studies of people and their cultures. However, it was her study on the Chamorro culture that became the cornerstone of her career.
Thompson felt that it was the anthropologist’s responsibility to help governments predict cultural behaviors of societies under specific sets of circumstances, so that they implement better policies. She worked with the Chamorro culture of Guam, to learn about small communities undergoing rapid change and their need to achieve balance and internal harmony in the face of stress. Thompson concluded that members of a society are the ones best qualified to identify their own problems and work out solutions.
Parezo and Stephenson also mention Thompson’s hobbies and interests. They show that Thompson was not only a great female anthropologist whose life long work was to ensure that ethnic groups would not be destroyed by inappropriate government bureaucracies, but she was also a lively person who took great pleasure in many hobbies and activities.
CHARLENE TRAN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Pellow, Deborah. Cultural Differences and Urban Spatial Forms: Elements of Boundedness in an Accra Community. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol. 103(1): 59-75.
In the article “Cultural Differences and Urban Spatial Forms: Elements of Boundedness in an Accra Community” Deborah Pellow sets out to illustrate how different cultural traditions create a community’s spatial landscape and define a community’s boundaries. She does this by researching an African village called Sabon Zongo, outside of Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Although, Sabon Zongo is a suburb of Accra, it is still able to maintain its own uniqueness and cultural identity. Pellow’s point is that the spatial layout and identity of a community are defined and explained through its culture. Focusing on this claim, Pellow argues that we cannot thoroughly account for a society as a simple fusion of different cultures but as a completely separate and new location. In her article this is shown through the link between people and places.
To fully understand the relationship of spatial forms and cultural differences Pellow discovered that we cannot define space as simply a location, but as something, which has meaning. Space is socially constructed and a community’s values, roles and behaviors are rooted in that environment. Over time these meanings change but it is the members of the community that give the location each different meaning. The spatial identity of Sabon Zongo is made apparent in the landscape of the community, the street activity and the family compound. Pellow asserts that part of a community’s boundaries is drawn from its physical characteristics. Other characteristics that help to develop boundaries and identities include social and cultural terms. Examples include clothing, institutions and the way in which animals are raised throughout the village.
In a larger context, any city or village in the world encapsulates many spatial and cultural linkages. Many are internally differentiated into separate sectors, which are generally culturally based. Each sector maintains its uniqueness within the larger urban context. The community’s distinctiveness represents its own traditions and beliefs. This particularly helps others to better understand and define the community and gives its residence a place to call their own.
JAIME VOLKMER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Praetzellis and Praetzellis. Mangling Symbols of Gentility in the Wild West: Case Studies in Interpretive Arhaeology. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): 645-653.
This study questions the possible meanings and social implications of the artifacts found at archaeological sites. The authors suggest that rather than containing only economic or materialistic meaning, artifacts also contain a great deal of information on the social designs of those who owned them. They state that material luxury items are not only present for aesthetic value, but also to send a message to all who view them as to the moral, social, and economic position of the item’s owners.
As the title of the article implies, this study took place in the western part of America. Its focus was the Victorian era of the state of California. The Victorians expressed themselves not only through their moral behavior but also through their inanimate means of expression. Praetzellis and Praetzellis drew on four different case studies to illustrate their ideas of the social importance of seemingly frivolous artifacts.
Their first and second case studies both dealt with foreign men who made their way up the societal ladder partly through the use of elaborate Victorian dinnerware. These two men were Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Yee Ah Tye. Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was a general in the Mexican army who embraced the American way and Yee Ah Tye was a bi-lingual Chinese immigrant who became the leader of the Sze Yup District Association in San Francisco and Sacramento. Both men staged elaborate dinner parties for their influential American associates serving their own cultural foods on the high fashion serving plates of their time. These clever soirées led the Americans to believe that the ideals of high society meshed well with the cultures of the hosts.
The third and fourth case studies were examples of social outcasts using the fashions of society against itself. The third case study was that of the home of at least three African American men who worked as porters on the Southern Pacific Railway’s Pullman cars. A plethora of broken and discarded household and dinnerware items of Victorian finery were found in their back yard. By owning all of this finery, the men were going against the racist beliefs of their time. They were proving to the world that they too were as sophisticated as those who rode on their cars. The fourth case study was that of a whore house in Los Angeles. This house too contained many items of high Victorian fashion. Praetzellis and Praetzellis believe that this implied a certain moral character which made the frequenters of the place feel more like suitors and less like paying customers.
The point that Praetzellis and Praetzellis are trying to illustrate is that artifacts do more than speak of the material wealth and practical uses that they represented. Artifacts can also be seen as a link to the social manipulations of the time in which they were used. What Praetzellis and Praetzellis hope is that other archaeologists around the world will take this into consideration when using artifacts to gain knowledge of cultures past.
REBECCA PHEND Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Praetzellis, Adrian and Mary. Mangling Symbols of Gentility in the Wild West: Case Studies in Interpretive Archaeology. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): 645-652
The Praetzellis’s study the Victorian age by reference to artifacts in their essay on the origins of gentility in nineteenth century California. Historians refer to Victorianism as a time of “genteel values, behaviors, and material goods… piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity in women; rectitude, thrift, sobriety, and hard work in men.” With the lay out of homes, wall colors, plates, pots, and pans; artifacts and architecture were highly important in the formulation of an ethical setting in which good people could emerge; a belief held by Victorians themselves.
With the coming of the Victorian age, aspirations for a wealthy lifestyle were increasing. Homes changed shape, from the inside out and privacy became a more important issue. Before the mid nineteenth century, homes lacked separate rooms providing privacy. Later, people were condemned for their choosing to live in apartments of that type.
