American Anthropologist 1953
Bagby, Philip C. Culture and the Causes of Culture American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):535-554
Philip C. Bagby argues that vague and loose definitions of words may be having detrimental effects on the determination of the causes of culture. He points out that there is an underlying difficulty in cracking the precise meanings of words and the way in which they are commonly used. Bagby states that defining basic concepts more precisely would serve to clarify, and possibly solve, the difficulties in vague and loose word usage. This would in turn simplify, or once again solve, the question of the causes of culture.
Bagby begins with a detailed description of science and continues on to describe such words as level and abstraction. He sets the stage for describing, in detail, a precise and homogeneous definition of culture. By understanding the process of science and how terms such as level and abstraction relate to the sciences, one can begin to understand a meaning and definition of culture. Bagby begins with a very broad description of culture and step-by-step describes how the definition is reducible to a single homogeneous description. He employs psychology and anthropology to reduce the description of culture from “what men think, what they do and what they make”, to “culture is behavior” (pp.538-539). Bagby is yet to be satisfied. Such greats as Edward Burnett Tylor and Margaret Mead are cited to show difficulties in Bagby’s first description of culture as a behavior. He moves to “culture is similarities of behavior in the members of a particular society”, to “culture is regularities of behavior in the members of a particular society” (p.539). Once again, Bagby comes up unsatisfied. The previous description of culture, as he demonstrates in detail, overlaps with physiology and psychology. He states earlier in his article, that if precisely defined, there should not be any overlapping between sciences. Again Bagby describes culture as, “regularities of behavior among the members of particular societies but not among members of all societies” (p. 540). This description, according to Bagby, excludes cultural universals such as language. Finally, with the exclusion of regularities of behavior that are clearly hereditary in origin, Bagby settles on a description of culture that is precise and homogeneous. “The realm of culture, then, is constituted by regularities (other than those which are clearly hereditary) in the behavior of members of particular societies, a society being here defined simply as a group of people who interact with one another more than they do with outsiders” (p. 541). Bagby goes on to remark that the new description may not be fitted to every context, but it does clarify the relationship between cultural anthropology and certain closely related sciences, such as sociology, cultural history, and cultural psychology.
Now that the definition of culture has been established, the process of tackling the cause of culture can be undertaken. Prior to excavating the causes, Bagby turns to individual words and their precise and homogeneous meanings. This time he takes a look at what it is that we mean by the word cause. A cause “is an antecedent feature of some recurrent process” (p. 545). When we usually think of a cause, we usually subsume an effect. Bagby cites the philosopher David Hume as saying, “we can never observe any connection or flow between cause and effect; all that we can prove is their recurrence as part of a regularly recurrent sequence of events” (p. 545). In science, the concept of recurrent processes should be utilized in the search for the cause of a particular cultural phenomenon. Bagby goes on to describe in detail several possibilities of culture. Causes such as human nature, physiological structure, race, and environment are stated as being possible causes of culture. These causes cannot explain the differences between cultures, but can explain the similarities among them. Individual behavior is discussed as not being able to cause culture and culture is discussed as not being able to cause human behavior. In no way is Bagby trying to undermine the idea of individualism or the notion of free will.
In Philip C. Bagby’s outlining of the precise meanings of words that have caused fuzziness in previous literature, it was easy to recognize the exact usage in the context at hand. The assemblage of meanings and causes of culture tied nicely together; there was no jumping back and fourth. The article pulls information in from a variety of disciplines, such as anthropology, philosophy, psychology and history. Without a previous general knowledge of science and the various disciplines, the context of the article would have been difficult to pick up. Overall, the article was easy to read and understand given a previous general knowledge of science and various disciplines. On a bad note, the length of the article was exhaustive.
SARAH M. LITTLE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Bagby, Philip H. Culture and the Causes of Culture. American Anthropologist January, 1953. Vol. 55:535-554.
In this article, the author addresses issues concerning the origins of culture. He states that although the explicit causes of culture are difficult to identify, the real problem lies in the weak definition of fundamental concepts. Bagby suggests that by better defining these abstract ideas, the ultimate question of what causes culture will at least be elucidated, if not resolved. He then proceeds to systematically define three basic abstractions: “level,” “culture,” and “cause.”
By giving examples from other areas of science, Bagby ultimately relates the concept of “level” with the idea that some classes of abstractions are commensurable while others are not. He argues that previous attempts at categorizing subject-matters from various sciences into larger classes still experienced a degree of incommensurability, and that the same set of phenomena can yield a number of diverse abstractions which not necessarily commensurable with one another.
Bagby then proceeds to define “culture.” Beginning with the notion that it is “what men think, what they do and what they make,” he quickly rejects both material objects as well as mental events in an effort to achieve a homogeneous description arguing that behavior is the only entity that can be directly observed that is meaningful to the anthropologist. He then explicates that it is the similarities of behavior among individuals that is really significant and ultimately defines culture as the “regularities of behavior in the members of a particular society.” These specific regularities are then contrasted with “regular” behavior in detail.
Finally, Bagby defines “cause” as “an antecedent feature of some recurrent process.” He justifies this by stating that the connection between cause and effect can never be directly observed; rather, the events can only be proven to be part of a sequence of events that consistently reoccur. Regularities rather than causes are what should be looked for. Thus, Bagby emphasizes that the concept of causality has been superseded and that a student of culture should instead concentrate on describing sequences of principal forms.
This article also stresses that culture can only be explained by other commensurate regularities and that individual behavior is not a part of the recurrent process involving culture. Moreover, culture cannot be considered a cause of individual behavior. Understanding these concepts, however, will ultimately lead to greater insight into cultural anthropology.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CAROL CHEN Columbia University (Paige West)
Bartholomew, George A. Jr. and Joseph B. Birdsell Ecology and the Protohominids American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol. 55(4):481-498
This article is straight forward look at the ecology of protohominids. It focuses on how the environment would have affected the development of humans and how interspecies relations in other mammals relates to the development of human culture. The beginning of the article deals mostly with the way mammals develop, using some common traits such as defense of territory and population equilibrium to infer how protohominids might have developed. The next section uses common sense in relating knowledge of current species and what is known about current animal species to develop and ecology for australopithecines. The article accounts for that fact that it is most likely that australopithecines only shared the earth with hominids for a very short time period if at all. As for the use of tools it is inferred that australopithecines used tools but only simple rocks with edges. The authors also think about the variety and size of possible food with only the most rudimentary clubs and rocks as weapons. This article uses simple principals and rules that must be followed by any animal in a stable ecological environment and comes to several interesting conclusions that reflect understandings theories of protohominid life.
The article was not hard to understand but did require some background in either anthropology or ecology. I found the article particularly interesting as Bartholomew and Birdsell came to many conclusions shared by contemporary paleoanthropologists.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
MICHAEL FOURNIER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Birdsell Ecology and the Protohominids. American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol. 55(4): 481-498
This article focuses primarily on the ecology. Man is clearly defined as first being an animal and that is how his limits are tested. The article sets up a historic and logical analysis of man, his origins and how he relates to others.
The article begins with discussion of mammals. The history of mammals serves as a basis for the understanding of the origin of other animals. The authors go into detail about the order of primates and how they developed and they relate the evolution of the mammals to the development of the protohominid. The social behavior, food size, population density and territorality, and the size of the protohominid are discussed and inferences are made about their origins based on mammals.
Next the origins of the australopithecines are examined. The use of tools for survival, the type of food they ate, and their social behavior are examined. Fossils were used extensively in determining this data and serve as a huge aid in understanding the australopithecine. The piece stresses the importance of ecology in the understanding of evolution and that in our environment every species depends on another. Energy is an important source of the relationships between the population and its environment.
The paper was only created because of inquiries that have been made about the origin of species. The article shows that it is essential to ask questions because only then will people look for answers. The article was written clearly and the information was understandable and easy to follow.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
MARCELA CALIDONIO Columbia University (Paige West)
Bennett, Wendell C. Area Archeology American Anthropologist January-March, 1953 Vol.55(1):5-16
The basis of archeology is now exact location of finds, which leads to distribution problems, which then involve regions and area interpretations. Ethnologists are not very concerned with the regional approach as this rarely leads to new theories. Archeology on the other hand, makes many interpretations based on this same approach.
The archeologist excavated a site and tried to obtain the most information as possible about that particular site. Interpretations from this information is seldom limited to a single site so the archeologist makes up for this limitation by looking at a number of sites and directing the samples toward regional patterns.
A survey of an area is the first step and surface remains or pit excavations are examined to understand the range of the materials found. Stratigraphic excavations then determine the time span of the culture. Many specialists and special field techniques are used to properly collect this information. Many archeologists consider this information necessary as a basis for generalizations to understand past cultures. These generalizations fall into either time or space.
Archeology has been said to be limited to material culture and cannot be compared to contemporary ethnological studies because of this. Archeology is not only the study of the remains of past cultures, but also “of ways of life as reflected by these remains”(7). Area studies offer promise for combining archeology and ethnography. The first interest is the nature and size of the unit for area analysis. The most useful units are cultural regions and sub-regions.
Various disciplines are involved in area analysis including geographers, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, psychologists, linguists, and humanists. These disciplines must merge in the analysis of an area “for sound regional analysis”. Area analysis can be used in archeology for any region, although some areas are more favorable than others. Regions of complex cultures are more relevant to archeology. Since unit sites are limited samples, the area approach is most likely used when looking at past civilizations. Bennett gives the example of the Central Andes as a favorable area analysis and explains, in depth, the characteristics and factors supporting this as a good example.
Bennett gives clear statements regarding area analysis and how it is connected with archeology. He gives an excellent, detailed example of an area that is conducive to archeological study. This article is clear, to the point, and easy to follow.
KELLY MARCIKIC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Bennett, Wendell C. Area Archeology. American Anthropologist, 1953 Vol. 55: 5-16
Bennett’s objective is to convey the idea that area archeology is extremely important to ethnography in that it helps anthropologists avoid making sweeping generalizations about the culture in a certain area if they fail to analyze every aspect of the culture that makes it what it is. He claims that archaeology is so dependent on the identification of certain areas that they have been designated with names such as, Southwest, Plains, Caribbean, and others, and that ethnologists to date are less concerned with a regional approach and do not often provide area summaries. His problem with ethnological generalizations is that they are commonly extended to include the whole tribe while paying less attention to details in tribal components, while altogether ignoring the ethnological findings compared or contrasted with other cultures in the same region. He believes that as anthropological interests shift from isolated primitive cultures to more complex civilizations, the area approach becomes more favorable (7).
According to Bennett, regional analysis should be inter-disciplinary and involve the work of the geographer, historian, anthropologist, sociologist, political scientist, economist, psychologist, linguist, and humanist (8). He uses the study of the Central Andes, which contains subdivisions and population clusters that have remained the same for many years, to show that an area study is needed to understand the culture of its people. He then explains how each of the stages in the evolution in the culture of the people of the Central Andes can be analyzed through area archaeology. He named these periods the Formative, or hunting and gathering period, the Florescent, or development of farming and architecture, the Expansionist, or formation of states, and the Contemporary, or Spanish conquest of the area. He concludes that, in order for area archaeology to be properly applied, it should take into consideration surveys, chronology, typology, taxonomy, technology, art and style analysis, architectural study, horizon styles, traditions, distributions, and functional interpretations (15).
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALISHA ANDREA ADAMS Columbia University (Paige West)
Braidwood, Robert Did Man Once Live By Beer Alone? American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):515-526
In this symposium, Robert Braidwood raises an interesting question: which came first, the bread or the beer. He offers an archeological evolution of tools which would point to the development of beer over bread first. A panel of professors subsequently shed further light on this isssue. Professor J.D. Sauer leads the pro-beer first side of the debate by pointing out several indications that beer may have been invented prior to bread. He suggests that the oldest domesticated plant may have been yeast. Sauer also suggests that the methods for growing and containing grains were very primative intitially and would have certainly lead to much fermentation, an integral process in the brewing of beer. Sauer’s argument is that beer was discovered accidentally as a bi-product of the early processes of bread making. Thus, for Sauer, before the process of bread making was finalized and perfected, the process of beer making had already been discovered
For the most part, however, the consensus among other professors at the symposium seemed to argue that the process of making beer followed the development of making bread. Hans Helbaek notes that there is ample evidence of an evolutionary schema involved in the development of bread making, whereas such a schema is not existant for beer. Paul Mangelsdorf makes some very convincing arguments about a similar evolutionary schema proposed. He shows that even the earlist forms of bread involved a intermediary processes of heating the grains. This process would have stopped the fermenting process required for the brewing of beer. He argues it was not until leavened bread was developed (requiring both heat and yeast) that the process of brewing beer was discovered. Hugh Cutler protests the idea of Sauer’s that yeast was the first domesticated plant by stating that yeast simply was not domesticated, but a natural element of nature. Carleton Coon points out that porridge was one of the earliest methods of developing bread, which was made by Indians who made no beer. Several other professors comment at the symposium, with the majority response relating to the pro-bread side of the argument.
Because this symposium entailed rather brief responses and was more like an open debate than an in depth article, it is somewhat meaningless to critique each individuals response. Also, since the topic at hand is one that is clearly unresolved, it is difficult to evaluate whose evidence seems more convincing or plausible. However, as a general comment, each speaker’s comments were very clear and they combined to make an interesting debate. I found this article intriging and engaging.
DAN LINK Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Castellvi. Father Marcelino deCastellvi. American Anthropologist January—March, 1953 Vol.55(1): 239.
This is an obituary of Father Marcelino de Castellvi, who was the Spanish founder and organizer of “CILEAC” : Centro de Investigaciones Linguisticas y Ethnologicas de la Amazonia Colombiana (translation: Center of Linguistic and Ethnological Investigations of the Colombian Amazon). CILEAC consisted of a library of books, manuscript materials, and maps as well as a museum. De Castellvi published mostly on the languages of the Amazon region. He died in South America at the age of 42.
This obituary gives very little information about de Castellvi and his work, but the information it does provide is straightforward.
ANNE ATKINSON Barnard College (Paige West)
Count, Earl W. Symposium: Do We Need More Becoming Words? American Anthropologist, 1953. 55(1): 395-403.
Count begins this symposium with the statement that the English language contains a far greater number of words denoting the concept of ‘state’ than it has for the concept of ‘process’. Expressing his difficulty in finding the correct words to use in his book on the evolution of human sociality, he circulated a list of concepts for which he felt no word in the English language properly addressed. The rest of the article consists of various responses to his query, as well as Count’s rejoinder.
Count lists eight concepts or processes that he feels are lacking in adequate terminology, which include the processes of ‘coming into existence’, ‘rendering precise’, ‘becoming human’, ‘achieving culture’, and ‘creating value’. These elusive concepts, Count posits, suffer due to a cultural conception centered on ‘being’ as opposed to ‘happening’. Count believes that defining these concepts will expand our cultural thought patterns and hopefully change our conception of ‘state’.
Many of the responses can be generalized in saying that the authors believe that Count’s terms would be better off remaining defined in vernacular phrases rather than specific new terms. Most responses suggest that the solution lies in Count’s own phrasing of the concepts in his initial letter, and warn against developing an “obscure technical jargon”.
Count’s rejoinder insists that his intention was misunderstood, and clarifies the purpose of his query. The main point is that the lack of these specific terms in the English language reflects a specific course of what Count calls “culture-history”, and that he believes that “Occidental” culture is on the brink of a re-orientation of thought towards the concept of ‘pure process’, without ‘state’ as the start or end point.
INGRID BERGER Barnard College (Paige West)
Devereux, George. Geza Roheim 1891-1953. American Anthropologist Vol.54: 420.
This article summarizes the contributions of Roheim to the field of anthropology. He is an important figure because he linked two important fields involved in studying human behavior and interactions: psychology and anthropology. After studying at the Universities of Leipzig and Berlin and obtaining his Ph. D (in geography) from the University of Budapest in 1914, Roheim entered into the field of psychoanalysis. He was professionally associated with the AAA, the American Folklore Society, the Hungarian Ethnographic Society and the New York Psychoanalytic Society. He published over 15 books and monographs and numerous articles also, he edited the annual journal: Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences. Unfortunately, he received very little recognition during his lifetime for his contributions to science. His main field of study was the psychoanalytic study of society and culture in the field of culture and personality problems.
MOLLY BYRNES Columbia University (Paige West)
Driver, Harold E. Statistics in Anthropology American Anthropologist January-March, 1953 Vol.55(1):42-59.
Harold Driver attempts to explain why anthropology varies from other social sciences such as economics, psychology, and sociology, that put a larger emphasis on the use of statistics and how anthropology has rationalized its position on the use of statistical data in its research. He begins with reasons why it is more difficult for anthropologists to incorporate statistics into their work, starting with the most obvious, that anthropology covers a greater range of subject matter, time, and space than other social sciences. The broadness of anthropology makes it more difficult to apply mathematics to data collected by the anthropologist. He moves on to say, that in cultural anthropology, the lack of quantitative thinking on the part of the peoples we are studying makes it even more difficult to apply statistics to their work. He also notes that in spite of the lack of quantitative expression, anthropological data is important to the other social sciences because it often runs contrary to the generalizations formed by other disciplines about human nature and can be used to test the validity of such statements.
Driver provides a brief history of the use of statistics in each field of anthropology in an attempt to show how each field is beginning to devise ways to incorporate statistics into their work. Driver concludes that many anthropologists still believe that those who use mathematics consider it to be a technique which insures them against any error. For this reason alone, Driver feels it is important to begin using more mathematics in anthropology because, “the statistician knows better than anyone else that mere figures are never sufficient, . . . The best criticisms of statistics are made by statisticians” (54-55). In other words, even if anthropologists disapprove of the use of mathematics in research, it is important for them to understand, in order to critique the work of others. However, Driver clearly feels that anthropologists should continue with the trend of applying statistical methods to their fieldwork wherever possible.
