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American Anthropologist 1940

Aginsky, W. Bernard and Peter H. Buck. A Problem in Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist 1940 Vol. 42 (2): 195-210.

This article describes the interrelations of the patrilineal and patrilocal Maori culture of New Zealand and its effect on their genealogical tree. The author contends that marriage was the causative factor in the Maori kinship system. The establishment of primogeniture as a method of handing prerogatives down from generation to generation created a desire for first-born males, as they would take over the chief rights of the tribe in the future (unless they were of extreme inferior quality). The senior line of the Maori was the powerful controlling political factor. However, a fraction of the time, males that for reasons of being either the second-born or a wife’s brother (in which case they had no chance of becoming chief), would form junior lineage groups. These junior lines were used to compete against the senior lineage group. The frequent threat that a junior line could usurp a senior line forced the dominant senior line to adhere more closely to the will of the people. Very seldom did the vast majority of people align towards the junior line. Nevertheless, their presence created a stabilizing force in the culture.

Up until the point when the Maori started intermarriages within the family, tracing their genealogy was quite trivial. Often, for purposes of preventing the chiefly stock from scattering about, members of the chiefly lines married their first cousins. This was a measure for preventing too many power seeking individuals within the community. After intermarriages with the family began, people began becoming related in many ways. Still, the most important aspect that distinguished members of the Maori was whether they were junior or senior to each other. The genealogical status was memorized by the chiefs, as it was their claim to rank or prestige.

The author describes in great detail cases of intermarriages within the family, even cases of double marriages where a brother and a sister of a family marry siblings of another. As was inevitable from these marriages, the genealogical tree has become chaotic as most everyone is related within the culture. The genealogy of the Maori is what one can look to as creating and continuing the family in their culture. This is taken by the author to mean that the Maori were interested in marriage rather than in genealogy.

He is inclined to say that the kinship system was caused by marriages. Therefore, he concludes that genealogy is used merely as a way in determining rank in a tribe and that familial relationships were established by kinship. The author’s description with heavy mention of extended relatives and complicated family tree schemas made the comprehension of the family lines difficult.

GEORGE MARATHAKIS: Union College (Linda Cool)

Bailey, Flora L. Navajo Foods and Cooking Methods. American Anthropologist April-June, 1940 Vol. 42(2):270-290.

Bailey’s article begins by outlining the methodology and survey sample that will be used in researching the Navajo foods and cooking techniques. She addresses the fact that many anthropologists overlook the importance of foods and their preparation in their studies of various cultures. She then lists the ages and locales of the men and women whom she will be interviewing for the study. Bailey admits that the majority of the information will be collected from women, but explains that she will consider the testimonials of some men. Her methodology involves befriending the women initially, then asking them a number of questions regarding the various foods, their preparation and use. Bailey later notes the existence of considerable anti-white feelings in the area and the women’s reluctance to talk freely to her.

Bailey talks of the loss of traditional foods and cooking methods, blaming the scarcity of the plants and the influence of whites. She provides numerous examples of younger women who are unable to identify native foodstuffs and equipment. She then describes the cooking equipment and utensils of today’s Navajo, and the customary practices surrounding their preparation. Eating customs, folk beliefs and practices, and etiquette are all paid attention in the following sections. A number of recipes are then listed for breads, meats, fruits, vegetables, seasonings, and beverages. The article is clearly laid out and offers a great deal of insight into the foods and cooking methods of the Navajo.

JAY POROPATICH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Barnett, H. G. Culture Processes. American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1):21-48:

In “Cultural Processes”, Barnett explores the idea of diffusion and attempts to identify the ‘empirical basis for defining the changes to which a newly introduced trait or complex is subject, and the character of the readjustments following upon its acceptance’. Barnett wants to find a way to concretely quantify and categorize the alterations a culture performs to a piece of cultural diffusion.

Barnett uses three tribes in northwestern California as examples: the Yurok, the Hupa and the Karok. These three tribes all experienced white culture impinging on their way of life, yet all three tribes, despite geographical proximity and original similarities, reacted and adapted quite differently. The Hupa, secure on a reservation, were inundated with various material goods and new ways of life, mostly benevolent in nature. As such, a relatively peaceful and quietly accepting attitude is directed towards white culture. The Karok originally lived in the epicenter of the gold rush. Their violent past has given way to a completely disordered, irresponsible and angry future. Almost nothing exists of their original culture. The Yurok were awarded inalienable farm plots in the 1890s, but ignorantly chose the worst land for farming. As a result, they have been left to their own devices, but are forced to quickly adapt to the new white culture surrounding them.

Barnett examines the characteristics that he believes play a large role in whether or not a culture accepts a trait. He believes that material goods transfer quite easily, due to passive acceptance on the part of the receivers. However, these goods rarely maintain their previous cultural relevance when they move to a new group. Quite typically, the receivers alter the trait’s meaning or purpose. For example, a tribe frowned upon hair bobbing because it resembled the cutting of a widow’s hair, which supposedly brought a death. This widened the rift between elders who attempt to keep the culture intact, and younger people growing up surrounded by a white culture with different ideals. These breakdowns create a vicious cycle, because as the culture decays, it reflects poorly on those trying to maintain it, and provides an excuse for iconoclasts to change.

Barnett follows up this discussion with pages of lists. He lists factors that lead to and facilitate cultural breakdown. He lists factors that convert on a personal level, such as the Indian prejudice against half-breeds, despite their higher tendency for success. This is because they feel alienated from what they feel to be their home culture because of the presence of the opposite blood, so they’re forced to assimilate to a new culture. Quick assimilation usually results in success.

This is followed by a discussion on the form, function and meaning of traits that are passed, and the various ways that any or all of these three components can be bent or re-shaped by a receiving culture. Under Barnett’s theory, traits are like puzzle pieces that need to be slightly trimmed to fit into the proper slot.

CHRIS FARNSWORTH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Blumenthal, Albert. A New Definition of Culture. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4): 571-586.

Blumenthal states the need for a scientific definition of culture and proposes to fill this need by writing this article, which takes the reader through a step-by-step process in order to fully understand his point. The article is organized into six parts.

The first section clarifies the need for a refined scientific definition. Blumenthal states that a precise definition of culture is needed for the systemization and solution of problems leading to more advanced scientific knowledge. He cites examples of commonly used definitions and states that a scientific definition can be formed from them by examining their uses.

The second section provides definitions of five terms necessary for the understanding of Blumenthal’s new definition of culture. He defines symbol, idea, personality, functional, and relationship and links them all together for a greater understanding of the concept as a whole.

The third section gives Blumenthal’s actual, precise definition of culture. He defines culture as “the world stream of cultural ideas from the first in the cosmos to the great body of them in the present – the whole thing considered as an aggregate plus [four varying relationships between cultural ideas and phenomena]” (578).

In the fourth section, Blumenthal defends this new definition. He says that culture is super-individual and that it includes “1) material phenomena caused by individuals, 2) functional relations between individuals and other phenomena, and 3) cultural ideas not from individuals” (578).

The fifth section addresses “implications of the new definition of culture for definitions of closely related terms,” (581). These terms include concepts such as culture base, ideational culture, culture complex, and culture pattern.