Those individuals outside of Victorian culture may have looked upon it as being ostentatious, showing off one’s wealth. But the authors inform us of the dangers of that assumption; “the presence of matched sets of dinnerware does not always mean that the house-hold was striving for Victorian perfection, anymore than an increase in the proportion of Staffordshire pots over traditional Mexican or Chinese ceramics necessarily indicates that the users of these items were assimilating.”
The case studies, later in the article, represent the adaptations by individuals of various cultures to adhere to the Victorian image. The detailed information attained from Mexican, Chinese, and African American homes illustrates that individuals, from these respective cultures, were striving to retain their cultural identity yet also accept the social norms of the society in which they lived. The article is very informative and offers an interesting perspective into the personal aberrations that exist within, and even influence, culture.
BRENDAN HART University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Robbins, Joel. God Is Nothing but Talk: Modernity, Language, and Prayer in a Papua New Guinea Society. American Anthropologist 2001 Vol.103(4):901-912.
The main focus is the grasping of a new tradition and the leaving behind of an old; how the former can still be considered acceptable through the ideology of the latter. Robbins argues that in order to be a “local modern”, one does not completely lose characteristics of the past but that in order to move toward the future, one must hold onto old understandings. He says that these people at some time must engage in what he calls “a set of linked promises” rather than a heap of elements that are unrelated to each other and while by themselves separately contain understandings of the old traditions. This “set of linked promises” allows a person to move from the old ways to new, in keeping with old concepts but also being able to leave those behind. He is able to prove this argument by using Urapmin of Papua, New Guinea. Their struggle with modernity has placed its focus with language.
The Urapmin are a people that have thrown away what would be their traditions and have instead taken on a “set of promises” that allude to future fundamental change. With the occurrence of the Revival in the late seventies, the Urapmin disregarded their old traditions and acknowledged modern Christianity as their new promise. Urapmin religion had been centered on actions rather than language. This is an extreme to Protestantism, where prayer is done through language. In Urapmin rituals, statements are given which another later contradicts, which is also later contradicted, therefore, the actions in the rituals are important. Since most Urapmin have been traditionally taught that language cannot be trusted, it is hard to then change to a religion based upon prayer, which is spoken language.
“God is nothing but talk” refers to a verse reading, “Long ago talk existed. Talk existed alongside God. And Talk itself was God,” and is the basis for any of the problems they would find with their new religion. The meaning of what was heard was to be created by the listener. It is thought that when a person is in prayer, they are talking to God. Therefore one must close his eyes while in prayer to signify the truth in what is being said. It is not something that the prayer leader is telling the group, but it is a talk between the group and God.
All prayers have this sort of systematic use. Urapmin also see prayer as a ritual rather than language or speech. It has a different function though; instead of a specific purpose, prayer has an open-ended goal. It can be applied to anything rather than one single event or object.
They worry constantly over the fact that the communication that is occurring is being mediated. Urapmin attend more to the mediation rather than what is being conveyed: the message.
MEGAN KROL Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)
Robbins, Joel. God Is Nothing but Talk: Modernity, Language, and Prayer in a Papua New Guinea Society. American Anthropologist December, 2001 Vol.103(4):901-912.
In this wordy but short ethnography, author Joel Robbins demonstrates the preconceived and later proved incorrect conception that indigenous are non-modern. Most anthropologists believe that third world cultures cannot possess modern linguistic ideologies because of their low social and financial backgrounds, which then causes them to ideally emerge with non-modern ideologies. Robbins notices the relationship between the paths taken by previous anthropologists, so he hopes that his study of a Papua New Guinea society, named the Urapmin, will go against the norm by discarding the indigenous/non-modern view and replace it with the idea of “the modern encompassing the indigenous and the indigenous encompassing the modern.”
To support the argument above, Robbins offers some ideas that centrally deal with a set of promises that Urapmin make to themselves individually and to the community that deal with personal and social transformation. These promises embrace a movement for fundamental future change. The Urapmin understand these promises in terms of Protestant Christianity. The long and the short of it is that the Urapmin went through a Christian movement. In Christianizing their society, the Urapmin were able to rework their lives to understand them in exclusively Christian terms. However, a problem arises, which roots from the past of Urapmin linguistic ideology-the spoken word holds less if not any importance in the society comparatively to action. The Urapmin find that the spoken word is unreliable. The idea of unreliability coupled with the cliché that “God is nothing but talk” makes for a negative connotation to the Christian God but an even greater understanding of how the Urapmin culture can relate to modern Christianity while keeping in mind their indigenous roots.
Though Urapmin linguistic ideology depends largely on the actions, the act of praying allows one to fix intentions to aimed goals while verbally/publicly proclaiming them. By acting as a listener and a truth-telling speaker, the Urapmin are able to grasp a new Christian ideology without pushing the limits of the old ideals. It was also vital that God was the main character in this action so that all will know the truth is spoken. They believe only truth is spoken because of God being the third party and overhearing will condemn if untruthfulness occurs.
In the way this article was written, it was suited purely for anthropological experts. The jargon filled ethnography leaves the average person “in the dust”. However, somehow I was able to grasp that Robbins is trying to prove that the indigenous can financially be non-modern but still possess modern linguistic ideologies. This categorizes the Urapmin into a gray area in between traditional and modern ideals. Through embracing the Christian religion, the Urapmin can hold their purely Christian views without stepping on the toes of the old views.