The brief histories of the use of mathematics in fields of anthropology are well put together and provide the reader with good insight into the origins of statistical data in each field by pointing out who initiated the use of statistics in their work and why. Unfortunately, Driver focuses very little attention on why anthropology has been hesitant to incorporate statistics into their work, and what kind of impact that may have on the discipline of anthropology, which has traditionally shown a preference for qualitative data versus quantitative data in the past.
In order to fully digest all of the information provided, it is wise to read this article slowly, bit by bit.
SARA A. FELLOWS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Driver, Harold E. Statistics In Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol. 55: 42-57
Harold Driver acknowledges Anthropology as a subject of being of much use to other social sciences and that it is its broadness and lack of quantitative thinking which limits its use of statistics. Nevertheless, Driver finds this lack of statistics to cause anthropological findings to be unreliable.
Driver describes how different areas in Ahtropology, do, however use statistics and how they vary in how much they rely on them. For example it is physical anthropology that uses the most statistics, often employing Karl Pearson’s coefficient of racial likeness. Somatotypologists, similarly have also depended on statistics to test their objectivity and reliability, and geneticists have also need knowledge and use of statistics for their research.
In archaeology the first appearance of mathematics of any kind was in 1817 by Spier. From then on it has continued using statistics to decide, for example, if the percentile differences of their findings are real or just a sampling error. Archeology has used statistics for much of its methodology as well, like in radiocarbon. Likewise, in linguistics, statistics are used to analyze relations within a single language and to do comparative research between languages.
Furthermore, contradicting general belief, Driver states that ethnology and social anthropology also make use of statistics. For example, Driver determined reliability and validity of test data for the first time by statistically comparing data from two informants. Nevertheless, the standards required by statistics for validity requirements are sometimes impossible to obtain by ethnological and social anthropological data. For example, Chretien came to the conclusion that for statistical validation it is safe to use inter-tribal correlation coefficients based on 500 or more traits; but is in rare occasions when we could expect to have 500 tribes for one sole research.
Although twenty years ago anthropology avoided statistics – and still continues to do so, according to Driver – now their use is more frequent and accepted. Statistics are now recognized as a helpful tool to gather accurate data and Driver argues, could be even of more use if anthropologist decided to take them into consideration. Moreover, if research is prepared with the preconceived idea of the use of statistics, the data gathered could be analyzed and interpreted more easily through statistics. Nevertheless, it should be understand that it should not take precedence over any other method that could be more suitable depending on the situation.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
RAQUEL ZEPEDA York University (Noami Adelson).
Dyson, Robert H. Jr. Archeology and the Domestication of Animals in the Old World.American Anthropologist December 1953 Vol.55(5):661-673
Dyson’s objective is to discuss the origin of domestic animals during the Neolithic Revolution. A domestic animal is identified in two ways, ” first a domestic animal may be defined ‘culturally’, as one which breeds in captivity and is of some significant use to a community” (661). Secondly, a domestic animal may be defined osteologically as “demonstrable by the morphology of the bones themselves…it necessarily follows cultural domestication in time” (661). The author characterizes these animals as domestic by ” the fact that an animal is controlled and utilized” (661).
The author discusses domestication of four animals in the Near East, cattle, pig, sheep, and goat. The animals’ introduction spread the idea of domestication through the Old World in two ways: ” (1) as an idea which was applied either to the wild relatives of already domesticated animals or to entirely new species, and (2) as a movement of the animals themselves into areas formerly unoccupied by them or into areas inhabited by their wild relatives” (670).
In a brief summary, Dyson stated that, “it would be unrealistic to infer that all domestic animals in the Old World had to be derived from the Near East either directly or indirectly” (670). He believed that both archeologists and zoologists needed to review this subject more adequately by using, “current concepts and taxonomy” (670), in regard to the origin of domestic animals.
This article was very interesting, but it became confusing when the detailed description of all the different types of species of animals was listed. The detailed description of each animal could have been just as effective if it was shorter. The author’s main objective was concluded, however there was no sound evidence given if the four species mentioned were the only domesticated animals.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
JENINE CLEMENTS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Dyson, Robert H. Archeology and the Domestication of Animals in the Old World.American Anthropologist 1953 Vol. 55: 661-671.
Archeology and the Domestication of Animals in the Old World reviews the problem of the origination of domestic animals of four domestic animals: cattle, sheep/goat and pig, among others, during the Neolithic Period. The problem stems from the fact that there are two different definitions of “domestic”— an archeological and a zoological definition. Archeologists report different findings from that of the zoologist. Therefore, we are unsure of whose information we should follow.
The origination of the cattle, sheep/goat and the pig is pretty clear between the archeologist and the zoologist, according to Dyson. The Neolithic economy is based partly on the domestication of these animals, which first developed in the Near East, by the fifth millennium B.C. Dyson says that the earliest domestic cattle was found in Egypt, and appeared to have different physical characteristics from one another. There were cattle that were large and small, long-horned and short-horned, humped and humpless. Though they had these different features, they were all known in the Fertile Crescent area during the Neolithic Period.
The origins of the domestic pig can be found in the Karim Shahir, Jarmo, Anau and Mohenjo-Daro areas of Iraq. Their origination is quite obscure because of their nomenclature. It is very confusing due to the difficulty in differentiating which area the pigs are from.
The problem is even more complex in the case of the sheep. It was first thought that there was a single origin for all sheep, but this theory was no longer valid. There ended up being several different types of sheep that originated from different areas. For example, it is known that the earliest domestic sheep appeared to be from the Near East and the turbary sheep was probably descended from O. orientalis Lyd. or O. vignei Blyth.
The goat is known to be present in many prehistoric eras but has not been reported on very well, so is commonly included with the sheep references as an alternate identification for some information. Other animals, such as the horse, camel elephant, water buffalo, and chicken were introduced much later in the second millennium B.C. Also, not only did animals originate from the Near East, but from all over the world, including many areas around Europe and Africa. However, domestication in these continents came later after initial domestication in the Near East. The continents that followed the Near East with domestication served as areas that contributed to the multiplicity of domestic breeds.
Consequently, the domestication of animals first began in the Near East during the fifth millennium B.C. with the cattle, goat/sheep and the pig and followed with the domestication of other animals in different parts of the world. This caused a mating of animals, which created breeds of animals and produced a greater variety of animals.
YUMI CHO Barnard College (Paige West)
Edel, Abraham. Some Relations of Philosophy and Anthropology. American Anthropologist December 1953 Vol.55 (5):649-660.
As the title clearly explains, Abraham Edel explores the relationship between philosophy and anthropology. In this article, Edel groups philosophy with all the other sciences in order to represent anthropology as a separate category. As anthropology becomes more systematic, Edel points out, philosophy must be called upon more and more often to meet the demands of understanding human nature. At the same time, anthropology may be increasingly called into service for those trying to reach solutions to philosophical questions. In five sections, Edel defines the sciences, uses the example of morality in society to illuminate the relationship, and describes the method in answering anthropological questions and how philosophy relates.
According to Edel, anthropology has a logical advantage over the other sciences as it deals with small groups of relatively homogenous peoples. This description is the movement towards a more systematic theory of social interaction and means of allocating value. The paradox of anthropology is the constant change amongst the peoples being studied. What philosophy contributes is an anchored perspective of human nature; Edel describes philosophy as ‘old’ and consisting of a history that is absent in anthropology.
The change that occurs in anthropology is described in Edel’s own special field of inquiry, the treatment of morality. Edel argues that at present, morality acts as a reference point of those peoples and institutions that determine society’s moral code. This mirrored reflection has become a way of describing people. However, it is only through a psychological or philosophical analysis of the systematic social or cultural structure that will be able to frame the question of human nature.
Edel’s analysis of the relationship is further expressed through the methodology of understanding a philosophical proposal. According to Edel, it would take a set of various biological, psychological “givens” that individualizes the conditions. It would also require an exploration of scope and a “mode of operation” that include limitations and pressures on the principle factors. While the framing is conducted through philosophy, it is through anthropological skills and methods that will actually reach any conclusions.
CLARITY RATING: 3
KORWIN CHIU Columbia College (Paige West)
Eggan, Fred Karl Schmitt, 1915-1952 American Anthropologist 1953 Vol.55: 237-239
In his obituary of Karl Schmitt, Fred Eggan outlines the life and career path, to date, of the deceased. Karl Schmitt was just beginning of what promised to be an outstanding career in anthropology when his car collided with a train, killing him at the age of 37. Karl’s career began as a kid when he took an interest in Indian artifacts found close to his home in Washington D.C.; he spent a lot of time gathering artifacts and creating archaeological collections. Although he obtained a B.S. degree in geology from George Washington University, Schmitt’s interests shifted away from geology to archaeology.
After spending a summer on an archaeological excavation, Schmitt entered the University of Chicago in order to study under Dr. Fay Cooper Cole. Although his range of interests broadened while attending the University of Chicago, archaeology continued to be his main interest.
Schmitt served as a member of a number of archaeological excavations before he was inducted into the army not long after receiving his M.A. After leaving the air force Schmitt, returned to the University of Chicago to continue his studies. Karl Schmitt wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Archaeological Chronology of the Middle Atlantic States”, received his Ph.D., and took a position as an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Again his interests shifted, this time, from archaeology to ethnology.
The papers that Karl Schmitt published show the range of his interests.
Schmitt had been promoted to associate professor of anthropology not long before he passed away. Schmitt was scheduled to take over the chairmanship of his department a month after he died. At the time that the obituary was written, it seemed that his wife was expected to continue forward with the research that her husband had been performing.
AVIGAIL APPELBAUM Barnard College (Paige West)
Elkin, A.P. Murgnin Kinship Re-examined, and Remarks on Some GeneralizationsAmerican Anthropologist August, 1953 Vol.55(3):412-419
A.P. Elkin wrote this article in order that the importance of re-examination of societal studies might be known. Specifically, in looking at Australian tribal societies, he takes already published studies, and searches for the informants, in order to see what kind of changes the society has undergone, what the causality of such changes might be, and to correct any errors or oversights that may have been committed.
In order to accomplish this task, Elkin revisited the site of genealogy research done by Laurence and Murdock, and sought out their “eighth line”. In the paper, Elkin shows a genealogy chart, showing the many and varied types of relationships. He also discusses complications to the genealogy that present themselves in the form of “alternative marriages,” additional marriages, and terminology that uses the same word, but does not have the same meaning to each party (reciprocity). These degrees of variation in terminology, and the effect of subsections and division by moiety amongst the Murgnin, caused the initial genealogy to be slightly flawed in its interpretation. In its great complexity, it was misread by a Mr. Webb (discussed in Lawrence and Murdock’s paper), and the importance of the subsections and matrilineal descent missed or ignored by Radcliffe-Brown.
The discussion by Elkin of the various relations and their relative positions on the genealogy show a clear example of how language creates a framework for understanding culture. Without a knowledge of the word meanings within the context of language, the genealogy is simply too confusing to break down. Elkin shows this as he describes the relationships. “Thus while the son of my N ADIWALGUR of the second generation is normally my GAUAL, he may be a WAGU to me. In the latter case, son’s children of NADIWALGUR can be my galei, wife, and wife’s brother. Further, the son of this male GALEI is WAGU to me. Thus we have a case of both father and son of NADIWALGUR being WAGU instead of GAUAL” (414-415).
It should be clear from this passage that the text was extremely difficult to dissect. However, the remarks at the end were a bit more manageable. The author uses his comments on the generalizations made by previous anthropologists to show that while they may be true for some cases, they are indeed not true for all. Specifically, Radcliffe-Brown’s notion that all tribal Australian societies were patrilineal, and ideas of reciprocal kinship divided into moieties may have been true for some societies, but as Warner and Lawrence showed, and Elkin concurred, not all societies are the same, and generalizations can never be made to be all inclusive.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
DAN LINK Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Elkin, A.P. Murngin Kinship Re-Examined, and Remarks on Some Generalizations.American Anthropologist August, 1953 Vol.55(3):412-419.
The Murngin are a group of clans inhabiting the Milingimbi, or the North-East Arnhem Land as well as Yirkalla, which is to the East. The clans that compose the Murngin have common cultural practices, including a common social structure which is based on eight patrilineal lines of descent.
Examination of this seemingly complex social structure has been performed historically by several individuals including Professor W. L. Warner in 1926-29, Mr. Lawrence and Professor Murdock two decades later, and Radcliffe-Brown in 1951. Elkin, himself, visited the region with the goal of settling the conflicting reports in 1949.
Elkin reports that determining the social structure of this group was not difficult due to the good quality of information collected through both genealogy recording and discussion. He proposes that others, namely Mr. Webb, may have falsely identified patrilineal lines in the past as a result of the allowed alternative marriages, which can be misleading. Additionally, each term has a reciprocal and this may also lead to confusion. Elkin presents his conclusions in, what he identifies as, his field chart, which shows a generic genealogy, and ends by supporting Mr. Warner whose work he has reaffirmed.
Elkin then proceeds to comment on generalizations, some of which have been made by his colleagues. He here reiterates the difficulties presented by the existence of allowed alternative marriages as well as reciprocal relationships, which make wide scale generalization problematical. He also disputes the generalization made by Radcliffe-Brown concerning the universality of patrilineal groups in Australia by presenting information of the existence of matrilineal groups as well. Lastly, Elkin engages in a semantical criticism of Radcliffe-Brown’s use of “moieties” to describe the groupings of alternate generations. This is problematic, he argues, in that the term ought to be reserved for divisions based on descent.
Elkin’s own work is premised on the on the conflictual accounts of Mr. Webb and Mr. Warner, which he clarifies. However, although Elkin elucidates the patrilineal lines of descent of the Murngin, he also demonstrates the complexity of their marital system and suggests that further research be done in this area.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
LAUREN D. BLOOM Barnard College (Paige West)
Emory, Kenneth P. A Program for Polynesian Archeology. American Anthropogist. October, 1953. Vol.55:752-755
The author’s objective is to explain details about Polynesian archeology. He begins by stating that archeologists have gathered quite a bit of material about the people and culture of this area. Trying to find a significant historical explanation will help archeologists reconstruct the history. This reconstruction can only be done if they can gather information about the first settler’s culture. Up to the 1950’s, the research has only been done with the collection of bones, stones and shell artifacts and some on the surface structures. With all of the information collected, archeologists can give us a “potential range of 1,000 years that we may be able to penetrate Polynesian history” (752).
The author then states that much pioneer work has already been accomplished. In New Zealand, Roger Duff studied the grave contents of hunters of the extinct moa bird. The author himself has also done quite a bit of fieldwork. He found a carbon-14 date of approximately 1004 A.D. of a shelter on Oahu. He found dog, fowl, and pig bones in several shelters and continues to search for items such as pottery to develop conclusions about culture. He states that the presence of specific plants and animals should help unveil conclusions regarding the history of Polynesia.
Emory then goes into very little about the theories of the origin of the settler’s before explaining what archeologists still need. He notes that information deduced from Hawaii and New Zealand has helped, but more is needed. To expand on their knowledge of the area, archeologists need “a sprinkling of specimens from the earliest occupation levels of Samoa or Tonga and the Society Islands to have a framework of Polynesian prehistory(754)”.
Overall, this article is very explanatory and descriptive. While it is well written, it is very boring because the content is uninteresting. This article is easy to read and is short in length. Archeologists will find this article intriguing.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ADAM COHEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Evans-Pritchard, E. E. The Nuer Conception of Spirit in its Relation to the Social Order. American Anthropologist April-June, 1953 Vol.55(2):201-214.
In Evans-Pritchard’s essay he presents an extensive amount of information, which supports the purpose of his paper, that the Nuer conception of spirit relates to the social order. The author lays out his evidence by first defining the concept of the Nuers’ general word for spirit, which is kwoth. After kwoth is defined, Evans-Pritchard goes on to explain how the spiritual figures are regarded as social refractions of God. The author provides two main detailed examples, which clearly support this statement. The first example is a brief, but detailed summary of a religious ceremony in which speakers talk of many spirits. After this first example, Evans-Pritchard explains each spirit mentioned as a specific patron of local communities. The second example is also the account of another religious ceremony in which only one spirit, the spirit as a conception of God and oneness, is mentioned.
Following the lay out of these two examples, the author recaps the main idea that attachment of spiritual figures to social groups is indicated in various ways but mostly through ceremony. Also, he points out that the spiritual figures play different roles according to the context in which they are being used.
The last half of Evans-Pritchard’s evidence accounts for the comparison between the social order hierarchy and the spiritual order hierarchy and the accounts of borrowing spiritual names. The author, with an example, clearly shows the relation and similarities that the social and spiritual orders have. After providing evidence of this relationship, Evans-Pritchard explains that kwoth in itself is a structural dimension because it entails phenomena, great and terrible happenings such as famine and moral order, which are all attributed to God. He presents the notion the information of a spiritual hierarchy with his knowing that the Neurs have multiple levels of gods.
The author accounts for the borrowing of spiritual concepts and ideas because of the geographic location and contact with other cultures. Evans-Pritchard, along with this concept of diffusion, explains the two sides of borrowing as that of opportunity and need. He uses examples to further explain this notion. Finally in his concluding statements, Evans-Pritchard reiterates the spiritual refractions as corresponding to social activity. The author, throughout his essay, fully elaborates his ideas with clear, easy to picture examples. The vocabulary is basic and his stories as well as his notions are well worded. Because Evans-Pritchard fulfills his purpose, to explain the relation of social order with the Nuer conception of spirit with evidence that is easily comprehended, he makes his essay enlightening and enjoyable.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SUSIE CAIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Evans-Pritchard, E. E. The Nuer Conception of Spirit in it’s Relation to the Social Order. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol.55 201-214.
