Current Anthropology 1962
Bergsland, Knut, Vogt, Hans. On the Validity of Glottochronology. Current Anthropology April, 1962 Vol. 3(2):115-153.
In this article, Knut Bergsland and Hans Vogt examine the validity of glottochronology. Glottochronology is thought to show that vocabulary in a language changes at a constant rate. Bergsland and Vogt focus upon the constant rate of word retention by certain languages in their study. Bergsland and Vogt analyze previous studies on the subject that focus on word lists of several languages. These languages include Modern Icelandic compared to Old Norse, Modern Georgian compared to Old Georgian, and Modern Armenian to Old Armenian.
Bergsland and Vogt’s argument is set up through examining 215- item word lists. They use different procedures for each indicated language when analyzing these different word lists. Words within the lists were then scored with either a plus or minus which helps in indicating rates of retention. Many tables and graphs were also utilized in order to illustrate retention rates of the languages in question. In one graph, retention percentage rates are compared by examining a 215 item word list, 200 item list, and 100 item word list. As the number of words decreases, the constant rate of retention increases, they found.
According to the authors, Modern Icelandic and Old Norse, when compared using the 215- item word list, show retention rates that differ greatly. These two vocabularies it was found, do not change over time at a constant rate. Bergsland and Vogt also suggest that the borrowing and innovation of words from a foreign language have a great affect upon the vocabulary of the language over time. For example, Modern Icelandic was found to have one borrowed word in the 215- item word list, while Norwegian languages were found to have more.
In conclusion, Bergsland and Vogt succeed in disproving the common assumption that vocabularies change at a constant rate over time. While they do not change at a constant rate, the vocabularies of a set language do change at fluctuating speeds over different intervals of time.
DOUG SAIN Appalachian State University (Cheryl Claassen)
Bergsland, Knut and Vogt, Hans. On the Validity of Glottochronology. Current Anthropology April, 1962. Vol.3(2):115-153.
Through the decade of the 1950s, the field of anthropology in general felt a shift toward nomothetic approaches to the humanities. In this period of cold war face-offs and scientific breakthroughs, anthropological linguists sought to reveal the universals of language for all people across the globe.
The idea around which glottochronology revolves is that the fundamental vocabulary for all human languages changes at a constant rate of 81% per millennium. A list of 215, 200, or 100 words from each language being studied is chosen as its fundamental vocabulary and the amount of change is measured using the similarities and differences between two modern languages. This constant can be utilized as a dating technique to estimate the time of divergence for modern cognate languages. In much the same manner as radiocarbon dating provides dates to archaeologists, linguists could employ the method of glottochronology to map out the divergence of related languages following the biological model of species nomenclature. Languages branch out from the level of family (for instance Indo-European), to groups of more closely related languages (such as the Romance Languages), to the specific language (Spanish for example). Glottochronology is a method for estimating the approximate date that any two languages, or group of languages, split.
In this article, Bergsland and Vogt challenge the issue of a constant rate of change for all human languages, thereby casting doubt on the validity of glottochronology as an effective dating technique. The authors use the specific examples of Old Norse vs. Modern Icelandic, Old Georgiean vs. Modern Georgiean, and Old Armenian vs. Modern Armenian to point out the differences in retention rate in each case. For each of these comparisons, the full 215, 200, and 100 word lists are provided in the article, which allows the reader the opportunity to scrutinize the data. Previously, only the results of the research were reported and this step, as Hymes makes note of in the comments, makes this article a “procedural model” for further glottochronological research.
In addition to the research presented in the article, Bergsland and Vogt point to other cases for which the constant rate of change does not hold. Those people speaking a dialect known as East Greenlandic practice a word taboo where the name of a deceased member of the tribe can never be spoken after a two week mourning period. In cases where the deceased person was named after an animal, object, or notion, the tribe contrives a new word for these things to honor the dead. This cultural practice makes for a high rate of change in East Greenlandic, which throws the fundamental vocabulary constant of 81% per millennium for all human language into doubt.
In the comments, several supports of Bergsland and Vogt chime in adding additional examples of the inconsistency of the supposed constant rate of change. This article is an addition to an ongoing debate and supporters of glottochronology such as Dell Hymes, who receives much criticism throughout this article, and Morris Swadesh point to the exceptional work done by these authors in improving the diagnostic rigor of the method. Supporters of glottochronology do not deny that specific examples exist where the rate of phonetic change does not apply; however they suggest that these are exceptions to an otherwise consistent trend.
Bergsland and Vogt’s reply to these comments points out that consistent application of the procedures laid out in this article would show less consistency in the rate of phonetic change as more and more languages are subject to their testing. They firmly believe that with this article, the final nail has been driven home in the coffin of glottochronology.
RORY BECKER Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)
Berliner, Joseph S. The Feet of the Natives are Large: An Essay on Anthropology by an Economist. Current Anthropology February, 1962 Vol. 3 (1): 47-77.
