American Anthropologist 1948
Adams, Inez. Rice Cultivation in Asia. American Anthropologist April – June 1948 Vol. 50: 256 – 282.
Adams feels that because of the terminology used in rice cultivation throughout different Asian countries there is some confusion as to how many categories of types of rice and ways of growing different types of rice that there truly are. There is “wet” rice, “dry” rice, “dryland” rice, “lowland” rice, “upland” rice, “mountain” rice, and so forth. There are different, but similar definitions in each country that grows rice agriculturally. In Java, for instance, there is “marsh” rice that is sown in nurseries and then transplanted to flooded fields. Here also is the “mountain” rice, which describes dry cultivation with minimal irrigation.
Some agronomists feel that the point is moot since all rice does best when grown in very wet soil, however, not everyone agrees with that assessment. Many others feel that different varieties grow better in different types of environments. Apparently, different varieties of rice fare better depending on the altitude, which might account for a preference for “wet” or “dry” cultivation.
Adams uses extensive examples to describe rice agriculture terms from Sumatra, to India, to China, to West Africa and on into Japan and Korea. There seem to be terms similar to “wet” and “dry”, with “lowland” and “upland” being the more updated terms, in virtually every area of rice culture. Still, the author feels that, without taking the different varieties, the different altitudes and climates into account that these terms are too much of an oversimplification of the agriculture of rice.
Frankly, I found this paper to be verbose and confusing as it jumped back and forth from one country to another. All of the information seemed to repeat itself in almost every instance.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
LISA SEILER University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Adams, Inez. Rice Cultivation in Asia. American Anthropologist. 1948 Vol. 50:256-282.
According to Adams, the descriptions of rice cultivation in Asia have been over-simplified in literature. Terms such as “wet” and “dry,” “dryland,” “lowland,” “upland” and “mountain” rice are discussed because he considers them too vague to be used in comparative work and in historical reconstructions. By describing these terms in detail, Adams hopes to make clear what these terms are referencing.
Adams explores literature as early as 1820 with John Crawfurd’s “History of the Indian Archipelago.” Lowie (1938), Wagner (1926), Forde (1934), Wissler (1946), Loeb (1935), Keesing (1937), Du Bois (1944), Scott (1911), Cole (1945) and Wickizer (1941) are just some of the other writers whose work he discusses. He includes works written by botanists, and agronomists whose descriptions are the clearest. Adams also uses works from The Indian Department of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, and The Philippine Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
With excerpts, Adams is able to show that the terms are used very generally and they often overlap each other. For example, writers Elwin, R.F. Barton, and Krieger all use the terms “upland” and “lowland” rice in their literature; however, they each use them differently to describe the Philippines. Agronomists who use them include Camus and Jacobson in the Philippines. Pelzer, in his “recent” geographical study, considers them convenient, and Wickizer likewise. Camus adds “mountain” rice to “upland” rice, observing that the same varieties can be grown in both habitats, though some varieties adapt best under the methods of cultivation in the mountains. His separation of “upland” and “lowland” rice is complicated by the fact that some of the Philippine “lowland” rice that is grown under irrigation is raised in non-irrigated nurseries or dry farmed previous to transplanting.
Besides showing how terms overlap, Adams provides detailed ethnographic accounts of the varieties and the methods of cultivation. He describes the kinds of rice, adaptability, altitudinal limits, dates of sowing and harvest, number of crops grown per year, kinds of soil used and their preparation, with other details of cultivation within specific regions of Asia. The following is a short example of the descriptions Adams uses: “In Hokkaido the growing season is short, ‘upland’ rice is not cultivated, but quick-maturing ‘lowland’ varieties have been established. Rice cultivation is only a recent development on the island, and the northern limit is set by a 90-day growing season” (269).
Adams points out that rice may have thrived in central Africa before being cultivated in Asia, however, there are no studies to prove this. It is only known that rice was cultivated in Africa from ancient times, and that Africa has its own varieties grown from wild species. The question where wild rice was first introduced into cultivation remains unsolved.
Adams concludes that the transitions between the methods employing irrigation and dry farming are too numerous to justify the continued use of the terms “wet” and “dry.” Classifications according to habitat, as “upland,” “lowland,” “mountain,” and “swamp” are useless because the plant adapts so readily to varied environments.
KARI HIETANEN University of Minnesota – Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Bascom, William R. West Africa and The Complexity of Primitive Cultures. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):18-22
William Bascom disagrees with the assumption that primitive cultures can be characterized by simplicity and attempts to prove their culture complexities through anthropological fieldwork, gaps in literature, and errors and unknowns in fieldwork.
The article examines components of culture such as political, social, and economic institutions, religion, art, and kinship to accurately prove various cultures’ complexities. Focusing on the Yoruba, we learn of their complex political authority and economy. Yoruba is highly urbanized, including nine of the ten largest cities in Nigeria. Their political authority consists of kings that rule through chiefs, who in turn rule over districts, sub-districts, cities, armies, and opposing colonial powers. Much like the American law system, which we could all agree to be complex, Yoruba civil and criminal cases are tried before courts of law and chiefs. Yoruba is commercially dependent on arts and craft markets, which are run through four levels of middlemen. Traders deal with guilds, which also have separate offices, meetings, and names. The kinship groups and political units of Yoruba people are also very complex. Kinship status depends on age; terms of family seniority are based on first-to-marry and patrilineal descent. Equally complex is the number of deities considered in the Yoruba culture. Some Yoruba believe there are 401 deities while others believe there are 601. This adds confusion between the people and furthers the complexity of their religion. All examples in this article were merely used to indicate the need for further research and better understanding.
Although examining cultural components proves to be the most accurate way to prove primitive cultures as complex, Bascom admits the total understanding of the culture cannot be achieved in a usual year of fieldwork, and only mere outlines of culture can be achieved. Consequently, complexities previously analyzed still require research. Bascom also notes that the size and regional variation of tribal cultures often blur cultural characteristics. As a result “the degree of complexity that exists among these people who are labeled ‘primitive’” is lost.
This article is interesting and eye opening to anyone guilty of generalizing about “primitive” cultures and offers insight to the confusing and in depth fieldwork of an anthropologist.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
MOLLY SCHINGER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Bascom, William R. West Africa and the Complexity of Primitive Cultures. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol. 50(1):18-23.
The purpose of this article is to “indicate the degree of cultural complexity” exhibited by many African societies. Bascom stresses that it is hard to convince students and scholars of anthropology of the complexity found among African groups which have traditionally been labeled as primitive. Bascom bases his argument on multilinear evolution.
Bascom claims that the high population of many cities in Nigeria, the use of formal courts of law, and complex folklore, music and dancing of many West Africans are all necessary components of a complex society and therefore, their cultures should not be referred to as primitive.
Bascom argues that the use of true money, far-reaching authority, and direct taxation are also complex features found within African societies. For example, the Yoruba have over 5,000 stories, the Ibadan has 387,000 people, and the Dahomey society has thirteen forms of marriage. It is important to note that he believes that when a culture is missing a specific complex feature it makes up for it with another complimenting feature such as a different cultural tradition, ideology, or innovation. For example; if a society lacks far-reaching authority it makes up for it by having a large number of folklore, stories, or myths.
However, Bascom states that writing is essential to a complex society. Although these societies have many complex characteristics they cannot be complex without a written language. Since some of the Africans he writes about do not use a written language his argument contradicts his multilinear approach. Therefore, his idea that African societies are complex is undercut because they do not have a written language.
BETTINA KEPPERS University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Benedict, Ruth. Anthropology and the Humanities. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948 Vol.50(4):585-593.
The author does an excellent job of revisiting the birth of anthropology and its later split from the humanities. She professionally addresses the necessity of science in anthropology without neglecting the importance of the humanities. At first it appeared the author was attempting to draw a line right between the two, but later she noted the symbolic and cultural importance of the humanities and common ground shared.
Most of what the author wrote suggests much better results are obtained when the humanities and anthropology work together. The study of man and “the plight of man” focus directly on behavior. Behavior stems from the human mind, which historically, has been heavily influenced by the humanities. However, the author does note that the humanities are notoriously subjective and there must be a distinction. As the anthropologists’ most formidable tool is his open mind, and along with scientific analysis, the two just don’t go well together. However, when studying culture, you can’t focus on one and not the other. Humanities had an enormous role in the forming of society and culture, so dismissing them would be counterproductive. The author failed to address anthropology’s contribution to the humanities. She hinted at its significance, but then stated the information “not crucial” to anthropologists. I think biblical archaeologists might disagree. Overall this was a well thought out and interesting article to read.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
RYAN MINCKLER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Benedict, Ruth. Anthropology and the Humanities. American Anthropologist, 1948 Vol.50(4):585-593.
Within Benedict’s article the origin of anthropology’s historical split from the humanities to a science is analyzed. The article opens by tracing the roots of anthropology back some hundred years to when explanations in anthropology were based solely on common biological concepts. Sharing such commonalities with pre-established sciences set the basis for the development of anthropology into the science it is today. The concern of this specific article is that this split, however needed, resulted in anthropologist simply overlooking the importance of the humanities as an immense tool that needs to be utilized to better understand others.
Benedict discusses the function of the humanities as a primary source for knowledge in the western world from the renaissance on, thereby dwarfing science. The humanities were used to explore distinctive cultures in a similar way as modern anthropologists would today. They both offered insight into another person’s lifestyle and offered exploration in an alien environment. With the onset of science, the humanities were disregarded as a viable source. Scientific concepts that were valid for inanimate objects were now to hold true for humans. Benedict explains that due to this assumption, emotions, ethics, rational insight, and purpose were all being neglected.
The author states that neither anthropology nor the humanities are the exact route to be taken in enlightening ourselves. An adoption of both the scientific method and the literary canon are needed to holistically understand others. The need to study the humanities is made clear as the author relates several critiques of Shakespeare and Santayana’s work in cultural anthropology as highly influential in shaping her career. In studying classic works within the humanities the author believes that a better understanding of humans can be achieved; an understanding that is needed within anthropology and one that is currently lacking. A unique blend of appreciation for the humanities, coupled with the rigorous methodology and techniques of science, will result in a much more productive anthropological workforce.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
DANIEL IRVINE Indiana U of Penn (Miriam Chaiken)
Cohen, Albert K. On the Place of Themes and Kindred Concepts in Social Theory. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 436-443.
This article attempts to find the importance in studying theory and conceptual scheme of a society through the use of themes only, and the information that can be extracted from observing the themes. Opler is referred to for comparison, so the author may provide substance to the theory of the importance of themes in studying a particular society. The lack of support and clarity of the theory of themes is mentioned, leading the reader to conclude that there is much imagination and imposition that exists in attempting to describe and understand a particular society through the use of themes.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
TRACY BEACH University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Cohen, Albert. On the Place of “Themes” and Kindred Concepts in Social Theory.American Anthropologist July-September, 1948. Vol.50(3):446-443.
The author of this article addresses the problem of anthropologists and sociologists applying “themes” and equivalents to develop theories of social behavior concerning specific societies. His main argument is that it may be appropriate for social scientists to discover patterns or themes in societies, however when using these value systems only the implicit is being looked at, excluding the explicit. He uses social scientists’ social theories, such as that of Opler, to prove that social systems cannot be restricted to specific value systems. He goes on to state that arriving at general conclusions of social behavior offers no evidence for predicting feature behaviors.
Albert Cohen addresses what is assumed when taking this approach. The first assumption is that “culture is logically integrated”. He uses Ruth Benedict’s work to show that culture is not, at times, logically integrated and to apply such concepts on the field may be very risky. In order to escape this approach Cohen suggests 4 main ways to view themes that take a broader contextual method. He goes on to state that if themes are not oriented appropriately they will not hold true. There is no such thing as a perfect society that follows a rigid pattern or plan, and therefore societies must be studied in context in order to discover what is allowable according to its rules that enable the society to function.
Cohen draws his conclusion by critiquing Galdwin’s views of how a themal approach can in fact give a true understanding of a society and states that this is simply an idealistic theory as explained by Whitehead. Cohen rebuttals Opler’s rejoinder in order to prove that simply taking a themal approach to social behavior is inadequate and a greater system must be applied.
TIFFANY FERDERER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Eiseley, Loren C. Early Man in South and East Africa. American Anthropologist January – March, 1948 Vol.50(1):11-17.
This article describes the hunt for the “missing link” and describes two finds by Dr. Louis Leakey. The author believes that the greatest evidence for this is found in Africa and believes there is not one but several “links”.
The first find he writes about are what Leakey suggests are a direct ancestor to the human line. An almost complete mandible, some teeth and a maxillary fragment of the face were found on Rusingo Island in Lake Victoria in Miocene deposits. Eiseley goes on to describe why Leakey believes that it is different than Proconsul, which was believed to be ancestral to the modern chimpanzee and which someone (the author is not clear) named Hopwood identified the fossils as. After this description, Eiseley explains his problems with Leakey’s interpretations. He concludes his discussion of these fossils by stating that Proconsul shouldn’t be labeled as a definite human ancestor especially since dating of the Australopithecus with humanized dentitions have a close date to Proconsul.
Eisely then discusses evidence on whether Homo sapiens made the African hand axes and whether they were old enough to, which was a debate then. In 1942, Dr. Leakey discovered large amounts of Acheulian hand-axes near Lake Magadi, Kenya, which are associated with extinct animals associated with the early African Pleistocene. He believes that this evidence, as well as hand axes that are associated with bola balls found in the lowest strata of a cave site in northern Rhodesia at Mumba, could mean that a more primitive hominid than sapiens produced them. He suggests that perhaps it was a hominid from the rhodesiensis or Africanthropus lines.
This article is not useful in the current study of paleoanthropology. Many terms that he uses have been discounted or replaced. Also, some examples he uses for comparisons are outdated such as the Piltdown site before it was discovered to be a hoax. If the reader is interested in the progression of the history of paleoanthropology this might be beneficial to read since Eisely had some progressive ideas for that time.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
BECKY KIEFER University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Eisley, Loren C. Early Man in South and East Africa. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):11-17.