In this article, Pritchard sets out to define the meaning of Kwoth, Spirit, in relation to the social order of the Nuer society. Kwoth, in general means spirit, but it can mean different spirits when used in different contexts. There is kwoth a nhial, Spirit of the sky or also God, kuth dwanga, the spirits of the air, and col wic, spirits of the souls of those killed by lightning. The rest are considered spirits of the below: totemic spirits and nature spirits. All of these however can be referred to as kwoth, spirit
The problem that arises here when one is trying to translate certain instances within the Nuer society. To the Nuer they understand what they are talking about, and in what context they are talking when referring to kwoth. It is the reader who has a hard time grasping in what context the term kwoth is being used.
Pritchard tries to explain through examples the different ways in which kwoth is used, and how its meaning is understood. It is easier to look at the particular spirits as different representations of God, in relation to certain activities, events, persons, and groups. Spirit can be seen at different levels and experiences. There is the spirit as in itself, God. Then there is the spirit in persons, those spirits that fall from the sky and possess a person’s body. The person then becomes a prophet and owns the spirit within it, taking part in social groups and activities. There are also the spirits in creatures and things. These are spirits in the lowest forms.
Spirit therefore is seen as both outside social order and inside social order in the Nuer society. On one end there is God, who there is no control over. Then there are those refractions such as nature, society, and culture, which they have some say in.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SHAIZA MURJI York University (Naomi Adelson)
Fortes, Meyer. The structure of Unilineal Descent Groups. American Anthropologist January-March, 1925 Vol. 27(1): 17-.41
This article mainly focuses on Africa and the studies performed there by British anthropologists. The author points out the contributions made to African ethnography and uses research done on the different cultural groups in Africa to show the characteristics of African societies, which distinguish them from classical simple societies. These classical societies are those of places such as Australia, Melanesia or North America.
The author writes a great deal about Malinowski and his contributions and influence on the work of British anthropologists. He claims that the main theoretical influence behind the work done by these British anthropologists is Malinowski’s “functional” theory. Malinowski basically thought of culture in terms of utilitarian philosophy in which individuals use culture to satisfy universal needs by attaining culturally defined ends. Fortes stresses the importance of Malinowski’s work and how he has shown anthropologists of his time period how intensive field work can and must be done. Although Fortes feels that Malinowski is a great contributor to social anthropology in many ways, he also feels that Malinowski lacked insight for some aspects of the field. He believes that Malinowski had no real understanding of kinship or political organization and as a result was blinded to a lot of the concepts such as the kinship terms.
Using the African societies, which he refers to as unilineal descent groups, or lineage systems, Fortes exemplifies the many concepts of cultures that anthropologists such as Malinowski failed to see. He focuses on the development and persistence of African societies and how they are based upon the principles of the concept of unilineal descent groups. Using other anthropologists’ ideas and theories, he implies that the poverty of habitat and of productive technology tend to inhibit the development of unilineal descent groups by limiting the scale and stability of their settlement. However, he also shows evidence that when modern developments are introduced, these groups tend to break up. Fortes emphasizes that the key to the survival of these unilineal descent groups in Africa is corporate organization. In these African societies, individuals have no legal or political status except as a member of the lineage. All legal and political relations in society take place in context of a lineage system.
Fortes talks about the strong points of these African societies but also discusses the dangers. He says that a society made up of corporate lineages is always in danger of splitting into rival lineage factions. However, there are ways to prevent this, one of which is by extending the lineage framework to the widest range within which sanctions exist for preventing conflicts and disputes from ending in feud or warfare. He uses the examples of the Gusii, Nuer the Tiv and the Beduin to illustrate cultures that use this method. Another method is for the common interest of the political community to be asserted periodically to counter the private interest of the component lineages. Examples of cultures that practice this method are the Tallensi and the Yako.
Because the author goes very much in depth on this topic using an immense amount of data collected by various anthropologists of the past and during his time period, it would be impossible to include all his points in a short summary. Overall, Fortes does a fairly good job of incorporating data analysis and theories to show the strengths of the survival tactics of African unilineal descent groups. He portrays these groups to be strong, persistent and enduring people who through time have used their kinship ties and corporate groups to survive as distinct cultural groups who have served as good research subjects for British anthropologists.
HANNAH AHN Barnard College, Columbia University (Paige West)
Foster, George M. What is Folk Culture? American Anthropologist April-June,1953 Vol.55(2):159-173
During the past generation folk culture has been described as neither “primitive” or “civilized” but somewhere in between. This description is due to an anthropologist, Redfield, who says that folk cultures are simple cultures that are the opposite of an urban society. Foster’s article discusses the limitations of Redfield’s approach, and suggests “an alternative concept of folk culture which seems better to fit the facts of real societies as described by anthropologists” (159).
Redfield sees folk societies as small, isolated, and nearly self-sufficient groups that are homogeneous regarding race and custom. Individuals are closely interdependent, technology is simple, and there is little division of labor. He says these groups are relatively immobile, and member habits correspond to custom. Redfield sees societies as either urban or non-urban.
Foster has three main problems with this view. First, the view mixes all groups of non-urban people together, no matter how “primitive” they are, or where they live in the world. Redfield also uses the terms “primitive” and “folk” synonymously. Second, “this view presupposes that all human society must have been ‘folk’ until the beginnings of city life which, over an ever-increasing area incroaches upon and destroys folk culture” (162). Third, this concept of polar types makes it difficult to analyze folk culture in the city.
Foster sees folk societies not as whole societies that are isolated, but rather as half-societies, or parts of larger social units like nations. A folk society is a component of the nation, and is in a symbiotic spacial-temporal relationship with the more complex nation. To describe folk cultures, one must know the history, structure, and content of the larger national cultures.
Foster points out that folk cultures have had constant contact with civilization. Most of the significant elements of folk culture have filtered down from sophisticated cultures centuries earlier. Folk cultures simply reworked them to make them fit their needs. Most of these elements are considered folk instead of deriving from advanced cultures because they are not widely used anymore in the centers that developed them. For example, modern Hispanic folk villages employ the grid-pattern in their towns that was originally a colonial Spanish design, and many of the herbs used in Latin American folk medicine were used by Spanish physicians in the 16th century. Of course, not all elements are borrowed, and folk cultures even influence elements of non-folk culture. American square dancing derived from folk entertainment.
Foster concludes by saying that folk culture is a more common way of life than a complete culture, and that they exist today in areas that are not highly industrialized. Finally, he says that folk cultures will lose their qualities as they are integrated with industrial societies.
This article is well written and easy to understand with the exception of the first few pages, where too many other anthropologists’ viewpoints are expressed.
JUSTIN ZAMBO Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Foster, George M. What is Folk Culture? American Anthropologist 1953 Vol 55: 159-173.
In his article ‘What is Folk Culture?’ Foster discusses Redfield’s definition of folk-culture and folk-society and its effect on other anthropologists’ studies. He points out the inherent limitations in Redfield’s hypothesis and proposes an alternative concept of folk-culture.
Redfield’s folk-society is an ideal, mental construction of all the typical characteristics a folk-society may possess: small, isolated, homogenous in race and custom, closely interdependent, family based institutions, ritual is well developed and relied on. This definition creates a ‘polarity’ in defining urban societies and thus creates a linear scale for anything in between.
Foster compares Redfield’s concept to Durkheim’s horde and Tonnies’ Gemeinschaft. He points to the shortcomings of unilinear theories when applied to existing societies. He gives examples of Guatemalan Indian villages and West African urban centers, which function as urban societies and folk society respectively, in complete contradiction to the linear concept.
Foster then proposes his concept: folk societies are integral parts of the larger, pre-industrial society, existing interdependently and interactively with it. He examines pre-industrial Latin America and supports his theory with examples. He looks at a wide variety of customs in medicine, music, pottery decoration, civil organization, dance etc. and finds that in most cases folk culture descends from urban culture, folk ways are adapted from the – as perceived – “higher” society.
He concludes, that folk culture appeared with the urban revolution and the ‘folk-stratum’ existed in the pre-industrial society in rural and urban settings. With higher degrees of industrialization the folk-cultures are disappearing or assimilating into the industrial society and cannot sustain their existence.
HANNAH WEITZENFELD York University (Naomi Adelson)
Gillin, John. Ralph Linton, 1893-1953. American Anthropologist, 1953. Vol. 56: 274-280.
Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale University, was a skilled observationist and a unique mind whose enthusiasm and concise explanation left an indelible mark on the field of anthropology.
He was born on February 27, 1893 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in a strict, regimented Quaker household. His formal education began at Swarthmore College where he received his B.A. in 1915. By 1916 he had completed his second field expedition, locating the first Archaic culture site south of New England and had attained his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. He achieved a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1925; although it wasn’t until 1928 that Linton officially entered academic life when he was appointed to an Associate Professorship at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the anthropology department of Columbia University in 1937, where he was made chairman one year later. In 1946, he accepted the position of Sterling Professor at Yale.
Linton spent the first sixteen years of his career as a field archeologist and museum anthropologist, interests he continued to pursue upon entering academic life by maintaining his museum associations and field involvement. His extensive field experience influenced his anthropological interests, eventually focused on psycho-social cultural influences. He published a number of works with this concern including The Study of Man, An Introduction. His ability to synthesize ideas and recall esoteric fact is exemplified in this volume. The Study of Mane, as other publications, allowed for his creation of new theories bolstered by a variety of cross discipline theory and physical evidence. It was such unfettered insight and original construct of thought that led his attaining an unprecedented number of awards. These awards included being named a Viking Fund Medalist, receiving the Huxley Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, and becoming a member of the National Research Council, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies among other honors.
Linton’s death, on December 24, 1953, due to one in a series of heart attacks did not impact his contributions to the field as both a personality and academic. The commendations he received prove his lifetime achievements. His essays and books are testament to his articulate use of “simple English” and moderate words attested to by the author’s personal knowledge. His clarity will continue to survive in his mediating theories and serve to elucidate the unusual, interdisciplinary perceptions he applied to both life and anthropology. Neither his words, nor record of his subsequent awards, will be lost; leaving Linton’s contributions to withstand time.
SUZANNE DEMAS, Barnard College (Paige West)
Gilmore, Harry W. Habits of the Early Nevada Paiutes. American Anthropologist. January-March 1953 Vol.55(1):148-153.
The author’s objective is to list and describe the various animals with which made up the diet of the Nevada Paiutes, and the methods by which each distinct animal was caught. The lakes and “small, snow-fed rivers” were responsible for the abundance of animal life within the Nevada mountains, and by “utilizing (their) knowledge of animal wild-life” (Gilmore 148).
Deer and antelope were caught by following their tracks from a local watering hole and shooting them with arrows with “the deadly venom obtained from rattlesnakes” (148). After a direct hit, the hunter signaled home to bring horses to carry back his prey, which was “jerked and dried in little strings” for later consumption (148).
Mountain goats were an important animal used for food. The method of capture entailed goat drives. These goat drives consisted of many hunters spread over a wide territory, “closing in gradually as they moved toward the corral” (149). Goat drives included tremendous amounts of planning and hard work, and were reserved for special occasions decided by the local medicine men.
Mountain streams are a common gathering place for sage hens, and many hunters constructed blinds near these places for easy access. The Paiute Indians would shoot the leader of the flock which was “permitted to die before the next arrow was fired” (150). After each bird died, another was shot until enough birds were left over to produce young for the next season.
Bone-hooks were used in catching both geese and fish. Geese were fed cracked nuts containing these hooks, which enabled the hunters to very easily capture a large number of geese. Swans were also caught in this manner, but their meat was considered a delicacy, as opposed to the geese which was thought to have tasted like fish. Finally, rabbits and squirrels were an important source of nutrition for the Nevada Paiute. Rabbits were caught using either a 3000 foot net made of hemp or by using a bow and arrow. Ground squirrels were drowned out of their holes made for their young, and when escape attempts were made, dogs were used to catch them. Both rabbits and squirrels were eaten either fresh or dried.
The author provides an extensive list of the many animals hunted and the specific methods for hunting each animal. However, ways in which these methods define Paiute culture, and a poorly defined thesis makes for a dull read.
CLARITY RANKING: 1
KEVIN BULGER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gulick, John. The Lebanese Village: An Introduction. American Anthropologist August, 1953 Vol.55(3):367-372.
In this article, Gulick attempts to show how Lebanese villages are arranged, primarily in regard to kinship ties. He starts off by describing the area of his particular study in the nation of Lebanon. He also describes how the average villager makes a living. The author then states that “life within the village is dominated” by three things; “Kinship, Religion, and Devotion to the Land” (p.367). Gulick believes that kinship is the most important, so he chose to focus on this in his article.
Gulick describes how lineages are determined and also presents the differences between matrilateral and patrilateral kin. He reports that different village groups have different ways to determine who should marry together in the society. In some groups, usually certain Islamic sects, the first patrilateral cousins are allowed, even encouraged, to marry. However, in some Christian Arab communities, first cousins are not allowed to marry at all, whether matrilateral or patrilateral. In rare instances, some matrilateral first cousins have been married, but only after having an “episcopal dispensation”, that is, approval by the bishop. Gulick states that in the majority of Lebanese villages, family/community ties are very strong. People very often regard themselves as members of the same family. In one particular group that he studied, each family was able to trace their ancestors back to a common one.
Gulick also defines certain terms of kinship such as sihr and ‘amm. Sihr is the name a male calls a man from his own generation who marries a woman in the first man’s lineage, or a man who marries the first man’s matrilineal first cousin. It can also be used by a male to refer to any man who marries a woman in the first man’s own village. ‘Amm is used to refer to a father’s brother. It is also used to refer to the father of one’s spouse. This is likely because it is common for one’s spouse’s father to be one’s uncle. Gulick states that the “Lebanese village as a type of kinship structure may be defined as an endogamous local group which is segmented into patrilineages which are preferably endogamous but often exogamous in practice” (emphasis in original, 371).
Gulick briefly discusses how religion and “devotion to the land” affect village structure and interactions. He sates that a shared religion helps to keep peace between neighboring villages, while groups that differ in religious beliefs have more of a tendency to hostile behavior and suspicion.
Gulick also briefly discusses the issue of people being devoted to the land of their ancestors. While people, at the time this article was written, felt ties to the land of their parents, they were also venturing out, and only returning when important events, such as funerals, occurred.
Gulick makes his points clearly. The article is not long, and is interesting. However, the words “endogamy” and “endogamous” need to be defined for a reader not familiar with these terms.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JESSICA BISHOP Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gulick, John. The Lebanese Village: An Introduction. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol.55 367-372
Gulick primarily examines the kinship ties among Lebanese villagers. He attributes the tight village community in part to the terrain in Lebanon which according to Gulick lends itself to small, close-knit villages. Gulick examines life in Lebanese villages through three aspects defined by another anthropologist: kinship, religion and a concept he calls “Devotion to the Land.” He focuses primarily on kinship, the most important aspect, according to him. Gulick argues that villagers see themselves as belonging to one extended family.
Gulick points to the dominance of patrilineality, particularly in terms of marriage. In Arab Christian communities, Gulick cites that Bishops will grant special dispensations for matrilineal first cousins to marry, but not for patrilineal first cousins. Gulick goes on to compare Lebanese villages with other social units, he finds that he cannot draw a direct analogy between the social units described by others and the subjects of his research. He defines the Lebanese village kinship structure as “an endogamous local group which is segmented into patrilineages which are preferably endogamous but often exogamous.
Gulick moves on to discuss the second and third foci: religion and devotion to the land. According to Gulick, relations between villages are strained where they have a different religion. Relations between villages with different religions are better where two villages share a religion. Gulick goes on to explain how the principle of Devotion to the Land applies; farming is not only a method of subsistence, it is also a way for the villagers to identify with nature. Gulick concludes by mentioning how “modern” influences have altered village life and kinship rules; his conclusion is that the kinship structure stands “almost unshaken.”
CLARITY RANKING: 3
BRETT BELL Barnard College (Paige West)
Herskovits, Melville J. The Cattle Complex in East Africa, Part 3. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol. 55: 361-388.
In Part 3 of Herskovits’ study of the importance of cattle in East African society, he examines what role cattle play in the arrangement of marriage. He sets out to prove the extreme importance of cattle by thoroughly describing the variations from tribe to tribe in the traditional procedures for setting up a marriage. In all of these tribes, cattle are a sign of prestige and importance. The bride is deemed with a certain value that is signified by the number of cattle paid by a groom to the bride’s parents. A marriage is not considered official until the transaction of cattle from groom to in-laws is complete.
Cattle are a compensation for the loss of a daughter, but more importantly, a promise of the man to the parents that their daughter will be well-cared for. This is proven with the fact that if the groom mistreats his wife and she returns to her family his cattle are not returned to him as well. In turn, if the wife fails to do her duty by bearing children, she is returned to her family and the cattle are returned to the man.
Cattle play an important role not just in the arrangement of marriage in East Africa but are also important in the actual marriage ceremony, divorce, and other occurrences in married life. In some southern areas of East Africa, cattle determine social position in a marriage and the rank of the children. In a question of to whom children belong in a separation or divorce, cattle is inevitably involved. Throughout his set of articles, Herskovits makes the case that cattle are an essential part of East African society, and he proves their importance in marriage clearly and with many examples.
KATHLEEN CARR Columbia University (Paige West).
Ishino, Iwao The Oyabun-Kobun: A Japanese Ritual Kinship Institution American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol 55(5):695-707
In a very clearly presented article, Ishino introduces the institution of the Oyabun-Kobun kinship relationship common in Japanese culture. Ishino first introduces the reader to the relevance and importance of understanding this Japanese cultural phenomenon. The study of this kinship relationship is important because it has rarely been studied and because it pertains to a “recent trend of interest in anthropology: the phenomenon of ritual kinship” (695).
He defines the oyabun-kobun as an “institution in which persons usually unrelated by close kin ties enter into a compact to assume obligations of a diffuse nature similar to those ascribed to members of one’s immediate family” (695). In this relationship, a ritual kin role is always achieved. This type of relationship differs from a biological kin relationship, were the kinship is unconditional. The oyabun-kobun relationship began during the feudal period in Japan (circa 1700) as endurered servants agreed to a specified number of years work or duty in return for shelter, protection, and preferential treatment from those that could offer such advantages (the fuedal lords.)
