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American Anthropologist 1996

Acheson, James M. and Wilson, James A. Order out of Chaos: The Case for Parametric Fisheries Management. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98 (3):579-589.

Acheson and Wilson seek to explain the decline of the world’s major fisheries through examination of current policies in management and comparison to regulatory practices in the fishing societies of third world countries. Policies in the fishing industry are based on the assumption that the science of fishery biologists is sound and that it is the management that is corrupt. The authors of this article have found that this is not the case; science has created a false basis through dependence on quotas and is therefore leading to ineffective management of fisheries. Fish stocks, as supported by the University of Maine’s Chaos Project, are not organized and predictable, rather are chaotic. Fisheries currently use a numerical approach to management. They rely on supposed normal population sizes to confirm their model for sustaining predictable stocks. Despite inconsistencies in supposed fishing level and stock size theories, most industry biologists still uphold that “fish stocks collapse because of plain simple overfishing” (580). To solve this problem, management implements quotas on total allowable catch (TAC), numbers of boats, licenses, etc. This has proven to be inefficient, as it promotes cheating and has not been proven to improve industry economics or environmental sustainability.

After explaining the shortcomings of the numerical approach of the fishing industry, Acheson and Wilson move on to the benefits of practices employed by folk societies. Folk policy is significant in that quotas are not used. Rather than regulating how much people fish, it regulates how people fish. Enforced on a local level, as opposed to the more distant governmental level of the Western fishing industry, rules are rooted in concepts such as religious beliefs, conservation efforts, and practical species protection. For example, caste fishermen in India were prohibited from fishing during the month of Sravana and during fish mating season. Sacred ponds were protected year round (583). Practices such as these maintain population levels effectively.

Chaotic population rates have been found in even the most simple communities and species. Adverse to the biologists’ belief in the clear-cut cause and effect of overfishing, the authors’ claim that the primary cause of chaos in population levels is “community predation…big fish eat little fish indiscriminately” (584). Despite seeming stability in biomass, species stocks vary chaotically. Acheson and Wilson do an excellent job of explaining chaos theory and applying it to population rates and fishery management. Because of the “complexity and nonlinearity” of stocks, predicting populations accurately enough to employ effective quotas is impossible. Regulations based on reliable parameters, called “parametric management,” are necessary. Fisheries should use third-world fishing societies as guides, taking steps such as prohibiting fishing during breeding and protecting spawning grounds to create normal conditions. The authors argue that parametric management would be superior to the current approach as it would significantly cut costs spent on enforcement and quotas, reduce species mortality, and bring management to a more local scale. The key to successful fisheries management is controlling how people fish, not how much.

AMY VAN AALST Middlebury College (David Napier)

Aguilera, Francisco. Is Anthropology Good for the Company? American Anthropologist December 1996 Vol:98(4):735-742.

Deviating from anthropology in exotic locales, Francisco Aguilera explores the relationship between anthropology and the business world. After completing fieldwork in Spain, Aguilera turned to a more “practical” application of the discipline. This shift was the result of a desire for more money than academia was able to offer Aguilera. While the author admits anthropology is not a necessity for a prosperous business, it can be instrumental in creating change within business. The important role of anthropology is shown through an outline in the changes of business ideology. The author notes the instrumental role anthropology plays in creating this change due to its methods and theory of analyzing corporate culture.

Aguilera’s work was a way for a business to better understand itself and entailed extensive ethnographic interviewing and participant observation. The inclusion of different workers from different levels of the business is crucial to having a well-rounded understanding of the system. This information is especially important when trying to implement change within the business. The authorspends a great deal of time in the article on this topic and brings in theories by Kurt Lewin and Gregory Bateson, who have contributed ideas on change in business and social organization.

The way in which business can be viewed as a separate cultural entity is clearly illustrated by Aguilera. Themes of space, time, personnel, recruitment, network formation and group maintenance are compared with similar results. The author suggests that businesses are a kind of sealed community with geographical and cultural boundaries. Ethnographically speaking, the vision of the company, reengineering in the business process and the virtual corporation are areas that anthropologists can be particularly helpful.

Since business is fundamentally dynamic, the anthropologist functions as an agent of change. When it is determined that change is needed and a plan is formulated, implementation is often very difficult because the managers who implement the new ideas or procedures are used to the old system. The role of the anthropologist is to train the business in description and analysis that in turn influences decisions made on change and its implementation. Aguilera stresses the importance of collaboration in the direction of change, rather than getting it from “the top down.” Having a collective vision and involving the entire business system during change is crucial to a successful transition.

Aguilera concludes by noting that business acknowledges the reflection and combination of their culture, whether or not they use the anthropological nomenclature. Although businesses do not depend on anthropology to be successful, the field does have a great deal to offer to business

ANNA MCCARTNEY-MELSTAD Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Balzer, Marjorie Mandelstam. Flights of the Sacred: Symbolism and Theory in Siberian Shamanism. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Volume 98(2): 305-318.

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, of Georgetown University, writes of her field studies with the Sakha people in the Northern Sakha Republic in relation to her study of Siberian Shamanism. The article focuses on the symbolic significance of birds in shamanic cosmologies, and discusses various interpretations of that symbolism. The article views such supernatural phenomena as “helper spirits” and “soul manifestations” through both an historical and sociopolitical context, while examining the duality of Sakha religion and culture and its resilience to suppression.

Balzer uses examples from her fieldwork and her research on Shamanism to discuss séances and how shamans, who embody the sounds and powers of the birds they converse with, summon bird spirits. Animal spirits partake in dialogues with the shamans, who are aided by helper spirits. Helper spirits can assist in healing practices or generally assist the shaman in her connection with spiritual forces. A distinction is made between helper-spirits and major tutelary spirits who are alter egos. These spirits can be both good and evil in nature and are often thought to take the form of a mother beast, usually a raven or eagle. For Balzer, traditional shamanism is seen as an opportunity for post-soviet Siberians to fill a void that exists in their lives, both spiritually and socially.

The author then discusses a number of methods of interpretation that have been used to understand shamanism and its place in post-Soviet Siberia. These methods are: historical diffusionism, which focuses on animalistic symbols; the cross fertilization of the shamanic tradition, which looks at its various interrelated branches; and the dualistic structure of good and evil, which exists in many areas of shamanism.