The author of this article takes the bold position of questioning Dr. Leakey’s interpretations of a set of Miocene era ape-like fossil remains and the paleo-cultural significance of the Rhodesian man find and the Broken Hill site. The remains in question included a very complete mandible, fragments of the maxilla, and various teeth from an early anthropoid. It seems the author felt Dr. Leakey must have been overcome with the adrenaline associated with such a significant find and prematurely categorized the anthropoid as a human ancestor. The author does recognize the scientific and biological data that Dr. Leakey uses to support his claim; however, Eisley confronts this data in a convincing way, which does justice to his point of view. The Rhodesian man find and possible link to the Broken Hill site is more complex. Not only is the evidence, and in particular the dating of that evidence, crucial to answering this question, the careless nature of the excavation of Broken Hill probably made all of this impossible.
Dr. Leakey bases his interpretations of the Miocene primate on four physiological aspects of the remains. The first points to the lack of a simian shelf. The simian shelf is present neither in the great apes nor the Dryopithicines, which are both believed to have close links to man. Eisley’s research of the symphyseal region of primates shows that many species of anthropoid also lack the simian shelf. This suggests Leakey’s interpretation is merely coincidental, not concrete. The second and third arguments made by Leakey pertain to the primate’s dentition. He stated the tooth wear is consistent with rotary human type mastication, not the differential wear of today’s great anthropoids. Eisley suggested that Leakey take into consideration the age of the specimen and possible weathering affects before coming to this conclusion. The fourth characteristic is the symphysis region itself, which is approaching the vertical arrangement seen in early man. Eisley argues this region is highly variable among the Dryopithicines and is often explained away by convergence. The author does an excellent job of respectfully disagreeing with Dr. Leakey and presenting a strong case that any number of Miocene apes showed similar characteristics to those seen in Dr. Leakey’s fossil remains.
The debate over the Rhodesian man being linked to the Broken Hill site is less interesting and a far less realistic topic. The excavation of the site appears to have been atrocious and the damage irreversible. The author attempts to place the link between this primitive ancestor of man and a Middle Pleistocene excavation on the sole appearance of perfectly rounded stones that he associates with the bola weapon of the Auchulean era. The author transitions from scientifically and professionally building a case with solid evidence and sound theory in the first topic of the article, to mere speculation which appeared to be heavily influenced by his own opinion in the second topic.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
RYAN MINCKLER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Elmendorf, William M. The Cultural Setting of the Twana Secret Society. American Anthropologist Month of Issue, 1948 Vol.50: 625-633.
The Twana are an indigenous group of people living near the Hood Canal on the western coast of Washington. The Twana seasonally participate in a secret society ritual they refer to as “Growling of an Animal” which is thought to have originally descended from the Nootka’s wolf ritual. This secret society holds the same basic structures and features as the potlatch. In the secret society, male and female adolescents in upper class families of the sponsor’s community are encouraged to partake in the initiation of this ritual. Those being initiated are divided into sub-groups in accordance with the number of guest communities attending the ceremony. A select group of individuals in each guest community serve as the elected initiators. In each of these groups, an elderly man who earns the name “Supernatural Being of the Secret Society” is designated to transmit the secret society spirit into the new initiates once the ritual commences. The secret society is composed of seven main stages. The first stage is a community dance in the house where the ceremony takes place. In the second stage, the secret society spirit is transmitted into the initiates, resulting in an overall trance. The third stage is characterized by dancing throughout the night by the society members. The fourth stage engages the initiate’s revival from their trances. In stage five, the initiates are bathed in a ritual manner by their parents, dressed in new ceremonial clothes and taught the dance of a guardian spirit. The sixth stage involves the practice of controlling the new spirit each has acquired. The last stage of the ceremony is the payment by the initiate’s families, and a distribution of gifts to the guests by the host community.
The secret society holds two main functions. One function is to express the hierarchy of a family’s social economic status among the community. The second purpose is to ensure the acquirement of the society spirit, who will aid the adolescents in the quest of their guardian spirits in the future. Three other events that can be compared to the secret society are the winter guardian-spirit dance, the potlatch and the winter mass soul-recovery ceremony. The elements that are shared by all four of these ceremonies are ritual singing and dancing, inviting of guests, sponsorship and gift giving.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
TARA URBANIK University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Elmendorf, William M. The Cultural Setting of the Twana Secret Society. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948 Vol.50 (4): 625-633.
My research paper is on a study that was done by an anthropologist named William W. Elmendorf. He studied the traditions and lifestyles of the Twana Secret Society. These people lived in a communal village west of Puget in the drainage area of the Hood Canal. They practice a type of ritual that is different to their surrounding areas.
The purpose of this ritual is an, “Expression of prestige in an inter-community setting according to social rank forms. Sponsors as gift donors initiates as children of wealthy families, guest member as ranked gift recipient all share in this expression the society is an institution validating high rank”(630). It also defined as “A religious function by which initiation and control of the society spirit insures future acquisition by the initiates of an individual guarding spirits, especially a powerful tutelary, one of the wealth power (s’iyalt) or one of the strongest shaman power (swa’dac)” (631).
“Twana ceremony formed a society to extent of rigorously initiating new member was the only occasion which member acted in concert” (625). This ceremony consists of feasting and dancing for several days, which nearby villages are invited to. People of non-Twana origin bring gifts and will give them on the last day of the rituals. Each guest community ranks the gifts. To perform this ritual a person must be a guardian spirit known among the Twana as the (siyalt) guardian of (wealth power).
The supernatural ritual can only be performed by a transmission from a head into a body. This may last for 3-8 days and may be analyzed into seven main stages. In order to make this ritual work the people of Twana use two pieces of duck shaped wood rattle. They would dance around the house from group to group; this was done to demonstrate the power of the society’s spirit.
The morning of the ritual begins with shouts of spiritual words into the house that was assigned to the head initiator, though the night’s members performed in-group and individual dances, and conjured performances of levitating objects. This demonstrates individual guardian spirits.
The next stage is no different from the first stage; this stage also begins in the morning. However, the second stage takes place outside the house, with loud noises led by the head initiator; he then spits blood from his mouth on each of the initiates then they are bathed by their parents.
The next stage takes place at night indoors. They go dancing and the novice becomes possessed by the society spirit. Blood pours from their mouths. In this ritual when that occurs this was a sign of control.
CARL SAUVEUR Indiana U of Penn (Miriam S. Chaiken)
Fenton, William N. The Present Status of Anthropology in Northeastern North America; A Review Article. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol. 50: 494-515.
In this article, Fenton reviews a volume of work entitled Man in Northeastern North America, which is comprised of papers that were presented at the Andover Symposium of 1941. The symposium represented a collaborated effort to quantify data on the Northeastern region of North America. Fenton focuses on areas of discussion pertaining to physical characteristics, linguistics, ethnography, mythology and culture and personality of the various northeast Indians. His main objectives are to establish how different fields within anthropology assess the overall relationship, correlation and origins among the northeastern peoples and cultures. In the process of his evaluation, Fenton incorporates the significance of the Iroquois Indians to the region. Fenton evaluates the methodologies of the various authors to demonstrate where investigation and knowledge are both lacking and well conceived in theory. Furthermore, Fenton offers suggestions in distinct areas of study in hopes future scholars will fill in gaps which he feels needs to be addressed.
Fenton begins by reviewing Hrdli ka’s anthropometric analysis of cranial shapes concluding that the Algonquian and Iroquois show no significant difference in cranial characteristics. Next, he theorizes on tribe movements and locals based on Voegelin’s three tier arrangement of Algonquion languages. Fenton concurs with the overall assessment based on physical and linguistic evidence that the northeast region is generally considered an area of “refuge” that hosted three migrations of people from the southwest to the northeast. Fenton is in complete agreement with Cooper that ethnographically the northeast region is easily categorized into a northern taiga-hunting economy and a southwest farming area. Mythological connections among the tribes with respect to culture-hero and trickster tales lend regional Algonquian distinctions dividing the region into Eastern and Central geographic groups. Finally, interrelationship of culture and personality prove the Iroquois are quite similar among the Saultreaux with only minor distinctions.
Fenton is thorough in his evaluation of the five areas of discussion. He makes his argument for further study by pointing out areas where research lacks in verification of historical evidence and/or collaboration with previous studies. Ultimately, Fenton champions the use of comparative method of cultural analysis and classification and urges continuing study among the Indians.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
VIRGINIA MONROE University of Central Florida (Dr. David E. Jones)
Fenton, William. The Present Status Of Anthropology In Northeastern North America; A Review Article. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol.50(3):494-515.
This article had a lot of main points in it, but the main focus was a regional summary of northeast North America and its natives. There are five reviews included in the article and each focuses on a different topic pertaining to the northeastern region that makes the area unique and its natives widespread and influential on each other.
The first make reference to the physical aspects of the people in the area. The main focus is on the craniums of the natives that have been collected and studied by scientists. Although there are some questions about the data because many of the specimens that were studied had vague descriptions of where they had been found. There are specific places that define the regions and separate distinct physical types of natives, some being the Connecticut River and the St. Lawrence River.
The second review focuses on the languages of the area. They state that there is one grand family, Algonquian, that is the genotype of the area and five other families that have been identified in the area. There are some dialects that are still unknown and may never be known. Many of the dialects are regional linked and have many things in common leading researches to group them into a level of Indo-European, which helps in the system of classifying the dialects.
The third review is in the ethnography of the Northeast. The hunting culture of the area is the way people obtain all their substance and is unrestricted in the whole area. There are some differences that do define the region into distinct sub-areas, some being political organization and warfare, which seems to be influenced by the Iroquois. This is known because in pre-contact times the Iroquois were expanding and influencing the natives in other areas.
In the forth summary the basis is the religion and mythology of the natives. There are many similarities in the native myths that link many different tribes together. These links are mainly seen in the cosmogony, trickster, and hero myths that are abundant in the myths of the natives. There is a defined family likeness in the myths and different influences on all the native myths.
The fifth is centered on the cultural studies being done in the area. The natives seem to suppress their emotions, a defense mechanism for anxiety. This suppression leads them to discharge the pent-up emotion in many different forms, even retaliation. When they retaliate the main focus is in sorcery and witchcraft, which is universal through out all the tribes. Other releases that the natives turn to are alcohol and warfare.
In conclusion, there have been many different aspects that have influenced the natives of the area before contact with them, and after contact the need to study them lead to many different changes in the society that they knew. There was a drift of tribes to other areas and this drift also led to a lot different changes in the cultures. The cultures were changing with many outside influences and many tribes were assimilated and not studied, which caused their past and beliefs to be lost for the whole world.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
LAURA KOSKOVICH University of Montana (John Norvell)
Field, Henry. The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol.50(3):479-493
This article was about a group of anthropologists and archeologists searching in Egypt for many ancient remains in the Sinai Peninsula. The three groups they were looking for were Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic settlements and proof that there was an ancient intercontinental migration across the Sinai Peninsula into Egypt and other ancient civilizations. Another focus of the expedition was on the people who inhabit the area now and how they relate to other cultures. The group focused on anthropometrical data when sampling the inhabitants. They took great detail in measuring the people’s skulls, height, and many other determinate factors.
On the first part of their expedition the group discovered many different places that indicated early man had travel through the area and had even established settlements and mines in the mountains. The group found lots of flint flakes that indicated early man passing through. In one area they found evidence of all three groups including scrapings and flakes of flint in the area. The group covered a lot of area in the Sinai and found many instances in which early man had lived in the area. The group found a site thought to be inhabited by the ancient Egyptian miners, and by finding the lowest part of this site only a few meters above sea level the men proved that the Red Sea had not risen over the past 3,400 years. This discovery proved that other bodies of water also hadn’t risen, causing the land to be unconnected.
The second part of their expedition focused on the native people of the Sinai. The men had some problems in studying the people because the Bedouin encampments were very spread out. They found little resistance by the people, however . The main focus was the men of the groups, so no women were studied in this observation. The men concluded that the Bedouins were true descendants of the early Mediterraneans.
The article had many different insights into the early exploration of Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. Also it had a lot of information on the early settlements and migration habits of early man.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
LAURA KOSKOVICH University of Montana (John Norvell)
Field, Henry. The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol.50(3):479-493
Field wrote of his team’s findings from a five week expedition to Egypt, where they searched for evidence from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. The focus of his research was to prove the theory that early humans migrated from Africa across the northern Sinai. The article gives evolutionary insights about the movement and activity of ancient humans and physical data from samples of modern inhabitants to show biological differences within the Sinai.
The team found sites on the surface from all three time periods and artifacts such as flakes, scrapers, cores, flint blades, spearheads, pottery or inscriptions. Stone monuments, individual graves, and cemeteries were also recorded. Stone heaps in the area were previously thought to be shelters because of a lack of bones inside. But Field and his team inferred that because turquoise beads were likely buried with the dead, looters robbed the graves in antiquity. One other stone structure may have been used as a storehouse for tools or as a temporary resting place for a prominent figure. Inscriptions found during the project included animals, human figures, and written graffiti.
Anthropometric records were made of 718 modern men of Sinai. The Beduins were described as typically short, small headed, with a narrow forehead, and dark brown hair and eyes. According to Field this proved they were close to the ideal basic Mediterranean type. He noted slight variations across the peninsula, some people having lighter hair and fairer complexions and some having fuzzier hair.
Field argued that the archaeological and anthropological evidence recovered by his team confirmed that early humans moved out of Africa across the Sinai.
JANELLE STAUFF University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Gladwin, Thomas. Comanche Kin Behavior. American Anthropologist, April-June 1948. Vol.50: 73-94.
In this article, Thomas Gladwin follows a general outline of kinship systems initially formulated by A. R. Radcliffe-Brown in order to study relationships among the Comanche. Radcliffe-Brown:
Kinship systems vary in different forms of social organization all over the world in respect of three characters; (1) the extent to which genealogical relationships are recognized for social purposes, (2) the way in which relatives are classified and grouped, (3) the particular customs by which the behavior of relatives, as so recognized, classified and grouped, is regulated in their dealings with each other.
Among the Comanche, kinship terms are used to establish and maintain relationships.
A span of six generations exists in the kinship terminology of the Comanche, usually two above and three below that of the speaker. A Comanche will always refer to another Comanche by a kinship term. Referring to someone by his or her name when there is no necessity is only done in anger. “During peyote meetings, the participants are always required to address each other by appropriate kinship terms.”
There are many possible terms to be applied to one individual, however, one relationship will represent a closer one, and that one is generally used. A stranger is usually called “father” or “mother’s father”, depending on his age.