Berliner’s paper is an attempt to show how economics and anthropological techniques can be useful in each other’s fields of study making both areas of academia stronger than before the exchange. The article starts with using a matrix to collect and record data for anthropologists, and then how to utilize the information. Berliner then discusses the intricacies of statics and dynamics, and how they relate to both economics and anthropology. The article concludes with fifteen anthropologists giving their comments on the initial paper, and then a final reply from Berliner on the comments made.
The matrix is made by having classes listed horizontally across the top, and properties listed vertically along the side. Berliner makes the distinction that culture can be tabulated into the matrix while society cannot. Theoretically, if all anthropological data that exists were to be put into the matrix, anthropology would have a vast encyclopedia of information from which to draw upon for analysis. The analysis is then broken down into four methods. The first is the relation of data in any box to data in other boxes in the same column. This column analysis is cultural anthropology. The relation of the data in any box to data in other boxes in the same row is social anthropology. The relation of the data in any column to data in other columns is comparative cultural anthropology. Lastly, the relation of data in any row to data in other rows is comparative social anthropology. Berliner claims that even if some data in the matrix was missing or entered incorrectly, the analyst would be able to see the patterns in such a matrix and be able to recognize the mistakes and fill in the missing information with accurate guesswork.
Next, Berliner describes one of the current differences between economic and anthropological studies. Economics many times deals in ‘box analysis’ as opposed to the anthropological analysis of row to row, or column to column. Berliner states that this is the result of most anthropologists attempt at getting to the overall picture of a specific society as a whole, while economics is more concerned with what happens within a single box with all other factors held constant, or ‘given’. Berliner says that economics can learn from anthropology in the case of long-run predictions by including cultural variables into their equations which are usually left out. Another area where economics could benefit from is through the application of row analysis. Berliner gives the example of economists trying to help underdeveloped countries by comparing the properties that are in other countries that have undergone improvement.
Last of all, Berliner writes about the problem of capturing static data in a dynamic world. Since the world is constantly changing and shifting, we cannot make predictions that are specific. We can only make predictions by giving a window of possibilities by dismissing the things that are not possible. This problem is compounded in both anthropology and economics because each cannot deal with information that is moving; they can only deal with information that static and measured at the most convenient time of equilibrium.
The comments from anthropologists all agreed on the value of Berliners work. Most of the value was in the fresh perspective and organization. The critical comments were that the organization of data into the matrix would be too problematic to be practical. Berliner’s view was also judged to be to simplistic and that he did not spend enough time in his research of fieldwork anthropology. One anthropologist states that Berliner is to trusting of patterns to make conclusions to fill gaps of information. The overall comment from each critic was that Berliner helped one to stand back and see the big picture, and helped in useful organization strategies for data collecting and analysis from data organization.
The reply Berliner gave started with his organization of putting the fifteen commentators and their responses into a matrix. Berliner agreed with many of the reports that he was to simplistic in his paper and did not have enough time in fieldwork. Berliner claims that this discrepancy is his fault for not explaining his position well enough. Other than some minor points the reply is short. Berliner ends by inviting anthropologists into the world of economics and hopes that they will not be put off by the fact that it seems less exciting than their world.
JASON COURTNEY Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)
Berliner, Joseph S. The Feet of the Natives are Large: An Essay On Anthropology by an Economist. Current Anthropology February 1962 Vol. 3(1):47-77
In this article, Berliner suggests the importance of analyzing the methods of anthropology for the study and successful analysis of economics. He opens his essay with an in depth look at these methods. Using an example study of the culture of Anthropologia, both in its own terms and in comparison with culture of Economia, Berliner emphasizes the differences and similarities in the methods of study for each. This article is a playful exploration of these sciences.
Anthropology is classified into the study of biological, social, and cultural aspects of man. The biological and social aspects are seen as classification tools, and the cultural is then the grouping of these similar characteristics, further subdividing the group. Berliner simplifies the study of anthropology into charts, symbols, and mathematical or statistical data, suggesting the utility of a patterned analysis. A chart is set up with sets of properties on one axis, creating columns, and groups of people on the other axis, creating rows. Four methods of studying this data are used to ascertain statistical information. These methods include: 1) Cultural Anthropology: study of the common elements within a culture (column analysis); 2) Social Anthropology: study of a certain element of that culture with the same element of another culture (row analysis); 3) Comparative Cultural Anthropology: study of a cultural pattern of society, or the searching for a higher level generalization that is cross-cultural (comparison of columns); 4) Comparative Social Anthropology: study of social systems that have certain internal imperatives that are independent of a particular culture (comparison of rows).
A fifth possibility of comparison arises, which is the search for regularities among the data within any single box, rather than those between that box and others. This is often overlooked by many anthropologists. It is the method of analysis used by economists. Berliner suggests that anthropologists must utilize this form of analysis, as economists must utilize the previous four methods of comparison. Each method will yield different benefits to economics. For example, the utilization of column analysis will allow economists to make generalizations about types of economic systems. Row analysis will provide a basis for predicting what changes in kinship, politics, etc. are associated with a given change in the economic system.