The last section of the article provides a summary of the wider implications of this new definition in which he calls his definition a precise statement of the widely used definition. He concludes by saying that a precise, scientific definition is necessary for a systematic science of culture. Blumenthal is successful in presenting a detailed and extensive definition, which might facilitate a more accurate and scientific study of culture.

ERIKA SHINDLER: Union College (Linda Cool)

Boas, Franz. Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants. American Anthropologist April-June, 1940 Vol. 42(2):183-189.

Franz Boas writes this article in response to criticism of an essay he published almost thirty years earlier. Two authors (Morant and Samson) contend that Boas released inaccurate data in his earlier article regarding the cranial measurements of European immigrants and their immediate families. Boas acknowledges each critique separately and provides a rebuttal for each through explanations of old data and hard numerical data. The measurements used to study cranial size, such as length and breadth of the head and zygomatic diameter, have been inconsistent due to various measuring techniques. However, Boas claims anthropologists agree upon a constant method where human error is the only discrepancy in data.

Perhaps the greatest difference between Boas and his critics is how much the cephalic index changes throughout adult life. This index is a way to compare cranial size between humans, used by Boas to show that parents (average age 45 years old) will have a slightly larger head than their adult children (20-25 years old) will. Though Boas does not explain the importance behind this fact, the purpose of this article is to prove his earlier research correct.

Boas uses this measuring system to show several traits found shared among groups of Eastern European immigrants. Using a set scale of measurement, Boas found that immigrants living in the United States over time produce offspring with slightly smaller heads. Boas supports this argument through data that he personally collected from the Immigration Commission. These data are broken into several tables that compare males and females of varying ages, religion and place of origin. The data given support his earlier argument while clarifying the accusations of his critics. Boas presents a strong argument, though some of his disagreements with critics are due to varying approaches when gathering data. For example, while Boas feels cranial composition is independent of environment, his critics disagree. He also uses an index he created that some of his colleagues do not agree with. Overall, this informative article shows how sex and region of origin are factors in cranium size.

ROBERT MACGREGOR: Union College (Linda Cool)

Chard, Thornton. Did the First Spanish Horses Landed in Florida and Carolina Leave Progeny? American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1): 90-106.

In this article, Thornton Chard discusses whether it was possible that any of the early Spanish explorations in eastern North America could have left horses that reproduced and started stock “native” to this area. Prior to this article, it was just assumed by many people that horses left by the first Spanish explorers were the source for the North American “native” stock of horses.

Chard first discusses horses that Ponce de Leon brought to Florida around 1521. This expedition was unsuccessful at settling a colony, and ultimately returned to Cuba. Chard assumes that, because horses were so valuable, the Spanish took any horses that they had back to Cuba with them and that no horses were left behind.

Next there is the landing in Florida by Ayllon in 1526. He brought 89 horses, but this expedition was also a failure, and Ayllon returned to Haiti. A year later Narvaez landed in Tampa Bay. However, his group ended up slaughtering all of their horses, so no progeny could have been left in this situation.

DeSoto undertook the next major exploration. In 1539, DeSoto landed at Tampa Bay and began an overland voyage through Florida to present-day Mississippi. By the time he reached the Mississippi, half of the horses that DeSoto originally brought along with him had died. The remaining horses were brought with DeSoto when he crossed the Mississippi and continued west. Thus, none of his horses were left behind to potentially form the “native stock.”

Several other voyages into Florida in the mid-1500’s were all failures. Throughout all of these voyages, the explorers were often faced with starvation. More likely than not, they had no choice but to sacrifice their horses for their own survival. In the 1560’s, the French made three failed attempts to settle in the Carolinas.

The next major Spanish attempt came in 1565, with Philip II sending Menendez to colonize the Florida and Carolina coasts. This expedition founded colonies at St. Augustine and San Mateo in Florida, and Santa Elena in present-day South Carolina. Although Menendez originally had many horses at his disposal, he eventually lost most of his supply. This was because of disease, mosquitoes, attacks by Native Americans and Pirates, and also because of the starvation of the colonists.

As a result of all of this evidence, Chard makes it clear that the Spanish did not provide horse progeny to the Southeast United States. Every attempt at settlement and colonization failed until the late 1500’s. Even in this successful colonization attempt, horses were not surviving, let alone leaving progeny. Chard concludes that any “native stock” must have arrived in the Southeast at a later time period, perhaps as late as the seventeenth century when the British began establishing colonies

CHRISTOPHER M. FINK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Dennis, Wayne and Marsena Galbreath Dennis. Cradles and Cradling Practices of the Pueblo Indians American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1): 107-115.

In this article, the authors argue that the cradling of infants is one of the most overlooked factors of behavioral development. They chose to study the Pueblo Indians of the Southwestern United States mainly because they are among the largest group of people who still used cradleboards at the time. Besides discussing the actual infant in the cradle, attention is paid to the cradle itself that the Pueblos use. The authors spent two summers visiting pueblos in the Southwestern United States. They would go into a village and try to make contact with mothers that they found. More often than not, they received their information from more than one mother in each village. The main reason for this was that most mothers seemed reluctant to speak to the authors about their cradling practices. For some reason, the mothers seemed to be suspicious of the authors.

The first group of Pueblos that the authors visited was the Hopis. In the past, the Hopi used a wicker cradle. At the time of this article, some of the Hopi were using a cradle consisting of one board and some wire. Only the child for whom it was made used the cradle. Once the child reached its first birthday, the cradle was often destroyed. During infancy, the child spent most of his/her time in the cradle. Another group of Pueblos, the Hanoes, used the cradle in the exact same manner and style as the Hopi. However, the Hano people did swing their babies while they are in the cradle. The Hopi did not swing their babies while they are in the cradle.

The cradle used by the Zuni was also made of a single board, usually pine. Unlike the Hopi and Hano, the Zuni used a cradle for more than one child. It often became a family heirloom. All Zuni people used the cradle, whereas some of the Hopi no longer used a cradle for their babies. However, the Zuni, unlike the Hopi, did swing their babies while they were in the cradle.

The Acoma people usedcradles that were similar to the ones that other Pueblos used. However, the authors had trouble getting information about cradles from the Acoma. Although they talked to some Acoma mothers, these women could not provide the authors with any detailed information about their cradles. Among the Laguna and Isleta people, a cradle could be used for several generations. These people preferred pine from a tree that had been struck by lightning. The Laguna and Isleta people did have a rather unique swing that they could use with the cradle. This swing was used both during the day and at night, but the baby did not spend all of his/her time in the cradle. All the people mentioned so far had their babies and cradles placed beside the mother at night.

The Eastern Keresan and Jemez people all used cradles and swings. The cradle was beginning to be used less by these eastern Pueblo people. Of the Jemez people, most mothers had already stopped using the cradle, but some still used a swing for their baby’s afternoon naps. The Picuris and Taos people in the east also used cradles, but no longer used them as swings. The Tewa people used cradles, but did not put their babies in cradles until the babies were about two weeks old.

The primary focus of this article was to shed light on different cradling practices used by the Pueblo Indians. It was the belief of the authors that the restriction of infants, particularly with cradles, affected the development of an infant’s motor skills.