ANDREA KINNIK University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Rotenberg, Robert. Metropolitanism and the Transformation of Urban Space in the Nineteenth-Century Colonial Metropoles. American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol.103(1):7-15
In his own words, Robert Rotenberg wrote this article to “argue that the nineteenth-century movement of ‘metropolitanism’ was a transnational attempt to rebuild and re-imagine cities in a bourgeois image and through a capitalist process of investment.” In other words, the wealthy citizens of major cities tried to create cities that represented their ideals and thoughts. This restructuring of the cities also created a new image or view of the cities from the perspective of the residents.
Rotenberg begins his argument by examining the origin of the ‘metropolis’ (Greek for mother-city) and, thus, the growth of metropolitanism. He refers to the influences of metropolitanism on how wealthy residents restructured the physical shape and layout of cities. Under the influence of metropolitanism, wealthy citizens redeveloped undervalued areas of the city in a way that would reflect their class values. Rotenberg says that the goal was “to create built space that embody and legitimate bourgeois political parties.”
Rotenberg goes on to talk about other theories pertaining to urban space, saying the most common approach is to consider it as a product of, rather than a producer of, social effects. He also refers to the ideas of Park, McKenzie, Wirth, Fox, and Hannerz. He spends the most time on the theory of Max Weber, which talks about the relationships of people turning into patterns that lead to structured ways of doing things.
Rotenberg also talks about the identity problems experienced by the bourgeoisie that were never a problem for the aristocratic class. This is important because Rotenberg believes that it was the solution to this identity problem that lead to people recognizing the bourgeoisie as the highest class.
Rotenberg strengthens his argument by using three European cities in the mid nineteenth-century as examples of metropolitanism at work. He talks about London, Paris, and Vienna and the phases that each city went through when restructuring their urban space. Each city went about things in a different manner, but all had the same overriding theme of metropolitanism and bourgeois structure.
Rotenberg constructed this article so that the reader would get a basic understanding of the idea of metropolitanism. The reader can also learn how metropolitanism affected the structure of major cities in the 19th century and created an urban space that represented the values of high class citizens. Although Rotenberg provides a good argument, he fails to make this argument understandable for the common reader.
STEVEN SOLLMANN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Roth, Eric Abella. Demise of the Sepaade Tradition: Cultural and Biological Explanations. American Anthropologist, 2001. 103 (4): 1014-1023.
The recent discontinuance of the ‘sepaade’ tradition among Rendille pastoralists in northern Kenya is an example of common ground between the adversarial areas of anthropological demography and human evolutionary ecology. Sepaade is a tradition where certain women must wait to marry until all their brothers are married. The classical model describes sepaade as an example of cultural group selection that was begun as a means of population control. However, more recent evidence suggests that the origins of sepaade was a conscious group decision made in response to intertribal warfare and was maintained due to economic benefits experiences by males who took up sepaade wives due to their expertise in animal husbandry.
There are two main explanations for the demise of the sepaade tradition. The first relies on qualitative data that suggests that sepaade women had an increased risk of impoverishment, morbidity, and mortality. Due to the decreased likelihood that a sepaade will conceive a male child in her limited reproductive window, many sepaade widows are left with little support. Therefore, the decision to end the sepaade tradition was made by male tribal elders out of an ethical concern for widowed sepaade females. The second explanation for the abandonment of the sepaade tradition is derived from quantitative data which demonstrates that having a sepaade wife is not as economically valuable as previously thought. Sepaade wives made no difference in preventing short-term livestock losses during drought conditions and during the long term. The men realized that sepaade wives were no longer of economic benefit and therefore abandoned the tradition.
The Rendille likely abandoned the sepaade system due to both the group and individualistic concerns, thus demonstrating that the separate methodologies of anthropological demography and human evolutionary ecology can still yield convergent results. Possible research combining the two could focus on the individual attempting to maximize his reproductive success within the context of his specific culture.
NICHOLAS NACEY University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Schneider, Jo Anne. Introduction: Social Welfare and Welfare Reform. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol.103 (3):705-713.
In this article, Jo Anne Schneider introduces a special issue of American Anthropologist focusing on the state of social welfare. Schneider begins with a brief but thorough history of policy reform within the United States welfare system, highlighting the most recent 1996 policy; the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Restructuring Act, commonly referred to as the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). This most recent policy is compared to its predecessor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and Schneider pulls in examples from the articles included in this issue. Schneider then stresses the importance of anthropology within public policy formation, and this becomes the focus of her article.
Schneider raises several arguments pertaining to the value and indispensability of ethnography in the creation and evaluation of social policies. First, she claims that ethnography can bring forth a holistic perspective, synthesizing the complex make-up of individuals within the welfare system. Secondly, that ethnography takes into account historical context, something often not included in the creation of policy. Third, ethnography provides a means of evaluation that uses everyday experiences, thus examining the actual implementation of policy and the effects on people’s daily lives. This is important since policy makers rarely hear the voice of those individuals that the policy actually affects, and thus ethnography would be a means of expression from the inside perspective. Finally, Schneider points out that ethnography is way to connect theory and practice. Throughout this discussion, she brings in examples from the issue’s articles to illustrate the importance of ethnography in policy making.
To conclude, Schneider presents four implications for policy makers as suggested by her historical analysis and ethnography. First, new welfare policies, such as TANF, are flexible but add stress to the workers carrying out the policy. Secondly, those participating in government welfare programs view these programs differently and may even misunderstand certain policies. Government programs are just one resource in a complex network commonly overlooked by policy makers. Third, ethnographic studies demonstrate the need for flexibility in programs so that people in need do not fall through the cracks. Lastly, ethnography suggests that long-term, rather than short-term solutions are needed with a range of time frames for participants to meet the goals of the programs.