Berliner provides many essential factors that affect this method of comparison. These include time, statics and dynamics, and the cyclical nature of economics. Persistence and change are important in the cycle and statics and dynamics are important in yielding economic predictions. Berliner recognizes that the new method of studying economics, by utilizing these principles and taking these factors into consideration, will allow for a better understanding of the natural development of economic systems, its consequences intra- as well as inter-culturally, and allow for better predictions and results. This method for setting forth more viable predictions is truly an innovation in the study of economics.
MOLLY MCCLARY Appalachian State University (Dr. Cheryl Claassen)
Capell, Arthur. Oceanic Linguistics Today. Current Anthropology October, 1962 Vol. 3(4): 371- 428.
In this article, Capell explores the languages of the Pacific Ocean (minus those of Australia and Tasmania) dividing them into two separate groups known as Austronesian (AN) and non-Austronesian (NAN). He follows this introduction with a description of the many facets of language that each group encompasses including vocabulary, noun classes, verbal system and syntax. Each of the major groups is then further divided into subgroups, which are defined by a geographic area. These subgroup paragraphs discuss the more specific variations of language that are found in the separate geographic areas. Capell has also placed diagrams throughout the article that detail these areas and language groups.
Following this discussion, Capell explicates and explores the nature of AN and NAN languages as well as the origins of oceanic languages. In his discussion of NAN languages he stresses that the lack of empirical material collected seriously undermines the ability of scholars to adequately reach any conclusions. No origin or interrelationships can be stated for the languages that are a part of this category.
The position of AN languages is somewhat different. They have been well documented by many researchers/scholars, although analysis of morpheme and syntactic pattern is somewhat lacking. Vocabulary has been studied extensively. With regards to the phonology of AN languages, early academics were surprised at the similarities in vocabulary among Malay and Eastern Polynesian languages. Sound correspondences have also been noted between the Malay and Eastern Polynesian languages, but due to the lack of philology between Indo-European matters, they have been difficult to study in any depth. Two scholars, Dempwolff and Isidore Dyen have categorized the phonemes used in AN languages. Both are accepted but Dyen’s reworked the unsatisfactory nature of the pharyngeals documented in Dempwolff’s system. “Dempwolff had held that AN words did not begin or end with vowels but with a phoneme comparable to the Greek ‘smooth breathing’ and that a true glottal stop did not form part of its phonemic system. Dyen demonstrated effectively that ‘this assumption is no longer applicable,’ and based his work very largely on Tagalog (and its congeners) and Tongan”(386).
In addition to the phonology of AN languages, Capell also discusses the vocabulary, and morphology. He notes that the most important aspect of the morphology is the ligative article, which is a particle located between a noun and adjective in areas in this part of the world. It serves to link the nucleus with its attribute (388). “From a very early period of linguistic investigation it has been predominantly held that the Austronesian peoples originated in Southeast Asia”(393) and Capell does not challenge this widely held belief. He notes also that different processes may occur when two languages encounter each other. The newcomers may give-up their language influencing the new one in the process or, the subjected people may give up their language also influencing the new one. Furthermore, the two may exist side by side for a period of time and language mixing may take place the simultaneous use of different languages, or two languages may come together to form an entirely new third language. Research is still being conducted to determine which of these processes affected the AN languages of Oceania.
In the conclusion of the article, Capell discuss what present day problems are affecting oceanic linguistics. He states that there are three main types of study called for:
1. Recording and publication
3. Comparative study
The commentary following this article mainly discuss Capell’s focus on the geographic relationships between languages in this part of the world. Several of the commentators break their comments down into paragraphs that correlate with those in the actual articles. This makes it very easy to evaluate the article because one can compare the sections to the comments. In his reply, Capell says “I regarded my work as essentially that of chronicling opinions held now or in the more or less recent past (since scientific investigation of the Oceanic languages began), rather than of deciding the answers to the problems raised”(422). He also continually stresses the concept of uncertainty in regard to Oceanic linguistics and that this helps to explain the divergent commentary.
BRITT HAMER Western Michigan University (Vincent Lyon-Callo/ Bilinda Straight)
Capell, Arthur. Oceanic Linguistics Today. Current Anthropology December, 1962. Vol.3 (4):371-428.
In this article, Arthur Capell examines the differences between languages of the Pacific Ocean. The two groups of languages he focuses on are Austronesian (AN), and Non-Austronesian (NAN). Through analyzing the origins of each language, the different morphological traits of these language groups, the differences in vocabulary, and different developmental theories, Capell conveys a basic understanding of the origins of language in the Pacific Basin. Capell utilizes maps and charts in portraying evidence that he claims. Plotted on maps of the areas in question are numbers, which indicate different languages of the region. He also creates a family tree for each language group, which helps the reader understand the origin of, and the relationships between the languages.