CHRISTOPHER M. FINK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Field, Henry and Eugene Prostov. Archaeological Researches in the U.S.S.R., 1938-1939.American Anthropologist 1940 Vol. 42 (2): 211-235

This article brings to our attention archaeological findings in the Soviet Union from 1938-1939. Some information used in the article was taken from the Historical Institute of Material Culture of the U.S.S.R. The article is broken down according to the geographic territory studied: Abkhazia, North Caucasus and Daghestan, Crimea and Black Sea Region, Ukraine, European Russia, Central Asia, and the Ural and Altai region. Field investigations that took place were of three kinds: stationary expeditions, which simply continued previous research; archaeological surveys of unexplored areas; excavations with the help of local museums, with the intent of collecting artifacts.

This extremely detailed article presents the findings of the above research that took place and uses the information to associate the people of a particular place with a certain period of time or to find similarities between peoples. As noted in the North Caucasus and Daghestan, a burial ground was excavated from which laterally stretched skeletons were found. Grave fixtures included pottery and ornaments of bronze, antimony, and paste were unearthed. Similar pieces were found at a cemetery in Dargo, Chechenia. The burial techniques found suggested connection with the Koban culture in western North Causcasus. Similarly, at a cemetery in Isti-Su, burials uncovered stretched skeletons and bronze ornaments, in addition to bracelets with animal heads on them. From these findings, archaeologists concluded there was a close connection between the mountainous regions and the steppes to the north of the mountains during the Scythian period.

Stylistic features in artifacts were uncovered, burial customs were revealed, and the construction techniques of buildings all assisted the work of archaeologists in attempting to define the time periods they existed and what they were used for. The findings also helped archaeologists in tracing cross-cultural technologies and assist them in deciding which technologies were used by peoples of a certain location and perhaps similarities between the peoples.

GEORGE MARATHAKIS: Union College (Linda Cool)

Gillin, John. Some Anthropological Problems of the Tropical Forest Area of South America. October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):642-656.

The article written by John Gillin on the topic of the tropical rainforests of South America serves largely as a criticism of the lack of anthropological attention given to the region. The author relates that nearly 40-50 percent of the continental area of South America is covered by forests, abound with undiscovered cultures, and yet remain largely unexplored by anthropologists. Beyond presenting a criticism, Gillin is striving to create interest in this largely unexplored region. The article delineates that the problems hindering a better understanding of the rainforests are of two categories: traditional anthropology and applied anthropology.

The first major problem facing present anthropologists is the lack of resources about the region. The publications available are very limited, often difficult to obtain, and are typically written in languages other than English. The few useful summaries found, such as the writings of Krickeberg and K. C. Grubb, are inconclusive and very outdated. Another impeding factor is the typical semi-nomadic horticulturist lifestyle of most of the cultures of the region. The people often change location and it is speculated that many groups may be catalogued under numerous names. Furthermore, the inevitable influence of European culture is slowly transforming the way of life of most of these tribes. This element of perpetual change makes accurate analysis all the more difficult.

The author notes that the most successful means for infiltrating the rainforest is through the numerous tributaries and rivers that intersect the rainforest. In this way some information has been collected, but it often remains largely inapplicable to the field of anthropology. The multitude of tribes that exist in the rainforest makes identifying and defining linguistic families very difficult. The author describes in some detail the current understanding of the Carib population and the migration that these people made from headwaters of the Xingu river. He proposes many questions that need to be explained in order to better understand this population and the linguistic influences that they had. A great deal of further exploring must be done in order to ascertain a true anthropological understanding of the region.

Due to exposure to outside influences, many of these tribes are quickly changing if not disappearing completely. It is therefore crucial for anthropologists to immediately study what remains of the aboriginal way of life and the ways in which it is being modified. Another interesting issue that the author outlines is the outcome of intermixing between whites and aboriginal cultures. He presents numerous possibilities which all could provide very different results for the indigenous populations. The underlying tenet in this article is the essential need to act quickly and gain an understanding of the rainforest cultures of South America before they disappear or are changed forever.

FEDERICO SPARISCI: Union College (Linda Cool)

Haas, Mary R. Creek Inter-Town Relations. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3):479-489.

In her article, “Creek Inter-Town Relations,” Haas aims to describe a two-goal ball game, which she calls a “match game,” and to describe Creek inter-town history as described through shifts and mergers. For a match game, each town was allowed to play any other town of the opposite semidivision, with some towns having particular rivals. Upon loss, a team was required to change over to the subdivision of the winning team, though Haas’ informants were unclear as to how many times a team would have to lose before this would take place, and only two informants remembered any specific instance of it occurring.

Haas also states that the Creeks refer to the match game as “holli icosi,” or “younger brother to war,” and she details how the match game is very much like a war between towns.

Because of the ability to shift semidivisions, Haas outlines 2 of the difficulties found in unraveling the history of Creek towns – the difficulty in assigning a given town a “side” (red or white), and the reference to some towns as “branches” of others. She then uses her heightened understanding to try to outline the history of some particularly confusing towns – “Wiogufki,” “Tufpafka,” “Sakapadai,” or “Tallahasutci,” “Wakokai,” “Tallmutcasi,” “Pakantalahassee,” and “Atasi.” Haas concludes by stating that any number of towns claimed by each subdivision and their relative power was subject to change at any time, and therefore oscillated frequently in the history of the confederacy.

The author is clear in her descriptions of towns and the match game, but it would be recommended to rely less on informants for present-day information, and more on personal research.

THERESA ROURK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Heizer, Robert F. and Gordon W. Hewes. Animal Ceremonialism in Central California in the Light of Archaeology. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):587-603

This article examines Californian ceremonial observances and treatments of certain animals. Heizer’s objective in writing this paper is to use ethnographic data to see whether any conclusions can be drawn about the ceremonial treatment of animals. Heizer looks at the history of Californian culture to try to understand why certain special treatments were given to some animals after their death. He describes in detail the burial circumstances of animals that are closely associated with human burials: bear, coyote, badger, beaver, antelope, deer, bird and turtle. The burial sites were examined in detail from the position of the skull to the depth of the burial. Everything is recorded for cultural implications and significance. The ethnographic information is then applied to the ceremonial treatment described before. Possible reasons are offered for why each animal was given such special treatment.

The general conclusion of the authors is that these archaeological evidences of post-mortem disposal of animals reflect “… a generic ceremonial attitude toward many different animals.” This in essence means that the animals were given proper burials, as a human would, because they were given a special status, just as we would give a pet today. There was a generic ceremonial attitude expressed towards these animals that warranted special treatment when they died. The majority of the article is devoted to describing the burial sites and the reasoning behind why each animal was given a burial.

KATIE SMITH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Henry, Jules. A Method for Learning to Talk Primitive Languages. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):635-641.

In this article the author illustrates from his personal experiences the most accurate and successful methods for studying primitive languages. Henry studied two native South American languages, the Kaingang and the Pilanga, and was able to use Spanish as an interpretive means. The author explains that a researcher must be wary of closely depending on informants because they may be unfamiliar with the text or may oversimplify the translation. Instead, Henry suggests that there is no reason why the researcher cannot learn the language himself if he follows the right procedures. The article suggests that the most efficient techniques are phonetic, lexical and structural analysis.