Ishino defines the oyabun-kobun relationship in terms of its significance in modern labor structures. He looks at a labor organization called the Sano Gumi in particular. The oyabun-kobun institution in modern labor structures is most related to labor unions, whereby the oyabun (the labor organizers and executives of unions) have implicit agreements with the kobun (the workers) that they will be given preferential benefits in return for their constant support. This kinship relationship has advantages for both involved.
Ishino does a superb job describing this kinship relationship, in a clear precise manner. His organization, first giving an introduction to the topic, followed by a brief history, and lastly its relevance in modern times via a case study, allowed for a well written description of a rarely described, common Japanese ideology.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JULIE SCHWARTZ Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Jennings, Jesse D. An Experiment in Communication American Anthropologist April-June, 1953 Vol.55(2):305-308
This article briefly accounts Jesse Jennings’ use of a television series to educate the general public about anthropology. Jennings, who usually teaches a semester long course on the subject, finds it challenging to accurately display the broad subject of anthropology in a ten part series. Jennings needed to make his lectures on anthropology fit the television genre. Jennings wanted the series to be dramatic and keep the audience’s attention while still being true to the subject of anthropology.
At the end of the article there is a commentary by Robert Crawford about the success of Jennings’ endeavor. Crawford finds that while Jennings’ success in his anthropological series is not immediately measurable, the use of television to promote anthropological study and ideas is definitely a means of the future.
Overall, this article was interesting and clear. Jennings gave great detail as to his thought process behind producing the anthropological series.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ANGELA TAYLOR Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Kurath, Gertrude P. Native Choreographic Areas of North America. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1953 Vol. 55(1):60-72.
Kurath begins her article by defining the features used to compare different types of Native American dances. These features are “…the ground plans, circle or straight line, the typical style of steps and body movements” (60). The first characteristic she explores is the movement of dancers, either in single file or more, and sometimes in spirals, in a counterclockwise fashion. Most prominent among Eastern Woodlands groups, the counterclockwise spiral also manifests itself in the Great Lakes region. In some groups, the tradition of counterclockwise rotation reappears in modern dance forms, such as the fox trot. Groups near the Missouri River, east of the Mississippi, and those living in the Great Plains tend to circle in a clockwise fashion while dancing. Kurath writes that a circular format dominates almost all Native American dances with few exceptions. A few tribal groups incorporate a linear element into their dances, either in the form of a straight line or several parallel lines of dancers (a feature rare among eastern tribes). The tribes near and west of the Rocky Mountains incorporate this element into their dances most frequently, particularly among the Ute.
In addition to the group dances that use the features of circles and lines, dances by individuals are also common. Among eastern tribes, only masked performers give solo dances, while in the midwest, solo dances involve a group of individual performing in ascending order of skill. Kurath cites the masked dances of the tribes of the Northwest Coast, such as the Kwaikiutl, Bella Coola, and the Eskimos, as the pinnacle of individual dance among Native Americans. Tradition dictates the basic forms of individual dances through the masks to be played, while the individual dancer has aesthetic freedom to display individual prowess and creativity.
Finally, Kurath discusses the importance of style of movement in the dances in terms of steps, body action (posture and speed), and gesture, the physical forms of the dance. She also discusses quality in terms of the attitude of the dancers, i.e. frenzied or calm. She briefly mentions the role of women as dancing with a “feminine style”, defining some differences between men and women while dancing. For example, women tend to be more reserved and use smaller and fewer steps than their male counterparts.
The different gestures and features used are all linked to the various cultural practices, such as dances concerning maize, hunting or dreams. Counterclockwise circles and their subdued gestures frequently occur in cultures dependent on agriculture, while clockwise circles and a high level of energy accompany dances by hunting tribes in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain region. Anthropologists have a more difficult time placing linear dances alongside a cultural meaning. Frenzied individual dances often occur amongst groups with a belief in animal totemism. Areas where culture types overlap exhibit combinations of the various traits in different dances; a distribution Kurath illustrates on a small map. Some evidence also indicates the diffusion of dance forms across regions, particularly in areas, such as Oklahoma, now shared by tribes who formerly lived on opposite sides of the country.
Although well-informed, Kurath’s article proved dense and difficult to read due to her tendency to list large groups of tribes or regions, which characteristically display certain features or gestures, with little other elaboration. This article is perhaps best for a researcher interested in a quick run down of dance style distribution, rather than a reader interested in learning the details of or cultural reasons behind a specific dance.
ALYSSA BROWN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Kurath, P. Gertrude. Native Chronographic Areas of North America. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol.55:60-73.
In her article, “Native Chronographic Areas of North America,” Gertrude P. Kurath sets out to document the current dance patterns of the North American tribes. This survey, based on extensive fieldwork, primarily focuses on the Iroquois, Cherokee, Sauk and Fox, and Yaqui.
By focusing in detail on these dance patterns she concludes that while every tribe bears an individual identity in this regard, they are also part of a larger whole where in the diffusion of styles has both enriched their dance repertoire in some cases, (e.g.: the Sauk and Fox in Green Bay), and diminished it in others (e.g.: the Pawnee in Oklahoma). In other words there is an ongoing dynamic of importing and exporting of styles resulting in a diverse but inter-related landscape of dance.
Kurath breaks down these patterns into an analysis of geometric patterns and styles. The first category consists of:
1) Communal Counter Clockwise Circles – mainly predominant in the Eastern
Woodlands, Aridamerica, and to a lesser extent the upper Mississippi River.
2) Communal Clockwise Circles – mainly predominant across the Great Lakes and
Plateau, on both sides of the Mississippi River, and also across the east of it.
3) Straight Lines – less popular in general but present around the Rocky Mountains.
4) Individual Movement – less predominant in the east but popular in the Northeast.
The second category consists of:
1) Steps – e.g.: the ‘stomp step’ in comparison to the ‘trot’ or ‘dragon step’ etc.
2) Body Action – e.g.: whether the body is erected or vibrating etc.
3) Gesture – e.g.: arm and hand movements etc.
4) Quality – e.g.: a ‘calm stop’ in comparison to ‘trances’ etc.
5) The Feminine Style – lists the main dancing methods used by women (i.e.: reserved decorum).
In so doing Kurath debunks any notions of a monolithic dance complex. Rather, she points out that it heavily depends on the group’s means of subsistence, (i.e.: agriculture or hunting). Furthermore she stresses the shifting nature of these dances, and finally for the need to record these practices before what she understands to be “extinction in reality” occurs.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
BEHZAD SARMADI York University (Naomi Adelson)
Lange, Charles H. The Role of Economics in Cochiti Pueblo Culture Change. American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol. 55 (5): 674-694
In this article, Lange explores the effects that the adaptation of a cash economy has had on the social, ceremonial and political organizations of the Cochiti Pueblo. The author draws upon research from 1950-1951, citing statistics, informants’ testimonials, and contrasts to the Cochiti Pueblo pre-1930. He presents most of the analysis as dialectic between two attitudes towards change: the ‘Conservative’ grounded in tradition and the ‘Progressive’ who embraces change.
Lange begins by describing the changing economic organization that Cochiti undergoes. The three main areas of interest are property and ownership, agricultural economy, and non-agricultural economy. The first shift occurs mainly due to technological advances in the forms of transport, improved water systems, utilities, and household appliances alter the location and appearance of homes, making personal property an important factor. In the second shift, farm machinery provides for the changes in agriculture exemplified by the specialization in cash crops, and the kind of livestock kept. Finally, the last shift towards wage work and income production creates the space of inquiry in which Lange analyzes the transformation of Cochiti culture.
Lange addresses social organization in the contexts of kinship institutions, kinship terminology, free association institutions, and the crises of the life cycle. Each aspect deals with a certain loss within Cochiti. The first topic notes the declining importance of the clan as a social structure, through redirected importance in wage earning, inter-marriage with people outside Cochiti culture, and the adoption of Catholicism and its prohibition of incest. The second loss is of the native language, as Spanish and English terminology suffuses the social structures. The third loss deals with the reconstitution of moieties, while the last topic covers the Catholic influence in birth, naming, and death rites in conflict with traditional rites.
Ceremonial and religious organizations are similarly affected. The interaction with Anglo culture debilitates the importance of shamans, medicine men, and witchcraft (to a lesser extent). These native practices come under scrutiny in the face of formal and informal education, and Catholicism, though the author presents examples of how the traditional religious practices have been adapted with the new system.
Lange finishes his analyses with the description of the elections of political officers, followed by a brief chronicle of the increased interaction and cooperation with the United States Indian Service. He posits that these Conservative, elected officials help commit ‘cultural suicide,’ as their support of education for the young individuals in Cochiti only propagates the changes he presents in the culture. Lange’s conclusion restates these changes as predictions in a continued transformation of the Cochiti Pueblo culture.
Lange’s analysis is straightforward, factual, and dry. Still, he presents a comprehensive depiction of the transformation of Cochiti culture and the issues its people face circa 1953.
IAN L. COFRÉ Columbia University, NY (Paige West)
Lowie, Robert H. Ethnography, Cultural and Social Anthropology American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):527-532
In this article Lowie presents his definition of ethnography and cultural and social anthropology. He divides this discussion into three sections; the first section is about ethnography. Lowie presents the term ethnography as defined by the British as “descriptive accounts of non-literate peoples” (528). Lowie then expands on what he feels the term should mean. He suggest that ethnography cover all cultures, their history and their present. He states the purpose of ethnography to be the “complete description of all cultural phenomena everywhere and at all periods.” (528). He states that the ethnographer may not be knowledgeable in all of the fields to get this complete discription. That is why it is necessary for one to get help from others in different disciplines such as geography, psychology, and botany. Lowie then presents examples of ethnographers who have a completed an ethnography. He also emphasizes the importance of giving a detailed description that contains insights into correlations so others can obtain meaning from the ethnographer’s work.
The next section is short one and discusses how Lowie rejects Dr. Fortes’s contention that social structure “is not an aspect of culture but the entire culture of a given people being subsumed under the head of social structure.” (531). Lowie believes that social structure is an aspect of culture. He then presents evidence for his argument against Dr. Fortes’ point of view.
The third and final section discusses that the difference between cultural and social anthropologists can be explained by the terms historians versus generalizers. He presents evidence against this contention and states that the ethnographer as well as the social anthropologist has to explore history to get a full understanding of the culture. Lowie then states and concludes that “complete description involves a global survey of correlations because only such a global survey guarantees accurate definition of the cultural phenomenon under discussion in relation to its real or apparent equivalents elsewhere.” (532).
This article was well organized, clear and concise. Lowie does a good job presenting evidence to defend his various arguments. He presents multiple examples from other anthropologists to add to the credibility of his opinion.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
HEATHER MCISAAC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Lowie, Robert H. Ethnography, Cultural and Social Anthropology. American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol. 55(4): 527-533.
In this article, Lowie draws upon the ideas of earlier anthropologists to show how their works have reflected on cultural and social anthropology. He first gives his definition of cultural anthropology (ethnography) and then compares it with social anthropology as defined by his British colleagues. The article is divided into three sections in which Lowie utilizes the first to characterize his definition of a true ethnographer.
Lowie believes that culture is the big theme that occurs over and over again in anthropological works. He explains that if cultural anthropology only deals with cultural history, it would display a one-sided view about the subject. In properly viewing anthropology, Lowie brings in the term “ethnography.” Ethnography, according to British colleagues in the field, refers to the “descriptive accounts of non-literate peoples” (527). Lowie accepts this definition and assumes that the word “accounts” refers to culture. Furthermore, he extends the term “ethnography” to covering all aspects of culture, both past and present. He defines the ideal aim of ethnography as “the complete description of all cultural phenomena everywhere and at all periods” (528). Lowie realizes that it is not possible for an individual to master all the different aspects of a single culture. Therefore, a true ethnographer will draw upon the studies and works of people in other fields. Such fields can range from zoology, botany, or metallurgy. Lowie gives several examples where ethnographers have referred to other disciplines to intensify their studies.
Ethnography is not the mere accumulation and presentation of collected data, it requires the ethnographer to enlarge and expand on the data collected. Ethnographers are always looking for new approaches to techniques that have long been used and to attack trivial problems. It is not a simple task to understand a given set of data because there is always a different approach to observing and understanding the material at hand. For example, one ethnographer may extract one meaning from a set of given information while a second ethnographer can extract a different meaning in which the first did not gain. In realizing the wide variety of interpretations that different ethnographers can come up with, Lowie develops two counts of a true ethnographer: they concern themselves with the whole or at least the major part of the total range of cultural phenomena, and they explore deep in their fields of specialization (531).
In the second section, Lowie discusses the idea of social anthropology and how he accepts social anthropologists as scholars who deal with an important subdivision of culture. He shows strong disagreement with Dr. Fortes’s idea that social structure “is not an aspect of culture but the entire culture of a given people handled in a special frame of theory” (531). Instead, Lowie believes that the social structure of a people is, indeed, one aspect of their culture. In the latter part of this section, he provides evidence to support his stand and argues why Dr. Fortes’s point of view should be rejected.
Lowie sets aside the third section to explain how the terms historians and generalizers help distinguish between a cultural and a social anthropologist. He explains the difference between “descriptive integration” and “complete description.” Complete description, according to Lowie, involves a global survey of correlations because such surveys guarantee accurate definition of the cultural phenomenon under discussion in relation to its real or apparent equivalents that may be or have occurred elsewhere (532). Therefore, it is necessary that both cultural and social anthropologist first explore history in order to comprehend the full picture of a particular culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KAREN CHAN Barnard College (Paige West)
Lurie, Nancy Oestreich Winnebago Berdache American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol. 55(5):708-712
This article is an account of the berdache role that was evident in Winnebago culture until around the turn of the century. It was generally agreed by a number of informants that the berdache was a man who dressed as a woman, performed women’s tasks better than any normal woman, and had the capacity to predict future events. A man who took on this role had been directed to do so by the moon, a female spirit, at the time of his vision quest. Sometimes these men even married other men.
At one time the berdache was a highly honored and revered individual, but eventually the Winnebago became ashamed of the custom because the white people thought it was amusing or evil. The original Winnebago term for berdache usually translated as Blue Lake Woman, and the Nebraska term translated as Standing Blue. Over time a new term was attached to these people that translated as “a no good,” “a eunuch,” or “an unmanly man” (709).
The description of the berdache was contrasted with a man who was forced to take on a female role. One story tells of a chief of another tribe who was captured and allowed to live under the condition that he take on a woman’s role. Another story tells of a man who fled a battle and when the Winnebago later discovered his cowardice, he had to live as a woman. In the case of the berdache, the person held an honored and respected position in the society, whereas a man forced to take on a female role was disgraced and dishonored.
This article is an interesting report of the Native American perspective on gender roles and their interchangeability. Its detailed accounts of this phenomenon are easy to read and understand.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JUSTIN LEBIECKI Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Lurie, Nancy Oestreitch. Winnebago Berdache. American Anthropologist, 1953 Vol.55(1):708-712.
In this article Nancy Oestreitch Lurie proves that in Winnebago culture there is evidence suggesting that the berdache role was apparent even after the turn of the century. There were inconsistency within the data when Lurie spoke with both natives of the tribe whose accounts were somewhat contrary to each other and also with the missionaries whose descendants remember hearing accounts about them. The ethnographic documentation of the berdache is limited which indicates both the Native American and European views on these shameful men.
She sets up here article in four sections: what the berdache are, the reaction from Europeans which affected Native American views, the term used to describe berdache, and finally, discloses the stories and information she has documented. Lurie starts by describing the berdache as a man who dressed as a woman, who performed woman’s tasks often surpassing women’s abilities, and was capable of foretelling the future. The berdache took this role because a female spirit, the moon, instructed him to do so at his vision quest. However, there is not sufficient information which demonstrates the reaction of the berdaches who married other men. There is little or no documentation due to the fact that the berdaches became shameful after European intervention. After white people thought it was amusing or evil, berdaches were not considered honorable. The embarrassment lead to threats when the last berdache who tired to fulfill his role was threatened. The term for berdache in Winnebago culture is uncertain. It began as a descriptive term but turned into a derogatory expression after 1947 used by young men in Wisconsin. Finally, Lurie recounts some of the tales she heard about how berdaches came into Winnebago culture. One story was about captives of another tribe and how the Winnebago made the leader of their prisoners dress like a woman in order to shame him. Another account is about a dishonest warrior whose cowardly acts resulted in taking the role of a woman to disgrace him for the rest of his life.
Lurie concludes by explaining how the role of the berdache changed in 1885 in Wisconsin. The characteristics of dress for berdache and other men who took on the role of a woman without the blessing from the moon resulted in differing opinions. One was honored and respected while the other men were disgraced.
LAUREN COLES Columbia University (Paige West)
Mandelbaum, David G. On the Study of National Character. American Anthropologist. April-June 1953 Vol 52(3):174-187.
The author’s objective in this article is to criticize Margaret Mead’s paper dealing with national character. The author believed Mead’s ideas to be very “useful” and “stimulating”, yet felt that the areas of applied anthropology, psychological theory, and sampling techniques and theory were misrepresented (Mandebaum 174). The author defines national character as “the formal institutions as well as the informal regularities of behavior which characterize the nation” (175). In her paper, Mead described national character studies as fueled by “world political situations” (176). Mandelbaum claims that national character is not necessarily tied to current political exigencies and the research of anthropology would “suffer” from a lack of scientific or scholarly methods if fueled by world politics. The author agrees that applied anthropology can “be of great importance for certain governmental problems,” but to restrict the applications of anthropology to “political exigencies” would limit the possibilities “of this promising field” (180).
The author also disagreed with Mead’s idea that “it is the presence of psychological theory….that differentiates the culture-personality approach”, where Mead named five different psychological theories, which can be used for a “culture-and-personality” approach to national character studies (180). The author claims that many of the personality theories created have not been universally agreed upon by psychologists, and that “psychologists are not at all sure about the nature of intra-psychic structures” (181).