Capell’s argument is set up in five sections. These sections include discussions of the NAN language group, the AN language group, developmental theories of AN, the origins of Oceanic languages, and present-day problems with Oceanic linguistics.
He first examines NAN languages in Indonesia and New Guinea. He discovers that those of Indonesia cannot yet be classified and are in need of more study, while progress has been made in the grouping of NAN languages of New Guinea. Capell concludes that many areas of NAN are not known and the origins of these languages are not well understood. He explores NAN languages in six sections of New Guinea and outlying regions. He emphasizes that while several other languages in Oceania have been suggested as being NAN, those languages have not been upheld as a member of the NAN grouping. While these other languages differ from AN, they are more closely related to AN than to NAN.
Capell’s examination of the AN language group covers all areas of the South Pacific Basin excluding Australia and Tasmania. AN languages, according to Capell, include Indonesian (IN), Melanesian (MN), Polynesian (PN), and Micronesian (MC). Capell uses data collected through phonology to acquire a better understanding of the AN languages. Phonology describes how sound correspondences and vocabulary resemblances relate between two languages.
Capell suggests developmental theories of the Austronesian languages and proposes whether there should be a subdivision within the AN linguistic family. His reason for a sub-division is primarily due to a differing relationship between the Melanesian branch and the other languages. There is a controversy as to which branch of the AN languages the Melanesian group should belong, if not in a group by itself. Capell concludes that due to structural and lexical differences, the Melanesian linguistic group should remain as placed.
Capell argues that the origin of AN-speaking peoples was in Southeast Asia. The author suggests language subgroups. Other theories claim that the migrations moved in the direction of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, or New Caledonia. Finally, Capell suggests an improvement in language study, including problems with recording and publication, analysis, and comparative studies, which would facilitate better understanding.
CLARITY : 4
DOUG SAIN Appalachian State University (Cheryl Claassen)
Czekanowski, Jan. The Theoretical Assumptions of Polish Anthropology and the Morphological Facts. Current Anthropology December 1962 Vol 3(5):481-494.
This article pertains to the theoretical assumptions and morphological facts presented by Jan Czekanowski, a Polish anthropologist. This long, drawn-out article poses many questions and answers about race identification based on morphological equations in an attempt to identify Paleo-European races. One of the equations he uses is (A+E+H+L)= 1, where the variables are some measure of a dominant trait of the four races occurring in Central Europe.
The first equations that came about were based on Mendelian predictions. The variables are taken from skull measurements in Paleo-European graves. From this, he derives several different races synonymous with the European region. He believes that race is a biological reality and not simply “fictions of the morphologist,” because the differences could be proved by use of these empirical formulas. He argues that these equations are so valid that a chronology of cross breeding could be determined or if a race remained in isolation because of no change in the morphology of the skulls.
The author compares his own conclusions about indigenous races with those of previous and contemporary morphologists. In his comparisons, he makes sure to illuminate the shortcomings of some of his colleagues. The errors are due to the incorrect usage of equations. In some cases, Czekanowski claims the error is due to the inability to use the correct equations, particularly the anti-Mendelian morphologists.
But how can we compare the morphology of the skulls of the European predecessors to the Europeans of today? The conclusions indicated that the individuals living today didn’t fit into the categories labeled Paleo-European. A new factor had to be taken into account in order for the equations to work. He uses pigmentation to create distinguishable typologies. With this, he determined that eye color and cranial form were definitely race-related.
Czekanowski makes a point to note the results achieved by Polish anthropologists working in theoretical anthropology. Interest in the field is now centered on a “quantitatively controlled morphological method of investigation.”
He considers himself and his classmates to be the first generation of Polish anthropologists. He includes a history of the Polish School of Anthropology that was created by anthropologists trained at the Zurich Anthropological School by Rudolf Martin.
The author then talks about morphology and evolution. He believed that anthropology is a study that pertains to morphological evidence of the process of evolution. Evolution “is by no means a theoretical assumption. It is a biological fact that cannot be discussed seriously unless it has been proven beyond any doubt to be a fact.” However, he argues that since man has adapted to change in his environment, then evolution is not possible in the artificial environment.
The article itself is rather hard to read. It uses jargon. However, it was a well- written article that illustrates one anthropologist’s view of morphology and evolution.
BENJAMIN BLANKS Appalachian State University (Cheryl Claassen)
Czekanowski, Jan. The Theoretical Approaches of Polish Anthropology and the Morphological Facts. Current Anthropology December, 1962 Vol. 3(5): 481-494.
Czekanowski’s piece is a response to an article and comments published earlier in the same volume of Current Anthropology by Bielicki and Wiercinski entitled “Issues in the Study of Race: Two View from Poland with Discussion.” Czekanowski was a founder and, at the time of his writing, the oldest member of the so-called “Polish Anthropological School” created in Poland by anthropologists trained by Rudolf Martin at Zurich.