The author proposes ten basic steps that will bring a researcher closer to understanding any primitive language. He recommends knowing something about the local languages before entering the region of study. Another point that Henry emphasizes heavily is taking care in finding a good informant. He describes such an informant as a person who is accurate in translating and who will not over-simplify the language. Henry advises a researcher to isolate words when studying phonetics in order to best understand the underlying system. General subjects such as body parts probably would yield better results that abstract concepts. A researcher should be precise when noting the accents and pitches placed on words, because a wrong inflection can completely change the meaning of a sentence. When studying grammar, Henry suggests that the native translates his own sentences into the contact language in order to avoid any misunderstanding. By carefully looking at the way the natives use the grammar and then trying to imitate their usage, a researcher can develop a basic understanding of the language. Henry has a particular method of categorizing the words in a primitive dictionary. He suggests filing the words in their full sentence and arranging them according to the articulation movements made in the mouth. Henry explains that it is essential for the researcher to try to “think” in the native language when attempting to speak. This will help avoid imposing European thought processes on native ways of thinking. He recommends that a researcher spend at least two months in the field and during this time makes it a point to speak with natives who do not understand the contact language.

Although the author admits that there are many obstacles in learning a primitive language, he feels that the task is feasible. By following the ten steps outlined in his article, Henry believes that any researcher should eventually be able to communicate with the primitive people he is studying.

FEDERICO SPARISCI: Union College (Linda Cool)

Hsu, Francis. The Problem of Incest Tabu in a North China Village. American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1): 122-135.

In this article, Hsu proposes to identify problems of incest in Mu Er Shan Li, a small North China village where Hsu grew up and where he claims to know more than half its residents. According to the author, this village is highly isolated from the outside world. The article is broken into four main sections in which the author outlines what incest meant to the people, theories to explain incest, sanctions against the activity, and three specific cases of incest.

The first section discusses what incest meant to the people of the village. Hsu states that the inhabitants of the village did not a single, generally held opinion of, or reaction to, incestuous behavior. On the contrary, their reactions and opinions were dependent upon each individual scenario. This village practices matrilineal cross-cousin marriage and matrilineal orthocousin marriages, but strictly prohibits marriages with a generation difference or within the “Wu fu” on the patrilineal line. The Wu fu’s primary use is to define clan membership. The author suggests that tradition plays a strong role in the current beliefs and laws of the village.

The second section describes three specific cases of incestuous behavior that took place within the village. Each case produces varying results dependent upon the contributing factors and differing relations. The first involves a tenant farmer and his daughter-in-law. The event resulted in decreased authority of the father, conflict between spouses, and the eventual division of the family. The second case involves a family of seven members. One of two brothers had relations with both his biological daughter and his adopted daughter. The individuals involved received strong disapproval and lack of respect from the community, but nothing was done to halt the situation. The last case involved one man’s interest in his cousin’s wife. The situation was stopped within the family by the woman’s father-in-law.

In the third section of the article, Hsu discusses two theories of incest. “Malinowski maintains that the occurrence of incest is incompatible with the existing sentiments inherent in the usual relationships among family members and will involve the disruption of the relationship so laboriously constructed,” (p. 129). The author opposes this view and agrees with the sociological explanation of Firth and Fortune. Hsu goes on to make two points: first that in this village, “incestuous marriage within the patrilineal family was never heard of, but incestuous sexual union within this group occurred,” (131). The second point is that “logical inferences based upon only the apparent correlates without taking sufficient account of the other possible forces at work will necessarily involve distortion of reality” (132).

The last section of the article discusses various sanctions on incest within the village. Hsu detects general trends in the application of these sanctions: if the family is scholarly, the sanctions will be more severe; if the family is poor, the sanctions will be less strict and less attention is paid; the closer the blood relation between a pair, the stronger the emotional attitude will be against it. Hsu found different reactions to situations of adultery and to those of incest, and all non-marital unions were sexual sins in the village.

Hsu concludes that “there is no formalized punishment of incestuous commitment” (133). Each case produces a different outcome dependent upon the social circumstances involved. The penalty of the behavior comes from the individuals involved more than the surrounding society.

ERIKA SHINDLER: Union College Linda Cool)

Kinietz, Vernon. European Civilization as a Determinant of Native Indian Customs.American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1):116-121.

While many anthropologists would see European civilization in North America as detrimental to Native American culture, Vernon Kinietz argues that not all contact was damaging. This essay focuses on European influence that has positively affected Indian life. The European settlers introduced their religious beliefs to the Indians who ignored most ideas, although they slowly accepted some ideas as their own. Perhaps the best example of this is shown through the study of the ‘Big House Ceremony,’ an event spread over thirteen days to celebrate personal visions with food and dance. This Indian ceremony has been well documented for over 200 years, showing how European influence helped create and shape this cultural ritual. Kinietz believes teachings of the twelve apostles by European missionaries were incorporated into the ceremony, now consisting of a network of twelve’s. Another union of European and Indian thought within The Big House Ceremony is a new word for the time of year in which the ceremony was held. Kinietz argues that European civilization not only created this ‘Indian’ ceremony, but also modified the rules over the years creating what the Indians now believe to be their own cultural ceremony.

This article seems to be a justification for European civilization in eastern North America. Though Kinietz does not attempt to justify all aspects of the New World civilization, his article focuses upon the religious aspect of a single group of people. He does acknowledge that overall European contact clearly has been terrible for the Indians, but he chooses to focus on the good aspects of the contact through the Big House Ceremony. To do so, the author has relied on over two centuries of observation that show how Indian culture slowly took on white culture. Kinietz presents a solid argument even though much of his data was gathered in the late 18th century. However, this article is well organized and its points are presented clearly and directly.

ROBERT MACGREGOR: Union College (Linda Cool)

Kroeber, A. L. Stepdaughter Marriage. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):562-570.

In this article, Kroeber examines the culture trait of stepdaughter marriage in various Native American cultures as well as the trait’s geographic distribution. He states that random scatter characterizes this trait and its distribution cannot be predicted because there are no evident patterns. In the article, Kroeber lists groups allowing marriage with a stepdaughter and groups that deny it. Based on his data, he estimates that 5-6 percent of the groups accept stepdaughter marriage as a desired institution, 10-15 percent allow it, 10 percent disapprove but tolerate it, and the vast majority prohibit it.

Kroeber goes on to examine various maps illustrating the existence or lack of stepdaughter marriage. He points out that the practice is not universal in any one region. He says “groups that institutionalize, tolerate, disapprove of, or forbid this form of marriage live in close proximity to one another” (565). In general, groups disapproved, but the practice developed occasionally because there was no united agreement on the matter. Kroeber labels indecisiveness and random distribution as the most significant feature of stepdaughter marriage and he takes an interest in its instability.

Stepdaughter marriage is compared with other culture features, such as fashion, that change as a result of style impulses. Fashion changes to satisfy a style pattern and there is a desire for variety. In stepdaughter marriage, however, the instability is a result of lack of cultural commitment between alternatives. Certain groups will inherently differ slightly from others based upon formulated cultural principles. For example, where most emphasis is placed on prohibiting marriage between blood relatives, stepdaughter marriage would be possible. However, when the principle is extended to include affinal pseudo-relatives, stepdaughter marriage is much less likely to occur.