Margaret Mead also felt that sampling was an important means through which a national character is identified. The author, however, believes that sampling provides “relatively few observations” with which a generalization of national character can be based on. Also, the author states that the use of a survey to help define national character may only describe a “few communities which have been studied” instead of a whole nation (182). Furthermore, the author states that Mead’s emphasis on delineating patterns in society lacks a method in which “historical, survey, or statistical documentations” are used in order to legitimize the process of delineating patterns (183).
The author explains his objective in a thorough manner, but the article requires careful and critical reading. Further background knowledge of Mead’s national character paper would make the article less one-sided.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
KEVIN BULGER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Mandelbaum, David G. On The Study Of National Character. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol.55 (2): 174-187
This article is a source of “interchanging of ideas”, that were once discussed at the International Symposium of 1952. The main focus of the paper is on Dr. Margaret Meads writings on the subject of national character, and on the “relation of the national character studies to applied anthropology, psychological theory and to sampling techniques and theory” (pg.147).
This paper is divided into four parts in which deal with studying and analysing national character on significant grounds. The first part includes introduction to what is meant by national character and how it correlates to national culture. Mandelbaum states that prior to any analysis of national character, all aspects of national character must be known. Thereby, once a culture is described, then the analysis of culture-personality takes a dimension. Thus, the analysis of national character works hand in hand with the culture personality aspect. However, these analyses are advantageous and disadvantageous at the same time. They are Advantageous that the studies are ‘rich resources for explaining and predicting the ways of men’. Meanwhile, disadvantageous due to the fact that studying national character is problematic in different levels.
In the second part Mandelbaum draws attention to the fact that Mead’s paper proposes that ‘national character studies take their form and methods from the exigencies of the post-1939 world political situation’, which is a according to the author a wrong statement. He goes on to prove the fact that national character studies are not primarily just for the purpose of applied science for the governments. If this was the case, such analyses would ‘suffer in valid results. In the third part of the paper, the author directs his argument on to the fact that psychological theory in relation to character analysis needs clarification. Thus, in the last part of the paper the author discusses the problem of sampling in national character studies, by brining forth points made by Mead in her paper regarding the size and complexity of groups that are studied, and how all this reflects on the studies of national character.
Finally, he argues; the problems of sampling in national character studies will receive further attention as the research develops. Thus, the sole purpose of this paper was to define problems revolving around national character studies in order to interchange ideas and modify and develop such studies.
AZADEH ZARE-MOAYEDI York University, (Naomi Adelson)
Mandelbaum, David G. University Museums. American Anthropologist December 1953 Vol 55(5):755-759.
What is a university museum? Sadly, according to the author, many are little more than ill-suited, architecturally unappealing “storehouse[s] of jumbled oddities” (756). He goes on to paint a vivid picture of what a university museum should be.
Above all, the museum should be a place that is used and that beckons people to return again and again. Mandelbaum suggests that the place to start in revamping the museum is to ask the right question: “What do we want to say?” rather than “What have we got to show?” Rather than showing a collection of specimens, like so many “isolated words in a dictionary,” the specimens should be “part of a lucid presentation like the flow of phrases in an illuminating lecture” (757). Displays should be able to serve as “tangible and intriguing evidence” of various aspects of man’s history.
The university museum should be of value to young and old alike. From young children in elementary school who are just learning about early North American life to older members of the community at large, the university museum should be a storehouse of visual information. Students of many different disciplines can gain from museum presentations, from students of social science to students of political science. The museum can “impart some understanding of the nature of human cultural, social and organic life” (757).
Mandelbaum spends some time in the article discussing the aesthetic qualities of what would, in his view, be an effective university museum. He suggests that the entrance to the museum be inviting but not overwhelming. He suggests outdoor exhibits and exhibits which can be viewed while seated. He suggests simple and uncluttered galleries; rooms that ought to be “truly stages on which ideas are presented, the presentation being accomplished by object, picture and printed word rather than by voice and gesture” (759). The bottom line for Mandelbaum is that “mere caretaking is often, for museums as for other national resources, more costly than vigorous and intelligent use” (759).
Mandelbaum clearly makes his case for overhauling university museums. His vision of a truly effective museum is inspiring.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SHERRY BRUMGARD Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Marriott, McKim Village Structure and the Punjab Government: A Restatement American Anthropologist January-March, 1953 Vol.55(1):137-143
This article is interested in questions surrounding how the government of India should deal with questions of recognizing “in its agrarian system the traditional structure of peasant society” (137). The question has been the debated among the rulers of India for one hundred and eighty years before the article was written. The article looks at work by Marian W. Smith who has analyzed the problem from her anthropological fieldwork.
Marriott is interested in the revenue systems of the government in India. In Punjab, unlike some other areas, the British colonizers tried to keep the rural power structure intact to increase their efficiency. The British conducted ethnographic surveys on local ethnic groups in order to implement their plans, collecting data on all aspects of their social organization. However the complexities of how Indian peasant society operated are great and all information is relevant.
Marriott explains the differences between villages and how revenue collectors considered them. It is noted that some groups of low-income houses were “felt to belong to the estates of” (138) high-income people whom the low-income people may have served. Tax agents free of the estates collected from them and the peasants whose houses were considered a part of them. These types of classifications may show clues as to what the social structure was once like.
Also Marriott looks at other aspects of how colonial rule of police and tax had on the social realm. The colonists “mapped ‘tribal’ (caste) distributions” (141) into rigid structures that were unlike the loose divisions that existed before. This new rigid system required tax amounts depending on which tribal group people belonged to. Tribe distinction was used as a measure of agricultural ability. Other forms of rule in the past are also mentioned.
Marriott points out the complications of attempting to follow traditional means of rule in rural India. The article is entirely too unfocused to be of much use to anyone, except possibly people working on the problem of administration for the government in India. The article leads to no answers and does not discuss what is being debated or carried out in present day events.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
SHAUN GODWIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Mensh, Ivan N. and Jules, Henry. Direct Observation and Psychological Tests in Anthropological Field Work. American Anthropologist October 1953 Vol.55(4):461-480.
The authors’ aims in this article are to describe and give merits and disadvantages to direct observation in the fieldwork of anthropology, and psychological testing in the fieldwork as well. The authors use a model to describe why direct observation and psychological testing are needed to understand humans through their “biological, psychological, historical, and social processes.” They claim psychological testing helps the researcher understand what happens to a person physically and mentally under certain environments. They say this can show how culture played a role in evolution.
The authors claim that direct observation is necessary because it enables the researcher to observe over long periods of time and get to know those being observed in a complex way that would otherwise not be achieved (although they say this causes problems as the research might be translated in a biased manner). They use charts from direct observation research to prove the level of intimacy achieved by researchers using this method in their fieldwork.
Psychological testing in anthropological fieldwork can be equally beneficial, according to the authors. They give a brief history of individual and group psychological testing (both World War I and World War II used massive psychological tests). The authors say certain criteria must be observed when conducting the tests. These include understanding the level of literacy of the society being studied. They also claim data must be collected for group norms as opposed to individual testing. The authors also name many of the problems and errors that arise when using psychological testing in anthropological fieldwork.
They authors say that before using data gathered from direct observation and psychological testing, an anthropologist should be sure of the “validity; reliability of the test situation and of the responses to it…” along with the interpretation of the data and the ease with which it may be used.
I found this article difficult to read because the terminology was unfamiliar and the amount of information was intense. However, it was written fairly clearly and concisely, and the authors achieved their objective.
KRISTA CHAMBERS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Mensh, Ivan N. and Jules Henry. Direct Observation and Psychological Tests in Anthropological Field Work. American Anthropologist October 1953. Vol. 55(4): 461-479.
In this article, Ivan Mensh and Jules Henry argue that direct observation and projective psychological testing, when carried out according to the criteria they enumerate, provide two crucial tools with which the anthropologist may better understand human beings and the biological, psychological, historical, and social processes that shape human lives. The authors of this article base their argument not on their own research, but on an assessment of the body of anthropological research that draws upon projective psychological testing.
Mensh and Henry’s appraisal builds upon their assumption that in order to understand a particular human society the anthropologist must understand the stimuli that impinge on the members of that society. In endeavoring to understand these stimuli, the anthropologist can rely on either his or her “naked eye” or “an instrument.” Given their belief that the instruments available to the anthropologist in 1953 are no more reliable than human faculties, the authors of this article favor the former option. Nevertheless, they do concede that direct observation has its shortcomings, particularly insofar as the reality the anthropologist observes must be filtered through his own personal and theoretical expectations. However, by engaging in systematic observation from a number of different viewpoints, obtaining enough cases to lend credibility to observation, and manipulating quantitatively the data collected, the anthropologist can minimize the extent to which distortion shapes the conclusions at which he or she arrives.
The authors’ discussion of the value of projective psychological testing—open-ended assessments, like the Rorschach, in which subject responses must be interpreted—begins by dispelling the notion that such tests can act as a check on the anthropologist’s direct observations. Rather, these types of tests suffer from an “indeterminate” quality that effectively robs them of their objectivity. Despite this fact, according to the authors of this article, projective psychological tests are useful to the anthropologist to the extent that they “expand the scope [of a study] through increasing the range of sampling and through turning up facts and giving insights that direct observation alone might not reveal.”
After providing a brief description of the history of psychological testing—a story that begins with the work of Galton and is fundamentally shaped by the experience of World Wars I and II—Mensh and Henry enumerate an exhaustive set of scientific criteria by which all valid projective devices must abide: adequate sampling; quantifiable data; standardized procedure in administration, scoring, and interpretation; and economy of subject and examiner time, to name a few. Thereafter, Mensh and Henry delineate the specific needs of the field anthropologist: the measurement of personality “as a whole” by culturally unbiased tests that permit the quick and easy sampling of large numbers of subjects.
Ultimately, according to the authors, the anthropologist who employs projective psychological testing in his or her field work must balance the effort to achieve anthropological flexibility and practicality on the one hand with the effort to achieve scientific objectivity on the other. For Ivan Mensh and Jules Henry, the solution to this dilemma is not the abandonment of projective psychological testing altogether, but the critical use by the anthropologist of such tests and test data
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SETH CAFFREY Columbia University (Paige West)
Newman, Marshall T. The Application of Ecological Rules To The Racial Anthropology Of The Aboriginal New World American Anthropologist August, 1953 Vol. 55(3):311-327
The author’s objective was to explore whether the commonly accepted theories regarding natural selection and environmental conditions apply to aboriginal persons from colder environments when compared with those who originate from warmer climates. To test if these theories were applicable to these diverse people, Newman examined two rules purposed by Bergmann and Allen, regarding “body heat retention or dissipation by respectively reducing or increasing the radiating skin surface per unit of body mass” (311). One rule purposed by Bergman is that “the maximum retention of body heat in cold climates occurs when the radiating skin surface is small in relation to body mass” (324). Another rule developed by Allen states, “cold climate species have reduced extremities and appendages thus further reducing the body surface” (324).
Previous studies regarding adaptive changes to the environment had been done by examining animals living in warm and cold climates. The author points out that the previous theories are valid although “their usefulness as interpretative tools in mammalian taxonomy is hampered by certain limitations not present in human studies” (312). The author feels that “Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules may be more closely operative in people than in other animals” (313).
Newman discovered through his investigation that there is evidence of adaptive changes in aboriginal persons from varying climates. Despite this finding, the author still notes, “how much of the adaptations is due to natural selection of inherited body forms and how much to direct non-genic effect during individual life span cannot be determined” (325).
The author presents a very interesting study and provides maps of the Americas, which assist in the clarifying information. The maps assist in locating findings regarding human body characteristics of persons in different geographical and climatic regions that can be very beneficial to the reader. The article is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
CLARITY RATING: 5
DEBORAH ROELS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Newman T. M. The Application of Ecological Rules To The Racial Anthropology Of The Aboriginal New World American Anthropologist 1953. Vol. 55:311-325
Newman’s objective was to relate how adaptive changes in bodily forms were correlated to the environment in which they were living in or that they were hereditary. Newman only focused on the male population and did not mention anything about the female and the children population. He used several maps with distinctive makings to show readers that the people in different parts of the Americas differ in size, mass ratio because of ecological rules. The principle behind these rules was that “the maximum retention of body heat in cold climates occurs when the radiating skin surface is small relative to body mass” (pg.324) Newman also brought in the example of Eskimo’s stature as compared to that of the Indians south of them and, Panama-born North Americans versus those just arrived from the United States. He brought our attention specifically to the differences in body, head and face sizes in Indians and Eskimos.
Newman was frank to admit that he did not have solid evidence of his findings but just an average of it. For example on page 313, he said the “where only one series is available for a wide-spread group, I have assumed that this series is wholly representative of it.” Even the maps that he had presented in the article were “borrowed” and the findings on the map were possibly inaccurate. According to Newman, he said, “with or without adequate data shaded in all areas.” (Pg. 313) This is not very convincing at all.
The article should be read very carefully and slowly, as some of the points made by Newman are rather confusing and ambiguous as they jump back and forth of each other.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
LIZA POH York University (Naomi Adelson).
Norbeck, Edward Age Grading In Japan. American Anthropologist August 1953 Vol.55(3):373-384.
The author’s objective in this article is to point out the emphasis on age grading and age classes in Japan. The existence of certain formalized, named age-classes were common if not general among the peasantry of Japan in the past. There are claims that this is not practiced anymore but some age-grading still appears in rural communities of Japan, and a trace in urban areas. However, it is now uncommon for this to apply to all people, only those groups composed of young unmarried men and women. The author points out that to his knowledge there has only been one American publication that deals with age-grading in Japan. “An attempt will be made here to review and appraise the data on this subject presented in such works by Japanese scholars as are at hand.” (373) In this article the author also attempts to provide a description of age-grading customs as they appear to have existed in Japan up until about a century ago.
There are a few instances of age grading in the pre-adolescent age group. There are two classes within this group, the first infancy to about seven years old. This group of children had to perform certain simple duties for the community. It was suggested that children were not recognized as member of the human society until they were about seven years old. The second group were children from the age of seven to about fourteen years. “The age of seven years seems to have… been considered to be the transition stage from infancy or early childhood, to boyhood or maidenhood, and all sorts of ceremonies are observed by the parents to have the child pass the stage safely.” (374) In this group there were several purification ceremonies, and they had to supervise the younger group.
The next age group is the adolescence and early maturity group. This groups age’s range from about sixteen to middle age. Within this group it is very common to have a young men’s association. This group is called Seinendan. There are two separate types of Seinendan, one of the older men and one of the younger. It was thought that puberty ceremonies existed among this group. Once they get married this membership in these groups are ended. Data on formalized age-classes for young women are scantier.
Middle age was not considered a separate group from the previous stated group, but there were two overlapping groups within this group. One composed of young married men, and the other of vigorous, able-bodied men whether single or married responsible for heavy duty work.
The last group described was the older adult group. This group was responsible for most of the religious ceremonies. They had certain privileges also, they were allowed to use obscenities and tell dirty jokes that younger people could not.
This article provides a lot information about the past age-grading system in Japan. It is very easy to read, and not very lengthy.
NAHALA BUYCKS: Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Norbeck, Edward. Age-Grading in Japan. American Anthropologist (No Month), 1953 Vol. 55:373-384
This article, written by Edward Norbeck, attempts to delineate certain aspects of the “Age-Grading” system in Japan. Although no formal definition is given, it can be assumed that the term age-grading refers to the direct and symbolic separation of individuals based on their age (or age cohort), for the social and functional needs of the society. While there has been no inclusive Japanese study in this subject matter, Western accounts of historical and contemporary Japan prove that age-gendering and age-classing (encompassing the entire lifespan of an individual) were commonplace throughout the region. This article, is a description of age-grading customs which have existed in Japan until about one century ago.
The article introduces four primary social classes (based on age and marital status) recognised throughout historic Japan. The first cohort is Infancy and Childhood. This age-grade consists of pre-adolescent to early-adolescent children (aged six to fourteen). This age-grade is quite significant, due to the fact that up until this point in maturity and development, children were not recognised as members of “human society”. Also, according to historic Christianity re-conversion records in Japan (between 1615-1868) only children at least six years of age were recorded as official “family-members”. The age of seven also represents a vital transition year from infancy to early-adolescence. The second group or age-grade is that of Adolescence and Early-Maturity. This grouping consists of individuals who are aged approximately sixteen and upward (until marriage). This group is characterized through their participation in Seinendan (Wakamono-gumi) or “young men’s associations” (there is little mention of females). Originally instituted for the purpose of promoting nationalism, these clubs became responsible for the functional needs of society, including tasks to promote community welfare, and tending to community emergencies (social and weather). According to records, within urban and rural areas of Japan there were a total of 15 469 of these clubs with over 2 465 505 members. Participation in these associations was determined by age, and there were sub-divisions dictated by local variations in age limitations. The third classification of individuals, as noted by Norbeck, is called Middle Age. After a man had matured and married, he joined this class. Those belonging to this class remained members until they turned approximately sixty years old. Aside from their labour duties, these men would also be responsible for funeral preparations and other social/traditional functions. The final grouping or classification of individuals is called Old Age. After retirement at sixty-one, the work of these elders was divine service. They were engaged primarily in religious tasks, and other spiritual activities (including the reading of Buddhist sutras). Their function was that of spiritual leadership and supervision.
In modern Japan, no unambiguous form of age-grading still exits (aside from Seinendan). There are, however, clear connections between age-grading and the division of community labour. Norbeck asserts that a comprehensive study of Japanese customs and manner through age-grading will aid us in understanding current Japanese culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ARTHUR HAGOPIAN York University (Naomi Adelson)
Phillips, Philip and Gordon R. Willey. Method and Theory in American Archeology: An Operational Basis for Culture-Historical Integration. American Anthropologist December 1953 Vol.55(5):615-633
Phillips and Willey’s objective is to discuss new trends for American archeological thinking by reviewing the past and current trends. The authors first came up with three general points of view on the outlook of American archeological thinking, which includes sound field work, careful analysis, and classification. Phillips and Willey note that, “archeologists are not only concerned with phenomena, but the meaning in patterned relationships. Such patterns were pursued through descriptive taxonomy or taxonomy combined with temporal and spatial distribution” (615). They suggest the time has come to examine the ways archaeologists have ordered this data.