The article posits the contributions of Polish anthropologists at the epicenter of theoretical development between biology and analytical mechanics. It is important to note that Czekanowski’s use of the term “anthropology” is exclusively biological. In this piece, Czekanowski is concerned with defending the contributions of Polish anthropologists in the development of racial classifications, especially categories of Eastern European races. He writes: “Polish anthropology attained a high degree o scientific precision in the investigation of the living. This is proved by the agreement achieved between morphology typology and the analysis carried out by means of Wanke’s Approximation” (486). Here, Czekanowski excludes craniology, noting that there had yet to be an exact craniological definition of the races. Adam Wanke was a student of Czekanowski’s and a leading figure among the second generation of the Polish School anthropologists.
Czekanowski, writing at the request of the CA editor, provides a summary of his work in physical anthropology. One of his biggest achievements was recognizing morphological facts of individuals (what he calls points [individuals] in the n-dimensional space of analytical mechanics) that he then aggregated to correspond with what, at the time, were accepted categories of races or racial complexes. He provides a summary of the members and development of the Polish Anthropological School, and notes the progress and achievements of the members therein related to the study of morphology and race. He concludes by posing questions to commentators on the Bielicki and Wiercinski piece, seemingly in defense of the Polish authors.
Oddly embedded within the article, on page 489, is a further explanation of previous comments made in a reply to Garn by Tadeusz Bielicki about an article the latter had published in volume three of CA. The three-paragraph note is an explanation of Bielicki’s use of terminology with which, apparently, Garn had previously taken issue.
DAVID CHAUDOIR Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)
Jelinek, Arthur J. An Index of Radio Carbon Dates Associated with Cultural Materials. Current Anthropology December, 1962 Vol. 3(5):451-480.
Throughout the evolution of archaeology, its practitioners have sought to legitimize and qualify the obscure debris scattered throughout the world’s plowed fields and the ancient structures of antiquity to the fascinated public. Questions arose due to the cultural material that was being found such as, “whose culture did it belong?” and “from what time period?” The written record supplemented the early archaeologists along with the theories of superposition, seriation and strategraphy. The ability to chronologically separate and categorize cultural material produced only relative dates based on a variety of features unique to the individual artifacts.
Post World War II saw technological leaps in the fields of atomic level studies including those based on environmental research. Born from this research, the ability to measure carbon 14 concentrations in organic material and consequently measure the amounts over a set period of time, gave archaeologists a new tool in dating techniques. The ability to radio carbon date organic remains from the archaeological record placed artifacts into an absolute chronology and out from the realm of speculation based on morphology and depositional layering.
In the article written by Arthur J. Jelinek, he calls for the creation of an index that would house the world’s radiocarbon dates, so that archaeologists could reconstruct the chronology of different areas based on where one was working. Published in 1962, Jelinek was ahead of his time. He realized the importance of creating databases on punched cards, a precursor to the floppy disk, as a means of centralizing the data. This data could then be accessed by anyone in the field to place sites within a region into a chronological system.
Dr. Jelinek pointed out the base differences in sample collection between solid-carbon and the more accurate acetylene dating for his time. These differences both in the handling of the material to avoid contamination and the differences in produced dates, these early techniques laid the groundwork for more modern technology and applications. However, at such an early point in the use of radiocarbon dating, the dates produced were limited and in limited regions of the world. The method of dating cannot be done in house, as samples must be sent to facilities with the proper equipment, and having samples dated is very expensive. This would be a limiting factor by even today’s standards as most radiocarbon dating is done through universities or large corporations. Jelinek possibly thought that as time went on the cost would decrease and more archaeologists would have access to the technology and the card file would be ready as a repository for those dates.
The elimination of cultural materials associated with each carbon sample taken would be a glaring oversight. The removal of the cultural context from which each sample was extruded would make cultural cross comparisons impossible. While this might have been a limitation of the technology of the time, the ability to record every minute detail while ignoring the cultural context would undermine the entire project. A better solution would have been a listing of encoded cultural traits that could be deciphered by the researcher.
In conclusion, Dr. Arthur Jelinek was looking to the future as he saw the widespread use of radiocarbon dating. He wanted a central repository that anyone could access to contribute or use the dates held within. He could have not foreseen the advances in technology that the personal computer and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) would have on archaeology. Unfortunately, the database has not been completed and the information is still difficult to access.
MARC HENSHAW Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight).
Lowther, Gordon. Epistemology and Archaeological Theory. Current Anthropology December, 1962 Vol. 3 (5): 495-509
This article is concerned with Philosophy as it is applied to Anthropology. Specifically, it focuses on the method and/ or technique used by anthropologists on the verification of facts and how the truth is derived. It assumes that every anthropologist, weather consciously or unconsciously, is using one of two theories of philosophy on the nature of truth and how it can be verified; and the problem that anthropology has as a result of this.