Schneider relies heavily on the articles following her introduction. At times, statements may seem unsupported but perhaps after reading the selections in this issue her evidence will be documented. Overall, the article presents a thorough yet brief presentation of the current state of social welfare in the United States and outlines ways in which anthropology can benefit policy.
JILLIAN HOUGHTON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Scott, Elizabeth. Food and Social Relationships at Nina Plantation. American Anthropology September,2001 Vol.103(3)
In Elizabeth Scott’s article she excavates a site where she discovers the Nina plantation. She uses the artifacts that she finds at this site to recreate what life was like on the plantation. The Nina plantation was a plantation that was first owned by a Creole Frenchman in the 1800’s. Through excavation, the Frenchman, after acquiring this mansion, added more extensions to the house. The Elizabeth Scott uses the biomass found at the site to determine the diet of the Frenchman’s household, as well as the slave quarters of the plantation. Through her findings the Frenchman’s diet consisted of meat from bovine, chicken, pork and some wild game animal. The consumption of bovine and duck was rather high, and it appears that the family ate high quality cuts, while findings of bovine meat in the slave household were of low quality, or “bad” parts of the cow. In the slave section of the household, during the ownership of the Frenchman, there seemed to be evidence that the slaves consumed more chicken, pork, and wild game animal, such as rabbit and other local animals that were readily available in the environment. It seemed though that a lot of the slaves did their own trapping of animals, as well as the meat the Frenchman provided for the slaves. But as soon as the ownership from the Frenchman changed to the British owner, their seemed to be a slight difference in meat consumption in the main household as well as the slave quarters. The British owner seemed to add more annex’s to the mansion. The British owner added a south wing of the mansion, and a lot of the butchering and cooking was done there. In the main household, the British ate more chicken, and consumed lesser quality cuts of beef than the Frenchman. In the slave quarters during the British ownership, the diet consisted more of the domesticated animals, and less of the wild animals. The explanation for this is that during the French ownership, the French believed that during the weekend, the slaves would rest. During this period the main household would not provide the slaves with their meat, so the slaves would hunt local wild game, or slaughter some of their livestock they owned, explaining the varied biomass in the slave quarters, while under British ownership, it seemed that they controlled more of what the slaves consumed.
Uncovering the dietary pattern of the household can significantly unravel the social aspect of the household. With the varied diet under French rule, the slaves seemed as though they were not under strict supervision and more slack was given to the slaves. With this freedom came the responsibility of providing its own meat, so the slaves consumed lesser quality meats with more diversity in their meat consumption. The slave quarter was located adjacent to the main household, but it is apparent that the slaves lived mostly in the slave quarters, while the main household lived in their own quarters. During the British ownership, the slaves seemed to be under strict supervision. Their diet was more regulated, and they ate close to what the main household consumed. Therefore the slaves had a significant contact with the main household, socially involved in the main quarters. Through uncovering pieces of plantations diet, leads to the unraveling what life was like on the plantation.
MICHAEL YOO Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Scott, Elizabeth M. Food and Social Relations at Nina Plantation. American Anthropologist. 2001 Vol.103(3):671-691.
Recognizing that food and social position are strongly connected, Elizabeth M. Scott attempts to reconstruct and evaluate owner diets with enslaved/tenant labor diets at Nina Plantation in Point Coupée, Louisiana. By collecting faunal remains from the main house with those compared to the outbuilding complex, Scott compares the diets of the owners, a French Creole and Anglo-American family, with those of African-American workers both pre and post-Emancipation. Examination of the diets allows Scott to determine differences based on ethnicity and economics.
During the time period in which the Plantation was owned by the French Creole family (designated the antebellum period from 1820s-1851), the diet of those from the main house consisted of beef, chicken, and fish, while the diet of those in the outbuilding consisted of mainly pork and fish. Although the amount of beef was the same in both areas, the cuts found in the main house were of better quality. A change in ownership of the plantation by an Anglo-American family (the postbellum period from 1851-1890) was followed by notable changes in the diet of both owners and laborers. Beef and pork contributed a larger amount to the diet of those in the main house (as compared to those in the outbuilding), and in contrast to the antebellum period, the quality of the cuts were generally the same in both the main house and outbuilding. However, the most striking change of this period was found in the decreased importance of wild species such as wild mammals and fish.
By taking into account the functions of the building structures at the plantation, notably eating versus processing areas, careful analysis of the data lead Scott to several theories. Scott proposed that the reasons for increased wild mammals, birds and reptiles during the ownership by the French Creole family could be linked to Creole and Cajun food traditions, which call for the use of wild animals. Regarding the greater use of domestic animals of the Anglo-Saxon family, Scott cited that many Anglo-American cookbooks of the time called for specific meat preferences. The final comparison is made between the types and quality of food between the outbuilding residents during French ownership and Anglo-American ownership of the plantation. This difference, according to Scott, is most likely due to the change in the outbuilding residents from enslaved laborers to tenant laborers.
While considering that changes in food consumption could have been due to changes in technology or even the shifting of laborers during the postbellum, Scott concludes that the data shows that both economics and ethnic background played a role in food consumption. The article allows for further exploration into complex social relations in plantation societies.
JOEL HEIN University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Serrie, Hendrick. Obituary: Francis L. K. Hsu (1909-1999) American Anthropologist, 2001 Vol.103(1):168-171.
A principle contributor in the world of anthropology was lost when Francis Lang-Kwang Hsu died on December 15, 1999. Hsu was author to over 130 scholarly articles and books about culture and personality. He was a leader in the field of psychological anthropology.