The relationship between siblings of the same sex is generally considered to be one of the closest and strongest. A man’s brothers are usually more important to him than his wife. Polygynous relationships are most common and sensible.
Joking relationships occur among siblings-in-law. Brothers in law will be insulting, calling each other “tale?cI” (spider) and “pi’hire?cI” (tarantula). This is the most common type of relationship among siblings in law in the Comanche as well as other Plains tribes. Another derived custom of other Plains tribes is the custom of the organized friendship between men of the same age. This practice had its origins in warfare.
“The use of kinship terms for the Comanche is never a one-way affair; the relationship which the application of a term signalizes always demands that the person addressed reciprocate with the appropriate complementary term, and generally also with the behavior thus implied. Otherwise the initial usage is meaningless.”
CLARITY RANKING: 4
NATHAN JONES University of Central Florida, (David Jones)
Gladwin, Thomas. Comanche Kin Behavior. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol.50:73-94.
Thomas Gladwin argues that the ways people communicate with their kin are symbols for patterns of behavior and attitude and that there has not been enough research into how kin terminology is a way to study behavior. He states that “any system of kinship consists of a number of more or less rigid, culturally determined patterns of attitude and behavior toward certain categories of individuals in one’s community or tribe; these patterns are symbolized on a verbal level” (73). Gladwin states how we give meaning to our family and friends and the terms we use for them tell everyone a general idea of the relationship, the status of the individuals, and guide us in dealing with each other.
Gladwin’s uses evidence from the kinship system of the Comanche. He examines the terminology of close kin and the meanings that can be arrived at about behavior, attitudes, and the structure of the Comanche society. Gladwin uses informant’s stories to carefully explore the social status terminology. One example was of a woman who was related to her new husband through an old marriage and he called her haipia or “sister.” When she and her husband are joking with each other and the wife starts to get the best of her husband then he calls her “sister” to remind her she is lesser and she must stop teasing. Also, Gladwin gives a detailed account of the Comanche’s kin relationships from parent-child to close friends. He proves that through a closer analysis of the kinship of a culture you can learn aspects of their cultures behaviors and attitudes.
The intellectual background that frames Gladwin’s argument is his European bias toward women and other cultures. He brings in the western idea’s of how a women should behave and be treated. Also, his view and interpretation of the Comanche is romanticizing the Indian.
RIVER URKE University of Minnesota-Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Goldschmidt, Walter. Social Organization in Native California and the Origin of Clans.American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50:444-454
The article from the American Anthropologist “Social Organization in Native California and the Origin of Clans” by Walter Goldschmidt focused on a tribe in Central ,California in the Sacramento Valley called the Nomlaki, foot hill Wintun. The author studied the tribe in 1936, and found out that one of the interesting facets of their culture was that they were not quite a clan, but at the same time not just a normal band society. Goldschmidt makes concessions to the reader of the possibility of error in his wisdom when he makes clear to the reader that he realizes that he is attacking a well-worked problem when he goes into the whole business of talking about clan social organization. The author also makes clear that the previous research has utilized too much fortnulae and definition, failure to appreciate sociological aspects of social organization, and has been governed by a council of timidity, so he feels justified in adding his own ideas to the collective conscience.
The author plans on analyzing the issues of clan origin through the window of the Nomlaki’s culture by first describing the social organization of the Nomlaki, second describing and comparing their social organization to the social organization of the neighboring California tribes, and third he plans to develop an implication of the data for the development of social systems of the Nomlaki. He shows that the Nomlaki do consider themselves a group, but unlike many groups, they don’t recognize political leaders or take tribal actions together. The Nomlaki really don’t have any social unity. At the same time they consider themselves part of the same tribe because the have common ceremonials, and would operate common land together as a group. Compared to other tribes in the California area the Nomlaki tribe is very similar in organization. At the same time all these tribes are varied with some consisting of both patrilineal and matrilineal organization. The contribution to the idea of clan origin the Nomlaki’s culture made was that they were organized very near the structure of a clan not by population or by agriculture, but by being in a situation where large numbers of the tribe were organizing because of trade and contact with neighboring agricultural tribes, and taking on many clan society ideals.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
C. REIDER HOWE University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Goldschmidt, Walter. Social Organization in Native California and the Origin of Clans.American Anthropologist 1948 Vol.50(3):444-457.
This article deals with the issue of clan origin for the Nomlaki in the Sacramento Valley, California. The goal of the article is to explain and describe the Nomlaki social society, to compare the Nomlaki clans with other potential clans in California, and to clarify the definition of a “clan.”
The information and data is gathered from Goldschmidt’s fieldwork among the Nomlaki and other California native groups. While doing his fieldwork, he discovered that the Nomlaki have no political systems, and yet, they still considered themselves a tribe. Also, most of the Nomlaki villages are primarily made up of people that are patrilineally related. These villages are therefore called Olkapna.
In order to understand if the Olkapna were clans or not, the term “clan” needs to be defined. So he researches Morgan’s, Lowie’s, and Rivers’ ideas. Goldschmidt argues and concludes that kinship is a necessity to having a clan. Also he argues that social groups need to have a common feature, ancestor, territory, or totem in order to be classified a clan. From these characteristics of clans, the author believes that the Olkapna are a clan since they show all the criteria of a clan except for the belief in a common ancestor.
The conclusion of the paper is that clan organization may be needed if a social group’s population rises past a certain size. Having clans is positive, if the population rises too much, as they split the community into separate beneficial social organizations. Also, the author states that the social organizations of central Californian tribes are on the verge of becoming clans, but the Nomlaki is a clan by definition since they display most of the characteristics of this particular social unit.
JAY MORRISON University of Minnesota-Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Green, Arnold W. Culture, Normality, And Personality Conflict. American Anthropologist. April 1948, Volume 50, 2: 225-237.
This article examines a shift in cultural configurations as entities in which the standards of normality are relevant only within a given cultural system. The role stressed is not to criticize fundamental assumptions about differing cultures, but to use those differences in applying reforms to our own culture. The extent which any given culture imposes roles, goals, and self-conceptions that are internally inconsistent, create causes of personality conflict.
A significant number of cases find the inconsistency in a chronological context: at different stages in life-history mutually contradictory roles are to be enacted. The thesis under consideration is demonstrated in native cultures with economic, political, and philosophical bases different from the west, yet have been subjected to considerable acculturation. It argues five main points. First, early life conditioning is not the source of personality conflict, but between earlier and later self-incorporated cultural elements is predictive of personality conflict. Second, goals and roles must be distinguished as realization, seeking the assurance of a desirable future state that will ensue. A form of compensation for one’s present condition and conflicting roles has varying degrees, and in such cases offset much personality conflict expected to ensue. Third, deviation, in and of itself, is not linked in any one-to-one relationship with personality conflict. The assumption of deviation where conflict is found is likely to confuse the issue. Fourth, the degree of identification fostered during the period of maximum socialization of the child is important. The lesser identification engendered, the failure to attain desired roles and goals can be assimilated, precisely because failure elicits less guilt. Finally, the implication of residence in megalopolis is not a sufficient explanation of personality conflict. The allegation that the swift pace, filth, noise, and hustle-bustle of modern urban living causes “neurosis” is false. Studies have shown that extreme personality conflict is endemic in societies with simple technology.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DAVID CARTER University of Central Florida, (Dr. David Jones)
Green, Arnold W. Culture, Normality, and Personality Conflict. American Anthropologist 1948 N.S.50: 225-237.
Personality conflict within cultures is a result of inconsistent messages on roles, goals, and self-conceptions based on social categories. Using the field research of other anthropologists, Green shows that individuals of society are given contradictory expectations of goals and self. The evidence cited focuses on personality conflict within males. Whether this is due to Green’s own focus being on male roles, or that evidence available through others’ field results was based principally on males is unclear. Green proposes a tool of analysis- the role, goal, and self-conception formulation to look at the personality conflicts in various cultures.
Contradiction of messages usually occurs during changes in life stages. According to Green personality conflict is demonstrated best in nonwestern cultures, for example Ojibwa Indians of Southeastern Ontario, Hopi of Northeastern Arizona, Alorese of the Netherlands East Indies, Fijians of Kambara, Java, and Omaha.
Individuals of a society, particularly males, are given contradictory expectations of goals and self. An example is the males of the Ojibwa Indians of Southeastern Ontario where personality conflict occurs at the point that Ojibwa males are no longer surrounded by their siblings and parents, and instead are expected to individuate themselves as hunters. The conflict occurs as the male Ojibwas are expected to exert power over others.
LILA E. KAHMANN University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Greenberg, Joseph H. The Classification of African Languages. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948. Vol.50(1):24-30.
The hundreds of languages found in Africa make it extremely difficult to classify and trace the relationships between them. There is a wide array of linguistic groups, which seem to have as many similarities as they do differences and hence make classification complex and disputable. Greenberg attempts to evaluate five different linguists’ classification systems: Meinhof, Westermann, Klingenheben, Drexel, and Delafosse.
Under Meinhof’s theory there are five basic African linguistic families: Semitic, Hamitic, Bantu, Sudanese, and Bushman. Weaknesses in Meinhof’s classification stem from lack of objective and complete analysis. Meinhof, who receives the most attention in this article, is used as a comparison for other theories of classification.
African language classification is widely based on the use of class prefixes and suffixes. Westermann, originator of the Sudanese language class, believes that the wide use of class prefixes and suffixes is inherited from the Sudanese rather than borrowed. Klingenheben argues that the last sound of the suffix is directly related to the first sound of the noun to which it is attached. The importance of this argument is Meinhof’s acceptance of it, which discredits his own theories on the origins of the Fulani language as Hamitic. Kligenheben believes Fulani originated from Sudanese family.
Greenberg discusses Drexel’s classification, which is based around culture and ethnology as much as it is linguistic analysis. Drexel’s classification is largely based on population movements as well as linguistic material and leads to and “irresponsible” classification without ample linguistic data. Greenberg seems to prefer Delafosse’s “sober and accurate” classification of non-Bantu and non-Hamitic with sixteen subgroups, although this is not specific enough for adequate analysis. Finally Greenberg himself classifies African language families as Semito-Hamitic and Sudanese but does not clarify his justifications outright. He does note that the amount of research left to be done at this point is considerable and theories will continue to change with the availability of new information.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ANN SULLIVAN University of Montana (John Norvell)
Greenberg, Joseph, H. The Classification of African Languages. American Anthropologist, 1948 Vol.50:24-30.
In this article, Joseph H. Greenberg disputes how attempts to classify many African languages have not been studied to their fullest. Greenberg describes in detail how this applies to the Meinhof methodology, though he doesn’t attempt to explain how this system works exactly.
Languages of the African continent are divided into five families in Meinhof methodology: Semitic, Hamitic, Bantu, Sudanese, and Bushman. Using other systems of classification, Greenberg points out the weaknesses of the Meinhof system. He explains how languages are placed in the Hamitic speech family on very tenuous evidence. The languages of Sudanic and Bantu background are classified as a result of incomplete and one sided appraisal of the linguistic materials.
Greenberg argues that Meinhof classified languages that attracted his attention because they were important or had an abundance of data, rather than looking at obvious connection between neighboring languages. Greenberg concluded saying we lack data on hundreds of African languages. Leaving out the doubtful groups and those lacking necessary data, there are two distinct language families on the African continent: Semito-Hamitic and Sudanese.
AMANDA LAMBERT University of Minnesota-Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Greenman, E. F. The Extraorganic. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol. 50(2): 181-198.
Author E.F. Greenman wrote this article as a sequel to a previous paper he had written which explained how the invention, manufacture and use of tools played an important role in the development of a more complex human brain. After the initial paper was published, Greenman found an alternative process that he argues is a better explanation for this particular problem. His new explanation is known as neurobiotaxis. In its simplest terms, the process of neurobiotaxis involves the changing use of external organs. In this case, Greenman uses the example of the new emphasis on the use of hands in response to tool usage. This new action will change the direction of messages being sent through the body; as a result, the new pathways involved are strengthened over time. Ultimately the connections in the brain itself will also become stronger, and a more complex brain will develop. He uses this theory of neurobiotaxis rather than the theory of random mutation within genes, however he also admits that this could be just one of the many processes that caused the overall phenomena known as evolution. Meaning, that we eventually became what we are today due to a number of different processes including neurobiotaxis, gene mutation and many others. Greenman does present proof that neurobiotaxis was in fact an important process and that humans probably wouldn’t evolve beyond apes without it. He suggests that none of the behavior patterns seen now in apes and monkeys could cause the brain to form the more complex structure that exists in us humans today. Two main facts are suggested as proof: First, with the arrival of tool making, the human brain was able to develop. Secondly, the nervous system is not affected by random mutations, however slight changes due to neurobiotaxis are plausible. These two factors prove the directive role of neurobiotaxis in brain evolution. Another important factor in neurobiotaxis is that the changes are inherited by the next generation, then processed further through the child’s own experiences. Greenman also argues that with the making of tools came the need of memories and a more complex language, in order to efficiently teach the new generation- thus again, the brain became ever more complex.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
LAUREN BUTARIC University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Greenman, E.F. The Extraorganic. American Anthropologist April, 1948 Vol.50(2): 181-199.
E.F. Greenman seeks to articulate the evolutionary process by which humans separated and evolved from apes because of their interactions with material objects such as rocks, bones, sticks, and animal skins. He believes that the relationship between the organic (human and animal) and the cultural (material or extraorganic) can be scientifically explained by the psycho-biological process of neurobiotaxis; a process (first described by C.U. Ariens Kappers) that occurs in the brain. When specific brain cells are stimulated in a certain way they accumulate at a particular point in the brain. These stimuli are created when an animal interacts with its environment. The animal’s brain thus evolves as it adapts to the environment. The author feels that neurobiotaxis takes place along with other evolutionary mechanisms; such as random mutation and genes. He feels that neurobiotaxis has a particularly important role in evolution since it is constantly operating.
Greenman declares that the extraorganic (tools, material culture) provided stimuli which were the same as the organic (natural environment) influences. He feels that the extraorganic objects held in the hands of man’s ancestors played a significant part in their evolution. This article seeks to further prove on a more factual basis the thesis of a previous paper: “the manufacture and use of tools by proto-human ancestors of man resulted in the evolutionary improvement of both brain and extraorganic implement in a recipro-causal manner.” Thus brachiation is a cause of simian intelligence, involving estimates of distance and precise coordination and dexterity; swinging from branch to branch is much the same as using a primitive tool. This paper asserts that the human brain evolved because of the use of extraorganic tools.