The authors note that the unifying themes of archeological research are, “spatial-temporal ordering, contextual reconstruction, and taxonomic identification” (618). American archeology is based on historical synthesis, which facilitates integration in all related fields, but without an operational system, these things cannot be incorporated. The article urges that the operational system “must serve as the foundation for further theoretical formulations in the fields of culture continuity and change as these processes are observed and plotted from the data of prehistory” (618). This operational system will not inhibit any past developments, but will help with exploring new boundaries.
The authors conclude with four ideas, which will provide new trends for American archeology. The article states, ” (1) that the primary emphasis continue to be placed on the organization of components and phases in local and regional sequences… (2) that phases be studied intensively as the effective contexts of archeological culture (3) that their internal spatial and temporal dimensions be kept within manageable limits of magnitude, and (4) that their external spatial, temporal, and formal relationships be studied and expressed in terms of traditions and horizons without recourse to any taxonomic formulations of a higher order than themselves” (631).
This article was interesting, but it kept reiterating the same concepts over and over again, instead of coming to a conclusion. I feel this article could have been just as effective if it was shorter. The detailed description of the new objectives for archeological thinking helps the reader to envision what the authors were speculating. However, the article does not state if these new trends were going to take place, and when.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENINE CLEMENTS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Phillips, Philip and Gordon Wiley. Method and Theory in American Archeology: An Operational Basis for Cultural-Historical Integration. American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol. 55(5): 615-631
Phillips and Wiley claim that the goal of archeology is to create an image of life using the limited evidence left by the residue of the past. Archeology is to anthropology what paleontology is to biology. In other words, archeology places culture into a historical context, enhancing the power of ethnographic research. Thus, Philips and Wiley feel it is critical to understand the internal structures of archaeological studies. They primarily focus their argument on the organization of components and phases within archeology.
Archeology uses two basic mechanisms for historical-cultural integration, a static method, and a fluid method. The static method, includes “concepts” and “phases,” and the fluid method includes “tradition” and “horizon” styles. Horizon and tradition are integrative devices, used to distill the contents of phases. The effectiveness of archeological method depends on the interplay between traditions and horizons and phases and concepts.
A phase is the practical and intelligible unit of archeological study. A phase possesses traits that are characteristically different from all other units similarly conceived. Ideally, several components comprise one phase, and cultures manifest themselves through more than one component. Horizon style is a special continuum that is represented by the wide distribution of a recognizable art style. This model therefore helps place various archeological phases, regardless of how they are laid out spatially, into a specific time-period. A cultural tradition is a distinctive way of life, reflected in various aspects of culture, extending through some period of time and showing a basic consistent unity. Philips and Wiley conclude that the external, spatial, temporal, and formal relationships of phases and concepts should be studied and expressed in terms of integrative devices such as horizons and traditions.
CLARITY : 1
DANIELLE CHERRICK Barnard College (Paige West).
Ritzenthaler, Robert E. The Impact of Small Industry on an Indian Community. American Anthropologist. January-March, 1953 Vol.55(1) 143-148.
The author’s objective is to show the mostly positive impacts the establishment of the Simpson Electric Company had on the Lac Du Flambeau Indian Reservation. He begins his article by explaining the poor conditions of the reservation before the influence of the Simpson Electric Company. He depicts the reservation as bleak, with “shacks” (p.143) that were “usually in need of paint and repair” (p.143). The inside of these shacks he depicts as equally grim, with “battered furniture,” and the inhabitants “dressed to match this milieu” (143).
The author then gives examples of several of the positive consequences he believes followed the establishment of the company in 1946, on the Chippewa Reservation. After two years of problems with the punctuality of the workers, the functions of the company smoothed over and positive effects began to be seen. The presence of a “steady stream of money” (p.145) in the community allowed the people to improve the conditions of their lives. The workers made on average $50.00 a week. This money allowed them to do things such as install electricity in their homes, purchase electrical appliances such as irons, repaint their houses, and purchase automobiles (p.146). This “positive prosperity” (p.146) in the people’s lives also began to affect the entire community, including “a stimulus to local businesses” (p.146) such as the hardware store and the super-market. The author points out that as a result of steady wages, the Indians were able to eat better. He also points to the very important improvement in work ethic that was seen among employees of the electric company. He maintains that it encouraged “punctuality and regularity among the workers” (p.146).
Toward the end of the article, the author discusses the ” significance of the Simpson Electric Company project for the welfare of the American Indian in general” (p.147). The author believes the idea of bringing industry to reservations is the way to solve economic hardships experienced by many American Indians at the time. His evidence for this idea is the content of his entire article. He does point out, however, that this course of action could not be used to solve the economic problem entirely. Rather, he believes, ” it is rather advanced as a program that could help a considerable number of our Indian communities help themselves” (p. 148).
Overall, I found the article to be easy to understand. The author gave an abundance of evidence to support his opinion on the positive impacts the electric company had on this Chippewa community. The main points of the article were easy to understand even if only read once.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALLISON BOISVENU Michigan State University ( Susan Applegate Krouse)
Rouse, Irving. The Circum-Caribbean Theory, An Archeological Test. American Anthropologist April-June, 1953 Vol. 55(2):188-198
The proposed Circum-Caribbean theory offers a very rigid sequence of cultural development and diffusion. The author’s intent in this article was to investigate the validity of the theory. First, the original theory was broken down into a sequence that was believed to represent the order of which the Caribbean cultures diffused through the area. The first step was settlement in South America by Indians, followed by the development of “Formative culture”. Next, was the spread of Formative culture, succeded by the development of civilization in Central Andes and the disappearance of the Formative culture in other areas, and lastly, the diffusion of Circum-Caribbean culture southward.
The author then suggests that classifying pottery is the best way to determine if the proposed order is accurate. The placement of pottery development into a chronological sequence helped him to conclude that the theory was only partially correct.
This article is unnecessarily long and wordy, making its intent unclear. A portion of the article’s title implies that a test of theory is being reviewed; however, it is not until the conclusion that any comparisons are made between the original and the hypothesized theories. There are a lot of gratuitous sentences full of unnecessary information that shadow fairly specific topics.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALLISON GOFF Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Rouse, Irving. The Circum-Caribbean Theory, An Archeological Test. American Anthropologist 1953 55: 188-199
In this essay, anthropologist Irving Rouse, describes the development of a new theory of South American culture history, which he identifies as “a significant by-product of the Handbook of South American Indians (Steward, 1946-50)” (p 188). The purpose of this essay is to test the validity of Steward’s Circum-Caribbean theory in relation to “new data and their synthesis” (p 189). Rouse challenges the aforementioned theory, which was mainly based on ethnological data, by presenting archeological evidence that contradicts Steward’s Circum-Caribbean supposition.
Rouse identifies a “distinctive point” in Steward’s theory, in its assumption of a northward spread of Formative culture from the central Andes into the Caribbean, while not allowing for diffusion eastward into Amazonia. Instead, Steward postulates southward movement of Tropical Forest culture from the formerly Circum-Caribbean region around the mouth of the Orinoco River.
Through the use of archeological data, Rouse confirms that the distribution of marginal cultures, conforms with the Circum-Caribbean theory, but that the distributions of Circum-Caribbean and Tropical Forest culture contradict it. He states, “Tropical Forest culture must have been moving down the Orinoco River although the theory assumes the reverse” (p 196). Hence, Steward’s original Circum-Caribbean theory
fails to collaborate with the archeological evidence presented in this essay.
Rouse concludes that his essay is yet “another example of the danger of reconstructing culture history primarily on the basis of ethnological data, without the time perspective provided by archeological research” (p 198).
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JADEN J. WINFREE York University (Naomi Adelson).
Sanjuan, Pedro and D.B. Shimkin. Culture and World View: A Method of Analysis Applied to Rural Russia. American Anthropologist, 1953. Vol.55(3):329-346
Sanjuan and Shimkin chose to study three rural districts in pre-revolutionary Russia in this article. These three districts are separated by both time and space: Kadnikov Uyzed in Northwest Russia in 1857, Kholmogory and Pinega Uyezdy in far-northern Russia in 1864-69, and Saguny sloboda in Ostrogozhk Uyezd in the Black Earth belt in 1903. Through proverbs, the authors try to “identify the attitudes and psychodynamic most prominent in these regions, and to examine the interrelations of these attitudes and features with other cultural segments”(329). The reason why the authors use proverbs in their investigation is because they are a common cultural element throughout Old World Russia.
All three rural districts were agricultural communities where they were self sufficient with the exception of importing some dietary shortages like the Kholmogory-Pinega peasants lacked breadstuffs. They also had “common customary law, household functions, child rearing practices, pre-marital sex license, exogamic limits, wedding customs, institutions of self-government, and Greek Orthodox beliefs. They differ, above all, in the absence, presence and type of serfdom and its survivals; in demography, especially population density, concentration, household size, and male to female ratios; in diet and housing; in the position of women; and in the character of extra-Christian religious beliefs”(346).
The authors used ten proverbs that contained references from gender, race, social status, to religion, among other things. The way they determined what region believed in what was by taking the frequency the proverb appeared in the district, if it was favorable or unfavorable, and what themes were expressed. The common philosophy found in the three regions was indicated by negativism, fatalism, pessimism and a strong belief in God. The hardships and uncertainties of peasant life justified pessimism; man’s powerlessness before authority made fatalism and a strong belief in God as one’s only hope is rather logical. Although this study broke down the dynamics of the regions studied, one must not forget that there are also other possible differences like childrearing for example. This article is at times hard to read due to the use anthropological terms and Russian as if it is implied that the reader fully understands them.
CLARITY RATING: 3
CHRISTIE AUW Barnard College (Paige West)
Sasaki, Tom T. and David L. Olmstead Navaho Acculturation and English Language Skills American Anthropologist January-March,1953 Vol.55(1):89-99
This article examines the relationship between Navaho acculturation and mastery of the English Language. Sasaki and Olmstead agree that developing English language skill is a principal goal among the Navaho community. However, despite the interest in attaining English language skill, very few Navaho speak English. According to a 1930’s census only 10% of the Navaho population spoke English “reasonably well.”
Limited resources and increasing population have created a newfound pressure for Navaho people to leave the reservation. Sasaki and Olmstead assert that in order for these migrations to be successful Navaho migrants need English language skills to adjust amongst non-Navaho people. The authors first set out to determine how many Navaho men on the Fruitland Project of the reservation speak English. Sasaki and Olmstead took a sample of 86 adult males and rated their English skills on a scale of 1 to 5; those rated 1 spoke English fluently, and those rated 5 spoke no English at all. The Navaho subjects were then grouped according to their educational background, their experience off the reservation, age, and military service.
The authors’ findings show that when grouped by age, Navaho men ages 17-30 have the best English language skill, ranking an average score of 2.8. Sasaki and Olmstead also found that veterans had slightly better English skills than non-veterans, and that Navahos with four or more years off the reservation showed significantly more developed English language skills than those who spent less time off the reservation, or who had never left the reservation. The authors also found that those with increased education, especially off reservation or mission school education rated higher for English language skill.
In examining all the data Sasaki and Olmstead argue that subjects with more education are the best prepared to adjust to off-reservation life based on their English language skill. In their article the authors give detailed charts and explain of their findings. This article was clear and the authors did a good job of discussing and supporting their findings, as well as acknowledging the shortcomings of the study.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ANGELA TAYLOR Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Saski, Tom T. & Olmstead, Davis L. Navaho Acculturation and English-Language Skills.American Anthropologist 1953 55:89-99.
Saski and Olmsted’s paper is a study of the number of adult males at Fruitland
Who posses enough English skills to adequately communicate with English speakers, thus making satisfactory gain on and off the reserve. This paper will attempt to test the hypothesis that in order to learn and speak a language fluently one must be in constant contact with a community whose native tongue is that particular language.
Saski and Olmstead begin by discussing the overpopulated reserves and the limited agricultural and pastoral resources that have proved to be of disadvantage to many Navaho people, as it makes it near to impossible for many of them to live on the reserve. Regardless if some choose ‘home’ outside the reserve or choose to remain on the reserve and make do with the limited resources available to them, both groups come across a barrier: the ability to communicate in English. Navaho people have expressed a conscious concern regarding their ability to communicate with Anglos on and off the reserve, in social situations and with government agents. English skills are vital if Navaho people expect to make a satisfactory transition off the reserve or have reasonable gain on the reserve.
Approximately one third of the adult males living on the Fruitland reserve were tested and graded on their accuracy in communicating and comprehending English. According to the results of the tests, each person was categorized into one of the following four classes: 1) None- the inability to communicate or comprehend English.
2) Native English- the ability to communicate and comprehend English sparsely, and where Navaho words are substituted for an unknown English word. In this category the relationship between the age and score of men was very interesting as the younger men’s ability to communicate in English more fluently was greater then the older men.
3) Poor- the ability to communicate about the basic activities of everyday life, but lacking the ability to converse on a higher level. Men in this category were veterans and their ability to communicate in English was profoundly greater than non-veterans. The veterans are not only younger in age, but have received five or more years of schooling; however, the service of the armed forces is not seen as being responsible for the difference because Marine veterans whose time in the service was greater were less proficient than other veterans.
4) Fair-the ability to communicate and comprehend English adequately but having some phonological difficulties. Men in this category worked off the reserve. Although it is believed that language skills will improve if in constant contact with the members of the community who speak that native tongue, this did not occur with the many Navahos who worked off the reservation. This is not because the theory is false but because the Navaho labourers are still in constant contact with their own, as they work for other Navahos.
5) Good- the ability to communicate in English indistinguishably from other English- speaking communities. The men in this category were those with the longest schooling record, and these were the men who gained the most off the reservation.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
MONICA BHATTAL York University (Naomi Adelson)
Schneider, David. Yap Kinship Terminology and Kin Groups. American Anthropologist. 1953, vol. 55: 215-235.
In the Article “Yap Kinship Terminology and Kin Groups,” David Schneider reports the kinship terminology of Yap and outlines the set of devices governing the employment of these kinship terms. Schneider only goes so far into the analysis to show that the terminological system is congruent with the kinship groupings and the way they are structured.
In Schneider’s analysis of the Yap kinship system he identifies three major theoretical problems. They are as follows: 1) The heavy dependency on decedence, 2) the strongly emphasized nuclear family set in a matrix of an equally strongly emphasized lineage, and 3) the inherently contradictory elements that compose the stability of the Yap systems. In order to clarify the complexity of the Yap kinship system, Schneider begins his report by distinguishing the difference between the two clans that make up the population of the Micronesian island of Yap, the tabinau and the genung. Membership in the tabinau is determined by patrilineal descent, and in the case of married women, patrilocal residence as well. In addition to his/her membership in a patrilineal group, every Yap is also a member of a named exogamous matrilineal clan, the genung. By assessing the differences between these clans and their importance, the reader understands that relations with family members are not primarily focused on biological ties, but rather are emphasized through lineage. For example, Schneider explains that if ego’s biological father dies, then ego’s father’s eldest brother now takes on the responsibility of ego’s late father. Furthermore, ego’s mother would now become ego’s father’s eldest brother’s wife in order to maintain the strong patrilineal ties to the tabinau clan. What is important to note is that ego’s mother’s biological brothers and sisters do not take responsibility for ego or ego’s siblings. Although they are related biologically, ego’s mother’s siblings are part of the genung clan and are a separate entity. Thus, according to Schneider, ego treats his father and his father’s siblings as socially equivalent and one solitary unit.
However, Schneider goes further to investigate the notion of the nuclear family set in the Yap lineage system. He explains that individuals have the choice of limiting the emphasis of the lineage system. That is, ego can differentiate his father from his father’s siblings and treat them as two distinct units with different relationships appropriate to each. Ego’s solidarity with his own two parents is differentiated from his solidarity with his parent’s siblings. Part of the differential solidarity derives from the relatively greater intensity of ego’s relationship with his/her own father and mother as compared with his/her relationship to his/her father’s siblings. Hence, the solidarity of the nuclear family is achieved at the expense of the solidarity of the wider grouping of father and his siblings and/or mother and her siblings.
PATRICIA MAIOLO York University (Naomi Adelson)
Schull, William J. The Effect of Christianity on Consanguinity in Nagasaki. American Anthropologist January-March, 1953 Vol.55(1):74-88.
In this article, Schull tries to show the effect of the Christian religion on consanguinity in Nagasaki. He shows that since Christianity in Japan outlaws marriage of up to and including the second cousin, there is a much smaller population of Christian Japanese in consanguineous marriages than non-Christians.
Schull proves his view by looking at the effect of religion in isolating portions of the population in Nagasaki. He shows through two types of data: (1) results of the registration of pregnancy and (2) the survey of Catholic marriages, that the total consanguinity of all the people in Nagasaki for the years 1949-1950 is 8.29%, while that of Catholics in the years 1945-1949 is 1.66%. Yet the latter one, when done by a special survey, yielded 4.92%, so the data is not so coherent. Nonetheless, the percentage among Catholics is less than that of Nagasaki residents as a whole.
He then goes through the history of the Catholic Church in Japan, comparing the fact that other Japanese religions allow consanguineous marriages, but the Catholic religion does not. He goes through the spread of Christianity and the persecutions of the rising religion. He compares, in a table, the consanguinities in Catholic European population gr4oups, and urban non-Catholic and Catholic Japanese. He shows how the Catholic populations in European countries, like those in Catholic Nagasaki communities have a smaller percentage of consanguineous marriages than those of non-Catholic Japanese populations.