Born in China, Hsu received his first degree from Shanghai University. In the course of his education he earned top honors such as the Sino-British Boxer Indemnity Scholarship, and completed doctoral work under Bronislaw Malinowski at the London School of Economics (1940). In 1944 Hsu came to America to begin his career. He taught at Columbia and Cornell University and headed the department of anthropology at Northwestern University. Hsu also served as editor to a number of academic journals such as Aspects of Culture and Personality and the Journal of Comparative Family Studies. He was president of the American Anthropological Association in 1977-78. Throughout his career, Hsu earned a number of grants that allowed him pursue his primary research interests—psychocultural dynamics.
In a series of cross cultural studies that compared China, India, Japan, and the United States, Hsu brought about a better understanding of cultural differences. His first book, Under the Ancestors’ Shadow: Kinship, Personality, and Social Mobility in China (1948) examined the relationship between father and son. He found that in China, identity is shaped by patrilineal ancestors, collaterals, and descendents. He concluded that Chinese perspectives on authority and competition are derived from their patrilineal kinship reflected in personality.
Hsu also made one of the first contributions to the field of medical anthropology when he found that the Chinese merged the concept of magic, science, and religion together. This study is published in his 1952 book, Religion, Science, and Human Crisis: A Study of China in Tradtion and Its Implications of the West. In later studies, he explored other cultures and similar overall patterns of kinship, social structure and their relation to identity.
Hsu was the first to use a cross cultural approach to identify and differentiate social structure. He applied this method and is famous for his comparison of traditional Chinese culture with contemporary American culture. His best know book, Americans and Chinese: Two Ways of Life (1953) contrasts the two cultures on a number of topics ranging from sex to politics. Hsu found that the Chinese are situation-centered whereas Americans are individual-centered. His study goes on to explain how the world views of these cultures differ based on these distinctions.
Hsu offered an interesting perspective to the field of anthropology because he was the first Chinese anthropologist to study American culture. In his American studies he brought traditional Chinese thought to the field and through his participant observation was able to blend Chinese and Western schools of thought in his unique study of how personality and social structure are related.
COURTNEY SCHUSTER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Shackel, Paul A. Public Memory and the Search for Power in American Historical Archaeology. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol.103 (3): 655-670.
Historical information is ascertained, through the American point of view, by monuments, commemorative ceremonies, historical landscapes, and archeology. The article reviews the American tendency to look to the past to explain the present. Public memories are developed as a means to reinforce current social situations in such a way as to create a sense of societal comfort that is rooted in a cultural self-esteem and pride. According to Shackel, one must be aware that the historical information that we are ‘fed’ may indeed be based on a particular political and social interpretation reflecting the ideals of the group in power at the time, as well as the ideals of the group in power today. Historical ‘truths’ may in fact be the product of a reconstructed event. “The past can only be understood in the context of the present…those who control the past have the ability to command the present” (Shackel, 656 & 665).
Shackel is interested in the influential roles of memory on the shaping of American historical ‘truths’ and how these ‘truths’ are manipulated by race and power. Shackel suggests that public memory can be created by: (1) forgetting about or excluding an alternative past, including American’s tendency to selectively form a history in which we focus on elites and traditional heroes, neglecting the often undesirable truths of our country’s past; (2) creating and reinforcing patriotism, including the creation of a public memory that produces obedient, patriotic citizens through the emphasis on the ideals of authority as to create a sense of social unity to reinforce the status quo; (3) developing a sense of nostalgia to legitimize a particular heritage, including a selective memory of historical events as positive as to create a sense of a constructive cultural community.
Case studies, including ‘The Remaking of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial’, ‘The Civil War Centennial and the Battle at Manassas’, and ‘The Heyward Shepherd Memorial’, were used as evidence to exemplify how the use of power and resources are fundamental to the control of public memory. Shackel provides relational depictions between the historical truths and our public memory of the occurrence by providing a realistic representation of each of the historical events followed by a current representation of the historical events in the context of American public memory. Shackel demonstrates in each of the situations that American misinterpretation of a historical event is caused by “(1) forgetting about or excluding an alternative past, (2) creating and reinforcing patriotism, and/or (3) developing a sense of nostalgia to legitimize a particular heritage” (Shackel, 665).
KARINA HARTY The University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Sharples, Niall. Obituary of Stuart Piggott. American Anthropologist September, 2001 Vol. 103(3): Pages 798-800.
This obituary for Stuart Piggott (1910-1996) was written by Niall M. Sharples in a very clear way, with little of the anthropological jargon that makes many works hard to read. According to Sharples, Piggott was a very respected man during his time and is remembered as being well liked by his students as well as his peers. Sharples gives a brief but detailed history of Piggott’s career, which ranges from a position at the Royal Commission of Wales to becoming the Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Edinburgh University. Sharples states very clearly near the end of this obituary that his outline of Piggott’s career is missing many elements that people find important. He focuses instead on what gave Piggott his fame.
Piggott strongly believed that if fieldwork was done correctly and with great detail it would give anthropologists all the information needed to interpret social cultures of the past. He managed to direct and codirect many excavations that physically showed how gung-ho he was for a strict and rigorous record of everything done by archaeologists. Those dig sites also showed his reliance on stratigraphy, which was uncommon during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Piggott’s work in later years focused more on the artifacts left behind by a culture, than on the people who had lived there. By the early 1950’s Piggott’s wife Margaret joined in his excavations, helping him with the information he later published. Since the study of humans is the main focus in anthropology, Piggott’s views led him astray from the mainstream and many people disregarded his work because of it.
Sharples believes that people today ‘underestimate the importance [Piggott’s] ideas have….’ and how he changed archaeology. Piggott can most easily be described as a man with an innovative new approach that gained him fame quickly, but a man who lost that fame just as fast. The author seems to believe that Piggott deserved more credit then he got, which I believe is a valid argument.