Kroeber provides a map of the United States that shows where stepdaughter marriage is permitted, prohibited, or qualified. The distribution is scattered, but he generalizes that the East and South forbid stepdaughter marriage and the West disapproves, but does not legally prohibit it.

Kroeber states that the varying influences on any given society regarding stepdaughter marriage make it difficult to predict or to trace. He concludes by emphasizing the value of distributions for complete understanding of situations as well as for historical reconstruction.

ERIKA SHINDLER: Union College (Linda Cool)

Kroeber, A. L. Stimulus Diffusion. American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42 (1):1-20.

In this article, Kroeber suggests that various types of diffusion transport cultural ‘goods’ between cultures. Among them, stimulus diffusion “…occurs in situations where a system or pattern as such encounters no resistance to its spread, but there are difficulties in regard to the transmission of the concrete content of the system.” In simpler terms, a broad idea is subtly passed to another culture, which in turn internalizes only pieces of the original idea, as it suits that culture.

To support his theory, that stimulus diffusion even exists, Kroeber lists a slew of relationships between certain cultures. The results range from profound to commonplace in terms of the receiving end’s cultural impact. His first example puts stimulus diffusion in the simplest terms, which provides the reader with a firm foundation to build on as Kroeber explores the subject. Kroeber refers to Europe in the early eighteenth century. Europeans at that time were enthralled with Chinese porcelain. The goal was for Europeans to replicate porcelain with the available supplies. They adapted the technology to their standards and experimented with different materials, eventually attaining success in replicating porcelain. Kroeber’s point is that without the stimulus (concept of porcelain) provided by the Chinese, the Europeans would never have been motivated to create porcelain until much later, if at all.

A second example of stimulus diffusion comes from 1821. At that time, “…John Gist or Guest or Guess…” created a syllabary for the Cherokee language. John, although part white in blood, was never educated in reading and only encountered it later in life. He envied the advantages writing provided for the white man, and decided to create a written language for his people. He borrowed many characters from the English alphabet, but completely altered their original meaning. Essentially, he only used the characters, but attached sounds unique to his culture. The idea of creating a written language could have been inspired by the white man, which led John to create a completely original product. Stimulus diffusion inspired an invention, and the receiving culture adapted the idea to its own needs.

These first two examples clearly explain Kroeber’s idea of stimulus diffusion. The later examples focus on more distant cases in terms of geographical location. For instance, Kroeber suggests that Ancient Greece and India had subtle similarities in their art. His connections become somewhat shaky and leave the reader feeling a distinct margin for error. Kroeber admits that the theory does have its weakness. “I am fully aware that the principle of stimulus or idea diffusion can be abused. It could easily be invoked for wildly speculative leaps of historic fancy.”

CHRIS FARNSWORTH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Lee, D. Demetracopoulou. The Place of Kinship Terms in Wintu Speech. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4): 604-616

This article is a follow-up to two other articles that the author states were written abstractly because the examples used were hypothetical situations. The author examines the Wintu culture and the degree to which “…kinship terms were used and under what circumstance.” The information was collected from texts consisting of myths. Informants born before 1870 narrated these myths to Lee. This is important to the author because that is prior to the influence of the white culture. Biographical and autobiographical texts were also examined for their references to kin and relationship to kindred.

The article examines three ways of indicating kinship, the structure of three types of kinship words, and when each is used. The author breaks up kinship words into several categories and explains when and why each word is used at any given time. Many words link relationships and specification is examined as well. The extent to which kinship was used is also explained citing numerous examples of an individual’s behavior toward specific kin. Many circumstances were examined in an attempt to explain why a certain kinship term was used.

At the end of the article a list of kinship terms is given. Each term is defined and linked to a relationship term such as sister’s brother, uncle and son. Terms for referring to dead kin are also listed. Numerous examples were looked at and verb/pronoun usage was analyzed.

This article would be very helpful to anyone studying kinship in general or the Wintu culture specifically. The author explains the extent to which the kinship terms were used and under what circumstances in a clear and understandable fashion.

KATIE SMITH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Lowie, Robert H. Native Languages as Ethnographic Tools. American Anthropologist January-March,1940 Vol. 42(1): 81-89.

The author of this article discusses how anthropologists use native languages when conducting research. The author firmly believes that if an anthropologist is going to use the native vernacular while doing research, he/she should not only be able to speak the language fluently, but he/she should also be able to understand, as well as comprehend, someone who is speaking in that language.

In his own personal experience, Lowie talks about doing research in Spain and Scandinavia. Lowie mentions that English and German are the two languages in which he is most fluent. Therefore, he needed to learn a few simple, everyday phrases in the native languages to get by in Spain and Scandinavia. This would work fine if Lowie were just conversing one-on-one with someone. It is beneficial to know some basic words and phrases in a “foreign” language, even if it is just to be able to find out with whom one needs to visit to get more information. However, this basic knowledge was not very useful when Lowie was listening to two other people carry on a conversation. Several words or phrases might be spoken that only a native person who is fluent in that language would understand. He believes that this fact, that natives can continue to speak to one another in the native vernacular, is what defines and maintains a culture.

Anyone can listen to a person speaking a foreign language and be able to translate the individual words as they are speaking. Lowie argues that it is much more difficult to actually “understand” and to comprehend in that foreign language what that person is saying. Because phrases that only a native would understand are sprinkled into conversation, it would be virtually useless, according to Lowie, for the anthropologist to simply translate what the native person is saying. Comprehension of the words is crucial to understanding the culture.

But can this happen? Lowie cites Albert Schweitzer, the physician from the Alsace, a region that has flip-flopped between German and French control throughout history. Schweitzer was fluent in both German and French, but he considered German to be his native tongue. Schweitzer did not believe that anyone could have complete and total mastery of more than one language. One could come close, but would not be able to completely master both languages.

CHRISTOPHER M. FINK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Lowie, Robert H. American Culture History. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 409-428.

The author of this article states that “the most revolutionary achievements in American culture history within the last decade are (1) the demonstration of implements contemporaneous with extinct mammals and (2) the shifting of interest to South America rather than Mexico or Yucatan as the probable site for the development of higher civilizations.” He criticizes the research and assumptions made by earlier researchers about these achievements. The author asserts that more detailed research would enlighten us to precisely what factors have caused cultural change. His criticism lies in the “armchair” approach to the data and correlations used by the earlier writers. His grievance is “…not that [the correlations] are frequently asserted, but that the assertion is generally unsupported by evidence.” Lowie believes that ” a clearer conception of what does and what does not essentially belong together in human society” can only be achieved when a number of empirical associations are established.

CHRISTINA RIZZITANO: Union College (Linda Cool)

MacLeish, Kenneth. Notes on Hopi Belt-Weaving of Moenkopi. American Anthropologist April-June, 1940 Vol. 42(2): 291-310.

The purpose of this article is to provide some understanding of the traditional belt-weaving in Hopi towns. In this article the author gathered data at Moenkopi, which is the westernmost of the Hopi towns. These data were collected during research that was conducted during the summer of 1938. The research revolved around a half dozen weavers in the town who produced articles to sell or trade. The information gathered came from an informant: a man of about thirty-five who spoke English fairly well. The author discusses how he was specially permitted to study weaving in the Hopi towns by the council of the towns themselves. In the past, white men had exploited their knowledge of weaving and profited from its reproduction, creating some caution when allowing whites to learn of the process.