LOWELL EVANS University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Gregg, Dorothy and Elgin Williams. The Dismal Science of Functionalism. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 594-611
In this article, Gregg and Williams criticize and compare functionalism in anthropology to economic theories. Functionalism and economics are similar in that, they both, describe social behavior only in symbolic terms, believe in a natural order and desire to explain the positive purposes of all major institutions of society. The authors start the article by explaining how functionalism and economics share the concept of hedonism which is the view that humans are psychologically constructed in such a way that we exclusively seek gratification and avoid pain. Functionalists in general view institutions of culture as essential mechanisms that contribute to the basic needs of the individual, making all social institutions appear right and good. Both authors disagree with this point of view by pointing out that “wants” are not inborn physical mechanisms but they are social habits that can be, and should be, modified in the process of social change. Gregg and Williams also illustrate how economics shares the concept of hedonism, by explaining that economists think that capitalism is human nature. Economists also go a step further and add that modern social structure despite its wars, imperialism and depressions, are fitting since they stem from the basic needs of humans.
In the article, Gregg and Williams argue against the theory of equilibrium. Typically economists believe that there is a tendency toward equilibrium in the economic system, while functionalists consider that each culture adjusts to its particular habitat and maintains its natural order. The economic system consists of price movements, which when unaided, can maintain balance between production and the needs of the community. Concurrently, functionalism assumes all societies are functioning as harmonious wholes and with status, religion, taboos and ceremonials acting as necessities for the society’s very survival. However, the reality is that there is no evidence toward the tendency of equilibrium in human affairs on the contrary; there is a tendency toward disequilibrium and rapid change. History has given us many instances of such sort.
Gregg and Williams explain the concept of “organic approach” giving the following example. Functionalists believe that acculturation results in the disappearance of one of the cultures, because they hold the erroneous concept that cultures are only made up of their structural parts. Functionalists also assume most of the time, that if a part of society disappears, the whole society has vanished, and similarly to economists, the removal or alteration of capitalism indicates the death of civilization.
In their final argument, Gregg and Williams introduce cultural dichotomy as the solution that will complete functionalism in anthropology. Cultural dichotomy would pass negative as well as positive judgments on some aspects of culture, and not assume that all modern institutions are just. This new concept, the authors explain, is an important guideline to dealing with current problems modern societies face.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ANA C. BERNUY University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Dorothy Gregg and Elgin Williams. The Dismal Science of Functionalism. American Anthropologist, July, 1948. Vol.50: 594 -611.
The idea of this article was to make a comparison between the functionalist school of thought and the economist school of thought. The ways in which each school viewed and interpreted peoples actions were linked together and compared. Both functionalist and economist study how women and men are motivated to be attracted or driven away by positive and negative rewards. An additional similarity between the two schools concerns how colonialism and western cultures harm the cultures of the non western world. One of the most outstanding points of this article stresses the way functionalist pertain an interest in psychological aspects of culture. Both schools of thought see that the “individual” acts as an “economic man”. “Needs” are created through culture as well as “wants” and both stimulate behavior to satisfy these needs and wants.
The most important principal following from functionalist and economist is the doctrine of “cultural relativism”. It is more important to understand how a culture needs and wants things than just trying to satisfy those with superficial resources. What a people want and need creates all their actions and that differs from person to person and must be taken into consideration when applying any theories to their mechanics. There are problems only in industrialized countries that economist can not apply and relate too. Economists have a problem with price systems which lead to monopoly and loses much significance as it becomes a source of value. Functionalist understand fascism and imperialism the same way. Both of these types of thought, the functionalist and economist, have a mutual understanding many aspects of thinking. Wants and needs are expressed in prices and the price world is data for this study. The price world is an institution which fulfills these wants and needs. Comparing these two schools of thought is difficult because they do not seem to have much in common, when in fact they do.
AMBER AYERS Indiana U of Penn (Miriam Chaiken)
Harrison, Margaret W. Lila Morris O’Neale: 1886-1948. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948 Vol.50(4):657-665.
This is a biography of Lila Morris O’Neale who was born November 2, 1886, in Buxton, North Dakota, and died February 2, 1948, in Oakland, California, after an outstanding career. She was a pioneer in applying the study of culture to “a rare technical knowledge of one of man’s primal and universal employments: weaving.” (p. 657) The author describes Lila Morris O’Neale as an anthropologist as well as a teacher of decorative art in that she applied technology, art and science to her research practices. She analyzed textiles in their structural and decorative designs and evaluated them as cultural traits.
Miss O’Neale attended San Jose State College and then graduated in English from Stanford in 1910. She taught in public schools in Oakland, California. She then attended Columbia University and received her B.S. in 1916. She then taught at San Jose State College, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles and Berkeley in household art from 1916 to 1926. She received her Master of Arts from Berkeley in 1927 and later a Doctorate in 1929. She was involved in many archaeological surveys such as a basketry survey for University of California and Bureau of American Ethnology, Klamath River, 1929; Archaeological Peruvian textiles survey, Lima, 1931-1932; textile survey for Carnegie Institution of Washington, Guatemala, 1936; as well as the representative for the University of California at the International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, London, 1934. Her accomplishments in anthropology were very significant.
The author describes Lila Morris O’Neale’s knowledge of textiles was “largely an inference based on contemporary fabrics.” (p. 658) She believed that many of the textile fibers, tools, and techniques developed and became perfected from prior periods. Any display of intricate artistic technique and style of modern textiles exhibit superior skill in the past. Miss O’Neale was able to learn from contemporary weavers and establish an eye for dating a textile product as well as the antiquity of its tribal origin.
The remainder of the article discusses Lila Morris O’Neale’s style and talent. She was an articulate and accomplished writer, an enthusiastic teacher, and a distinctive pioneer in her field.
The article is very informative and well understood. The author obviously had a passion for textile anthropology as did Miss O’Neale. I enjoyed the article and recommend it to any inquisitive anthropology student.
HEIDI HILL University of Montana (John Norvell)
Harrison, Margaret W. Lila Morris O’Neale Obituary. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 657-663.
Lila Morris O’Neale extended her affection of textiles and fabrics into the field of anthropology, casting light onto historic weavings and aesthetic art. Born in Buxton, North Dakota on November 2, 1886, O’Neale went on to attend college at San Jose State College and graduated from Stanford University in 1910. She decided to further her studies and gained a degree in the Bachelor of Science of household art at Columbia University in 1916 where her love of textiles grew as she taught numerous courses in dress design, costume history, textile history and analysis in the departments of household art at various colleges and universities across the U.S.
As O’Neale grew older, she became bored teaching textiles as a home economist. She decided to go for a Master of Arts thesis on lace at Berkeley in August of 1926. Fortunately for her, she arrived at the same time Dr. A.L. Kroeber returned with ancient fabrics excavated from Peru. Coincidentally, he needed someone with O’Neale’s expertise to analyze them. This became her first experience in anthropology and she went on to write a thesis on “Design, Structural and Decorative, with Color Distribution Characteristic of Ancient Peruvian Fabrics.” She furthered her new career from 1931-32 in Peruvian weavings as Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Lila Morris O’Neale didn’t look at textiles as just historic relics, she analyzed the structural and decorative approaches and looked at them as traits of different cultures. She found variations of standard techniques and innovative tricks Peruvians used to make their fabrics.
On February 2, 1948 O’Neale died of a brief illness in Oakland, California. At the time she was a Professor of Decorative Art and Associate Curator of Textiles in the Museum of Anthropology, University of California. One of her greatest assets in class, as told by her students, was her ability to hold the attention and excite the minds of the students.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
TRISTAN MANN Indiana U. of Penn. (Miriam Chaiken)
Hawley, Florence. An Examination of Problems Basic to Acculturation in the Rio Grande Pueblos. American Anthropologist. 1948 Vol. 50: 612-624.
Florence Hawley’s article examines the problems of acculturation within the Southwestern Pueblo area. It specifically looks at the effects of culture change on indigenous Indians moving into American areas. Hawley uses a modification of Malinowski’s data handling technique to show the effects.
Malinowski critiques acculturation under five topics: “European influence, interest, and intentions” (pressure brought on by the whites), “Anthropological no-man’s land” (areas that aren’t purely one group or another), surviving indigenous institutions, remembered past, and finally, new forces or forms of spontaneous integration or reaction. Malinowski’s specific pressures, when applied to indigenous and white people, show various contrasts. The largest contrast can be seen in the “native values on age, experience, conservatism, and non-aggression, versus the White values on youth, education (and experience), adaptability, considered aggression, and individualism.”
Hawley attempts to diagram the structures of the social organization of a tribe (both simple and complex), a Spanish-American village, the American Urban system and the Indian in White American Urban system. Each diagram represents the unique structural pattern of a distinct culture, specifically the self, with regards to family, religion, and government.
The diagrams stress the problems of an individual experiencing acculturation, the most confusing problem being the difference between positions of institutions in his own culture and in the new, and the changed standing of his position in relation to the new culture’s institutions. For instance, an Indian’s move into a white town generally limits and constricts him. He has been trained at a young age to think of himself as a participant and equal part of his town, but is now in the position of an individual in a new small universe, making him feel very alone instead of part of the community.
Various pueblos have marked differences in acceptance of the new cultures. Some have an easier time acculturating whereas others have a difficult move into the new culture. But, in none of the cases is the complete move easy or the new position readily comprehended. Hawley also briefly looks into the effects of an acculturated (or semi-acculturated) Pueblo Indian returning to the pueblo. She finds that change in the Pueblos is subject to resistance and is slow. With conservatism being the foremost ideal of the pueblos, paired with the domination of elders, the possibilities for change by those returning is greatly limited.
Hawley ends the article by stating that in the future, Pueblos will either combat the outside pressures by retreating into their old system or they will have adjusted to the outside pressure so “that their institutions will be reevaluated in relation to the new stresses and the configuration of the whole structure changed.”
This article is easy to read and contains helpful diagrams to assist the reader in visualizing the different societal structures. It offers an interesting look into a topic that is still very much an issue today.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEATHER TAYLOR University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Hawley, Florence. An examination of Problems Basic to Acculturation in the Rio Grande Pueblos. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948. Vol.50(4):612-624.
Through this article Florence Hawley addresses the subject of the difficulties of individual transition from one culture to another, as well as the constant acculturation of minority cultures. She focuses on the Pueblos of the Keresan and Tewa social systems. Through the study of these groups, Hawley states that the more similar a culture is to another in structure, the easier acculturation becomes.
Hawley begins her support by providing some background of how cultural comparison has been done in the past, using references to Malinowski and explaining how the attributes of cultures were compared using a chart. The comparison of all aspects differs from the new concept, comparing how institutions are structured within cultures to determine similarity. She clarifies the description of the new system by comparing the new view of culture to a molecule; a molecule is made up of atoms just as a culture is made up of institutions. Institutions can be arranged in different ways to create new cultures just as atoms can be rearranged to form different molecules. Additionally she supports her comparison by referring to another anthropologist, Robert Redfield, who has put forth the idea that as villages have increased contact with a cultural center, the youth will adopt aspects of that culture and gradual acculturation will occur (614).
Hawley next addresses the difficulty of individual acculturation to another culture. She does this by first providing an overview of the structure of the various institutions within the Keresan and the Tewa cultures. She then goes on to state that due to the reconfiguration of the institutions in the new culture the individual would experience confusion. She supports this through description of the structures of the “Spanish Village” (620) and the “Anglo urban system” (621). She provides diagrams of each system, the Spanish Village, the Anglo urban system, the Keresan and Tewa in order to simplify her descriptions and make comparing the differences easier. After providing these background descriptions, Hawley explains how a Native American society, after transition to an Anglo urban system would be structured. He gives a description of how re-entry into the pueblo culture has caused acculturation on a community level and how it would be easier for a Tewa to transition to a Anglo urban system than for a Keresan. Hawley concludes with a restatement of the idea that the closer the structure of two cultures are, the easier acculturation becomes both on a cultural and individual level.
ISAAC MCKEEVER Indiana U of Penn (Miriam Chaiken)
Herskovits, Melville J. The Contribution of Afroamerican Studies to Africanist Research. American Anthropologist January – March, 1948 Vol.50(1):1-10.
The author of this article believes that through understanding the “New World Negro cultures” a better understanding will be reached of the corresponding African cultures. He also believes that this kind of study will benefit both Africanists and Afro-americanists.
Herskovits focuses on three hypotheses’ he derived from the study of Afro-American cultures in order to provide a framework for his paper. The first is “cultural tenacity”, which is how the culture maintained traditions in spite of enculturation. He comments on the fact that even though all base of aboriginal life of Africa has been removed for African Americans they still have retained “Africanisms” though it varies. This is significant, he finds, because if Africans in the New World can still maintain ancestral traditions and integrate them into their current culture then the impact of European culture to the African tribes shouldn’t be as detrimental as perhaps thought. The second is “cultural focus”, which are the “primary concerns” of the culture and how they differ when they come in contact with other people. Herskovits writes that their cultural focus becomes the most important aspect of their culture when the group feels under pressure and will be the hardest to change. He uses religion as an example by describing the determination of the slaves to keep aboriginal beliefs and practices. The last is “retention”, which are native meanings that are carried over to a new setting, which can be placed in new or different forms. The author claims that the re-interpretation of native African ways by New World Africans can lead to intensive research of religious and economic phases as well as gender roles for both sides.
The author proceeds by pointing out some “methodological considerations” to help students who have Afro-American materials and come to African data. The first one he alludes to is that the New World “Africanisms” are less complex than their corresponding tradition in Africa. This can be beneficial in that the essentials of a tradition are realized and a breach of trust by the ethnographer is not possible since secrets are not as likely there to be learned and possibly more information obtained. Also, studying Afro-Americans enable an easier overall study of African cultures. He points out that Africans who were brought over from different regions as slaves were forced to drop their least important differences in order to function together as a group. This should help students realize African regional unities and similarities and keep them from just focusing on local differences. He finishes the article by stating that the study of Africans in both the Americas and Africa are not separate but in the same field if time is taken to study the aspects and implications that one has on the other.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
BECKY KIEFER University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Herskovits, Melville. The Contributions of Afro-American Studies to Africanist Research.American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):1-10.