KERRY WALTON University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom).
Smart, Alan. Unruly Places: Urban Governance and the persistence of Illegality in Hong Kong’s Urban Squatter Areas . American Anthropologist March, 2001 Vol.103(1):30-44
Alan Smart evaluates the progression of squatter settlements in Hong Kong, which he classifies as unruly places that the government has had little control over. He examines these illegally occupied residential areas, and the interactions between residents and the government in regards to the stability and future of their state. He argues that there have been three noticeable periods of squatter development during the last 55 years: repression, resettlement, and exclusion. Observation and evaluation of these periods can help explain and answer questions as to why squatter developments have not yet been eliminated. Smart concludes that persistence of squatter homes is due to the “ administration’s actions and inactions.”
During the repression period (1945053) the government had no clue over the development of illegal squatting. People looking for shelter turned to places of little development to build their homes. The government did not bother to knock down any of these homes unless they directly interfered with governmental projects. It was not until the end of this period when the situation grew to the point that the government felt obligated to interact and thus created the squatter resettlement program. The resettlement period (1945-84) unexpectedly saw a rapid increase in residents of squatter villages. The government secretly began clearance of these areas and moved registered residents to permanent public housing. Acquiring public housing through the government waiting list could take as long as ten years; therefore, many people moved to squatter residences in hopes of being relocated to public housing. In order to avoid the waiting list many middle class families moved to squatter houses and actually dominated the demographics of the communities.
The growth of power the government had over the squatter developments during this time led to the third period: exclusion (1984-present). The reformed Hong Kong government created plans to partially fund home ownership for citizens and move them out of squatter areas. The government has made attempts to end movement into squatter areas by threatening tenants of having no eligibility for transfer to temporary housing. Therefore, most current residents are people who have no other alternative. The demolition of squatter developments has take place, although some continue to persist, such as Diamond Hill. Smart lived at Diamond Hill for several months while doing research and says that this community is still striving because of the outcry and resistance residents have had when the government has threatened to demolish their homes.
Although squatter homes are illegal, they have served a purpose as temporary residence during an increase in demand or public housing. People still seek out homes in squatter villages because they have no other alternative, and feel that they deserve help from government if their homes are demolished. Smart concludes that if the government wants to rid the city of all squatter homes it can do so because of the major decline of support for low-income issues during the 90s. In the past the government had to allow illegal occupation to continue, but this is no longer an issue and these residences only persist because the government does not care.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
WILLIAM TOBLER University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Thompson, Raymond H. Obituary: Edward Bridge Danson, Jr (1916-2000). American Anthropologist December, 2001. Vol.103(4):1136-1138.
Edward Bridge Danson, known affectionately as Ned, died peacefully in his home in Sedona, Arizona on November 30th, 2000. Born on March 22nd, 1916 in Glendale, Ohio, Ned moved to his beloved Arizona in adulthood, but traveled extensively in his youth. When he was only 17 years old, Ned had the experience of a lifetime sailing around the world on the schooner Yankee. Ned’s mother was the one who had arranged the trip as a punishment for reckless driving. Automobiles, not anthropology, were actually Ned’s first love. Growing up in the automobile era, Ned became a serious car aficionado at a young age and maintained his love for automobiles throughout his life.
In 1935 Ned enrolled at Cornell University, but quickly transferred to the University of Arizona after working on a ranch near Tubac, Arizona and falling in love with the state. Ned eventually received his B.A. from the University of Arizona in 1940, after working as an understudy to Emil Haury at archeological excavations in Northern Arizona. Despite his growing love for archaeology and the beautiful Southwest landscape, Ned was swept up in the commotion of World War II and enlisted in the Navy in the fall of 1941. Before leaving for duty in the Pacific, Ned married Jessica MacMaster in 1942, and had two children, Jessica Ann and Edward Bridge, Jr.
Upon returning from the war, Ned resumed study under Haury at the University of Arizona, but transferred to Harvard University at Haury’s recommendation. At Harvard, Ned received A.M. and Ph.D. degrees with John Brew as his mentor. Brew encouraged Ned to travel to Arizona and western New Mexico to study the Mogollon culture, which was just the start of Ned’s brilliant career in the archaeology of the Southwest. Ned’s expertise landed him leadership positions in the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and National Parks System Advisory Board. As the director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, Ned brought the museum to national prominence and trained numerous high school and university students for success in academic careers.
Edward “Ned” Danson was a caring man and passionate teacher and researcher. He will be remembered well for his contributions to the lives of many students and his advancement of archaeology in the Southwest.
BRENDAN PRENDERGAST University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Trawick, Paul. The Moral Economy of Water: Equity and Antiquity in the Andean Commons. American Anthropologist June, 2001 Vol. 103 (2):361-379.
This article examines an autonomous culture sustained for centuries high in the Andean Mountains, looking specifically at the community’s need for and use of water resources. Focusing on three small communities, the author sets a framework in which social circumstances vary and dictate the individual group’s autonomy, including their irrigation practices.
The first group is completely autonomous, the second controlled by resident landlords, the third ruled by the state. In the first and second communities, residents practice similar methods of independently controlling their water resources. In the third community, the people have been subjected to state administered irrigation.
The first two groups prove to be extremely successful in maintaining proportional water rights, with a high degree of accountability and involvement in the entire process of irrigation. This, the author asserts, is the foundation for a set of values that extends to reach all other areas of their lives, including their cosmological views. By maintaining this method of water management over centuries, these people have reinforced qualities such as autonomy, uniformity, contiguity, proportionality, regularity, and transparency, which are essential to their particular practices of irrigation. If one of these aspects were lacking, the rest would fail. This is their way of living successfully in a difficult landscape, and they have managed to share a scarce water supply by depending on themselves to sustain and manage their valuable resource. Because of their proven success, the author believes it is essential that they be allowed to continue independently managing their water, without interference from Peru’s government. The value of autonomy and the social benefits that result have enriched their lives, and has given them a richer and more extensive culture than others which solely rely on language and dress as examples of heritage.