The article then delves into the art of weaving in reference to the Hopi towns and the importance of each belt in society. The types of belts described were broken up into three distinct categories. The first of these was that of the Hopi Belt. This belt is present in all of the Hopi towns and is an integral part of inter-tribal trade. Despite its overall presence in the towns, it was rarely used everyday and only evident in ceremonial occasions. The next type of belt is the Squaw or Navajo Belt which is more evident in the towns than the Hopi belt on an everyday basis although this belt was seen much less on ceremonial occasions. Many people own them and a few of the women wear them. This belt is made more often than the Hopi belt and is readily traded with other tribes. The final grouping is that of the ceremonial garters. These were used almost exclusively in ceremonies. However, the author does mention that despite their very rare use, the garters are actually extremely prevalent in society and most people own one.

The main focus of this text is the study of the weaving tradition for the Hopi towns and the significance, as well as the occurrence rate, of the different types of woven articles that were present in these towns.

ELI RABINOWITZ: Union College (Linda Cool)

Merton, Robert K. and Ashley-Montagu, M. F. Crime and The Anthropologist. American Anthropologist July-Setpember, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 384-408.

This article is a clear criticism of Professor Hooten’s two works involving the fields of physical anthropology and criminology. The data concerned were presented by Hooten after over twelve years of research. The general theme, according to the two authors and obvious to the reader, of Hooten’s research is that criminals are innately inferior because of some organic or biological reason.

Hooten’s first point is that the study of criminals is almost completely useless because the majority of the criminal population is not yet prosecuted. Therefore they cannot be studied because they are not readily available in the prison system. Also, types of criminals may be arrested in different percentages due to selective arrests. This means that the studies done on prisoners for the field of criminology are not valid because the sample cannot be an accurate representation of the criminal population.

Hooten’s next area of focus is what the current authors are so adamantly criticizing. In this section, Hooten claims that criminals are biologically inferior to the “civilian” as he refers to non-criminals. Hooten argued that the “biological superiority” is as certain as the sociological superiority of the civilian to the criminal. Hooten argues that the biological inferiority in criminals can be seen as responsible for the “association of primitive features with retarded culture in modern savages…” (p. 389). This quotation essentially opposes the anthropological view on this topic. The authors counter this statement by saying that there is no such thing as a retarded culture because each culture is extraordinarily complex in its own way. Therefore Hooten’s argument, as the authors view it, is fundamentally flawed.

The basic argument by Hooten is that the criminal is “organically inferior” and he argues that criminals represent the opposite to the civilian. The authors of this article criticize and argue against Hooten’s theory and believe that the theory proposed is, in its entirety, flawed.

ELI RABINOWITZ: Union College (Linda Cool)

Murdock, George Peter. Double Descent. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol.42(4): 555-561.

The author begins by defining the two most commonly used types of descent: bilateral and unilineal. In bilateral descent, social relationships are traced genealogically without regard to sex. Unilineal descent involves affiliation through one parent with linear ascending and descending relatives of the same sex. This results in either matrilineal or patrilineal societies. Murdock then proposes a third type of affiliation that he calls “double descent.” This involves a combination of matrilineal and patrilineal descent. He illustrates his idea by considering the affiliation of Ego with his grandparents. In “double descent”, Ego is affiliated with his mother’s mother and his father’s father.

Murdock proceeds to highlight three different kin-groups of varying magnitudes: lineages, sibs, and moieties. Lineages involve persons whose descent can be traced through linear affiliation. A sib includes persons whose descent is based on tradition and is not traceable. Moieties divide the whole society into halves based on kinship. Murdock’s concept of “double descent” requires at least two coexistent and intersecting sets of kin groups, one matrilineal and the other patrilineal.

The article provides several examples of different societies from varying parts of the world to support his thesis. The Ashanti have both matri-sibs and patri-sibs. Matri-sibs are based on blood, and descent is traced only through the female line. Patri-sibs are based on spirit, which comes only from males. In this example of double descent, inheritance and authority are passed through the female line, but residence and household groups are based on the male line of descent.

Murdock goes on to provide several more examples and eventually concludes that his “…survey has revealed the unquestionable existence of double descent in six widely scattered culture areas…[and] should suffice to establish it as a recurrent feature of social organization” (561). He says that his study suggests certain uniformities and cultures should be reevaluated to uncover the possibility of more existing societies where double descent is prevalent.

ERIKA SHINDLER: Union College (Linda Cool)

Opler, Morris Edward and Harry Hoijer. The Raid and War-Path Language of the Chiricahua Apache. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):617-634.

This article looks at background of the Chiricahua Apache Warrior. The authors take all of the diminutive rituals that construct the development of young boys to men and relate it to the relevance that these men have in their society. “The behavior patterns, food restrictions, and ceremonial objects” are all examined for significance in training a young boy to become a warrior. The authors record the events of a young boys life and describe the rituals and experiences he goes through.

“The analytical and linguistic aspects of this language” are also summarized in the article.

The war-path language it taught to the young boys and is learned, as he becomes a man in his society. The Chiricahua Apache warriors distinguish themselves from the common language by the war-path language. Its significance is examined throughout the article by looking at the boys life experiences.

A list of war-path term is also given at the end of the article. The author’s try to represent the war-path language’s cultural implications and how the society trains these warriors.

KATIE SMITH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Opler, Marvin K. The Character and History of the Southern Ute Peyote Rite. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 463-478

In this article, the author examines the use of peyote in the Ute tribes of Towaoc and Ignacio in Colorado. He focuses on how the cult took hold in both places, what psychological appeal the use of peyote has in both, and how it functions within the different groups. Opler determined that the use of peyote was initially introduced to both the Towaoc and Ignacio tribes around 1917 by a Sioux called Cactus Pete. “Peyote-eating” didn’t catch on at all in the Towaoc, and gained only a very small following in the Ignacio. Peyote was introduced to the Towaoc for a second time in 1931 by a northern Ute named John Peehart. This time, it gained an immediate and strong position in the community as a peyote cult.

Opler sums up the uses of peyote for the Towaoc by stating that “The primary purpose of the cult was to combat illness, but secondary functions included looking ahead to the future, inducing dreams and visions of power, the prohibition against alcohol at any time, and the assumption of curing power by all adherents in the meetings devoted to curing.” One of the Towaoc informants is quoted: “When you eat it, you think of nothing but good. You think how to help all people.” Opler says that “these attitudes toward peyote were universal” among the Towaoc, and that the function of the peyote ceremonial became that of “strengthening social solidarity through religious mechanisms, in combining and compounding feeling against missionary influence, and in forming a solid defense of native sentiments.”

However, peyotism in the Ignacio, as told by an informant, is viewed as “just a business for money.” An Ignacio shaman stated “…after they tried it, they said they knew it was bad; some saw the devil standing up in the middle of the tipi with horns and a tail and everything.” Such critical attitudes, while not universal throughout the Ignacio, seem to be expressions of the majority opinion. Opler derives the difference between the two groups from a bad allotment negotiation among the Ute, leaving the Towaoc in an isolated area and hostile towards whites. However, the Ignacio were left with farms adjacent to white farms. The author then makes the distinction that, while the Ignacio feel no hostility toward the whites, the Towaoc use peyote to “close the door on a modern American environment” that they feel has wronged them.