The body of the article describes the two different theories of truth, compares the two, then it discusses how each can or cannot be applied to anthropological use by using criteria of verification of an archeological statement. Lowther quotes from Woozley 1959:129): “According to it [the Correspondence theory], a judgment is correct or a proposition judged is true if there is a fact corresponding to it, false if there is not. According to the Coherence theory, the truth of a judgment consists in its coherence within a system of judgments.” Lowther is a bigger proponent of the Coherence theory as he cites a few very general statements from anthropology journals and then applies both theories to these statements. Midway through his application he determines that neither theory is adequate as a definition of the nature of truth or for verification, but that in certain cases, one theory is more applicable than the other and/or both theories can sometimes be used just as ably.
In the conclusion, he states that in anthropology, the Correspondence theory is used more often than the Coherence theory even though this is done mostly unknowingly. He also states that the Correspondence theory, if reasoned in a certain way, can be shown to be a sub-group of the Coherence theory. Lowther’s goal is for archeologists to have an appreciation of the epistemological basis of their statements and therefore – theories, to better understand those statements and theories.
The commentators on this article have overwhelmingly criticized Lowther as not being accepting of having to be deductive and reasoning when making statements and theories. Specifically having to do with using tried and true methods of archeological work and frames of reference which have helped make major processes easier to manage and generally more fruitful. The commentators have also overwhelmingly applauded Lowthers extremely meticulous and well detailed analysis of epistemological background into the workings of anthropology. They overall seem to find that this article is too particular to be used in every application of anthropology. However they do see it as a helpful reminder to simply be aware of logical analysis and its use against certain pitfalls that are inherent in the study of anthropology such as leaping to illogical conclusions.
JASON COURTNEY Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)
Lowther, Gordon R. Epistemology and Archaeological Theory. Current Anthropology December, 1962 Vol. 3(5):495-509.
The overall intention of this paper is to indicate some of the problems in the critical philosophy of archaeology. This laborious task is further narrowed to focus on some of the conceptual presuppositions of archaeology, principally those of an epistemological and idealist nature. Further spiraling hermeneutically, Lowther tackles two theories of truth, correspondence and coherence. Deeming the theory of coherence of greater utility-due to its separation of questions relating to the nature of truth and criterion of verification by coherence being logically consistent—Lowther further chooses theoretical perspectives in which the best rationale can be produced in enlightening critical theory.
The author’s basic premise is found in his concluding statement. Lowther explains by the means of his intensive theoretical review, that recognition of the epistemological basis of archaeological statements—and therefore theories—is necessary for the full understanding of those theories. This is slightly abstract in implication, but clarified by inferring that the theory of coherence is an integral part of a complex ideological system of logic and presupposition in archaeology. The purpose was not to prove a theory in the traditional sense, but to show how theories are created, and display the innate biases in the intergraded systems.
The postulation is constructed in a very complicated manner. All the evidence is theoretically based, and various views of reality are discussed with the reader. Highlights include: idealistic premises; theories of coherence and correspondence; ranges of variation, and ultimately, epistemological presuppositions. Citing a plethora of theoretical examples, as well as the examination of quotes from various archaeologists, Lowther further supports these claims of theoretical biases. But, all evidence revolves around how this would effect the theoretical disposition of any practicing archaeologist, acknowledging that there are innate biases impossible to subdue, ultimately pleading a limited view of truth held by every human. Overall the complex points that Lowther makes are comprehensible, but only after a lengthy digestion of the material.
Critiques of Lowther’s article both scrutinize with impunity and praise his advancement in expanding the consciousness of archaeologists. This dichotomy arises in the discussion of the theories of coherence and correspondence, and his reestablishing polarity between the two theories. While some reviewers commend his efforts in readdressing the issue, others seem perturbed at its reincarnation, implying that philosophical and epistemological thought have no place in archaeology, especially coming from an outsider. Regardless, the cognitive clarity of Lowther is extolled, and neither side can dispute that while they may disagree on the pertinence of Lowther’s article, he does construct his argument in a convincing manner.
MATTHEW M. NANNEY Appalachian State University (Cheryl Claassen)
Mason, Ronald. The Paleo-Indian Tradition in Eastern North America. Current Anthropology, June 1962, vol. 3(3): 227-284.
In his article, “The Paleo-Indian Traditions in Eastern North America,” Ronald J. Mason considers the study of the eastern half of North America to be just as beneficial to archaeologists as the western half in determining the relative time of the emergence of humans and their means of subsistence. Mason uses an artifact known as a projectile point or clovis point which he uses to determine the relative date of some kill sites’ faunal remains in the eastern and western halves of the North American continent. Until the last few years the western half of North America was considered the only place to examine the remnants of early humans. Mason claims he has found multiple kill-sites and projectile points that have been scattered all over the eastern half of North America which resemble those found in the western half. He offers his thoughts on the location of early humans.