Another way Schull uses to prove the effects of Catholicism is by using an equation based on a random consanguineous mating and finds that the estimated isolate size is three times that of the marriageable population. He attributes this inconsistency with the possibility of religion as one of the factors of reducing the rate. He also explores the idea that Christians tend to marry other Bhristian, so there is more isolation and less admixture.
This brings us in the genetic implications of the Christian community and how that can affect the differences between the two groups of people. He briefly goes through the effects of migration, size of populations, and breeding. If the interaction of the three produces a difference, it is probably because of Christian influence in isolating form the others.
MARY AKHNOUKH Barnard College/Columbia University (Paige West)
Shapera, I. Some Comments on Comparative Method in Social Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol. 55:353-366
This article by I. Schapera identifies anthropologists comparing different societies as a commonly yet interestingly problematic. He continues by suggesting that a reason for these problems in comparison can be attributed to scientific method, or in fact lack, of it.
By reviewing some recently published studies by British and North American anthropologists of the time, Schapera lists inconsistencies in anthropological methods, and he questions whether anthropologists have a constant value or meaning for the term ‘society’. Comparing studies done by anthropologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with those done during the mid 20th century he finds the latter do not show as exhaustive analyses of discrepancies or contradictions. Furthermore, most recent works quote sources that are considered “classic” samples by the writers, and have been literature mainly in English, rather than inclusive of those of other languages, indicating additional lack of exhaustive referencing.
One of the key concerns in this article is anthropologists’ written presentations of kinship and marriage. For example, he considers presenting “a general view of the nature and implications of kinship in Africa”, edited by Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde, to be ‘invalid’ for the reason that contributors were only of British origin or training. No studies by foreign anthropologists were taken into account.
Schapera praises a sample of work on the stability of marriage in non-European cultures by Murdock, which drew from randomly chosen samples from scattered areas, different levels of civilization, and different geographical locations. Notwithstanding this seemingly ‘commendable’ approach to the work, he cannot ignore the fact that Murdock’s sources were almost all taken from English language works, ignoring the multitude of those done in languages such as Dutch, French, German, and Flemish.
Further to comments on the statistical approach of cultural comparison studies, Schapera broaches the subject of defining the standard ‘unit social group’ to be compared in cross-cultural studies. The constancy of this ‘unit’ was considered imperative by Hobhouse in 1913, as well as Murdock in 1949. Schapera additionally mentions Radcliffe-Brown’s attempts to iron out what can be considered a ‘constant unit’ for comparison study. Concluding this presentation of arguments, Schapera suggests comparing large groups by types of kinship will solve the problem of lack of comprehensive coverage, and ensure that all possible group types are covered. Finally the author states that the method of comparison should be determined by the problem, meaning that only groups with ‘required characteristics’ need be considered in comparisons.
Following this article is a brief summary by Milton B. Singer, from the University of Chicago. He describes the relevant issues and summarizes agreements and disagreements on methods, as well as definitions of relevant ‘units’ of comparison.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KARRIE SANDFORD York University (Naomi Adelson)
Shapera, I. Some Comments on Comparative Method in Social Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1953 Vol. 55:353-366
In his article, Shapera rebukes other anthropologist’s works and their comparative capabilities. He then proposes the creation of actual comparable categories in order to insure consistency between the subjects being compared. He uses the example of Kinship and Marriage to argue the biasness of his contemporaries and strongly objects to their methods of work.
He shows three types of – in his opinion—failed comparative methods; and although, he does not create a definition for each failed method, he points out specific problems with each of the examples chosen.
In his first example of a failed method, Shapera claims that out of all the great “treatise” that have been published, the analyses of kinship and marriage seem to be produced by a hierarchy, where the written language is english and the authors are from American or western backgrounds. Also the author’s interests lie generally in the area they are writing about.
His next example come from a book entitled African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, edited by Radcliffe-Brown. Shapera shows this work to be hypercritical by stating that it shows a general overview of African people—but then clearly in the introduction Radcliffe-Brown not only alludes to, but fully exposes proof of several different tribal different tribal societies—not mentioned in the body of the book. The contributors to this work all came from similar backgrounds and had comparable governing passions, which only lead to a less realistic, invalid result—in Shapera’s opinion.
Shapera’s last case is a work by a one of his contemporaries, named Murdock. Although Murdock paints the picture of seeming well supported and unbiased about his work, he in reality leaves gaps in his comparisons. Then in his defense he states that his lack of time was a hindrance to his level of incomplete data and poor performance.
Shapera’s next and core point is the method of how to compare different societies. He uses the term “units” to breakdown the idea of society and help organize the certain components which create the larger whole. During this time, there was no solid term for society so the units or smaller pieces which made up societies were incomparable—hence Shapera’s problem with past anthropological work.
Shapera argues that social anthropology would “benefit considerably” if “units” of comparison were used to relate societies in a more adequate method. Society alone is too vague a concept to relate differences between–Kinship and Marriage—or any other field for that matter.
Also, the fact that the people who are doing the comparing all shared similar backgrounds with similar political views, so, the creation of units could lead to “valid scientific generalizations,” rather than the comparisons of different societies with one dominant view comparing their areas and political backgrounds.
Milton .B. Singer from Chicago University follows up on Shapera’s article, agreeing that the idea of better classification would be beneficial to comparisons, and that there is a need to have more intense studies of different regions. Singer does however find Shapera to be overly critical. He thinks that the broadness in terms used to compare entities is necessary in order to form general cultural statements and that there were ambiguities in Shapera’s “units” for regional comparisons. Overall, he agreed with Shapera’s confidence and clarity of “social types.”
CLARITY RANKING: 4
LAUREN BELIVE Barnard College (Paige West)
Shimkin, D.B. and Pedro Sanjuan Culture and World View: A Method of Analysis Applied to Rural Russia American Anthropologist August 1953 Vol.55(3):329-347
In this article the authors set out to analyze the cultures and proverbs of three rural districts in pre-Revolutionary Russia. They seek to identify the attitudes and psycho-dynamic features most prominent within the three districts, examining the interrelations of these attitudes and features with other cultural segments. The first two paragraphs of the article are spent explaining this and what the proverbs of these rural districts reflect and represent.
The proverbs analyzed come from three districts studied between 1857 and 1903. The authors take the information gathered during this time and name several cultural traits the districts have in common during the time the proverbs were taken. Common features included sedentary populations primarily dependent upon the cultivation of grain and a strong system of customary law. Next the authors give a description of the basic social structure in all three areas, which were the household, the bilateral kindred, the obscina, which means the local government, and the peasant courts. The nuclear family was the most common form of household and parents had authority over children that was reinforced by religious sanctions. The article continues on through the steps of child rearing up to the age of marriage, with a description of the marriage arrangement and rituals.
A brief discussion is made in regard to the local government, peasant courts and their religion, before the authors begin to examine the three regions in succession. They give summaries of the histories of each rural region, giving a quick overview of each before moving onto their analysis of the proverbs. At this point three examples of proverbs for each of the rural areas are given followed by the attitudes expressed by the proverbs. Proverbs stressed by each group are noted and lead into a discussion of each group’s philosophies, which are marked with negativism, as well as the positive things that they put before the negative (i.e. love above hate). The article ends with a lengthy summary of matters discussed and ideas and suggestions on continuing the study and analysis of proverbs among other cultures.
The article was rather clear until the analysis of proverbs, which began on page 338. At this point the article becomes difficult to follow and may require re-reading several times before it is comprehensible. Though the authors go into a good detail on the analysis of proverbs in the three rural districts, using plenty of examples, it may be too much detail and the examples may not be as clear as they could have been.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SHANNA CRUMMEL Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Singer, Ronald The Sickle Cell Trait in Africa American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol.55(5):634-648
According to Singer, importance of this article “is to consider available evidence of the distribution of the sickle cell trait in Africa, discuss the obvious difficulties in evaluation of the data, and speculate on some of the genetical problems” (634). Singer seeks to discover where and when the sickle cell trait arose and question whether the trait originated from a single or multiple populations. He looks at pervasiveness of the trait in terms of geographic location, supporting the idea of a direct correlation between genetic relationships in groups and the migration of the sickle cell trait over time. Singer applies information gathered by other on-going studies to supplement his own work and proposes to continue his research to better understand the sickle cell trait.
Beginning first with a basic discussion of the four main red blood cell abnormalities, Singer suggests that only groups under the “Negro” distinction or possessing a racial admixture including that race suffer from Depranocytosis, or “sickling,” of red blood cells. Although in the past there were families of Greek and Italian ancestry suffering from the trait, Singer proposed that racial background research was not completed and there probably was “Negroid” blood in that ethnic line. Singer sites the co-existence of thelassemia and sickle cell anemia as an indicator of the interaction between traits due to “admixture of races”. Singer uses other research with ethnic groups suffering from sickle cell anemia to justify his idea of racial connection of these people to “Negroid” genes. This idea of a “Negroid” blood and “admixture” is completely unacceptable and will be discussed later in the commentary.
Censoring much information contaminated by bad methodology, Singer agrees with geneticists that the sickle cell anemia trait may be carried by a human in a recessive form. This implies that areas having the highest instance of the trait may have been the original location. Therefore, based on multiple studies, Singer believes that according to incidence of the sickle cell trait in Africa the trait may have originated near the Ruwenzori Range in Central Africa. According to Singer, the importance of finding the origin of the trait is that it will shed some light on prehistoric migrations of people as well as “admixture” and racial configuration of present-day populations.
Singer presents a detailed idea of sickle cell anemia that can be fleshed out by reading research mentioned within this article. However, the racist implications of this article make it imperative to regard it as an outdated and inappropriate reference for any modern research. The author draws no relationship between the sickle cell trait and malaria. In many Mediterranean areas, the sickle cell condition was advantageous to thwart the effects of malaria and is not based on any so-called “admixture” of races or the prevalence of what Singer calls “Negroid” blood.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
STEPHANIE SMITH Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Singer, Ronald. The Sickle Cell Trait in Africa. American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol.55(5):634-648.
This article examines the available evidence concerning the distribution of the sickle cell trait and the presence of sickle cell anemia, both in Africa and elsewhere, discusses the genetic and ethnographic significance of the data and points out the many difficulties in evaluating the data and determining its real significance.
On the basis of present knowledge, the sickling condition is limited to those of Negroid ancestry and the trait may be utilized in tracing the relationship of various Negroid groups, as well as the Negro component in phenotypically non-Negro populations and persons. While an impressive amount of data has been collected on the incidents of the trait in population groups in West and East Africa, much of the data is suspect. Genetic information is insufficiently developed to permit a firm determination as to whether the trait had one “center of origin” or more. Nevertheless, available evidence suggests that the sickle cell may have arisen somewhere in Central Africa, near Lakes Albert and Edward. From this area, the sickle cell appears to have spread over the entire continent wherever “Negro” migration or forced captivity occurred, with a “thinning” out further from the epicenter.
For reasons that are not clear, there is a marked variation in the incidence of the sickle cell trait and the presence of sickle cell anemia, and the ratio of the trait and the disease is exactly inverted in Africa as compared with the U.S. It is known that the cells of the two conditions differ qualitatively. The observed variation may be the result, in part, of a peculiar genetic system in which the homozygote manifests the disease and the heterozygote only a trait. This is not likely to be the whole story; the thesis has not definitely been proved and, in any event, the data concerning the incidence of anemia and consequence morbidity in Africa may be skewed by various factors. Fuller investigation into the distribution of the sickle cell trait is likely to cause further re-evaluations of existing theories.
SUSANNE CHIAPPA Columbia University (Paige West)
Smith, Marian W. Structured and Unstructured Class Societies American Anthropologist April-June, 1953 Vol.55(2):302-305
This article examines what occurrences are common to all societies and what are peculiar to some with an emphasis on class phenomena. Smith states that the modern concern is to consider the interaction of factors such as race, heredity, and environment rather than their isolation when investigating an event. She asserts that there are certain basic forms of social systems that vary significantly less than the elaborations built on them or around them.
Smith states that it is necessary to distinguish between the terms “social organization” and “social structure” (303). She defines social organization as the descriptive facts concerning existing social conditions, and social structure as the forms to which the conditions must conform.
Smith cites marriage as an institution across social settings that can vary in fashion and be differently integrated with other facets of cultural life, but it is limited and identifiable in terms of classification at any given point. Monogamy would be a structural point in Western society that limits marriage and which influences the bigamist who refuses this form to the greatest extent.
Smith moves on to describing the class phenomena in Indic society as operating within a structural framework determined by caste. Class phenomena such as differences in the distribution of wealth, privilege, and power in Indic society do not correlate with the caste system. Secondarily, social events can occur without reference to class phenomena, but they cannot occur without reference to caste phenomena. She contrasts this with the monarchial period in Europe where class was essential to all social events and thus society was structured by class.
Smith writes that family or kinship is common to all human societies but the form or structure of the family differs from one society to another. Kinship is at the essential base of every activity in some societies, whereas in other societies many activities take place with only incidental reference to family organization. Australian society is an example of the former and is structured in terms of kinship, whereas the society of the United States is not so structured.
Smith concludes that kinship and class may be thought of in similar terms, that class phenomena differ from one society to another and that some societies are structured in terms of class, but others are not.
This article takes time to digest and understand the distinctions made, but the author gives a good amount of evidence to support her claim and presents an interesting concept.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JUSTIN LEBIECKI Michigan State Univerity (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Swadesh, Morris Archeological and Linguistic Chronology of Indo-European Groups American Anthropologist August, 1953 Vol.55(3):349-352
This article follows extensive studies produced by Morris Swadesh, Marija Gimbutas, and Andre Martinet, to learn more about the divergence of a common “Indo-European” language. According to Swadesh, three kinds of data are vital to the study: “linguistic paleontology”, prehistoric geographical names, and lexico-statistic dating. “Linguistic paleontology” is considered to be the “most specific evidence for connecting given prehistoric stages of languages with definite archaeological cultures” (349).
Swadesh identifies historic languages such as Greek, Teutonic, Latin, Church Slavic, Persian, and Sanskrit as products of a single prehistoric “Indo-European” language. Dating for the language is suggested to be of the Neolithic Age, according to Gimbutas, because of cognates dealing with agriculture and domestication of animals, but not of metal. This implies that Indo-Europeans practiced agriculture as well as animal domestication before separation of the collective culture into branches. Briefly mentioned is the idea that prehistoric names for places could be used to identify linguistic commonalities between separate contemporary groups.
Lexico-statistic dating is vital to a more scientific study of phonetic and analogical relationships between the separate language groups. The lexico-statistic dating strategy works on the hypothesis that non-cultural terminology is replaced at a constant rate and may be compared between two independently changing vocabularies. Taking the percentage of cognate words remaining in both test languages, experts can determine a basic time period during which the languages diverged. Because research testing the divergence of prehistoric language was just beginning at the time of this article, researchers started with languages that have concrete historical and archaeological information. Although a comprehensive lexico-statistical study of both ancient and modern offshoots of the Indo-Europeans has not been made, Andre Martinet has compiled extensive cognate lists between Russian, English, and French. He uses these three modern languages as representatives of Slavonic, Teutonic, and Romanic branches of past vocabularies. From lists included in the article, there is a definite relationship between all three languages. It is proposed that according to both geographic and phonetic distribution, changes occurred in the order of Slavonic, Teutonic, and Romanic.
Looking at these relationships, Swadesh develops three hypotheses for divergence of Indo-European language. Two groups could have spoken the same language at the time of divergence, which is proposed to create a change in speech, post-migration. Alternately, two groups may have spoken different dialects before splitting from each other, making the lexical divergence greater than the time of geographical partition. Last, two groups may continue to speak similar languages after migration, so the rate of diversification would be slower.
Based on the evidence presented here, Swadesh agrees to the suggestion of a correlation between cultural and population movements during 2000-1800 B.C. and the prehistoric separation of Teutonic and Slavonic languages.
This interesting article gives sufficient information to serve as a preliminary source in the study of Indo-European linguistics.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
STEPHANIE SMITH Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Swadesh, Morris. Archaeological and Linguistic Chronology of Indo-European Groups.American Anthropologist (No Month), 1953. Vol. 55:349-352
In this article, the aim is to understand cultural change and the dating of prehistory with particular respects to Indo-European groups. The Indo-European tongue is the single ancient language that came to be such historical languages as Latin, Teutonic, Church Slavic, Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit. This understanding of cultural change is through the relationship between word and geographical separation. It is also referred to as the lexico-statistic dating of linguistic divergence. Swadesh refers to Marija Gimbutas (1952) and her attempt to associate linguistic differences with the movement of people and assigning dates to them based on archaeological evidence. Swadesh states that the most specific evidence for doing so is “linguistic palaeontology”. He also notes that wherever a speech community has broken up, the linguistic changes in one area becomes more or less independent of those taking place elsewhere. In order to calculate the lexico-static date of linguistic diversion, the language must be compared in a series of meanings and agreements of form: similarities in the meanings and forms such as: 1) two forms that match phonetically with the transformation of sounds;
2) assimilatory-dissimilatory; 3) analogical changes; 4) symbolic mutations; and 5) affixes. The result in the percentage of agreements of the similarities within the test vocabulary shows the time separation when compared to historical instances.
In the essay, Swadesh concludes that the relationship between word and geographical separation due to migrations depends on 1) if the two groups speak essentially the same language at the beginning, 2) dialects spoken before the geographical separation, and 3) the continuance of their speech origin after migration.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
CHRISTINA FIORE York University (Naomi Adelson)
Trager, L. George and Henry L. Smith, Jr. The Chronology of North European: A Rejoinder. American Anthropologist. April- June, 1953 Vol. 53(2):295-298.
This article’s main purpose is to discuss a paper written by Marija Gimbutas. Gimbutas wrote a paper discussing her objections to Trager and Smith’s 1952 article on aproposed chronology of the various stages of the Indo-Hittite language groups.
Trager and Smith’s original article was a hypothesis concerning the linguistic evidence for Indo-Hittite language groups. Gimbutas is an archeologist and uses this knowledge while criticizing Trager and Smith’s article.