Balzer also examines the contemporary nature of the field and how it is constantly evolving. Important in shamanic practices is the presence of a psychological state of openness to altered states of consciousness. Other issues examined include art, sociopolitical contexts, repression and resilience during the Soviet era, and the interaction and separation of religion and culture. Balzer is concerned with the positive and inclusive nature of shamanism.

ANGUS BIRCHALL Middlebury College (David Napier)

Balzer, Marjorie Mandelstam. Flight of the Sacred: Symbolism and Theory in Siberian Shamanism. American Anthropologist 1996 Vol. 98 (2): 305-318.

Balzar’s article looks at the role of birds in shamanic beliefs and the symbolic meaning attached to them, as well as the role of shamans in society. She does most of her fieldwork in the northern Sakha Republic of the former Soviet Union, although she examines other regions in Asia and North America as well, and takes an approach that examines the role of shamans across time. In addition to her own fieldwork in the Sakha Republic, she looks at ethnographic work from as far back as the turn of the century up through the break up of the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet era. She concludes that birds have shifting meanings as the role of shamans has changed throughout history.

Much of the early work on the symbolic meanings of birds in shamanic beliefs states that they are helper spirits, each shaman usually possessing between three and nine spirits as their own. These helper spirits act as a double for the shaman, transporting the shaman during séance and give the shaman specific healing capabilities. Balzer then gives a variety of theoretical modes for approaching the role of birds in shamanism. She takes a diffusionist perspective in the way she explains how different belief systems may have developed and spread across Siberia and North America. She employs a functionalist approach, invoking Malinowski, in order to interpret birds as a crucial element in supporting the shaman’s social role. She also uses a structuralist framework, typified by Levi-Strauss, to examine the symbolic meaning of birds. In her work she does not see the structures as entirely determinant because meanings are often multiple, disparate and adaptable.

The adaptability of symbolic systems is critical because her much of her work focuses on the ways shamanism has been approached by the Sakha since the break up of the Soviet Union. Among other things it has emerged as an important tie to a past history, a new age religion, a folk medicine and a metaphor for social disjunction. Approaches to shamanism and its systems of meanings consistently change with the social and political circumstances and even change with interaction between Shamans and anthropologists. Ultimately this consistent variance in the field of shamanism is the most interesting aspect of the paper, and although not fully realized, fosters some understanding of the evolution of traditions in a rapidly changing social system.

NED MEINERS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Acheson, James M.; Wilson, James A. Order out of Chaos: The Case for Parametric Fisheries Management. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98(3):579-590.

In this article, authors Acheson and Wilson argue that fisheries management in the industrial West would benefit by emulating management techniques of peasant and tribal societies. Western fisheries management assumes that marine ecological systems are equilibrium seeking, and, therefore, focuses on controlling fish stock populations. For fishermen, this means numerical limits on tonnage of fish caught. Peasant and tribal societies, however, view oceans as complex and chaotic, and accordingly manage their fisheries by controlling ecological variables and fishing methods. Acheson and Wilson call this “the parametric approach.”

The authors posit that marine ecological systems are similar to chaotic systems, characterized by a large number of relationships and feedback mechanisms that are highly unpredictable due to their complexity and nonlinearity. In congruence with the chaos theory, the total biomass of the fish community remains relatively stable, but individual species of fish can vary unpredictably due to indiscriminate community predation. Big fish eat little fish regardless of what species they are. If the population of one species declines, another increases in order to sustain the total fish biomass. Acheson and Wilson believe industrial management techniques fail because they try to control the outcomes of these relationships (numbers of fish) instead of their parameters, as the parametric approach does. Managing system inputs such as growth rates, spawning potential, migration routes, predation patterns, and nursery grounds instead maintain an environment where populations of fish fluctuate only within certain limits. This cannot ensure predictable catches, but it may avoid the stock failures many fisheries are currently experiencing.

The authors illustrate their conviction with the success of the Maine lobster fishery. Management there has always been parametric as it regulates specific fishing practices. For example, regulations prohibit keeping female lobsters with eggs so as to maximize the number of potential future lobsters in the water. Another law with the same intent requires escape vents on traps, allowing undersized lobsters to escape. The Maine lobster fishery is furthermore successful because it recently divided the coast into small units. As opposed to the large government-regulated management zones of industrial fisheries, small management zones minimize costs and are more effective because it is easier to learn and regulate intricate biological processes of a localized area. The large zones of top-down management regimes require too much information to be successful, and enforcement costs are insurmountable.

Acheson and Wilson conclude by stressing that modern countries could learn and benefit from the resource management techniques employed in third world societies. Scientists and administrators who have difficulty accepting this proposition should look to the success of the Maine lobster fishery as an example that parametric fisheries management may be the key to solving the serious problems in the world’s major fisheries.

HEATHER BUESSELER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Bauer, S. Brian. The State in Inca Myth and Ritual. American Anthropologist. June, 1996. Vol. 98(2):327-337.

This article discusses how Inca rulers used corn planting and harvesting rituals to assert their power in society and reinforce their elite status. Bauer states that these rulers applied historical and supernatural links to these agricultural processes in order to classify themselves as being of a higher status. For the Inca, corn was the most important crop and its importance was reflected not only in religious rituals, but also in the social and economic strata of the Inca Empire. Considerable pieces of land were dedicated to Inca deities such as the Sun and Moon and the produce grown on such lands used in the upkeep of the deities’ cults. Also the Incas closely associated agriculture with war to the extent that land preparation was described in words reminiscent of conquest. Moreover, the song ‘haylli’ was applicable in both war and agricultural celebratory ceremonies. Agricultural processes such as the breaking of the field were associated with religious ritual and with sacrifices of animals made to the deities. These very same rituals featured the noblemen of the society playing key roles in the ceremony, which conferred certain powers on them and legitimized their positions as rulers of Inca society.