Mason claims that by determining the animals eaten and the projectile points used to kill the food then we can determine a relative date for the emergence of humankind. He suggests using the known dates of extinct animals to determine the unknown dates of the projectile points that mortally wounded the animal, to then understand when the Paleo-Indians inhabited eastern North America. This theory has been commented on numerous times suggesting that the emergence of projectile points found in eastern North America were there due to migration because of drought. This is in contrast to Mason’s thoughts suggesting an existence of a group of humans whose migration patterns were much larger then their technology comprehension of projectile points.
Mason notes that habitation sites found in both eastern and western sites show the resemblance between the artifacts found, suggesting that there was mass migration following large game fauna. There have been some excavations in Alabama that uncovered evidence for establishing a relative age for when the eastern Paleo-Indians inhabited the land, but there is nothing concrete. Some projectile points found in the western half have resembled those of older eastern style points suggesting further that the emergence of humans was more to the east. Mason also argues the subject of when exactly the Paleo-Indians inhabited North America. He suggests that with carbon dating methods a better date can be obtained in time.
In the final section of the article Mason compares the suggestions that the emergence of humans directly effected large game fauna. Eiseley (an archaeologist) suggests that the disappearance of large game fauna and the emergence of projectile point hunting are congruent, but did not directly result in the extinction of some species. Eiseley expresses three main points: 1) Disappearance of whole faunas have taken place in periods before the emergence. 2) Native Africans have hunted for an enormous time without destroying the African fauna. 3) Why, if we credit these Paleo-Indians with such deadly efficiency as to devastate a continent of its game, did the whites upon their intrusion discover that in spite of the fact that the historic plains tribes were using the even more deadly bows, bison, the living species, roamed the Plains in numbers almost astronomical in magnitude?
As a whole the article is suggesting that because of their big game hunting lifestyle, Paleo-Indians made way for the mobility required to follow the fauna, allowing them to penetrate east faster then their stone industry could invent a different or better way to hunt. Mason primarily agrees with Eiseley’s statement and also adds to it thinking that originally the reason for humans to move into the eastern half of North America was due to specialized subsistence practices. Without their taste for the specific fauna in the eastern half, early humans may never have even ventured over to that side of North America and that may have changed existence as we know it drastically.
DEREK WHITTINGTON Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)
Nash, Manning. Race and the Ideology of Race. Current Anthropology June, 1962 Vol. 3(3):285-288
Manning Nash wrote this article in 1962, which was during the civil rights movement in the United States. This movement, and the subsequent rights it brought to non-white Americans, brought about a large amount of literature on the problems of race. The overall concerns and topics of this article are the ideology of race, the conditions under which it emerges and why, after numerous scientific refutations and over 300 years of controversy, this ideology keeps recurring. Nash uses two examples of the ideology of race in the United States in order to make transparent the ‘skeleton’ of any racial ideology. Putnams Race and Reason (1961), an interpretation of racial ideologies of the South in the late 1950’s, is contrasted to pre-Civil War pro-slavery literature. Nash concludes that both have six points, or propositions, in common: (Nash, 1962:286-287) 1. They attempt to flout natural law with human-made edicts about race relations; 2. The races differ in their capacity to embrace the complexities of civilization; 3. The level of cultural achievement of race indicates their relative innate capacities; 4. Left on their own, inferior races tear down a cultural heritage; 5. The fight against equality is the fight for truth in the interests of all humankind; 6. Those who favor equality are undesirable. Nash goes on to frame these six points inside the three logical confusions which bring about their existence. These confusions are: (Nash, 1962:287) 1. the identification of racial differences with cultural or social differences; 2. the assumption that cultural achievement is directly, and chiefly, determined by the racial characteristics of the population; 3. the belief that physical characteristics of a population limit and define the sorts of culture and society they are able to create or participate in. The ideology of race, it is argued, emerges when certain conditions are met. Nash comments that there must be a conflict between racial or ethnic groups which leads to the subordination or subjugation of one or more of the groups. This leads to a system of labor which is structured around racial and ethnic categories, which leads those who are most disadvantaged to resist. Their resistance is, according to Nash, often met with denial of exploitation or discrimination from the ruling group based upon the ruling groups ideology of race. The ideology of race functions to benefit those in power by giving them a “moral rationale for systematic disprivilege” (Nash, 1962:288) which allows them to see their actions as moral and just. Nash asserts that because of this the powerful are able to muzzle the voice of the subordinate group(s). These factors allow the powerful, the people who created the ideology, to “defend the existing division of labor as eternal.” (Nash, 1962:288). Nash concludes that ideologies of race are based upon values and as such, “the fact of racial difference does not, can not implicate a social and political program.” Although he believes that scientists will continue to describe and explain differences between the various breeding populations of human beings, he reassures the reader that, “it is not likely that they will ever take the differences they find to be fixed, immutable, or unmanipulable. . .and it is impossible that they will recommend courses of social action on the basis of their findings.”
JONATHAN KIMMEL Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight).
Polgar, Steven. Health and Human Behavior: Areas of Interest Common to the Social and Medical Sciences. Current Anthropology Vol. 3(2), Apr., 1962, 159-205.