Herskovits’s essay stressed the importance of studying the “New World Negro” in order to better understand African Culture. Through this Herskovits felt that Africanists could gain important insight of why and how African societies function.
He started the essay by stating his three main hypotheses. The hypothesis of cultural tenacity was written about first. This states that it was assumed that African culture was being destroyed and would soon be lost, due to the increased pressures brought by the recent influx of Europeans. However, according to Herskovits, the Africans would never lose their culture. He argued that Afro-Americans still practice African cultures. Though they were completely immersed in European lifestyles, the African culture remained. Thus, the “New World Negro” was assumed to be, culturally, very similar to their African counter parts.
The second hypothesis dealt with the idea of cultural focus. The idea is that because Afro-Americans have held onto their religious beliefs, the studying of these religious beliefs can provide a greater understanding of African religion.
Herskovits’ final hypothesis is based on how the enculturation of the Africans will affect their lives. Through studying the Afro-Americans, it could be understood how the African’s lives would be altered and create measures to smooth this process.
The remainder of the essay dealt with specific examples of the successes that could be gained through studying Afro-Americans.
Overall this essay made a solid argument, despite many assumptions for the time period. It read smoothly and was not hard to follow.
STEPEHEN YATES University of Montana (John Norvell)
Hewes, Gordon W. The Rubric “Fishing and Fisheries.” American Anthropologist April, 1948 Vol.50(2):238-245.
The beginning of this article sets the stage to use fishing as a means to examine classifications and categories. The author does this by pointing out that there is no real logical reason behind fishing being classified as separate from hunting since they use many similar techniques. The defining separation of the two is decisively the environment in which it takes place. Since fishing is done in an aquatic environment it makes it much easier to exploit. Land animals and hunters are on an almost equal basis with use of their sensory organs in their environment, whereas the fish are at a great disadvantage existing in a different dimension than our own.
Analysis of fishing and hunting devices clarifies the distinction between the two. Not all the same techniques for capturing/hunting land animals are used for all sea animals, though sea animals, such as the seal, are treated almost the same as some land animals. The definition of fishing seems to be ecological and not taxonomic due to the dichotomy between the objects used in fishing and hunting/gathering.
The predictability of the migrations of water dwellers adds to the ease of fishing with regular camp sites. It also takes fewer people and less effort to obtain an equal amount of edible food products as opposed to hunting. The author then goes on to state that even though migrations are predictable, they are still subject to changes and fluctuations in the environment. Further complications include over fishing and negative effects such as pollution from increased population of the land.
Towards the end of the article the author seems to stray from what he originally set out to argue. He does this by discussing the dietary importance of fishery products. According to anthropological studies, the differential vitality of peoples is because of differences in diet. This are of discussion is never fully developed and leaves the reader with questions. The author states that a diet rich in fish could have led to a higher average vitality. This statement leads nowhere and the author’s original discussion of the differences between hunting and gathering is never brought to a clear conclusion.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENNIFER DONOVAN University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Hewes, Gordon W. The Rubric “Fishing and Fisheries.” American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(2):238-245.
Gordon Hewes’ article compares the historical importance of fishing as a food source procurement strategy with those of land-based hunter/gatherer techniques. Hewes looks at the many varied inventions that result from an intensive fishing procurement strategy, and he also looks at the role man has had on the vitality of historic fish populations.
He gleans information from various ethnographies and draws conclusions as to the importance of seasonal fish migrations, their predictability as a steadfast harvest crop, and the underlying significance its stability brought to indigenous peoples. Hewes is one of the first anthropologists to equate the stability of annual fish migrations with that of seasonal on-land harvest techniques, and discusses the predictability of aquatic harvests, their dietary importance, the stability of various fishing sites over time, and the difference between fishing and traditional on-land hunter-gatherer techniques. He discusses whether fisheries outlast other natural or cultivated food resources in a given region. Lastly, he discusses its dietary importance in relation to other food sources.
Hewes notes that people used the land near waterways historically to travel from one locale to the next. He reasons that following the river bottoms were the easiest travel routes. However, he fails to consider other survival strategies as a reason for being there, such as utilizing the river as a significant source of food. I believe this reveals Hewes’ findings to be somewhat antiquated. His eurocentric views and “armchair anthropologist” technique taint this otherwise informative review. Its usefulness, however, stems from a blend of early ethnographies. It is informative and can be useful for people studying how early anthropologists understood the history of fishing as a resource procurement strategy.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KURT HIGH University of Montana (John Norvell)
Jeffreys, M. D. W. The Diffusion of Cowries and Egyptian Culture in Africa. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):45-53.
M. D. W. Jeffreys’ article seeks to prove the influence of Egyptian trade and culture within Africa. By offering evidence of diffusion of cowries—a marine shell of the genus Cypraea native to the Eastern shores of Africa, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean—into West Africa as a monetary unit, special notations used within the context of that monetary system, and evidence of these systems being used in Egypt, Jeffreys attempts to link Egypt to several West African tribes—most notably the Ibo clan of Nigeria. Jeffreys argues that, because of similarities between counting systems in Egypt and the Ibo—as well as other groups in Western Africa—and the use of the non-native cowry as a medium of currency, the source of the Cowry and systems accompanying it originated from Egypt.
Jeffreys begins by describing the cowry and its origins—the East Indies, Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean—and information on the wide use of similar types of currency. He cites a good number of sources including Firth, Adams, Wallis, Blake, Dennet, Moore, and others, to show the wide use of it. He goes further to show that—by these citations and examples of stories and legends involving the cowry—the use of the cowry did not originate from Europe.
Next, Jeffreys goes into great detail about various counting notations used in the surrounding areas. Within the cowry counting system in use within the Ibo, a sexagesimal system was used, and this is linked to a similar system used in Egypt. He also goes on to prove that the systems used for the counting of cowries were probably not a native system. More citations are offered giving the impression that Egypt had been the sole distributor of the shells throughout India and China during its trade; when trading they would bring the shells to other countries as a form of currency, and therein, their sexagesimal system would later be absorbed.
He goes further to explain concepts dealing with diffusion to strengthen his claim, finally putting forth the idea that within the Ibo, the sexagesimal system of notation for the cowry originated from Egypt.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
TAYLOR MEEK University of Montana (John Norvell)
Kroeber, A. L. White’s View of Culture. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol.50(3):405-415.
A.L. Kroeber’s article studies an earlier paper by Leslie A. White concerning culture and its phenomena. In the article Kroeber has pulled out some of White’s key points and rewords and reconstructs them for further clarification and limitations. By looking at the finer points of the piece, Kroeber is able to concentrate his own intellect on the subject and further resolve White’s theory of cultural phenomena and its sub levels, a somewhat cloudy area in cultural anthropology.
The first few excerpts of White’s paper that Kroeber includes talk about how cultural phenomena can be broken down for deeper examination. He says that looking at and understanding the separate levels on which the phenomena depend upon helps us to better understand the phenomena as a whole. He states that culture and its phenomena are not independent, but lie upon a foundation of separate sub-levels that may be variable, and when put together make up culture and its events as a whole. Kroeber incorporates other anthropologists’ work to further strengthen the body of his thesis and neglects certain points that White had previously made.
Also included in Kroeber’s work are some of the passages in White’s article that appear to be his opinions. Kroeber does not condemn these notions, but questions how stable they are. Turning to other anthropologists, such as J. Richardson, he restructures these opinions and turns them into solid principles. Kroeber concludes his piece with one of White’s more ridiculous notions where White had blamed the regression of the independent science of culture on our obsolete capitalist system. Simply by stating a few historical points, Kroeber proves this statement, among others, irrelevant and pushes them aside to provide a clear, intellectual thesis on the subject of cultural phenomena.
Kroeber’s article shows the reader cultural anthropology in action. The heart of this field bases itself on anthropologists taking another’s theory or idea and not refuting it but cleaning it up and building upon its foundation to further clarify and solidify it so that other anthropologists are not reluctant to recognize it but instead observe it as a tool to build their own studies on.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
BRAD LOWE University of Montana (John Norvell)
Kroeber, A.L. White’s View of Culture. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol.50:405-415.
Kroeber analyzes Leslie A. White’s article, “The Expansion of the Scope of Science.” White’s paper focuses on a scientific approach to culture. He believes that culture is like energy in that it is always in constant motion. Kroeber agrees with much of White’s analysis, but feels he needs to reexamine and clarify the report. In the end, even though he supports the logic behind White’s argument, Kroeber believes that a historical approach is a better way of understanding culture, rather than a scientific approach. Culture cannot be as easily explained by “laws” as compared to “laws” used to explain scientific ideas.
SUZANNE PLETSCHETT University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
MacGregor, Gordon. H. SKUDDER MEKEEL 1902-1947. American Anthropology, 1948. Vol. 50(1): 95-100.
This is an obituary for H. Scudder Mekeel (1902-1947). Mekeel was a leader in integrating cultural anthropology with psychoanalysis. He was devoted to understanding minority groups in order to further their rights so that they could participate in a democratic nation. His primary interests lay in understanding social action and social improvement based on research and knowledge derived from science. His interests in these fundamentals led him to increase his interest in the links between psychoanalysis and child development. Makeel was a contributor to the Walapai Ethnography (1935), which focused on the Sioux American Indians in this country and in Canada. Because of his fieldwork with the Sioux, he was very aware of the problems of personality that were created as a result of “cultural disintegration.” Makeel’s major contribution to the Indian service administration was his wide contacts with staff and field personnel. These people were able to advise him on problems and to point out cultural difficulties and their relationship to Indian attitudes. He believed that there was a lack of appreciation for Indians which was at the root of the frustration within the administration. His personal contacts had far-reaching influence in the way in which many leaders in the field of psychology and psychoanalysis thought. He was a leader for his time in the merging of psychology and anthropology, who used psychology to gain a broader insight into anthropological concepts.
THEODORE M. GAGNON Temple University (Susan B. Hyatt)
Macgregor, Gordon. H. Scudder Mekeel, 1902-1947. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol. 50(2): 95-99.
This article pays respects to Haviland Scudder Mekeel, who was not only an anthropology professor, but also a beloved father and husband. Mekeel died of a sudden heart attack on July 23, 1947. Mekeel was a leader in the integration of the two fields of cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis. He was intensely devoted to the understanding of the social and psychological problems of minority groups in hope of social betterment. Mekeel attended a number of colleges and universities, which included Princeton, the University of Strasbourg, Harvard, where he obtained his B.A., the University of Chicago, for his M.A., and finally, Yale for his doctorate. His doctorate thesis, “A Modern Indian Community in the Light of the Past”, written in 1932, became a basic reference for students. Through these schools, Mekeel met two renowned anthropologists who would become close colleagues: Dr. Edward Sapir and Dr. Alfred Kroeber. These two individuals would be important influences throughout Mekeel’s career and life.
Mekeel’s interest in helping minorities took him to many new places and offered him many career opportunities. Mekeel worked with the Indian Service beginning in 1935. He was able to advise on many problems that usually went unnoticed and is also credited for laying down the base foundation of ideas that have become part of the general thinking in Indian Service work. Other jobs included Director of the Laboratory of Anthropology at Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1937, and associate professor at University of Wisconsin from 1940 to 1943 and 1945 to 1947. His absence during 1943-1944 was due to his work as consultant for the Julius Rosenwald Foundation: His focus in this program was on the psychological problems of the Negro. Mekeel also left inspirational work in a number of articles including: “Culture and Communication”, Americans and Their Prejudices”, and “The Economy of a Modern Teton Dakota Community”. Still, more of his influence to his field shows through his memberships of the American Anthropological Association, the American Sociological Society, the Association of Museums, and the American Folklore Society. Mekeel’s sudden death halted the many more contributions and influences he would have made to his field, and to the world.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
LAUREN BUTARIC University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
McCown, Theodore D. George Grant MacCurdy, 1863-1947. American Anthropologist, 1948 Vol. 50 (2): 516-521.
On November fifteen of 1947 the world of anthropology lost a major contributor. George Grant MacCurdy was a founding member of the American Anthropologists Association, serving as secretary from (1903-1916) and President in 1931. He was also a member of twenty different American and international scientific societies.
George Grant MacCurdy was born to William J. and Margaret Smith MacCurdy in 1863 at Warrensburg, Missouri, where he grew up and attended school. He graduated from the Second District Normal School in 1887. MacCurdy worked as a teacher when he was 18 while attending school to pay for his tuition. Two years after graduating, MacCurdy found himself as the Superintendent of Schools.
It was in 1889, while attending a conference at Mt. Herman, Massachusetts, that he decided to become a student at Harvard. In 1891 he was able to reach this goal and matriculated with advanced standing. In 1893 he received his A.B. in geology and biology and in 1894 he received his M.A. While studying abroad in Vienna, MacCurdy attended the International Zoological Congress at Leyden in 1896. This was when Eugene Dubois presented the remains of Pithecanthropus erectus. After the presentation MacCurdy decided to devote himself to paleo-anthropology.
After studying in Vienna, he spent a year in Paris and then a year in Berlin. During this time he defined what his later work would be. When he came back to the States, MacCurdy was offered an instructorship at Yale where he received his Ph.D. in 1905.
Before becoming an Emeritus Research Associate and the Emeritus Curator of Anthropological Collections in 1931, Dr. MacCurdy worked part time at the American Museum of Natural History from 1910 to 1912. In the summer of 1919, Dr. MacCurdy married Glenn Bartlett. Two years later, Dr. and Mrs. MacCurdy along with Dr. Charles Peabody founded the American School in France for Prehistoric Studies, which in 1926 became the American School of Prehistoric Research. Both Dr. Peabody and Dr. MacCurdy spent time as the director of the school.
Dr. MacCurdy also contributed to the anthropological scene through literary means. He started the Bulletin in 1926, which first appeared as a four-page leaflet. For the first fifteen years Dr. MacCurdy served as the editor. For forty years he provided his colleagues with reports and accounts of significant discoveries of ancient humans and their culture. All of his discoveries were presented in the two volumes of Human Origins.
On November 15, 1947 as Dr. George MacCurdy and his wife were heading south for the winter, when he got out of his car and crossed a street to ask for directions. As he crossed the street he was truck and fatally wounded by an oncoming car. His death was greatly felt in the scholarly community, and he is remembered as a loving man who was unwilling to believe ill of people.