Bauer argues that the association of the involvement of the ruling Inca with these rituals and the resulting conference of power upon them is based on myth. He cites the myth which tell the story of the first growing of corn, in which the first Inca (ancestors of the Cusco elite) arrive with corn seeds, engage in a battle with the indigenous people over rights to land and are successful in driving out the indigenous people by carrying out horrible acts against them. After their conquest, the Inca plant the seeds and are able to reap a bountiful harvest. Bauer’s argument is that the battle in the myth represents the taming of nature by society in that the indigenous people are referred to as primeval and wild, representing nature, which the Inca overcame through the development of agriculture. He also argues that the re-enactment of these myths contributed to the reinforcement of the ruler’s right to power.

AKOSUA NYAKO Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bauer, Brian S. Legitimatization of the State in Inca Myth and Ritual. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol. 98(2):327-337. .

Brian S. Bauer examines the function of myth as a legitimizing force within early stratified societies, addressing the broader question of how states maintain power. Bauer focuses on the corn-planting and harvesting rituals as reenactments of the Pacariqtambo origin myth of the Inca. From this point, Bauer examines how these performances were manipulated by the ruling elite to legitimize and maintain their status by identifying them with reproduction and suggesting that the hierarchical system was of natural origin.

Through referencing historical documents from Spanish explorers and indigenous writers, Bauer shows that the agricultural cycle used to produce corn, a mainstay of Incan agriculture, was framed by a series of rituals. The ruling Inca was the first in the empire to break the soil, often wearing elaborate war costumes, symbolically disemboweling the earth. This ritual was performed in Cusco, on soil thought to be the first dedicated to the sun. This ritual was deeply connected to war, further demonstrated by the use of the haylli, a war song, in the planting and harvesting rituals and by young warriors beginning the harvest.

Bauer positions his paper in reference to Malinowski’s definition of myth as a way of seeing the existing social order as the product of events that occurred outside it, often in a primordial setting of time or space. Using this definition, Bauer examines the link between Incan planting and harvesting ritual and the Pacariqtambo origin myth. This myth shows how Manco Capac and Mama Huaco, the first Incans, emerged from the primordial cave and brought corn to Cusco. Here, they violently defeated the Hualla Indians. This violent encounter in which the first Incans tame nature (symbolize by the Hualla Indians), is reenacted through the planting ritual were in which the ruling Inca symbolically disembowels the earth. By bringing corn, Manco Capac and Mama Huaco inherently symbolize the beginning of Incan civilization and the ritual planting and harvesting of corn symbolizes its reproduction.

To conclude, Bauer examines how the ruling elite position themselves as the direct ancestors of the first Incans by their role in the ground-breaking ceremony. Adorned in war costumes, the elite symbolically position themselves in the battle of human kind versus nature. They reinforce their position as the direct ancestors of the mythical first Incans, linking continued reproduction with their position as leaders. Thus, the myth is harnessed by the elite to reinforce their privileged position and maintain state legitimacy.

SPECTRA MYERS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Bourgois, Phillippe. Confronting Anthropology, Education, and Inner-City Aparteid.American Anthropologist June, 1996 (2):249-258.

Phillippe Bourgois wrote this educational ethnography based on his experience living on the streets of New York City among Puerto Rican youth. His four and a half years’ worth of tape-recorded conversation with crack dealers captured the humanness of a population that often falls through the cracks: dropouts. He never talked to the crack dealers inside school walls, although he would occasionally bring them to the school playground in the middle of the night to see what memories the scene conjured up. It was clear that the process by which their social identity was formed was greatly influenced by the years they spent in school, a place that remains the most important institution for mediating mainstream society’s relationship to inner city children.

Education ethnographers have been confined to the classroom in order to avoid confrontation with street culture. Bourgois is critical of researchers’ apparent internalization of the class and culture-based apartheid logics of the dominant society. Even most radical ethnographers are too emotionally insecure and afraid to venture outside of the institutional confines where white public space is still dominant.

Phillippe Bourgois’ article is centered on how important the school is in establishing a child’s social identity, even if he drops out prematurely. The first memories of the crack dealers are usually negative. Their teachers transferred their negative opinions of their parents (who were often illiterate, blue-collar workers) onto the children. They who were labeled delinquents by the instructors who were meant to guide their transition into mainstream society. Up until kindergarten, the children’s most life-shaping relationships were with their parents. As they were made aware of their parents’ vulnerable ethnicity and class, their most intimate relationships were transformed. Many reacted by trying to distance themselves from their parents by embracing street culture. When students are moved from school to school, they were forced to adopt a violent persona in order to survive physically and maintain their sense of personal dignity.

Phillippe Bourgois ends on a genuinely personal note. He broke into tears when one of his subjects described how they would torture a boy with cerebral palsy when they were in grade school. The author is deeply disturbed by this because his own son had just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He develops a profound dislike for this particular crack dealer who bragged about his cruel actions. To his credit, the author uses this incident to address our need to confront the pain and terror of physical and sexual brutality in street culture. Anthropologists should wake up to the emotional trials of real people, instead of isolating themselves in the intellectual community of college campuses.

JUDITH SCHUTTER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bourgois, Phillipe. Confronting Anthropology, Education, and Inner-City Apartheid. American Anthropologist, June 1996. Vol. 98:249-258.

Philippe Bourgois draws on his ethnographic accounts of inner-city crack dealers to analyze how they maintain agency – sometimes self-destructively – despite their marginalization under institutional and social structures. These inner-city residents have been isolated from many academics, and Bourgois criticizes anthropology for ignoring the inner cities of America while focusing instead on exotic, foreign others or retreating into postmodernist discourses which allow the study of signs, texts, and symbols at a safe distance from the violence of the central city. He also discusses how critical ethnographies of education, while being one of the only academic pursuits of information on inner cities, have been confined to the safe spaces of the classroom while ignoring the education that occurs in the nearby streets and housing projects. Bourgois considers his ethnographic work to be a critical ethnography of education and an example of how the intersection of anthropology and education can be effectively applied to better understand how the practiced agency of marginalized individuals sometimes translates into a situation in which they as the “victims” are blamed by society for the problems that haunt their lives.

Inner-city experiences of marginalization, rooted in larger structures of politics, economics, and cultural domination, are often overshadowed by the agency marginalized individuals display in terrorizing themselves and their neighbors. This agency has resulted in an academic tendency to blame the victims for their own problems. Although ethnography seems a hopeful method for exploring the causes and manifestations of this marginalization, good ethnographies of inner-city life are not common. Bourgois argues this is because most college-educated intellectuals tend to be too fearful or elitist to effectively and respectfully engage in dialogue with inner-city residents, and instead prioritize geographically distant lands. In addition, anthropology’s common postmodernist fascination with texts, images, and intellectual discourses means that research can be done in “safe white public” spaces, thus, such ethnographies lack socio-political engagement.