The author is clear, concise, and writes well, but it would be recommended that information should be taken first-hand, and not just through secondary informants.

THERESA ROURK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Rodgers, Spencer L. The Aboriginal Bow and Arrow of North America and Eastern Asia.American Anthropologist April-June, 1940 Vol. 42(2):255-269

The author’s objective is to provide an intercontinental comparison between America and Asia in regard to the culture complex of archery. He addresses previous studies of weapon cultures, but asserts that they have been limited to local discussions or regional surveys of the respective nations. His study takes on a more intercontinental scope, while confining the research to classification and distribution. The first paragraph begins by operationalizing the terms to be used in the article, consisting mainly of the various sorts of bow types. In both the description of North American and Asian archery, he uses previous studies (those of Mason and Adler) to provide an overview. Rodgers then goes on to geographically define the different types of North American bows. He uses a number of maps to visually present the distribution of assorted bow types. In the section, he also establishes the hierarchy within North American archery and describes the technology behind the bows.

Spencer then uses Adler’s research to describe and locate the feathering and bow varieties and distribution. The Asiatic arrow types are shown to be more varied. Spencer then distinguishes four forms of releasing the various arrows, giving insight into both the North American and Asiatic releases. At this time, he organizes a comparison between the two continents. The simpler forms of bows prove to be similar in form, but differ as they progress in complexity. He attributes the sporadic invention, differential receptivity, and organized diffusion on the lack of apparent congruence in the Asiatic distributions; in North America, he explains lesser levels of distribution as a result of greater parallelism. He closes the article by presenting a number a likelihoods and conclusions drawn from the information that he has analyzed. The author presents the research in an organized fashion, but fails to ever provide clear conclusions.

JAY POROPATICH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Róheim, Géza. Professional Beauties of Normanby Island. American Anthropologist October-December, 1940 Vol. 42(4):657-661.

This article discusses the emphasis that the culture of the Normanby Island places on beauty and the repercussions that this has for the ideology of the society. Beauty is divided between men and women according to specific characteristics: those who possess these qualities are referred to as gomabwaina for males and sinebwaina for females. The author describes that a typical male beauty must be slender with a broad chest and trunk and a narrow waist. They cannot be too tall or too short and their faces must be of the right proportions. Men who exhibit all of the traits necessary to be a gomabwaina enjoy an elevated status in the society, but must carry themselves in a very specific manner. The article suggests that they cannot eat too much, their emotions must be concealed, and they are largely limited to marrying only female beauties. The author explains that gomabwainas are now regarded as elements of the past and perhaps have been overshadowed by the emphasis placed on female beauties.

Similar to the males, a sinebwaina on the Normanby Island, must exhibit certain particular characteristics. The woman must be young with a “straight round” body of the right proportions. Her face must be of the right dimensions and it is important that the woman have a petite stature. The author states that these women are obligated to have sexual intercourse with all men who desire them. They must wait to marry, but can have sexual relations freely, providing that they do not entice their males into any sexual acts. It is important that a sinebwaina is reserved in her actions and emotions. It is further underscored that she cannot openly desire men or otherwise she will be referred to as a sogora (analogous to a prostitute). Although the female beauty cannot take the initiative in any of her relations, she is more than willing to oblige to the man’s desires because in doing so, she will elevate her prestige. The more that men talk about a sinebwaina, the more her prominence will grow.

Through looking at some of the natives’ accounts about the esteem of being a beauty in the society, the author draws some interesting conclusions. He postulates that there is an undercurrent Oedipus complex that is prevalent in the culture. Since all men play fatherly roles, there is a strong attraction between the sinebwaina and these father figures. Likewise, the beauties are supposed to possess qualities that reflect infantilism and innocence. In such a situation the author surmises that there is an underlying tension between the elder mothers and these young beauties. Beauty has greatly shaped the social structure of Nomanby Island.

FEDERICO SPARISCI: Union College (Linda Cool)

Rouse, Irving. Some Evidence Concerning the Origins of West Indian Pottery-Making. American Anthropologist January-March, 1940 Vol. 42(1):49-80.

In this article, Irving Rouse examines the history of West Indian pottery making. It is his assertion that West Indian pottery was influenced equally as strongly by North America as it was by South America. To prove this, Rouse studied pottery sherds from university, museum, and private collections alike.

Rouse’s article is divided into three main parts. The first describes how Rouse classified the sherds he examined into four basic categories. The second defines these types and the third part presents his evidence for believing that there are multiple origins of West Indian pottery making.

According to Rouse, the pottery sherds he studied had a continuous distribution both in time and place. That is to say that all four categories could be found in all the areas being studied, and that all four are present throughout that area’s history. This forced a new classification scheme. To accommodate all the sherds similarities but still distinguish among them, Rouse decided to classify all the sherds according to the type of vessel from which they came. This was no doubt a daunting task, as sherds could be small and discreet, making it difficult to reconstruct in the mind an entire pot from which this sherd came. However Rouse managed to create these four categories: Cueyas, Meillac, Carrier, and Collores. They are named after a characteristic site in which the sherd types occurred.

Evidence that West Indian pottery making was created in both North and South America is suggested next. Rouse now tells the reader that he believes the Meillac and Cuevas types to have originated on separate continents, with Meillac originating in South America, and Cuevas in the north.

There are significant complications in Rouse’s paper. First is the issue of categorization. In the beginning he tried to use location and time periods as methods of categorizing. When that didn’t work, he was forced to create his own types. He also created his own criteria for categorizing the sherds, and throughout the paper he admits weaknesses to his categorization. He attributes this mostly to a lack of concrete evidence or mostly broken sherds. He also states, time and again, that for almost all of his theories, there is as much evidence to refute, as there is to support. This is frustrating because Rouse repeatedly tells us that his theory may be right, but that his method and collected evidence, depending on how it is viewed, can prove as well as disprove. Rouse receives a clarity ranking of 2. Substantial information is provided to argue his case, but admittedly most of this information can be viewed as proof and disproof. He does not clearly argue his case; it is clouded with ambiguous facts.

CHRIS FARNSWORTH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Rowley, Graham. The Dorset Culture of the Eastern Arctic. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 490-499

The author’s objective is to give a brief account of the possible importance of Dorset culture in the early history of Eskimos, and to make clear the differences between the Dorset and the other distinct prehistoric culture, the Thule. These differences are based mostly on the complete absence of characteristic Thule and modern implements at the Dorset excavation site. The author examines both the types of artifacts and the techniques employed in their manufacturing, specifically mentioning the lack of whale bone at the Dorset site, the way in which the Dorset gouged and not drilled holes, and the small size of all Dorset artifacts when compared with Thule material.

Of the objects and artifacts found, Rowley gives descriptions of those that he feels are most important. Mentioned are objects of bone, ivory, and antler, including harpoon heads and shafts, fish spears, knife implements, skin softener, flint flaker, boxes, sled shoes, and needles. Also mentioned are objects of stone and metal, including hollow based points, curved knives, rubbing stones, and soapstone lamps. The author also gives a detailed description of the types of stone used for different objects. Finally mentioned is art, and its differences from Thule culture in engravings, etchings, and carvings.