ANGELA L. MOLINAR Indiana Univ. of Penn. (Miriam Chaiken)
Murdock, George Peter. Clark Wissler, 1870-1947. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(2):292-304.
This article is a brief biography of Clark Wissler. Wissler was born on September 18, 1870 in Wayne County, Indiana, and passed away on August 25, 1947. Wissler received a B.A. degree in psychology from Indiana University in 1897. His research in psychology dealt with laboratory experiments on individual differences in mental abilities. From 1897 to 1899 he was an instructor at Ohio State University. In 1899, he received an M.A. degree from Indiana University. He received a Ph.D. in psychology in 1901 from Columbia University.
At Columbia University Wissler was introduced to anthropology while studying psychology under James McKeen Cattell, who had an adjacent office with Franz Boas. Wissler took anthropology courses with Boas and Livingston Farrand. In 1902, he began working at the American Museum of Natural History, and this training along with his education in anthropology allowed him to teach anthropology at Columbia University from 1903 to 1909.
At the American Museum of Natural History, Wissler became Assistant Curator of Ethnology in 1904, Acting Curator of Ethnology in 1905, and Curator of the Department of Ethnology from 1907 to 1942. At the museum, he sponsored field expeditions, increased the ethnological collections, fostered the development of educational functions, encouraged archeology and physical anthropology, conducted and ambitious program of publication. Wissler conducted ethnological fieldwork from 1902 to 1905 among the Blackfoot and various Siouan tribes of Montana and the Dakotas, and sponsored ethnographic fieldwork in the northern Plains area
Wissler was a faculty member at Yale University form 1924 to 1940. He first worked in the field of psychology here, but in 1931 he became Professor of Anthropology when the Department of Anthropology was established. In 1919 he became president of the American Anthropological Association. He was also a part of many other organizations, serving as president and vice president on many.
Wissler has made large contributions to the field of anthropology, although not many have been in the field of theory. His name is often associated with the culture-area concept, and he is largely responsible for the scientific productivity of the American Museum of Natural History, and the integration of anthropology with other social sciences.
This short article is easy to read, and provides basic information on who Wissler was and why he is an important figure in anthropology.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
HEIDI DAVIS University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Murdock, George Peter. Clark Wissler, 1870-1947. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(2):292-295.
This is a brief biography of Clark Wissler, who was born September 18, 1870, in Indiana, and died August 25, 1947, after an outstanding career. He obtained an M.A. as well as Ph.D. in psychology. Throughout Wissler’s education he was taught by many outstanding instructors such as James McKeen Canttell, Franz Boas and Livingston Farrand. This experience presented him with many great opportunities.
Wissler because involved in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He later became Assistant in the Department of Ethnology under Putnam and Boas, where he became interested mainly in anthropology. He held many leading positions in the Museum’s different anthropology departments and sponsored many anthropological expeditions.
During the early 1900’s Wissler spent much of his time doing field work with the Blackfoot and Siouan tribes of Montana as well as North and South Dakota. He devoted many monographs and papers to his interest in Native American ethnography.
Wissler was a professor at Yale University from 1924 to 1940. He was endured and deeply appreciated by faculty and students at Yale. As well as teaching at Yale, Wissler was involved in committees and consulted for many national organizations within the anthropological community. He gained respect throughout the anthropological world due to these experiences.
Wissler used his psychology background to help develop the prospect of culture within anthropology as well as cultural factors associated with sociology. Wissler is probably most famous for developing this pathway from anthropology to the social sciences.
The article is plentiful with specific dates and associates of Clark Wissler as well as his academic accomplishments. It superbly summarizes Wissler’s life as a psychologist as well as an anthropologist and ethnographer. Wissler was a true developer of cultural anthropology as well as cultural sociology.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEIDI HILL University of Montana (John Norvell)
Oberg, Kalervo. Terena Social Organization and Law. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(2):283-291.
The author’s objective is to describe the changes in Terena social organization. The Terena are a Native American group. They lived in the Paraguayan Chaco until the middle of the nineteenth century, when they migrated to southern Mato Grosso, Brazil. The author describes how their social organization has been altered as a result of this migration.
The article first gives a detailed account of Terena social organization as it was approximately one hundred years ago, before the migration. This section covers their moiety system, marriage rules, social classes, economics, kinship terminology, law, warfare practices and military organization. The author then describes how and why their political and social organization started to change once they arrived in Brazil. This section includes their interaction with the Brazilian government and the effects of this interaction.
The author notes four stages of readjustment that the culture of the Terena has had to go through. First, in Chaco the Terena had created a military and class organization. Then, after their migration they had to relinquish their military organization and accept the political domination of the government of Brazil. After this, they faced a period of detribalization and near extinction. The Terena managed to reintegrate as a tribal group on a Brazilian government reservation.
The article reads rather easily, it is well organized, and it provides a good deal of interesting information. The author accomplishes his objective of describing the changes in Terena social organization that resulted from their migration from Paraguayan Chaco to Mato Grosso, Brazil.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEIDI DAVIS University of Central Florida (David Jones)
Osberg, Kalervo. Terena Social Organization and Law. American Anthropologist June, 1948 Vol.50:283-291.
In this descriptive paper, Kalervo Osberg deals with changes in Terena Indian social organizations. The Terena Indians, originally of Paraguayan Chaco, were agriculturalists. However, like other tribes in the area, the Terena came under the domination of the Guaricuru speaking Mbaya, a warlike tribe, and adopted their raiding characteristics. Osberg says it is unknown, based on the history, to what extent that Terena social organization is authentic. He also establishes four stages of cultural re-adjustment: the military and class organization in the Chaco; the resettlement into Brazil; detribalization; and tribal reintegration on a Brazilian government reservation.
The Terena were divided into four social classes; chiefs, warriors, commoners and slaves. Their villages were divided into two moieties; the Sukerikono (gentle people) the Shumono(wild people). The moieties shared equal status and it was only during ceremonies that there were differences. Each moiety had a chief, whose only power was that of councilor and mediator. The selection of moiety chiefs were both based upon ascribed and achieved statuses. The moieties were a social controlling force, nevertheless the group as a whole was the presiding power.
Terena economy involved the entire family; husband, wife, and children. It was based on hunting and gathering, and the cultivation of crops. Terena law gave authority to the extended family. Although crimes could also be dealt with by the group, it was thought that there was minimal crime due to the honorable authority of the moiety chiefs and the constant threat of external danger.
The Terena abandoned the Chaco in the middle of the last century. Several theories explaining the abandonment are: constant threat of attacks, the threat of Paraguayan justice, or offers of land from the Brazilian government in Mato Grosso. What is known, is that as soon as the Terena moved into Brazil, their political origination changed. The moiety organization broke down, the kinship unit began to deteriorate, and marriages outside the group became common. They accepted Christianity and their kinship terminology changed. The Terena were then forced off their lands, because they held no title, and found jobs in the railway camps, cattle camps, or became beggars. This brought about the inevitable abandonment of theirvillages. The Terena as a group were nearly forced into extinction, but because of the help of the Servico de Protecao Indios, the Terena were able to survive as a group alongside competition with whites.
JEANNE PETERSON University of Minnesota-Duluth (Jennifer Jones
Pelzel, John C. Japanese Ethnological and Sociological Research. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 54-72
This article addresses the history and use of anthropology and its related fields in Japan. In particular it looks at ethnology and sociology. Anthropology or ethnology was first taught at a university in 1886 at Tokyo Imperial under the study of Tsuboi Shogoro. The use of ethnology is for the study of both Japanese and non- Japanese cultures.
The author notes that several branches of Japanese ethnology exist. The ethnography of Japanese culture is primarily concerned with the folk (pre-Western) culture. Emphasis is also placed on the study of Far Eastern cultures. The branch of Social Anthropology examines the operations of a society. The field of sociology was mainly theoretical until World War I. It was only after the war ended that research started. The main influence for Japanese sociology was from English and American methodology.
Ethnology and sociology is frequently used to study the infrastructure of Japan as well. In particular, rural and urban culture is studied in the form of community or regional monographs. Another aim of this sub-field is comparing regional differences in folk culture, and identifying regional sub-cultures. This area utilizes a social anthropological approach. Economic organization and technology is studied in respect to the modernization of Japan, i.e. the effects of technology on economy. The study of family and kinship organization has “been the most thoroughly studied of all structures of Japanese society.” Folklore and religion has also been researched. Emile Durkheim and other French thinkers adopted this study to include the social position of religion in Japan.
In an attempt to better understand their neighbors, the Japanese have conducted research in China, Formosa, Korea and Okinawa. They have also studied the Ainu’s language, folklore, religion, art, social organization, and material culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
NATHAN JONES University of Central Florida, (David Jones)
Pelzel, John. Japanese Ethnological and Sociological Research. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):54-72.
The author challenges the notion that there is a lack of Japanese ethnological and sociological research in the first half of the twentieth century. He demonstrates that the Japanese had a large volume of high quality research that was largely unknown to Westerners at the time because it had been inadequately translated. Three main branches of Japanese ethnology Pelzel discusses are (1) ethnographies of Japanese culture, (2) ethnographies of non-Japanese cultures, and (3) Japanese sociology.
The article primarily displays an historical overview of sociological research in Japan and some of the areas discussed by Japanese research concerning Japan. These areas include (1) rural and urban culture studies, (2) economic organization and technology, (3) family and kinship, (4) class, and (5) religion and folklore. In addition, there is reference to Japanese data about Formosa and Northern China, including Manchuria.
While the author doesn’t go into detail about what the implications of specific studies might be, he does provide a wealth of information about Japanese researchers, dates and the areas dealt with by Japanese researchers. Some of the researchers cited in the article are Yanagida, Tsuboi, Torii, Takebe, and Suzuki. Pelzel’s footnotes also provide useful information for anyone wishing to pursue Japanese ethnological and sociological research prior to 1948.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
RODNEY GOTTULA University of Montana (John Norvell)
Pollenz, Philippa. The Puzzle of the Hula. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 647-655.
The author of this article speculates on the origins of the popular Hawaiian dance, the Hula. The introduction of his argument includes a detailed description of common Polynesian dances from New Zealand to Samoa to Easter Island. Polynesian dances emphasize a “rapid and extensive muscular contortion”, contain “gesture pantomime”, and show a prevalence of seated dances. More specifically, Polynesian islands to the north of New Zealand are noted for their erotic dances which are “built upon the principle of suggestive posturing and movement of the abdominal parts of the body.” The author, Philippa Pollenz, is concerned with exactly how Hawaiian hulas fit into the general Polynesian pattern.
The basic argument made is that the hulas of Hawaii present many features, which
do not conform to the generalized Pacific patterning. It is pointed out that the “sitting dances” in Hawaii are actually quite similar to that of other Polynesian islands except for the way the dancers are seated: Hawaiians sit on their knees, while other Polynesian dancers sit with their knees crossed. Thus, the main focus is on the differences involved in the “standing dances” in which a prevalence of hand symbolism is rather puzzling.
Hawaii seems to be the only group among the Polynesians to have elaborate and formalized hand gestures, formalized dance schools with religious ties, and even a class of professional hula dancers. The author argues that these traits are similar to the ones seen in Indian dances—that India and Hawaii share a basic idea of dance movement. India also has extreme professionalism involved in their dances. Included in the article are illustrations of hand gestures that symbolize such things as “flowerbud”, “rain”, and “half-moon.” It is demonstrated that these hand gestures are the same among the Indian and the Hawaiian dancers.
This examination does not produce a definite relationship between the two dances in regards to origins. It does however make the reader ponder the possibility. The author seems to suggest an intention to further investigate the similarities. It is an engaging article, which can be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in the origin of various cultural practices.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
AMY KAUFFMAN University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Pollenz, Philippa. The Puzzle of the Hula. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948. Vol.50(4):647-655.
The primary focus of Pollenz’ article, “The Puzzle of the Hula” is an attempt to determine where hulas, dances from Hawaii, fit into a larger pattern of dances from the area of Polynesia. Interestingly, the Hula dance does not consistently conform to the patterns of dance found throughout the rest of Polynesia. She establishes this by giving detailed accounts, written by observers, of dances from specific areas of Polynesia and comparing them to the hulas of Hawaii.
Pollenz doesn’t altogether discount the similarities, for she notes there are many of importance; the differences are what intrigue her. These differences that she finds are found especially among the standing hulas (as opposed to the sitting hulas, which is a different kind of dance). Of importance are the hand gestures which have symbolic meaning and actually tell a story of the dance. Although the use of mime is common throughout Polynesia, it differs in that the body is extensively used. Hawaiian hulas rely more on hand gestures and less on the body. In fact, it seems that Hawaii is the only group in Polynesia to have such a complete mastery of hand gestures.
To get a better understanding of where these aspects of the Hula might have originated, Pollenz looked outside of Polynesia. She came to find that Indonesia and , especially, India had dance styles in which hand gestures were extensively used and even more significant in that they had the same meanings. Pollenz, in further comparison between the dances of India and Hawaii, found that there were other similarities, including “formalized dance schools with religious ties and a class of professional dancers”. While admitting that they could not definitively connect a dance technique movement from India through Indonesia to Hawaii, they have clearly established enough similarities to consider it a feasible option. While Pollenz still acknowledges that some elements of the dance’s performance come from Polynesia, the more complete solution to the puzzle is that some fundamental elements of the hula have roots in Indonesia.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
EMILY PIRKLE University of Montana (John Norvell)
Quimby, George I. Culture Contact on the Northwest Coast, 1785 – 1795. American Anthropologist April – June 1948 Vol. 50: 247-255.
In this article, Mr. Quimby wants to inform us about contact with the natives of the Northwest Coast of America, other than with European people, between the years of 1785 – 1795. There were apparently many European ships that landed in this area in that time period. He shows us a table that lists as few as one ship in 1785 to as many as thirty ships in 1792. Most of these visits were for exploration and/or fur trading. The crew usually consisted of a mostly European group (Spanish, Italian, Austrian, Swedish, Portuguese, French, English, and, what the author calls, New England-American) but frequently included a handful of Chinese, Polynesians, Negroes and natives of the Philippines.