For Bourgois, critical ethnographies of education have been a promising means by which to better understand inner-city marginalization and the self-destructive agency residents maintain in dealing with it, by offering critiques of class, racial, and gender oppression. However, such ethnographers tend to sanitize painful realities in restoring a “glamorous” or positive agency to youth, by focusing on the classroom and ignoring the violence taking place in the surrounding streets. Ethnographers also ignored dropouts, key players in street culture who learn a great deal about survival while in school and then apply it on the streets.

Bourgois uses his observations of and conversations with drop-out dealers as an example of how anthropology can interpret urban apartheid, explore the self-destructive agency that accompanies oppression, and portray the everyday violence lived by dealers as a method for the ethnographer to face and denounce such negative power. In doing so, he came to realize the limitations of anthropology’s suspension of moral judgment by confronting notions of cultural relativism. He used his anger at his subjects to better understand how victims become administrators of oppression in the community, such as through the gender-based brutality of rape.

As Bourgois explains, kids learn the skills necessary to survive on the street while enrolled in school. As poverty continues to increase, more people will become trapped for life in the inner-city apartheid of the streets and will grasp whatever self-destructive power they can in attempt to maintain agency while confined within the structures that marginalize them. Given this reality, a dialogue between education and anthropology is absolutely necessary if we are to understand how the agency of the marginalized translates into the self-destructive terrorization of their communities and the subsequent tendency for society to blame the victims.

NICOLE MILLER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Brown, Michael. On Resisting Resistance. American Anthropologist December 1996 Vol:98(4):729-734.

In this article, Brown takes on post modern notions of resistance and challenges the place resistance does and should have in anthropology and related social sciences today. He asserts that failing to search underneath the layers of resistance, (where there is a potential for more groundbreaking discoveries) does anthropology a disservice. The Williams College professor is exposing what he believes is a tangent that anthropology is on.

Brown argues that themes of resistance (oppression, “subversion,” “transgression,” etc.) are over-used which has lead to a diminished value of the concept. He asserts that resistance is an easy way out for anthropologists and the over-use of resistance themes detracts from the true purpose of cultural anthropology: “…the central goal of disciplined ethnography is to let our interlocutors show us their social world in ways that make sense to them.” (733) In other words, informants must carefully reconfirm what an anthropologist interpolates as oppression.

After observing an over-abundance of resistance themes in contemporary anthropological work, he looked to his own fieldwork for further investigation. Brown criticizes the work of resistance-obsessed anthropologists (including himself) by saying, “…my intention is not to disparage the struggles of the downtrodden but to needle the pretensions of the privileged.” (739) Using his work with the Ashaninka Indians and New Agers, Brown laments jumping to broad conclusions about personal and political relationships, neglecting to pursue other important areas of the culture.

Brown’s main grievance with post-modern anthropology’s focus on resistance is the moral superiority it invokes and the “reductionism” that results. Because topics of resistance have such heavy moral components (i.e., power=bad) Brown asserts that it is inaccurate and unfair to use these themes without careful consideration.

Using the work of like-minded colleagues Marshall Sahlins, Sherry Ortner and Mark Edmunson, Brown makes a case for the controlling of resistance themes in the anthropological work of the mid-1990s. He concludes by acknowledging the role of resistance in culture but proposes a revival in attention to intellectual, material and emotional aspects of culture.

ANNA MCCARTNEY-MELSTAD Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Bruner, Edward M. Tourism in Ghana: The Representation of Slavery and the Return of the Black Diaspora. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol.98(2):290-304.

This article deals with the growing importance of tourism to the economy of Ghana, particularly at the site of Elmina Castle, which was built by the Portuguese in 1482 and later made into a museum to attract tourists. The conflicting interests of Ghanaians and African American tourists are highlighted. The article concentrates most thoroughly on the role of Elmina Castle in the Mid-Atlantic slave trade. The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board recognizes the importance tourism income has for the economy of Ghana, and members of the board are anxious to present the castle as accurately as possible. The author explains that Ghanaians try to focus on all aspects of the castle’s history in order to appeal to all different types of tourists, but the African American tourists want special attention to be paid to the castle’s role in the slave trade. In response to this, the Ghanaians are making efforts to restore the castle and the dungeons in it that were used to house slaves before they began their journey to North America. The African American tourists feel that it is inappropriate to clean or restore these dungeons because this trivializes the experiences of their ancestors and the experience they are hoping to gain by traveling to Africa.

The article refers to African American tourists as diaspora blacks who feel they are returning to their homeland and reconnecting with an important part of their past when they make the trip to Africa. The Ghanaians, however, are inclined to treat African American tourists the same way they treat all non-Africans and call them all obruni, which means white man. This classification is difficult for African Americans to accept when they expect a homecoming.

The article also explains a conflict over who has rights to the castle. Traditional chiefs as well as other Ghanaians complain that they get no compensation for the tourism that goes on, and all locals are forbidden to enter the castle grounds unless they come as tourists and pay their way. The rich tourism industry, however, does encourage cultural revival and increased interest in Ghanaian culture on the part of the Ghanaians themselves. The article shows the positive and negative effects that tourism has had on Ghanaians.

This article is well written and easy to understand. It presents its points neatly and comprehensively.

KATIE CURLER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bruner, Edward M. Tourism in Ghana: The Representation of Slavery and the Return of the Black Diaspora. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98 (2): 290-304.

Using the example of tourism to Ghana, specifically that of African Americans to areas once central to the mid-Atlantic slave trade, Bruner tackles the issue of representation and interpretation. The manner in which he approaches his subject matter is implicitly postmodern, in that he politicizes the genre of travelling theory. He addresses the practical need to extend travelling theory to include tourism, using tourism in Ghana as exemplary of the real social effects that such short-term travel can engender. According to Bruner, the tourist areas of Ghana are a “border zone,” where cross-cultural contact has effects on both tourists and locals. Drawing from his focus on tourism and its effects, his proceeds to examine race relations: Ghanaians and African Americans do not share the same perspective on blackness; they have stereotypes of each other, and each other’s histories, that become increasingly clouded as contact between these two groups increases with tourism.