Rowley concludes that the Dorset culture most likely preceded the Thule, as Dorset artifacts have been found among Thule excavations, but no Thule artifacts were found among the Dorset. He finally concludes that the Dorset and Thule could have possibly developed out of the same culture near Point Hope, Alaska. Rowley’s article is clear and the information is well-organized with much of the research done by the author.

THERESA ROURK: Union College (Linda Cool)

Schultes, Richard Evans. Teonanacatl: The Narcotic Mushroom of the Aztecs. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 429-443.

Narcotic plants have played a number of important roles in Mexican ceremonies and daily life. One of the most notable of these is the narcotic, teonanacatl (Paneolus campanulatus var. sphinctrinus), which had long been the center of confusion and ambiguity because it was not known botanically among anthropologists. There has been doubt expressed concerning the accuracy of earlier writers describing the narcotic as a “mushroom.” The author wishes for a thorough discussion of the ethnobotanical history be made available to anthropologists in order to dispute a multitude of widespread and inaccurate interpretations about teonanactl. Schultes believes that this will help correct any misconceptions concerning teonanacatl in anthropological literature. The author makes a number of free translations from a variety of original sources to support his claim.

The author forms conclusions about the use of teonanacatl among the Chinantecs, Mazatecs, and Zapotecs of southern Mexico. The characteristics of Paneolus campanulatus var. sphinctrinus specified in contemporary sources closely resemble the reports about teonanacatl among the Chichimecas and early Aztecs described by early writers. The discovery of Paneolus in the three Mexican Indian tribes and its identification with teonanacatl has eliminated some of the previous confusion surrounding it. There can be no doubt then that the species represents the intoxicating mushroom that earlier writers described. The author also concludes that although it seems to have been widely used is southern Mexico as a narcotic, Paneolus is not known to be utilized as an intoxicant by any other group of primitive people.

CHRISTINA RIZZITANO: Union College (Linda Cool)

Simpson, George Eaton. The Vodun Service in Northern Haiti. American Anthropologist April-June, 1940 Vol. 42(2):236-254.

The author of this article examines the vodun service of northern Haiti. The service is a dramatic ceremony of the vodun cult to offer thanksgiving for some favor, to expiate an offense against the gods, to propitiate the gods, or simply to show respect for and pledge loyalty to them. The ceremonies are said to be held when a vodun god or dead relative demands them. The fieldwork for this article was completed during a vodun service in a northern Haitian village on July 17, 1937. The data were gathered from hougans (vodun priests), Simpson’s interpreter, and conversations with the priests, servants, or persons who became possessed by gods at the ceremony. Simpson was also able to attend another complete ceremony at Leogane in February, 1937.

The people attribute every human characteristic to the gods and see the ceremonies as an opportunity to give the gods a good time. Simpson explains that the services of today last anywhere from twenty-four hours to one week. The cost is determined by the duration of the particular service and includes money for animal and other sacrifices, clothes, the priest’s fee, and food and drinks for the duration of the ceremony. The author details the arrangement of the vodun altar that includes all the various sacrifices. The service is led by the priest and consists of mainly his attempts to call on gods, interrupted with songs and chants. Drummers accompany the priest’s chants and the gatherers repeat it in order to beckon the gods. The gods possess those in attendance and thus signify their approval. Simpson describes the event as a sort of “collective hysteria,” referring to the sequence of subsequent possessions. He explains that sacrifices are made periodically to attract different gods, with the exception of the priests attempting to calm those violently possessed. The goat is prepared as the final sacrifice and the ceremony comes to its end. The author recounts the happenings of an incredible event, and enlightens his audience with an otherwise unseen account.

JAY POROPATICH: Union College (Linda Cool)

Tschopik Jr., Harry. Navaho Basketry: A Study of Cultural Change. American Anthropologist July-September, 1940 Vol. 42(3): 444-462.

The author of the article uses both “functional” and “historical” approaches to explain Navaho basketry. He examines how Navaho basketry has survived as a functioning craft and the type of function it performs. The author also focuses on attitudes towards baskets and how their present functions have prevailed in the recent past. In addition, he explores the processes that have brought about changes in these attitudes and functions. To determine the relationships of the basketry craft to its context of Navaho culture, two points in the time continuum were examined: the present day and “the close of the 19th century following the termination of the captivity period at Fort Sumner (Bosque Redondo) in 1868.” The author utilizes observation, anecdotal accounts from informants, and statements of the beliefs of these informants for his data. A reconstruction of accounts and belief statements were used to explore the close of the Bosque Rredondo.

Baskets were formerly used for a greater variety of purposes than they are today. Of the three types of baskets formerly manufactured by the Navaho, only the coiled basketry tray has persisted in use to the present time. While form has remained stable, the meaning and function have changed. Attitudes towards baskets range from “sacred” ceremonial baskets to the “profane” culinary and gathering baskets. When function is not necessary, baskets become “rarity objects.” For this reason, basketry has become associated with ritual, which seems to have caused the coil basketry tray alone to survive ceremonial purposes. The identification of basketry with ritual has led to the ritualization of the Navaho basketry craft. “This fact, in turn, has enhanced the value of basketry to the degree where it is enable to perform certain ‘economic’ and ‘social’ functions.”

CHRISTINA RIZZITANO: Union College (Linda Cool)

Weidenreich, Franz. Some Problems Dealing with Ancient Men. American Anthropologist September, 1940 Vol. 42 (3):375-383.

Franz Weidenreich, in his text discusses the progress of knowledge concerning the “fossil man” from early periods of time, as well as the evolution of the form of man throughout the ages. During his discussion of this topic, the author explains the differentiation between the different types of man that have been discovered through research of the bones and fossils that were collected. As more were collected, the researchers were able to separate the different types by closely examining the difference between the shape and size of the skull including the area of greatest breadth and the capacity of each skull. The first type of man discovered was named “Sinanthropus” and was defined as having the greatest breadth near the base of the skull. This type of skull resembled the form of an ape more than it did recent man. The second type discovered was named Pithecanthropus. This group was characterized as having a very low braincase with the greatest breadth again near the base of the skull. In this case, despite the similarity to recent man, the teeth in respect to their size and proportions are more similar to the apes. The author concludes that these types of skulls are representative of the most primitive man.

Homosoloensis delineates the cross-over from the most primitive man. This group of men shows characteristics within the skull and the size of the braincase that classifies it under the name of Neanderthal. The breadth of the skull in this group is larger than the previous, but still not as large as it is in modern man. Therefore, this type is labeled as a succeeding phase, according to Weidenreich. He concludes this discussion by looking at the locations across the globe where each type of fossil has been discovered.

Weidenreich finishes by saying that the more fossil material that is located and discovered across the globe, the more difficult it becomes to decipher what can be defined as primitive due to the large expanse of cultural information that is unavailable to the researchers. Along with this, Weidenreich provides two tables. The first table shows the sequence of evolution between the different types of man and the location or distribution of those differing types. The second of these tables shows this evolution with respect to the glacial periods of the location and the time period. Essentially, Weidenreich is making a statement about the fundamental problems, as he perceives them, with the names currently utilized in reference to the different phases of early man.

ELI RABINOWITZ: Union College (Linda Cool)