Many modern students of anthropology are familiar with, or have taken classes in medical anthropology. This article, published in 1962 would be excellent reading for those interested in the field of medical anthropology or public health. Steven Polgar, clearly and systematically, outlines the concerns of the social science community in terms of health, medicine and the established medical community. The major aspects of this article can be broken into four major areas, each concerned with integrating the social scientist into the health and medical arena.
The first of these areas is the dynamics of health status. As described by Polgar, this issue deals with the notions of stress and health, as well as the correlation between culture, socio-economic status and illness. Popular health culture, the next area of concern in the article, illustrates the concept of health in terms of the patients culture. Polgar incorporates the idea of “body image”, a term borrowed from the social science field of psychology, to urge anthropologists to understand the implications and meanings inherent in the self-composed idea of self. This concept has been fully integrated and incorporated in modern medical anthropology, but at the time of this article many of the commentators were pleased with the notion. Another major point that Polgar makes about popular health culture deals with social deviance and illness. He illustrates how illness is related to social deviance due to the fact that when a person lacks a healthy body, they also lack healthy social relations. Due to the nature of class and health, the popular health culture also has a determining factor in the choice of health services, with the middle class utilizing the highest rate of service.
Polgar takes up issue with health personnel and thoughtfully reasons who can be classified as a health actor and client. According to Polgar, anyone who self-medicates themselves, or gives advice to someone else about a health issue stands as a health actor and sometimes their own client. He makes clear the class differences and illustrates how health care providers (i.e., doctors, nurses, etc.) generally come from the middle to upper-middle class and are more comfortable serving clients of equal or lower status. He also calls for the incorporation of social science training in the medical profession, another point which is praised by many of the commentators. Polgar’s concise and clear argument ends with his final area of concern: health action programs. Accordingly, he shows that any successful program to promote health must include an understanding of the culture and illness, social relations of illness, socio-economic status, and the social understanding of the medical personnel involved. He calls for multi-disciplinary groups concerned with health to communicate outside of their own specialty in order to more fully tackle the problems of public health.
JON KIMMEL Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight).
Wiercinski, Andrzej (The Racial Analysis of Human Populations in Relation to Their Ethnogenesis) and Tadeusz Bielicki (Some Possibilities for Estimating Inter-Population Relationship on the Basis of Continuous Traits). Issues in the Study of Race: Two Views from Poland. Current Anthropology February, 1962 Vol. 3(1) 2-46. February, 1962
Two articles written independently by Polish anthropologists are presented and discussed together. Both deal with the idea of organizing and discussing populations in terms of race. Wiercinski is interested in discussing factors that he identifies as hindering the advancement of racial classification. The lack of consensus of what “race” means as a concept is one such factor, and he highlights four theories for discussion; environmentalist, panmixionist, populationist, and individualist. The use of different methodologies in typological analysis and the lack of information about genetics are also identified as problematic and are in turn generally and peripherally addressed throughout the presentation of competing racial theories. The introduction gives equal weight to “difficulties interposed by the political implications of racist concepts” (pg. 2, and discussed on 9) and is further illustrated when Wiercinski demonstrates the potential danger of language behind theory when distorted within a racist ideological framework. In regards to populationist theory Wiercinski warns, “regardless of the intentions of the populationists, the consequence of the definitions cited above is the identification of the term “race” with “ethnic population”. Thus it is possible to speak in terms of “English race,” (and) “German race,” ” (pg. 11)
Bielicki proposes a method of classification of populations by determining the “closeness” of population relationship in terms of a complex of morphological traits. Bielicki claims that despite criticism and exposure of fallacies inherent in typological method, there is still some efficacy when used in conjunction with statistical averages. “The point is that the concept of type can regain its biological validity if it is applied to populations rather than to individuals.” (pg. 5) He then goes on to present a mathematical model for comparing relationships between populations by evaluating the frequency and mean averages of a complex of phenotypic traits.
In the nearly 20 pages of comments much criticism is directed towards the methodologies introduced in these two papers; although the most concern is reserved for Wiercinski and many commentators agree with the basic premise of Bielicki’s paper in that the use of typology in comparing population relationship is sound. A fairly prototypical critique is put forth by J. Hiernaux who states, “In my opinion, the anthropological analysis of a population in terms of the individual “racial types,” as advocated by Wiercinski, rests on an entirely unjustified theoretical basis and is to be completely rejected as a misleading fallacy.” What clearly dates this article is the lack of a challenge to the idea of race as a valid concept.
Both authors respond to their critics generally and to specific points, with Bielicki insisting on the validity of the use of typology; “I am still inclined to insist that type is not a meaningless concept if one refers it not to a group of individuals picked from various populations on the basis of morphological likeness, but to the breeding population as a whole”, and Wiercinski denying that his paper reflects an endorsement of the methodologies set forth.
BOONE W. SHEAR Western Michigan University (Bilinda Straight)