Bruner focuses specifically on the site of Elmina Castle, once a slave dungeon, and the African American tourists who travel to Ghana, believing themselves to be returning to an idealized Africa. Diaspora theory enters here, problematizing the seemingly simple commercial enterprise of tourism. At the center of Bruner’s article is the question of who “owns” the Castle, and therefore who has the right to decide how it is interpreted and represented. Elmina Castle has a 500-year history, during which time it was not only a slave dungeon, but also a trading post, an administrative center, a military fortification, and a school. It has figured largely in the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and post-independence eras of Ghana. This varied history, with different groups pushing for different representations, captures the problematic of interpretation and representation that Bruner addresses.

On a more practical level, Bruner also analyses the real effects that tourism is having on the local society in this Ghanaian tourist area. Tourism is, by nature, an economic activity, and is accordingly seen by the local residents as a path to desired economic development. Tourists, primarily African American tourists, pay for what they want to see, be it history or exotic traditions. Tourist demands thus transform local history and tradition through their commodification. National and international aid and museum groups have particular agendas as well that constitute a third conflicting perspective. Such third party groups act to alienate the local residents from their history and landmarks by imposing their own interpretations.

Bruner’s focus on tourism highlights the more general issue of interpretation and representation, which is increasingly questioned as postmodernism recognizes how differing identities come into conflict, and thereby transform each other. Such transformation has real effects in society, such as increasing black-white tension and bringing about cultural revival in local Ghanaian society.

NATALIE METTLER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Browman, David L. and Douglas R. Givens. Stratigraphic Excavation: The First “New Archaeology”. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98(1): 80-95.

This article is a historical review of the archaeological fieldwork techniques introduced by Kidder, Gamio, Kroeber, Nelson and other archaeologists between 1900 and 1915. The authors call this fieldwork the “new archaeology” and argue that it was responsible for a “paradigm shift” within North American archaeology from the simple awareness of archaeological strata to the actual employment of them as excavation units. The “new archaeology” was also characterized by an effort to integrate the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology, to move away from social evolutionary models, a de-emphasis of the collection of artifacts for museums, and a focus on the importance of artifacts’ interrelations and archaeological contexts. In conclusion, the authors discuss why these changes took place and determine who was the first archaeologist to perform stratigraphic excavations in North America.

By the end of the nineteenth century, stratigraphic excavation methods were in common use at Old World archaeological sites. North American sites, however, did not exhibit the same type of large-scale social change that could be found in monumental South American and Old World sites. Lacking a concept of social microchange, archaeology saw American Indian culture and history as relatively static and short. As a result, sites’ stratification was recorded and used as a tool for analysis after excavation was complete, but was not considered in the excavation process.

Nels C. Nelson was one of the first American archaeologists to experiment with stratigraphic excavation. Since he was unable to visually differentiate strata, he utilized artificial one-foot units in his 1913 excavations. At the same time, Alfred V. Kidder began stratigraphic excavations at Pecos, basing his stratigraphic units upon cultural features such as pottery styles. Overall, Manuel Gamio is credited as being the very first archaeologist to conduct a stratigraphic excavation in North America. A portion of the credit for his 1911 excavations in Mexico, however, must go to Franz Boas, his teacher and advisor at the time.

In conclusion, the authors suggest that substantial communication and interaction within the archaeological community of the time was partially responsible for so many archaeologists simultaneously experimenting with similar new techniques. In addition, they propose that the field of archaeology was undergoing a “paradigm shift.” The discipline had reached a static point, causing younger archaeologists to be especially receptive to new models. Credit for the development of stratigraphic methods, according to the authors, belongs equally to Nelson, Kidder, Gamio, and the European archaeologists who influenced them.

JESSICA HORNING Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Carlson, Robert G. The Political Economy of AIDS Among Drug Users In The United States: Beyond Blaming the Victims or Powerful Others. American Anthropologist June, 1996 98(2): 266-278.

In this article, Carlson addresses the AIDS epidemic by drawing attention to the direct and indirect influences of HIV and AIDS as they occur in every day life. He calls this approach a political-economic analysis. Carlson claims that by examining class and power relationships in society, one may gain a perspective which ceases to blame the victim, in this case infected drug users, or those in power. This is an interesting way to approach the often-debated topic of the culture of AIDS. Contending that ethnographic practices should examine the structures through which power is created and reproduced, Carlson suggests that political activism, with regards to this issue, will only produce short term solutions, in effect simply regenerating the failing system currently in place. It is his opinion that only through broad social change can the problems of drug use and AIDS be addressed properly and fully. Throughout the article, Carlson rarely connects, or even describes the relationship of drug use and AIDS. The article is focused more on the political economy of AIDS among all sufferers than solely among drug using sufferers of the HIV and AIDS.

The “political economy as context” approach opposes the notion that risk groups are easily generalized given a certain set of cultural traits. Therefore, the impoverished, homosexuals, and intravenous drug users are far too broad a set of risk groups to study, as all individuals are affected differently. Carlson draws attention to the fact that people use drugs in order to live up to ideals found in the “American Dream,” while in actuality they are just alienating themselves from society. One of his most interesting arguments claims that alienation is indeed, the ultimate end of the capitalist cosmos. The rest of the article seems more an argument for Marxian holism than anything else. In closing, Carlson contends that broad social change is highly unlikely because the powerful others, and not the victims, posses the power to alter society. This line of reasoning is very intriguing. The article does, however, lose sight of its initial topic concerning AIDS and drug users in the United States.

JAMES J. PERGOLIZZI IV Middlebury College (David Napier).

Cassell, Joan. The Woman in the Surgeon’s Body: Understanding Difference. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98 (1): 41-53.

The author of this article examines woman and their role as surgeons. Some of the important questions that the author tries to answer are: Does the female surgeon relate to patients the same way as the male? Does her body as a woman have the same meaning to patients, colleagues, superiors, and subordinates, as does the body of a man? And how can we understand the similarities and the differences among the sexes in a similar profession? Conducting interviews and doing extensive fieldwork with 33 female surgeons throughout various geographic locations, the author was able to pinpoint experiences that shed light on the subject of gender equality and the woman’s body in a predominantly male profession.