Mr. Quimby gives examples such as in 1788 when Captain John Meares arrived in his schooner, actually named the North West America, to trade in furs with the Nootka. There were supposedly fifty Chinese on board who served as carpenters and smiths when a base was constructed on the shore. One of the episodes when Hawaiians, or Polynesians, also came into contact with the Nootka was when a young Sandwich Island boy who was part of the crew of the ship Columbia Rediviva managed to escape and hide among the natives. The captain of the ship held the chief, Tootiscoosettle, hostage until the young man was returned to him. In 1788 – 1789 the ship Iphigenia Nubiana, sailing under a Captain Douglas is said to have hired on a man from Manilla in the Philippines who was apparently multi-lingual and was able to translate for the captain with the natives. There were also several ships, such as the Venus, a British brigantine, and the Mexicana, a Spanish schooner, which carried many black men in their crew.
The author wants us to be aware that, since there have been reports of many of these ships crew members who “interbred freely” with native women, these facts should be taken into account whenever physical anthropological studies, or even cultural studies, are being done on the natives of the Northwest Coast Indians.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
LISA SEILER University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Quimby, George I. Culture Contact on the Northwest Coast, 1785-1795. American Anthropologist April – June 1948 Vol. 50:247-255.
In this article, Quimby presented information showing contact between non-Europeans and Natives of the Northwest Coast of America from 1785 to 1795. Material objects, people, and ideas were exchanged between these groups. His data were taken from journals kept by European ship captains and historical records found at the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) of voyages made by one particular ship.
Based on the historical records, Quimby produced an account of the various non-European groups that had contact with natives on the Northwest Coast. The groups included the Chinese, Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Negros, who worked as manual workers, cooks, or servants aboard the trade ships. These people built establishments on shore, served as smiths and carpenters, and also planned to settle on the American coast. Some of the non-European men married Northwest Coast women and several Northwest Coast Indians traveled to Hawaii and China for years at a time.
Quimby implies that one must take into account non-European contact when studying Northwest Coast Natives. Europeans were not the only cultures to have contact with Northwest Coast Indian Groups. Physically, due to intermarriage, there are some natives that have Chinese, Negro, or Philippine ancestry. Materially, the non-Europeans introduced new materials, like iron, which changed the nature of the tools used.
EMMA BISSONETT University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Smith, Marian W. Synthesis And Other Processes In Sikhism. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(3):457-462.
Marian W. Smith’s article is concerned with the development of Sikhism. The article takes a look at northwest India’s history religiously and culturally. Sikhism was formed during a time of war between the Hindus and the Muslims; it was developed in the region where these two great cultures met. This geographic location allowed for the synthesis of aspects of the two religions. Interestingly enough the synthesis was motivated by a dislike for many aspects of Hinduism and Islam by the founder of Sikhism, Nanak. Nanak was opposed to Muslim rule and the Hindu caste.
This paper displays well the points at which Sikhism has borrowed from Hinduism and Islam. In addition Smith gives other possible factors for the development of Sikhism like historical circumstance. For instance, the original Sikhs largely consisted of the lowest Hindu caste. The Sikhs have no caste and believe in the dignity of all individuals; even the sexes are seen as more or less equals. This principle was not synthesized from either Islam or Hinduism. The equality notion probably is a result of living in a world of complete inequality. The purpose of this paper is largely to show that Sikhism is not simply a fusion of ideals from both Islam and Hinduism but that some aspects of Sikhism exist because of social and historical events.
Smith offers insight into the development of Sikhism. This paper is interesting and anyone stands to benefit from reading it. It serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of things, and that all avenues must be explored to gain the best understanding attainable.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ADAM WANZER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Smith, Marian W. Synthesis and Other Processes in Sikhism. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol.50(13):457-462.
Marian Smith’s article is a historical account that examines the development of Sikhism. Her article was read before the American Oriental Society, an audience rooted more in policy and history, in 1947, and helps explain the absence of overall anthropological material and accounts for the historical nature of her article. Smith states, “This paper limits itself to an investigation of the processes by which the [Sikhs] identity was formulated”. These processes include: religious synthesis, reaction to historical circumstance, intellectual consistency, and influence from social factors not included in their written or spoken word.
Smith begins the article by looking at the intellectual and political atmosphere of the Punjab during the middle fifteenth century, when Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born. She states that this atmosphere made possible the development of Sikhism which was a peculiar blend of Hinduism and Islam. Nanak was born a Hindu, was raised in the Punjab, during a time when the area staggered under the full weight of the Muslim influence. Conflict between the Hindu and Muslim people intensified due to the Muslim’s active programs of conversion. These programs constituted a direct challenge to native politics and religions. Because of this challenge, Nanak called for a reaffirmation of the spiritual essentials of Hinduism with an emphasis on human dignity which transcended other-worldly values, made ritualism unnecessary, consecrated daily labor, and denied the validity of the caste system. This reaffirmation became the foundation of Sikhism; his followers were called Sikhs, or “learners”. Nanak did not attempt to codify beliefs, defied Islam by condemning a single path to god, and held Hindu excesses, such as ritual practice, up to ridicule. With its roots in both organized Islam and Hinduism, Sikhism then became a syntheses that affirmed the power of the individual belief.
Although we see a very detailed historical account of the development of Sikhism, Smith does return to anthropology, suggesting that anthropologists should that Sikhism holds true to its tenets, yet in practice, the group has not fully achieved these tenets as social ends. In explaining how Sikhs have worked toward their beliefs, Smith states, “One must allow for some process by which intellectually conceived ideas are translated into social action, their full implication gradually realized and consistently followed.” In the end, Smith raises questions that are left to be answered in possible future research. Questions include: Are women of the Punjab equally upstanding and if so how has this effected the development of Sikhism. She also questions how the ingrained customs of the Sikhs have been affected by the philosophical ideas of Nanak and whether he lent verbal expression to concepts already inherent in family relations as he knew them. Finally, she states that ideas effect behavior and customs but the reciprocal action of behavior on ideas has not been examined sufficiently.
The clarity of this article is given a four. Although it is very easy and a thorough text to read, Smith does not give us background information of whom or where she receives her information from. However, in the footnote, Smith thanks her ‘Sikh friends for their help and constant generosity of time and energy’. This lends me to believe that the source of her information is less bias and a reliable historical text.
CREE HOLTZ University of Minnesota-Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Snowden, Frank M. Jr. The Negro in Ancient Greece. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948 Vol.50(1):31-43.
The author of this article tries to convince us that the notion of racism in ancient Greece did not exist against the Negro. In the process of showing us how that is true he focuses on three things: first, how the ancient Greeks described the Negro in their writings; second, how he fit in the ancient Greek world; and third, what the attitude of the people was towards him. Snowden’s argument is that the ancient Greek world was indeed acquainted with the Negro and was not prejudiced against skin color. Throughout the article the types of evidence he uses to prove his argument are Greek writings, plays, mythology, and art.
He presents his data by mentioning each one and basing it on historical facts. First of all he tells us that there is proof the Greeks were acquainted with the Ethiopian people. Through their ancient writings Greek authors fully describe the physical characteristics of Ethiopians and appear to pay more attention to their skin color. The Negro is presented in Greek writings, by people such as Aristotle, Plutarch, Menander, and Theophrastus, in art, mostly on vases, in mythology, and in theater. Snowden explains that Ethiopians were found in the army at high positions, in the palace as guards, and in plays as actors and dancers. They excelled in battle and were pronounced as great warriors, were heroes and won respect by being shown on coins and shields, had statues erected in their honor and were seen daily in common places, like the agora and palestra, among other people. In many cases an Ethiopian was part of someone’s genealogy. Snowden argues against scholars who say that the Negro was thought of as comical and ugly. He comes up with the example of Philostratus who wrote that these people of strange coloring were charming. Their lives and background were never presented as comical.
Snowden presents all this evidence with detail. He does a fair job with arguing and proving that an Ethiopian was in many cases admired, honored, and judged by his nobility and not his coloring in the ancient Greek society. He mentions many names, historical details, uses the Greek lexicon for wording, and bases his data on many books listed in the bibliography at the end of the article.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
STAVROULA VATOUSSI University of Montana (John Norvell)
Snowden Jr. Frank M. The Negro in Ancient Greece. American Anthropologist Jan.- March 1948 Vol.50(1) 31-44.
Snowden attempts to demonstrate through ancient Greek literature and archaeology how Negroes may have been perceived during classical Roman and Greek periods. He argues that his study is a compliment to an earlier work done on Negroes in Ancient Italy, however, this study left details out of “pertinent Greek sources,” and focused mainly on how Negroes were portrayed in classical art. Throughout his article, Snowden presents evidence that there was a certain amount of respect between the Greeks and the Negroes since they were represented in mythology, fought with the Greeks, and were part of the Greek’s everyday life.
The Greeks defined Negroes by their physical characteristics such as skin color, the shape of the nose, and the texture of their hair based on three instances in Greek literature where one can be certain that the author is explaining a Negro. He then suggests that skin color was the most important distinction used to describe Negroes based on the variety of Greek words used in literature to explain “black” and “dark,” and how ancient Greeks used Ethiopians as a measure for blackness of color.
The author claims that the Negro had appeared quite frequently as a mythical character in Greek literature and was also depicted on ancient artifacts such as on a human mask from Cyprus, as a trumpeter on a shield, and on a mask in Akragas which displayed Demeter and Persephone and their worshippers as having a flat nose, thick lips, and short, wooly hair. Negroes may have gained respect from the ancient Greeks by fighting in both the Trojan and Persian wars, and also in literature: Eurybates, a subordinate of Odysseus was highly regarded.
Snowden normalizes relations between ancient Greek and Negroes referencing literature from Aristotle and others that allude to sexual relations between the two races. Sculptures of Negroes from this time were “without a doubt the work of Greek artists who had actual models before them.” Negroes also played a part in Greek drama since they existed in Greek mythology and were also depicted on coins.
Snowden claims that with all the evidence, “the Greeks show no trace of color- prejudice…” he points to several instances of reverence of Negroes by Greeks in which they believed that Egyptian civilization was derived from Negro civilization, and that they were advanced in astronomy and wisdom.
Snowden’s article seems rather subjective since he is choosing to interpret the data qualitatively but not quantitatively. He also displays a rather subjective method of identifying Negroes in literature, since language has changed since ancient Greece and meanings may have subsequently changed also. Were Negroes really seen as equals, and if so, were there any writings of importance by Negroes? I think more precise conclusions could be found by studying symbols surrounding Negroes and taking more of an objective view on this topic.
JUSTIN WRIGHT University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Spencer, Robert F. and S. A. Barrett. Notes on a Bachelor House in the South China Area. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 463 – 478.
In this article, Spencer and Barrett discuss the purpose of the bachelor houses in the south Chinese areas. The authors begin by giving a general overview of the Ah Kong clans. This background information is necessary to set up the discussion of the bachelor house. Spencer and Barrett then discuss the three purposes of the bachelor house.
The first purpose of the bachelor house is for the use of the unmarried men of the clan. Boys of the village attend school until the age of twelve. At that time, they move into the bachelor house and stay there until married. Though it is not a requirement to live in the bachelor house, it is usually done to relieve congestion in the family home. If there are no female children, and if there is enough room, the boy may stay at their own home. In some cases, the eldest son stays home and the younger brothers move to the bachelor house.
The second purpose is the temporary use of the house by married men whose wives are in confinement associated with childbirth. They move into the house during the fifth month of pregnancy and stay there until the child is one hundred days old.
The third and final purpose for the bachelor house is its use as a guesthouse for male visitors that need to stay overnight. There are few visitors to the area, but the few that do visit have to conduct some form of business with one of the clans. Under these circumstances, they would be allowed to spend the night in the bachelor house of that clan.
At the time of the writing, Spencer and Barrett are questioning why there are not a significant number of bachelor houses in China as a whole. They end the article with the feelings that the bachelor houses face a marginal chance of survival. They also feel there is not enough information to answer there questions and feel that further investigation is needed.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
LAURIE VAN SCHAICK University of Central Florida (Dr. David E. Jones)
Spencer, Robert F. and S.A. Barrett. Notes on a Bachelor House in the South China Area.American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 463-478.
This article is a description of bachelor houses in a village in South China called Ah Kong. Ah Kong is a predominantly rural village, with rice cultivation being its main source of trade. Ah Kong is inhabited by about 5,000 individuals and is divided up into 5 extended family units, the Chun (2,000 people), the Look (1,500 people), the Kwock and Cheung (500-750 people), and the Choy (200-300 people). Spencer and Barrett call this village “typical,” using it as a basis for many other villages in the south China area. Their information was attained by Mr. Richard Chun, who was Hawaiian born and had spent some fifteen to sixteen years in the south China area, from where his immediate family had emigrated.
Each family unit has an ancestral hall that the extended family revolves around. The ancestral hall is ceremonial and houses tablets with the names of the deceased family members. Tablets are kept in order of generation and serve as the family record of genealogy and relationship. Large family gatherings, or clan councils (a group composed of male clan elders) take place in the hall. Women cook and to serve at tables but do not otherwise participate in activities in the hall.
Adjacent to each ancestral hall is a long and narrow building, called a bachelor house, where the south section is used as a quarters for a number of unmarried (and some married) men of the clan. Women are rigidly restricted from this men’s domain. In Ah Kong, the bachelor house is used for three functions. It serves as a recreational center and sleeping area for young, unmarried men in the clan. It also serves as a temporary sleeping quarters for married men with wives in confinement (during the last 4 months of pregnancy and for the first 100 days of the newborn’s life). Bachelor houses also serve as guesthouses for male visitors who stay overnight in the village.
A boy will live in the bachelor house after he finishes local schooling, usually at the age of twelve or thirteen. He will stay there until marriage, which usually takes place when the males are between eighteen and twenty-six. The sole purpose of the men staying in these bachelor houses from puberty to marriage is to relieve congestion in the home. Boys are seen as working members of the clan as soon as schooling is completed and they are expected to help their fathers with rice cultivation while living in the bachelor houses. Married men also live here when their wives are beyond five months in pregnancy (it is seen as harm to the baby to have sexual intercourse beyond the fifth month of pregnancy), and for the first 100 days of the baby’s life (men are to check up on village gossip should a husband of a pregnant woman be seen with her too much). The bachelor house strengthens ties between men in the extended family.
ANNIE DRESSEN University of Minnesota—Duluth (Jennifer Jones)
Strong, Edward W. The Question of Interpretation. American Anthropologist April- June, 1948 Vol.50 (2 ):216-224.