The third, state-controlled community is an example of how the government has tried to intervene and implement more modern methods of water management. Recent years have shown this to be a dismal failure. These new methods have replaced equality and tradition with conflict and domination.
The author gives detailed descriptions of the methods and practices of this water system. Recent ethnographic research is cited often in support of the author’s theories, and helps to construct a more complete picture of the communities. Much older texts are also referenced, some dating back to the 17th century. These records support the assertion that this tradition is not a product of local lore, but rather a method of irrigation that may have even been adopted by the Incas.
These secluded Andean residents have achieved a great and rare balance in their community. They have found a way to use practical and effective methods that supply their fields with water, even in times of scarcity, and they have also infused principles of patience and self-reliance into other reaches of their lives.
SARAH KANTNER Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Trawick, Paul. The Moral Economy of Water: Equity and Antiquity in the Andean Commons. American Anthropologist, 2001. 103:361-380.
Trawick explores how irrigation systems have influenced the development of cultures and societies in arid areas of the world. He sets out to prove that the reality of sharing the scarce resource of water leads a population to a distinctive and extraordinary way of life and communal organization. Trawick concentrates his study on the village of Huaynacotas in the Peruvian Andes. He first discusses Andean irrigation as a whole, and previous ethnographies dealing with the subject. He then provides brief information involving the migration, colonization, and political history of Huaynacotas, characterizing the village as predominantly indigenous and free of outside influences.
The article then provides an in-depth description of the irrigation system used in Huaynacotas and the rules and principles governing the use of water in the society. Water is distributed chronologically based on location of one’s property, not based on who owns the property or what is grown in that property. Water is proportioned according to the size of one’s field, with those receiving more water having to repay the village by performing additional tasks for the village. The entire village understands and obeys the rules, with virtually no disputes. The author argues that the particular irrigation system and rules associated with it leads to distinct characteristics of the society: autonomy, uniformity, contiguity, proportionality, regularity, and transparency. It is these characteristics that make the society distinctive and unique. Trawick traces the particular irrigation system used in the village back to the Incas, and hypothesizes that it is even more ancient. He concludes that along with a material model for living, the water distribution system also establishes a moral model of living based on codes of conduct and ethics.
TIMOTHY COMTE University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Williams, Brett. A River Runs Through Us. American Anthropologist, June 2001 Vol.103(2): 409-431.
A River Runs Through Us by Brett Williams explores how the physical deterioration of a river has also been a symbol of social injustice for the inhabitants of the river bank. Specifically, Williams explores the Anacostia River, which separates Washington D. C. into eastern and western banks. For five years Williams resided with the heavily African-American community that lives along the river’s eastern bank. The community is very poor area, and its economic troubles have been compounded with health hazards from the polluted river. In the end, Williams compiles a tremendous history of the Anacostia River, successfully matching the environmental degradation of the river to the social degradation of the area.
The basis for Williams’ argument is the ethos of environmental justice, whose supporters, “focus on power relations between peoples who have traditionally controlled land and resources, and states that take them away, poison, or develop them” (pg. 410). For Williams, the power struggles over the river and its inhabitants began with the British and the Nacotchtank tribes. The beaver pelt trade was highly lucrative, eventually leading to the removal of the Nacotchtank from the lands in 1623.
The pollution of the Anacostia began with the next phase of agricultural development, tobacco, in the mid 18th Century. Its popularity drove the expanding white settlers to leech nutrients from the soil and allow the river to fill with sediment during periods of rain. Further, the new American nation’s elites residing near D.C. began to ignore the plight of the river in order to further the expansion of the nation, allowing the river to become ever more polluted.
As white elites of the D. C. area continued to pollute the Anacostia, they also began to systematically discriminate against the rising African-American community that had settled along the eastern side, particularly after the Civil War. For many years after, poor blacks and poor whites both dealt with the polluted river equally. However, the “white flight” of the post-WWII era brought a government policy of segregation between whites and blacks that accompanied a continuing ignorance of the poor health of the river. Government building projects were erected to handle to number of blacks, and whites subsequently moved out of the area. Likewise, the river continued to be filled with heavy metals from factories and oil runoff from the cars of the D. C. highways.
Recreational groups like the black Seafarers Yacht Club have also become social action groups, attempting to resurrect their community and clean up their river. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent that the mostly black east bank of the Anacostia is entirely ignored by the elites who control the local government who reside and work on the west bank. In effect, the local politicians are turning the Anacostia River into a symbol of social degradation.
MATTHEW DI BIASE University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Wong, Cindy Hing-Yuk and McDonogh, Gary W. The Mediated Metropolis: Anthropological Issues in Cities and Mass Communication American Anthropologist 2001 Volume 103(2):96-108
Cindy Hing-Yuk and Gary W. McDonogh seek to explain how mass media, particularly film, represent the identity of two very different cities. They begin by describing how Hong Kong’s cinema experience has changed from the early 1900’s to present, explaining that in the post World War II era Hong Kong’s movies had highly local images with familiar actors and plots. Going to the movies was more of a family affair. As time has past, the small film festivals and art films have given way to big Hollywood films in large multiplex theatres. Now Hong Kong movies are more geared to attract a cross-culture market, such as kung-fu films. Hong Kong actors (Jackie Chan) and directors (John Woo) have been recruited for big budget Hollywood productions in the United States. Though there have been many changes in Hong Kong cinema, Wong and McDonogh feel that it does not represent the long-standing division of cultures and economic background still present in Hong Kong today.