The article highlights the social, behavioral and corporal rewards of aggressive male professions. Woman are seen as polluting and negating manhood, they are restrained from the phallicized professions because they undermine the fantasy of men as givers of life. By highlighting the social science of Pierre Bordeaux and his concept of habitus, the author come to an understanding of the different constructs of the body that internalize and embody social divisions. The author states that the body acts as a battlefield where social politics are played out and that the concept of gender goes deeper than it appears. The dominant modes of thought and experience inherit in the social world are inflexible: they look and feel and behave like members of their particular gender, class, and grouping. Gender is affected by conflict over social relations of power; it is a social phenomenon that structures our experience, our bodies and our behaviors.

For those interested in gender studies, as well as the role that the body plays in a medical setting, the article would be very informative and interesting.

CATHERINE SAMSON Middlebury College (David Napier)

Cassell, Joan. The Woman in the Surgeons Body: Understanding Difference. American Anthropologist 1996 Vol 98(1):41-49.

In 1991 Cassell began to study female surgeons and male surgeons to move beyond the unsatisfactory explanations of the hardship women surgeons faced in the male dominated field. Cassell begins with basic assertion about gender, namely that a woman’s body is fundamentally different than a man’s. She employees Bourdieu’s idea of embodied habitus to parsimoniously explore the vast amount of detail and difference between the experience of male and female surgeons. Cassell views the influence of learned habitus on the part of the male surgeons, superiors and female subordinates and of the surgeon herself.

Cassell worked in 5 geographic sites in eastern and midwestern North American, first she houd the name of senior women surgeons. She then contacted them and asked for permission to follow the women for 2 to 5 days. Cassell explains that she actively pursued certain surgeons in specialized fields or women with certain backgrounds in order to have a diverse sample. During the 2 to 5 days Cassell spent couple days observing then conducted opened ended tape recorded interviews. These interviews focused on surgical education and training, mentoring, and relationships with superiors, subordinates and colleagues.

She found that because conceptualization of surgeons as a tough, physically and mentally challenging and macho activity those woman were not thought of having the “right-stuff” for the job. This was supported by her discovery that the female surgeons were continually being turned into “not-women” so their presence made more sense. Cassell also reported the influence of habitus on surgeons themselves, in the form of choosing a lifestyle which many normative roles of women, like motherhood are difficult to fill.

Studying gender differences and sexism was to vague of an approach for Cassell, while she employed many different theories to analyze to situation she felt Bourdieu’s embodiment of habitus offered the best framework for her research. She asserted that the women surgeons were embodying difference, that their mere form in the operating room clashed violently with their position as an equal to the male surgeons and an authority figure for the subordinate nurses and other staff and their “earliest upbringing”. She rejects notions of biological determinism, social constructionism, essentialism and occasionalism, valuing equalilbration between incorporation and objectification

Emily Omura Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Castile, George Pierre. The Commodification of Indian Identity. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98 (4): p743-749.

In this article, Castile takes a Marxist approach to the discussion of Native American identity. Historically, there was little evidence of the existence of a self-defined pan-Indian identity. Castile argues that, like everything else in capitalist society, Indian identity and symbolism has been commodified and marketed by Euro-Americans. This process began with the expropriation of Indian images to aid in the creation of a “New American” identity. Today it persists, resulting in countless images of Native Americans as either barbarians or “noble savages.” The market and federal government have manipulated Native American identity and challenged the authenticity of these identities in order to suit their various needs.

Although early colonialists found Indian symbolism and identity useful for the justification of their expansion and conquest, actual Indians were considered inferior. As a result, the number of individuals identifying themselves as Indian began to gradually decline. Since then, the institution of the Dawes Act, the Indian Reorganization Act, and termination policies of the 1950s created a need to identify federally recognized tribes and “real” Indians so that assets could be redistributed properly. Similarly, the Civil Rights and environmentalist movements of the 1960s created a demand for “certified” and non-“generic Indians” to teach native views of the environment and create Indian artwork. The end result of this process was an increased number of individuals identifying themselves as Indian.

In conclusion, Castile states that the most valuable, and simultaneously most impeding, resource available to Native Americans in their search for self-determination is their unique relationship with the federal government. For example, the Indian Self Determination Act created a general move toward self-administration. On the other hand, the Federal Acknowledgement Process and Code of Federal Regulations restrict who can or cannot be recognized as Indian. Overall, Castile believes, if given the chance, Indians can reclaim their identities and reestablish themselves, but for the time being it is up to the market and the federal government to decide their fate.

JESSICA HORNING Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Crown, Patricia and Fish, K. Suzanne. Gender and Status in the Hohokam Pre-Classic to Classic Transition. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98 (4): 803-813.

The Hohokam are a tribe from the southwest corner of the United States. The transition from pre-classic to classic for the Hohokam brought about change, especially for women. They continued to assume household responsibility, including the cooking, sewing and childrearing; however, certain activities became more time consuming through this period of transition due to new technology. Women began concentrating on the making of crafts, rather than on house work. A woman’s social position was later determined by the quality and quantity of crafts that she was able to produce.

Information collected from Hohokam burials reveals that men held the highest, and, therefore, most respected position in society. They were buried with tools and weapons to signify their duties. Warfare determined the importance of males in the Hohokam society. If the men were able to stay close to home for long periods of time, more respect was given to them, as opposed to fighting lengthy battles far from home. Women, however, were excluded from the village when they were menstruating, and they never partook in any type of war.

Children became more important in this transitional period, and had an impact on the importance of women because the responsibilities of the women still included raising the children. A young male was considered more important than an elder male, but the opposite was true for women. Archaeological research at the Chiriqui research sites lead to theories that an old woman was sometimes buried on top of mounds similar to the way men were buried.

Another distinguishable feature of this era was the architecture. Walls were built around and in the houses, which provided more privacy to the families. This had a great impact on the socialization of women and the raising of children. Women and men were more separated due to these changes in architecture. Women began working in small groups away from the general community and this caused an increase in population and ethnic diversity.