Professor Kroeber, in his “Review and Conclusions” (Chapter XI), assesses the correlations between culture patterns and clusterings of genius throughout history. Culture patterns include the rise, florescence, and decline of various societies throughout history. This essay analyzes his examination of aesthetic and intellectual endeavor, in clusterings seen in a certain time and cultural area, to see what impact and involvement they have had on the overall trend. Then specific character and style in the philosophies of one possible genius, St. Augustine, are noted.
Kroeber emphasizes that cultures do not necessarily progress, but that they undergo changes of values constructed. The fluctuation in great achievement presupposes adherence to any set of patterns. For successful new development to occur, the old norms must break down.
Periods of flowering include the highest values occurring together. Cultural cultivation goes hand and hand with flourishing philosophy, science, and the arts. If the number of high contributors tends to be the same from generation to generation, what accounts for the movements of genius in one time frame, and the absence of them in another when they go unrecognized? This is part of his search. He analyzes what the right conditions are for socio-cultural performance.
The author questions Kroeber’s interpretation of “growth” in societies, in his published work, “The Growth of Nations” (Chapter X). Kroeber states that growth has definite meaning, and refers to political development in the western world. He is quoted as admitting that there can be great national changes without cultural ones, but they are rare. The author concludes that a better examination of the relationship between patterns and cultural accomplishments would include more than just cultivational achievement.
Examples are cited in the Greek philosophers with their Stoic, Epicurean, and Skeptic school. Also mentioned is the Later Mediterranean Philosophy and Neo-Pythagoreanism, with the Christian Apologists. St. Augustine is examined as an individual. The author asserts that without Augustine, a link would have been missing between Christian thought and Scholasticism. However, this is in contrast to Kroeber who believes Augustine’s influence came from the already existing power of the Church. Kroeber’s results support his theory that genius occurs in waves, but this author begs the possibility of isolated genius in Augustine.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANDREA CUCCARO University of Central Florida (David E. Jones)
Strong, Edward W. A Question of Interpretation. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol.50(2):216-224.
Edward Strong looks at the significance of Professor A. L. Kroeber’s paper “Configurations of Cultural Growth.” Kroeber focuses on those major cultures which are undergoing a growth in its cultivation and political development. Edward Strong analyzes Kroeber’s book, specifically questioning his theories.
Strong has three main questions about Kroeber’s paper. The first are the questions of time and place. Time covers the beginning, culmination, growth, decline, and ending of growth, while place covers geography. The second are questions of valuation or rating. This explains that when there are high values, there are also geniuses. The problem of high cultivation and culture patterns is the third main question. This question shows the relationship with cultural growth and the arts and sciences such as philosophy, drama, and literature. This last question seems to be at the center of Kroeber’s paper: what conditions will serve to account for socio-cultural performance? He also explains his alignment with the Spenglerian principles: one, the fundamental characteristics of major cultures and two, that these occur in partial development.
Kroeber divides philosophy to explain his theories. Philosophy is separated into two main parts by Professor Kroeber: Greek philosophy and Later Mediterranean philosophy. There are two main divisions in Greek philosophy: a productive period (lasting about three centuries) and a period of nonproductive contributions (continuous). The Later Mediterranean philosophy began with Christian Apologists and divided soon after into non-Christian and Christian groupings. One real growth took place on the pagan side during Neo-Platonism. Kroeber compares most cultural growth to these two groups. One example of this is the belief of American growth beginning where the Greeks left off.
Although Edward Strong has many questions about interpreting Professor Kroeber’s paper, he does finally come to the conclusion that Kroeber justified his beliefs on cultural growth.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
REBECCA GREENE University of Montana (John Norvell)
Thompson, Laura. Attitudes and Acculturation. American Anthropologist April-June, 1948 Vol. 50 (2): 200-215.
This article discusses results found by the Indian Education Research staff, concerning the views of Native American children toward the idea of immanent justice. The Research staff was a large cooperative project, then six years old, supported by the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, the University of Chicago, and the Society for Applied Anthropology. The study compares findings that show differences between Indian children and white children toward this issue.
Children from ages six through eighteen years were tested. Well-known child psychological experiments of a similar nature were done by Piaget and Lerner; and these results showed that in white children, there is an all-encompassing trend for children to stop believing in an immanent justice as they age. However, in Native American young people, the facts show just the opposite. The need to believe in such a guiding supernatural force only strengthens over time for Indians.
In this article, Thompson examines the history of certain tribal beliefs in order to present logical explanations for the acceptance of such an idea. She examines the beliefs of the such peoples as the Dakota Sioux, the Ojibwa, the Topawa, the Shiprock, the Oraibi, the Navaho, and the Papago. In contrast to American cultural views, Native American Indians see man as below animals in the natural world order. As hunting has long been an essential aspect of culture, a deep reverence for this concept appears to grow in children as they approach this cultural role with age. In relation to this, the Indian male sees his role as protector and guardian of animals, and this enhances the idea of keeping a sort of natural justice intact. However, also increasing is the amount of sickness and stress experienced in living up to “keeping a good heart.”
Even with increasing participation in American agricultural industry, and therefore an increasing awareness of individual power of will, Native Americans hold on to their ideas of a just a guiding force in the universe. Thompson presents that when the concept of man’s place in the universe, and how he should interact in relation to all things –moral codes- are entrenched in the development of a culture, these ideas become indispensable to that society. She concludes that certain patterns encompassing all aspects of culture tend to endure because they are spread over the symbol systems developed. She asserts that students of man and culture should not concentrate on how particular culture is transmitted through generations. Thompson is concludes that studying the nature and process of culture creation, culture stability, and culture change can students of culture and man learn about psycho-cultural change on a grand scale.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ANDREA CUCCARO University of Central Florida (Dr. David Jones)
Thompson, Laura. Attitudes and Acculturation. American Anthropologist January-March, 1948. Vol.50(1):200-215.
The author uses previous studies conducted by various anthropologists, as well as tests administered by the Indian Education Research staff to demonstrate how adolescents of five different tribes held similar and yet various beliefs of an immanent justice even after being acculturated into white America. The author sets out to prove that if government officials desire to implement various programs it is imperative for the government administration to understand what these beliefs are, specific to the tribe, and they should then build on Native beliefs in order for their programs to be effective.
The tests described in Laura Thompson’s opening paragraph were given to a thousand native children between the ages of 6 and 18 including 13 different groups and 5 various tribes: Dakota Sioux, Northern Ojibwa, Navaho, Papago, and Hopi. She uses the test results to further explain the basic orientations of these 5 tribes by combining the results with previous anthropological research done regarding each tribe’s specific world-view. The world-views included in this article deal with what each tribe perceives their universe to be as well as their conception of the roles both humans and non-humans play in regards to the nature of the universe. Because all 5 cases clearly differed in their subsistence patterns as well as their world-views the conclusion was drawn that at one time they perhaps all held a hunting world-view. By this the author means a view regarding man as a helpless being made subject to a superhuman (of which animals are often included). As subsistence patterns began to change so did Natives view of the world. The author notes that as a more “systematic control of food supply” was implemented Indians began to view humans as having more control over the universe and a switch in what they saw as the source of power moved from non-humans to humans. However, basic orientations of the source of power remain a part of Native world-view despite their acculturation into mainstream American culture. This point is supported by the test results of the children. Tests were administered to both acculturated and non-acculturated communities of the same tribes with regards to weather or not the adolescent believed in immanent justice. There was a small decrease in the belief when becoming acculturated, however the fact that the belief remained affluent in their society indicates that the belief has not disappeared and must be recognized by government officials when trying to work with Natives weather it be either economically or socially.
TIFFANY FERDERER University of Montana (John Norvell)
Voget, Fred. Individual Motivation in the Diffusion of The Wind River Shoshone Sundance to the Crow Indians. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948 Vol.50(4):634-646.
Acculturation has afflicted the Native Americans with the hardships of striving to find familiarity within an alien culture. The regaining of Native American tradition provides individuals and peoples with a sense of liberation from the oppressive European culture. This article examines the pertinent roles of individuals in the distribution of the Shoshone Sundance to the Crow Nation.
The historical diffusion of the Wind River Shoshone Sundance to the Crow agency is chronologically traced from 1941-1946. Similarities and differences of four individuals’ motivations involved in the acquisition of leadership positions in the Crow agency were presented in the article as well as the primary source of knowledge for this divergent form of Shoshone Sundance, a Shoshone medicine man. The backgrounds of these key figures were individually accessed as to how each became and retained their involvement with this cross-tribal form of the Sundance, thus demonstrating the importance of individual motivation during the process of transferring cultural characteristics from one community to another. Similar explanations of the individualistic motivation that were given included the rejection of the American economic system, lack of faith in the modern medical system, oppression from the white Americans, and a rejection of the Christian faith for various reasons. Therefore, the revitalization of Native tradition has been beneficial for the Native Americans in dealing with the acculturation process.
KIMBERLY APRYLE: University of Montana (John Norvell)
Voget, Fred. Individual motivation in the Diffusion of the Wind River Shoshone Sundance to the Crow Indians. American Anthropologist October-December, 1948 Vol.50 (4): 634-646
Native Americans have faced many obstacles in their struggle to keep their cultures and traditions alive. This article tells the tale of four individuals of the Crow agency and their access and involvement with the Wind River Shoshone Sundance. It also illustrates how oppressed Native Americans were living in the United States.
During the years of 1942 through 1946 many Native Americans of the Crow nation were experiencing difficulties of being challenged by the “modern” world including the dominant Christian faiths and capitalist economic system. Many Crow also did not have much belief in the modern medical system.
One Shoshone man and four Crow men are attributed with introducing the Shoshone Sundance to the Crow agency. Their involvement with the reservation and the Sundance has brought a new tradition to the Indian nation. Over the course of five years, four Crow men learned the Sundance from a Shoshone man, and subsequently introduced the dance to their extended family. At first, these men did not willingly believe in the dance and its powers. One particular man participated because he was asked to sing for the dance, which is held annually. Eventually, these men let this dance and its powers become a part of their traditions.
Both culture and personal experience were factors in the decision and attitude of these men towards the Shoshone Sundance.
SUSAN PUGH: Indiana Univ. of Penn. (Miriam Chaiken)
White, Leslie A. The Definition and Prohibition of Incest. American Anthropologist 1948 Vol. 50: 416-434.
In this article, White’s aim is to promote and propose the use of a culturological explanation for the existence of a universal prohibition of incest. To do this, he first examines popular anthropological explanations for this universal prohibition, including the explanation of incest prohibition as “instinctive,” Lewis H. Morgan’s notion that inbreeding causes degeneration and is thus prohibited universally, and other theories purported by Freud, E. Westermarck, and Emile Durkheim. After refuting all such examples, White then suggests an explanation hinted at by E.B. Tylor in his 1888 essay, “On a Method of Investigating the Development of Institutions, Applied to the Laws of Marriage and Descent.” Tylor’s thesis was that primitive peoples faced “the simple practical alternative of marrying-out and being killed out.” Thus, Tylor viewed exogamy as a necessary component for the survival of primitive peoples. The only fault in Tylor’s notion that White sees is that “the origin of incest tabus greatly antedates clan organization.”
With this in mind, White builds his culturological explanation for universal incest prohibition. His explanation proceeds from this premise: “Man, like all other animal species, is engaged in a struggle for existence.” Because of this, cooperation becomes key to survival. The family was the first cooperative social group, and thus, larger families were more successful in obtaining food, protecting themselves, and various other tasks that were necessary to survival. From this, laws of exogamy were developed and strictly enforced to enable the formation of even larger, multi-family cooperative groups, increasing the productivity and efficiency of the group. Thus, in White’s view, incest taboos were created to enable economic benefits.
To further defend his theory, White cites that among lower primates little cooperation is present, and that in these animal groups incest is common. His explanation for this, in support of his theory, is that in lower primate groups communication consists only of simple, symbolic gestures. Because of this, cooperative groups were inevitably limited to family groups. With the advent of language (and thus culture), these cooperative groups were finally able to expand to become multi-family groups through laws of exogamy.
White finds the popular proclivity to seek psychological explanations for the universal prohibition of incest as the main cause of confusion regarding explanations of incest taboos. Because one is engaged in finding psychological explanations for incest taboos, one can easily miss “clues,” such as that given by E.B. Tylor, which lead one to the solution to the problem—a solution derived culturologically.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DAN MCMACKIN University of Central Florida (David Jones)
White, Leslie A. The Definition and Prohibition of Incest. American Anthropologist July-September, 1948 Vol.50(3):416-435
“The subject of incest has a strange fascination for man.” This article attempts to explain why incest is prohibited and why the definition of incest varies from culture to culture. It begins by explaining and refuting some of the most common explanations. These theories include Lowie’s explanation of incest as instinctual, Morgan’s claim that incest is prohibited because it causes biological degeneration, and Freud’s dramatic theory of patriarchal overthrow by a dominant male’s sons and the resulting submission that resulted from guilt and led to an aversion to the Father’s mates. Also rejected are Westermarck’s thesis that there exist no erotic feelings between people living very closely together, and the attribution of incest prohibition to totemism supported by Durkheim.
The author suggests that all of these theorists “have been on the wrong track,” even though a sufficient scientific theory has existed for decades. The search for the answer to the incest perplexity has concentrated too much on psychological and sociological interpretations, instead of on the more adequate culturological point of view. E. B. Tylor’s culturological stand published in 1888 gives a wholly satisfactory explanation: “Again and again in the world’s history, savage tribes must have had plainly before their minds the simple practical alternative between marrying-out and being killed out.” This view suggests that as the human species evolved and developed the ability to speak, its capacity to communicate became limitless. As the family group could now communicate, and thus “became a corporation,” the economic (survival) advantage of cooperation with other families became clear. Cooperation between families cannot be established if individuals marry within their own group; incest taboos ensured marrying into some other family group, and the resulting alliance was advantageous to both groups. Theories of internal discord caused by incest also support this science of culture stance. Incest taboos initiated a form of social development that promotes ways of life which economically benefit individuals and the group.
Variations in definitions and prohibitions of incest vary from culture to culture according to the range of situations under which cooperation takes place. Incest and exogamy are defined in the terms of different, culturally determined, modes of life of a people.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
LAEL GABRIAN University of Montana (John Norvell)