Throughout the article Trager and Smith point out Gimbutas’s objections and then in return defend their point of view. This article resembles a courtroom trial. One side states their opinion or point and then the other side defends themselves.
One objection by Gimbutas is the use of the phrase “Southern Russia”. Trager and Smith defend the usage of this word by explaining “what we were referring tow as precisely ‘South Russia’ in the technical sense, that is, an area north of the Ukraine and thus equivalent to the more usual but technically less accurate term ‘Central Russia’” (295).
Another objection by Gimbutas was the question of was South Russia the homeland of North “Indo-Europeans”? Trager and Smith defend this by pointing out that their “South Russia” is equivalent to Gimbutas’ “Central Russia” and that Trager and Smith are not talking about “Northern ‘Indo-European’” but about a linguistic stage, which they gave the title North European. Their data comes from Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic languages. Trager and Smith explain that although it may seem strange and confusing to use the term North European to describe a group designated in South Russia, the term is a good choice for it is a linguistically label. All the languages either exist or spread from North Europe.
These examples above are just two of the many objections that are stated throughout the article. The article shows the confusion of an archeologist point of view of a culture to a linguistics point of view of that same culture. Gimbutas states that her view of the Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic languages comes from an archeologist view of the languages. However, Trager and Smith’s conclude that this difference of opinions and facts are needed to formulate an accurate theory.
I found that this article to be confusing at first because it is unlike any other article I have read so far. The fact that I was reading difference of opinions between two parties was interesting and enlightening. Sometimes seeing others points of view helps one to learn more about one’s own point of view.
AMANDA DEKARSKE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Voget, Fred. Kinship changes at Caughnawaga. American Anthropologist ; 1953 Vol. 55: 385 -.
In the article Kinship Changes at Caughnawaga, Fred Voget attempts to formulate a basis for shifts in Iroquois familial/kinship structure. Voget relies very heavily on the work of L.H Morgan and a years worth of his own fieldwork. Employing a comaprartive method, Voget looks at his own work and knowledge of the Iroquois kinship system and
Compares that to work done earlier by Morgan. From this comparison Voget provides the basis for what he considers a shift in kinship arrangements. He points to several socio-economic factors that may have contributed to this shift. Voget called this a shift from the Eskimo system to a kind of Euroamerican sub-type of Eskimo system.
Voget, examines with intricacy the details of familial structure. The article takes an in-depth ook at the familial language/ terminology used to describe specfic lines of relation.
In order to provide a context for this, Voget uses different models of eskimo familial language and orders them chronologically. What this does is examine how over time the languge moved from toward a European model. For example Voget asserts that with the introduction of Europeans also came the introduction of a European economic model that effectively changed kinship relations in Caughnawaga. The introduction of industry resulted in a sort emphasised male role, whereas there may not have been one prior to industrilization. Voget is also very careful to point out that the seasonal nature of the new industry effected the living arrangements as well as relations at Caughnawaga. Due to the fact that work was seasonal, Voget points out that rather than having either patrilocal or matrilocal arrangements, often what he found was bilocal arrangements. These homes with multiple families.
Interestingly, this article looks at the ways in which the emergence of a colonial state may directly translate into a cultural shift on the part of the colonized. Voget points out that in Caughnawaga, there was a gradual shift toward in Euro-Eskimo kinship models. The author does a extensive job of explaining how a colonial influenve is broad in spectrum and may affect a group both socially and economically.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ARKEY ADAMS York University (Naomi Adelson)
Voget, F. Kinship Changes at Caughnawaga. American Anthropologist, 1953. Vol. 55: 385-394.
In his article, Kinship Changes at Caughnawaga, Fred Voget examines the Iroquois kinship system and how it has evolved from the past to the current Euroamerican state which it is in. While doing so, Voget also studies the causes of this development. Much of Voget’s work is based on Morgan’s, who studied the Iroquois in the mid-nineteenth century. From his studies, Morgan believed that the Seneca symbolized the ideal or original system for kinship. The Seneca strongly focused on the sex (gender) of connecting relatives. When the sex of the connecting relatives is the same, collaterals are merged; when the sex of the connecting relatives is opposite, the collaterals are distinct. Voget gives the following example: “A father’s brother and a mother’s sister are referred to as father and mother and their children are considered brothers and sisters. In contrast, a father’s sister and a mother’s brother are referred to as aunt and uncle and their children are considered cousins” (386).
Voget breaks the Iroquois kinship system into five major modifications in order to classify family members. Each of the five includes issues dealing with generations and gender. The first four modifications incorporate the Iroquois’ set terminology. With the fifth modification, however, the kinship terminology is similar to that of the Euroamerican terminology, showing that the Iroquois have “developed” their system over time, following a Euroamerican influence.
Voget believes that, over time, there were two major series of changes in the kinship system. The first was based on the criteria of generation and the second was based on collaterality. It has been theorized that the possible causes of these changes were either originated from modified economic conditions or aroused by a European pressure. The Iroquois families were very aware of the changes in economic pattern. A man’s job even emerged over time as a result of this economic pressure. For example, an Iroquois man might have started out working as a trapper, then as a farmer, and finally as a steel erection worker, which is thought of as a skilled and highly paid job. This development has consequently emphasized the male’s role and diminished that of the female. The Europeans not only had an influence on the economic status of the Iroquois, but also greatly affected the terminology they used. For example, the term for aunt comes from the French word tante.
Voget thoroughly explains the Euroamerican role in the development of the Iroquois. His argument for the Euroamerican influence helps back up the kinship system evidence. Voget clearly displays the importance of family in the Iroquois’ lives, and the steps that the Iroquois are taking towards development, with the help of the Euroamerican influence.
ANNA BENNETT Barnard College (Paige West)
Washburn, S.L. The Piltdown Hoax American Anthropologist December, 1953 Vol.55(5):759-762
This article was about the evidence available on what is known as the Piltdown Hoax, how the hoax was figured out and what led up to it. Because Piltdown had a peculiar anatomy and was one of the key specimens used to support the theory that Homo sapiens had an early origin distinct from Neanderthal man, Piltdown was the center of controversy. The author describes how the jaw of the Piltdown men did not belong to the skull, and that the canine teeth of the Piltdown men were supposedly those of modern apes. There was evidence that showed this information was purposely faked to simulate a fossil skull. In turn, with all the evidence of inconsistencies, the author shows that the Piltdown was a deliberate fake.
Washburn presents this information by using specific examples and facts. Using a fluorine test, Piltdown remains were proven to be from the Upper Pleistocene age. Of the few human fossils that were available from the Upper Pleistocene, not one had a jaw like Piltdown. The author also explains how the Piltdown teeth had been artificially planed down. Under a binocular microscope, scratches show on both canine and molars that the surfaces are unnaturally flat with sharp borders. The author goes on to tell how the extreme whiteness of the dentine and light color of the bone obtained by drilling deeply in the jaw shows that it was not naturally associated with the skull.
In addition to this, specimens were reanalyzed for fluorine content. The results showed that the remains were not similar in fluorine content. The jaw, teeth, and occipital of Piltdown show no evidence of fluorination in the ground at all. The author concludes that if these bones are recent, they should contain organic material. In closing the author concludes that the elimination of the Piltdown jaw and teeth clarify the problem of human evolution.
The author explains that because now there are enough fossils, any major theory of human evolution should not be based on specimens which do not include part of the brain, some face and jaw. He says that this requirement would have prevented the waste of an effort resulting from the Piltdown fake. The elimination clarifies the origin of Homo sapiens and emphasizes the importance of basing theories on adequately preserved and dated fossils. The author explains in closing that it was testing for fluorine which started the chain of events which led to the solution of the Piltdown problem.
The author accomplishes his objectives in this short, but detailed article. To understand it you must pay close attention to everything being said. Through detailed evidence and examples the author does a good job explaining the Piltdown problem.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KRISTEN WOLOSZYN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Weckler, J. E. Adoption on Mokil. American Anthropologist October 1953 Vol.55(4):555-568
In this article, the author aims to study the methods of adoption, and how they have effects on the societal structure and personality of those involved. Weckler chooses the people of Mokil, an island in the eastern Caroline Islands. He describes their island as small, with tiny plots for growing coconut and taro.
The author states that the 425 people who inhabited Mokil in 1947, were all descendants of 30 people who survived a typhoon in 1775. Nearly one-third of the people born on Mokil after the typhoon have been adopted, the majority of these being boys, as their work is considered to be more valuable, and the men of Mokil want sons to “carry on the line.”
Weckler says there are two kinds of adoption in Mokil. The first, sheri shoyshoy, or true and honorable adoption, is a relationship in which the adopter treats the adopted child with love and respect. The land owned by the adopter is handed down after death or marriage of the adopted child. The second form of adoption is known as shotay, or “working man.” Here, the adopted is treated like a servant and does not inherit wealth. The adopter of a shotay may mistreat the child without being frowned upon by the society, as the community does not value the opinion of the child.
Weckler describes the various reasons a family would adopt a child. The principle reason is the desire of the Mokil to have a family. If the couple never have children of their own, land is passed down to the first adopted boy. If the couple later has a boy after they have adopted a child, the couple’s real child usually takes land even if he is several years younger.
Another reason for adoption is the Mokil belief that every man must have a sister, and every woman a brother. Weckler also names extra-marital affairs as a reason to adopt. A man will readily give up a child he does not suspect is his for adoption, or adopt a child that may have resulted from an affair he had. Adoption is also used to establish family bonds with unrelated people and gain or manipulate land deals. The adoptions sometimes extend to neighboring islands. In some instances, children are adopted in the self-interest of the adopter for security, companionship and protection during old age (usually women do this). Also, the father or brother of a mother may adopt an illegitimate child so that she may wed.
Traders influenced the Mokil people during the 1800s, changing their views on adoption. Changing factors for the Mokil included a conversion to Christianity in 1862, and the return of a Mokil man who traveled with whalers for ten years. He introduced many new culture ideas to the Mokilese. This man later adopted children to work for him, creating what the Mokil believe was the first shotay relationship.
This article was very clear and direct. The author achieved his objective of looking at the adoption customs of the Mokil. The writing was sometimes even colorful.
KRISTA CHAMBERS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Wedel, Waldo R. Some Aspects of Human Ecology in the Central Plains American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):499-514
This article discusses the relationship and interactions between man and his natural environment in the Central Plains. The author begins the article by defining where the Central Plains region is located, and describing its physical environment. The climate is described going into details about the varied rainfall in different regions of the Plains. It is also noted that there is a great deal of climatic fluctuations, and that these variations existed long before the white man arrived. The presence of droughts throughout history is mentioned. These droughts or extreme dry periods most severely affected the populations that were food-producers.
The next section deals with how man has used this land to survive. Different tribes are described with an emphasis on whether they are food-producers or food-collectors. The geographic location of each tribe is also mentioned along with the climate in that region. Many examples of different tribes are presented, with the main idea that: “the peoples among whom food-producing was of considerable or primary importance had their regular residence in agriculturally dependable region; those who were primarily food-collectors occupied the agriculturally unsafe lands.” (504). The author describes the history of these two substance economies. Next the author discusses the introduction of the horse and how it played a role in changing the lifestyles of the Indians. The horse allowed game to be hunted over a large area, it also brought different tribes into conflict because they were fighting over the same resources such as bison. At this time large towns developed, perhaps as a result of a need for defense.
This article does a good job of describing how the climate and other factors influenced the way the Indians lived in the Central Plains. The author provides a substantial amount of evidence to back up his correlations and conclusions. Maps and charts provide a useful supplement to the text and help one to better understand the material and visualize the areas being described. The article presents the material in an easy to follow manner, and contains various references that add to the author’s credibility.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
HEATHER MCISAAC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Wedel, Waldo R. Some Aspects of Human Ecology in the Central Plains. American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):499-514.
Waldo Wedel uses archeological evidence to analyze the impact of climate fluctuations on the different subsistence strategies used by native people in the Central Plains region. From time to time this region has presented problems for people living there, which was demonstrated most recently in the droughts and dust storms of the 1930’s. Wedel shows that this region had a history of sharp variation in rainfall, and since it was close to the borderline rainfall necessary to grow crops, the fluctuations determined the modes of subsistence that people were able to use in different parts of the Central Plains region.
Wedel defines the Central Plains as the area between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. The eastern part, which gets the most precipitation, is prairie, and the western part is dryer grassland and steppe. The boundaries between areas have fluctuated through the centuries. Since approximately 20 inches average annual rainfall are needed to consistently grow crops, Wedel analyzes the dramatic shifts in the position of the line of 20-inch rainfall. Helpful maps show the location of this line in wet (1915), dry (1936) and average years, as well as the locations of tribes as of 1825.
Wedel discusses two different historic subsistence economies – migratory bison hunting and village-based crop growing – and points out the correlation between the environment of an area and the subsistence economies found there. Hunting tribes were found in the dryer western area, and crop growing was practiced in the eastern area where there was more rain.
Wedel then traces the climatic fluctuations through the changes in subsistence economy that he observes from the archeological record, from Paleo-Indian hunting bands to small-town horticulture to larger communities.
He concludes by suggesting that further research be done in different fields, from ethnohistorical accounts to dendochronology and Carbon-14 dating, in order to pin down the relationship between archeology and pre-historic climate. He believes that any interpretation of culture history must take changing climate into account. This article is easy to read and interesting, and although he does not cite archeological or climatic evidence within the text, his argument is nonetheless believable.
KATHERINE CAMP Barnard College (Paige West)
White, Raymond C. Two Surviving Luiseno Indian Ceremonies American Anthropologist October, 1953 Vol.55(4):569-578
With the founding of the Mission of San Luis Rey in 1798, an influx of Christianity has led to a decline of the Luiseno Indian culture in southern California. A majority of the rites and rituals of the Luiseno culture are infrequently observed or practiced. The author argues, “one hundred and fifty years of acculturation have not sufficed to snuff out all of the old social structure and religion” (p. 569). He also notes that although majority of the Luiseno people are Christian, the old native religion, along with its rites and rituals, is crucial to all that remains of the culture core. Two specific Luiseno ceremonies are highlighted in the context of this article. First is the installation of religious chief, called scheiyish noti, and the second is the clothes-burning ceremony, known as tchoiyish. These two ceremonies serve to maintain the Luiseno social structure as well as to preserve the culture history, along with its values and attitudes.
Raymond C. White highlights the details of each ceremony in full, noting that the ceremony of religious chief installation was performed first, due to the fact of a vacant spot and the requirements of having a religious chief present for the clothes-burning ceremony. The installation of religious chief is highlighted as being brief, requiring only two parts. An introductory segment was followed by the actual installation of the religious chief. White notes that within these ceremonies, a Luiseno mystic number of three is noticed. Each ritual, dance, chant or song that is performed during both ceremonies is usually completed in three series of three. To enhance the descriptions of both of these ceremonies, White has also included a drawing of the ceremonial site. Labeled on this drawing are the locations of all participants along with any observers that may be present. A greater amount of time was spent on detailing the events of the clothes-burning ceremony. This was a more elaborate ceremony compared to that of the installation of the religious chief, requiring four different stages. The description of both ceremonies did justice in proving how important these rites and rituals are in preserving the Luiseno religious culture.
Not only is this article short and to the point, it also catches the reader’s attention by detailing the ceremonial rituals of the Luiseno people. White uses comprehensible words and sentences making this article an easy and interesting read.
SARAH M. LITTLE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
White, Raymond C. Two Surviving Luiseno Indian Ceremonies. American Anthropologist, 1953. Vol.55: 569-577.
In this article, the author records observations of two ceremonies performed by modern-day Luiseno Indians, who reside in southern California. The author points out that there are many differences in the way the ceremonies he is observing are conducted, as compared to the way they were conducted before the Spanish came to California and influenced these people into converting to Christianity. Although very few rituals are still practiced in post-Spanish times, the Luiseno people still perform the clothes burning ceremony, or tyoiyish, and the ceremony for the installation of the religious chief, or scheiyish noti.
These two ceremonies are part of the ancient religion that is based around the belief in the mythical creator, Wiyot. Both of these ceremonies, especially the one concerned with burning the clothes of the deceased, are done in order to counteract the condemnations set upon the people by their creator. Both these ceremonies involve the entire population of practicing Luiseno. Each “party” or group of people has one religious leader who is responsible for not only his own people, but for performing certain ceremonies for another partner party. Since there are only four distinct parties left, each ceremony is participated in by several overlapping party members and their religious leaders. This overlapping is one of the main differences of the modern ceremonies that the author focuses on.
The two ceremonies are then explained in detail. The author notes the dances that are used at specific points in each ceremony and what specific moves and noises, or “grunts” the people use in each separate dance. In both ceremonies, there are certain sounds, dances, and movements that are necessary and the author is quick to point out when certain omissions or changes are made in the ceremonies he observes. Certain things, such as clothing are not important or symbolic in these particular instances, hinting at the corruption of modernism by noting that one of the religious leaders is dressed in Levi jeans.
The cost of the ceremonies and the ritual importance of paying the participants is another important issue associated with the modern interpretation of an ancient custom. In both of the ceremonies the presiding officials must be paid for their services and this has been incorporated into the ceremonies themselves.
By simple observation of subtle changes, such as the end of a ceremony being announced in English, Spanish and Luiseno, the author is able to prove that although these ceremonies have survived, many things have been altered. He then goes on the conclude that all this change might not be so monumental after all and that the difference in ceremonies has to do with the fact that each religious leader learns to conduct the ceremonies in their own way, through observation, and that there is no uniform, correct order in conducting them. The author justifies the modern re-interpretation of certain ceremonial aspects as actually keeping up with the tradition because the people are simply carrying out the wishes of their creator Wiyot. When Wiyot died he took all his knowledge with him, leaving his children to learn and understand things for themselves. By worshiping him through ceremony the people are learning the values of his religion of their own. This proves that religious integration into the culture of the Luiseno people has survived Spanish-Christian influence and survives within their practices.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANYA CHERNEFF Columbia College (Paige West)