The authors use archaeological techniques to support their theory that the woman’s role in the Hohokam society became less dominant and more domestic. Gender relations in this society were previously unexplored or undocumented. The article is well organized and provides a theory that is supported by archaeology.

KELLIE JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Crown, Patricia L. and Suzanne K. Fish. Gender and Status in the Hohokam Pre-Classic to Classic Transition. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98(4): 803-817.

In their article, Crown and Fish examine the changing relationship between the development of a vertical social hierarchy and the status of women in the Hohokam society’s transition from the pre-Classic to the Classic period. Using cross-cultural archaeological evidence of gender relations prior to colonialist and capitalist interventions, they argue that gender divisions increased in the transition from pre-Classic to Classic. However, this did not result in lower prestige for women within society, rather a social hierarchy arose among women that paralleled that of men.

Crown and Fish base their research primarily on published archaeological records of the Hohokam of the American Southwest. Due to the difficulty of assessing the status of women archaeologically, their speculations are derived from cross-cultural analogies to the Piman groups. Crown and Fish examine gender relationships in terms of changes in the workload of women, domestic architecture, and mortuary practices from the pre-Classic (pre-A.D. 1150) to the Classic (A.D. 1150-1400). They correlate evidence of new food preparation and pottery technology in the Classic period to an increased women’s workload. This suggests that there may have been an increased specialization and differentiation among women based on hierarchy arose among women that paralleled that of men.

Crown and Fish base their research primarily on published archaeological records of the Hohokam of the American Southwest. Due to the difficulty of assessing the status of women archaeologically, their speculations are derived from cross-cultural analogies to the Piman groups. Crown and Fish examine gender relationships in terms of changes in the workload of women, domestic architecture, and mortuary practices from the pre-Classic (pre-A.D. 1150) to the Classic (A.D. 1150-1400). They correlate evidence of new food preparation and pottery technology in the Classic period to an increased women’s workload. This suggests that there may have been an increased specialization and differentiation among women based on productive skills. Concurrently, there was a shift in domestic architecture from courtyard groups, where women performed many chores outside of the home, to walled domestic structures. This change possibly led to an increased seclusion of women and decreased participation in the public sphere. However, it may have also led to increased integration of these corporate groups in which women’s productive activities were a key part of the increasing wealth stratification of Hohokam society.

The third change Crown and Fish examined was the shift in mortuary practices from predominantly cremation to an increased number of burials. They found that different artifacts present in male burials were different from those found in female burials. Men appear to have been buried with ritualistic and ornamental artifacts, whereas women were buried with more utilitarian artifacts relate to the goods they produced. While women appear at a lower percentage in gravesites thought to have been reserved for elites, they have been found at many of these mounds. Crown and Fish argue that this suggests that women held prestige in Hohokam society. Crown and Fish speculate that this means that men and women held prestige for different reasons.

Archaeological evidence points to increased gender differentiation and social stratification in the Hohokam society during the transition to the Classic period. However, Crown and Fish argue that while increased stratification may have contributed to increased gender differentiation, stratification does not necessarily lead to the subordinate position for women in society.

OWEN ANDERSON Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

D’Andrade, Roy and Morin, Philip A. Chimpanzee and Human Mitochondrial DNA, A Principal Components and Individual-by-Site Analysis. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol.98(2): 352-370.

Roy D’Andrade and Philip A. Morin attempt to explain in this article the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA in human and chimpanzee subjects. The pair begins by defining and tracing the effects of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on phylogenetic relationships. In response to criticism by anthropologists Rebecca Cann, Linda Vigilant and other colleagues that Homo sapiens dispersed from Africa sometime after 200,000 years ago, D’Andrade and Morin cite evidence from their subjects to support theories of genetic evolution rather than migration. The article begins on the theoretical level of mtDNA, accompanied by sample trees and charts mapping the matrilineal inheritance of mtDNA. D’Andrade, a professor of anthropology, and Morin, a geneticist, state that in writing “Chimpanzee and Human Mitochondrial DNA” they wish to re-prove their initial findings about the inheritance of mtDNA, and argue that they can do so using two alternative methods: the divisive method and the agglomerative method.

After addressing mtDNA theory, D’Andrade and Morin provide the examples of animal and human data. The sampled chimpanzees, taken from three separate regions in Africa, demonstrate similarity of mtDNA among geographically similar lineages. The human data also supports the theory that mtDNA is region specific, which, according to D’Andrade and Morin, furthermore negates the migration postulate. In concluding the article, the pair points out that, while lineages from different geographic areas are popularly referred to as “races,” mtDNA gives no evidence that supports a racial phylogeny.

D’Andrade and Morin prove the points made within the article using mtDNA lineage trees and charts, which are clearly marked and explained within the text. The problem, however, is that, while the charts are clearly labeled, the explanations are given in highly technical genetic jargon. Without the proper vocabulary, or an in-depth understanding of biological inheritance, the points D’Andrade and Morin attempt to make are easily overlooked.

MARY KATHERINE O’BRIEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

D’Andrade, Roy and Phillip A. Morin Chimpanzee and Human Mitochondrial DNA: A Principal Components and Individual-by-Site Analysis. American Anthropologist June 1996 Vol. 98 (2): 352-370.

D’Andrade and Morin use new mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis techniques to trace linkages within chimpanzee and human ancestors, respectively. They seek to scientifically resolve the debate over the research done by Cann et al. (1987) and Vigilant (1991), which determined the dispersal of Homo sapiens from Africa before 200,000 years ago. MtDNA is inherited only through females, making it a marker of genetic change without the issues of sexual recombination. The authors use two new techniques, principal components analysis and individual-by-site analysis, to analyze the data. The individual-by-site analysis lines up individuals and nucleotides into a matrix, making nucleotide changes easier to track. The principal components technique then reduces the genetic matrices to a set of vectors or components, which makes mathematic computation of genetic variance possible. Ultimately, these processes allow the authors to determine the distance between nucleotide changes (mutations) and produce genetic trees, allowing them to map out human dispersal and trace lineages if they exist. The authors were very concerned with elucidating problems with their technique and use several statistical methods to correct for errors.