Wong and McDonogh use Philadelphia to contrast with Hong Kong’s film production. Although Philadelphia is not a center for film production, it is a center for familiar images of American life. Philadelphia’s Main Line, an elite neighborhood, has been getting the most attention in movies. Citizen Kane, Trading Places and Philadelphia were all filmed in that area.
Lower class areas like South Philadelphia (Rocky) and Kensington (12 Monkeys) have also been used, but in a more negative light. Because of the frequency of Philadelphia in films, “an image of the city has already been established and will most likely not be able to change because the stage has already been set in previous movies.” Wong and McDonogh state that because of this Hollywood image, the diversity of the city has been lost.
Through comparing the visual culture of two cities, Wong and McDonogh hope to make a link between the social “Hollywood” image and how cities incorporate that into their own lives. They would also like for urban anthropology to recognize how vital visual expression is to these and other contemporary cities and the people who live there.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
JENNIFER COOK Indiana University (Anya Royce)
Woznica, Donald. Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong, Gary W. McDonogh. The Mediated Metropolis: Anthropological Issues in Cities and mass Communication. American Anthropologist March 2001 Vol.103 (1): 96-111.
The era of mass media has changed the way that societies interact and get impressions of each other. The way that a city is portrayed in different media outlets cannot only alter a way that it is viewed throughout the world, but also how its own residents view the city. Hong Kong and Philadelphia are two cities that have used movies to portray an image of themselves. Hong Kong has kept a tight control over production and distribution of its movies while Philadelphia has not kept strict oversight over movies produced on location.
Hong Kong has had a long relationship with both locally filmed and foreign movies. The locally based films are intertwined with creating a strong local image that reflects the “normal” way of life in people’s everyday search for an identity. The problem that arises out of these movies in both Hong Kong and Philadelphia is that the meanings of films differ between the people that live this reality on a daily basis and those who see them reproduced throughout the world. This difference can lead to a city losing all connection with the movie. An American watching a Hong Kong based Kung Fu movie will assume that it is a Chinese or Asian movie while at the same time a person in Asia could watch a movie based in Philadelphia and only relate it as a city somewhere in America. This creates misconceptions because movies rarely do a sufficient job correctly portraying a city. Parts of a society are often times changed or completely omitted from the movie.
There is one major difference between the two cities that is very important in comprehending how each city views itself. The creation of movie documentaries about life within the city is a major topic that is more developed in Honk Kong than in Philadelphia. The same audience does not exist in Philadelphia as in Hong Kong thus topics that are important to many of its residents are not portrayed.
The comparing of the two cities in this article has allowed a view into the vital parts of social life and how movies can have insights or even shape this society. These movies allow a society to see and scrutinize itself in an ever-changing world.
DONALD WOZNICA University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)
Young, Amy L., Michael Tuma, and Cliff Jenkins. The Role of Hunting to Cope with Risk at Saragossa Plantation, Natchez, Mississippi. American Anthropologist September, 2001. Vol.103(3):692-702.
Young, Tuma, and Jenkins devote their article to how slaves coped with the everyday risks in their difficult lifestyles on the Saragossa Plantation located in Natchez, Mississippi. Their claim is that hunting is a complex social mechanism for coping with risk in modern times, just as it was during the times of slavery.
To verify this claim, the article is divided into four areas. The first outlines the major risks in a slave community and the risk management undertaken by the community. The second involves archaeological and architectural study of the Saragossa Plantation and the faunal remains found there. The third includes the results of an ethnographic study of the function of hunting in the descendant community still living in the Saragossa Plantation area. Finally, the fourth topic links the actions of the antebellum slave community with the descendent community, specifically focusing upon the activity of hunting.
Area 1- The authors relay the importance of creating extended families during the times of slavery in the slave quarter community. They also record the fluctuating slave population at Saragossa, noting the threat to family solidarity as a great risk for those enslaved. By welcoming the integration of new members, and emphasizing community before self, the slaves implemented a form of risk management for their environment.
Area 2- Excavations were conducted around the slave houses and remains led to plausible conclusions about the lifestyle and diets of slaves in the mid-1800s. The brick kilns located were determined to be used in the construction of the owner’s house and chimneys. However, most important to this article was the abundance of small faunal remains and fish bones. The authors found the diet of the Saragossa slaves to consist mainly of domesticated species, such as pig, and also of some wild animals that required hunting.
Area 3- The authors discovered hunting in the current descendant community of Saragossa to be a male-dominated activity and done in groups. The three main functions of hunting are determined to be a subsistence/economic activity, a way to fashion a gender identity among males, and a means for integrating new males of the community. Young, Tuma, and Jenkins ascertained that unemployment is frowned upon in the descendent population, and therefore, hunting always enables males to maintain their position as the breadwinners of the family.
Area 4- An analysis of the previous information infers that hunting was one way of reducing risk on the Saragossa Plantation during the time of African American slavery. Further reading into the diet of slaves infers that hunting was a common activity that served the same purposes as it does today for the Saragossa descendants. In essence, the authors communicate that hunting was a way to initiate new members of the slave quarter community, necessary to survival by creating additional resources for the entire community, a way for males to retain their gender roles in an enslaved community in which they had little control over the protection of their families, and simply a social activity. Young, Tuma, and Jenkins provide evidence that hunting embodies a strategy for dealing with risk in an enslaved community.
JULIETTE HOBBS University of Notre Dame (Carolyn Nordstrom)