The chimpanzee data consisted of mtDNA sequences from 62 Pan troglodytes, common chimpanzees. Through analysis of the sequences using the techniques described above, the researchers found that the three varieties of chimpanzees, West, Central, and East African, corresponded to specific lineages. The authors demonstrated that all the subspecies of Pan troglodytes came from a single ancestor, most likely West African, and later split into subspecies based on mutations of the mtDNA. This success proved that their analysis techniques were sound, and could be used to look at human ancestors.

In looking at human linkages, D’Andrade and Morin first explain the findings and the controversies of Cann et al. and Vigilant. Both place the appearance of modern humans in Africa, but the Cann et al. study was problematic in its use of African-Americans instead of native Africans to determine origin. Through their analysis techniques, D’Andrade and Morin hoped to put to rest these continuing debates. While ambiguities about where divisions should be made in the data made analysis of human data more difficult, the authors ultimately found that the conclusion of Vigilant’s study, an African origin of modern humans, was correct. They believe this conclusion is more valid than the multiregional hypothesis, which claims that there were other non-African sites of modern human development. D’Andrade and Morin’s data, as well as other contemporary studies, suggest a date later than200,000, making the multiregional hypothesis unlikely according to the authors.

One last conclusion of the study was that racial divisions are not due to lineages. That is, there are no distinctive genetic markers between any of the non-African groups, and indeed there are more genetic markers within the subset of Pygmies than there are between all the other racial groups combined. The authors speculate that the differing appearances of what we call racial groups are due to adaptations and natural selection that occurred after the dispersal of modern humans from Africa to various habitats.

Clarity: 3.5
BRIENNE CALLAHAN Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Draper, Susan B. Breast-Feeding as a Sustainable Resource System. American Anthropologist, June 1996. Vol. 98(2):258-265.

In this article, Draper looks at how breast-feeding can be interpreted as a sustainable resource system, or a system in which economic growth can occur without destruction of natural capital for future generations. Draper argues that struggles to assert women’s political equality have denied women’s biological differences from men, and that the capitalist economy further forces women into “genderless thought.” She believes that understanding the value of breast-feeding as a subsistence income can create positive effects on gender roles and gendered involvement in the home, increase the value of women’s unpaid labor, help to elaborate the theoretical issues of equality versus difference, and act as a sustainable resource system.

Draper points out that it is difficult to understand the importance of breast-feeding because it is outside the realm of national economy and gender equality. Unpaid women’s labor like breast-feeding has not been valued in a measurable way in the capitalist economy because it is not waged and has no surplus value. Also, breast-feeding and other unpaid labors do not fit well within the modern discourse of gender equality. Notions of gender equality often deny gender difference in an effort to assert how men and women should be treated and paid alike. However, these differences do exist and affect social roles and cultural expectations. Draper argues that it is important to find a way to study breast-feeding within the contexts of economy and gender equality, and that this can be done by studying the contribution that breast-feeding makes to subsistence economies as well as to gender roles.

Draper explains how breast-feeding, when interpreted as a subsistence activity, gains value through its health and socialization advantages. Breast-feeding saves money in health care and substitute formula costs, making it a subsistence activity more easily valued in a capitalist mode of thought. It also is an effective method of natural family planning, which can diminish population growth to control poverty and rapid urbanization. Furthermore, active paternal support and appreciation socializes fathers to take a more active role in household subsistence activities, as they realize that while they cannot breast-feed, they can otherwise competently participate in child care.

Because the capitalist system largely dominates thinking about parenting and dissolves differences between men and women, Draper argues that it is important to view breast-feeding as a subsistence activity, capable of being understood within this dominant capitalist framework. For her, breast-feeding is a sustainable resource system with no environmental costs that enhances human well-being and encourages cooperative gender relationships. Ultimately, positive personal and political consequences can occur when the value of women’s labor is reevaluated.

NICOLE MILLER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Errington, Frederick and Deborah Gewertz. The Individuation of the Tradition in Papua New Guinean Modernity. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol.98, No.1 (Mar., 1996), 114-126.

Errington and Gewertz, conducted fieldwork, which focused on the cultural changes of the Chambri people, in the Eastern Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. The Chambri traditional culture had changed dramatically due to “modernity”. The contemporary Chambri tribe influenced other tribal groups in the country economically, politically and culturally and transformed the culture into global icon, which toured European countries such as England, France and Netherlands to represent their culture. Their local performance leader introduced the dance group to companies such as PepsiCo and Arnott’s Biscuits. The objective for the companies was mostly commercial purposes and for Chambri, to preserve traditional values. The local politicians saw that as the threat of their traditional culture but they not change anything it because other groups within the country are interested into the Chambri values.

YIEN KONGDUONGDIIT University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)

Gable, Eric and Handler, Richard. After Authenticity at an American Heritage Site. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol.98 (3):568-578.

Colonial Williamsburg promotes itself as a living museum, which authentically represents history in an educational fashion. The authors begin this investigation of Colonial Williamsburg by framing it and similar museums as products of a countermodern anxiety and the results of constructivist projects. Heritage site like Colonial Williamsburg are important to examination because they portray crafted images of history. Gable and Handler state that the sites’ strong emphasis on creating a authenticity of the past is in part a conservative constructivist response to postmodern criticism. The researchers carefully examine the ways that the visitors and the staff at Colonial Williamsburg reconcile the representation of objective fact with constructivist motivations. The combination of a created version of history seems at first mutually exclusive to the dedication to authenticity which the researchers found many examples of, yet they found that they exists as a combination: objective constructivism.

From 1990 to 1993 the researchers talked with employees ranging from the “frontline” interpreters to the historians and architects who worked out of the public eye. They also interviewed many of the visitors to Colonial Williamsburg. From these conversations they pieced together the desires of the visitors and the strategies of the employees to meet these demands.

The first problem that assaulted Colonial Williamsburg after its implementation was the issue of cleanliness, both literally and metaphorically. The site was too sanitary to mimic the conditions of a settlement and it lacked symbols of highly charged issues like slavery. The researchers saw this problem and other attacks on authenticity, as challenging the objectivist stance and adherence to authenticity that most employees supported. They found that the employees had many impression management strategies for perpetuating the sites’ credibility. One strategy was to vocalize a mistake and point out that it was being corrected in accordance to the desire to be as accurate as possible; another strategy was to point out the inappropriate item as a necessity for visitor comfort. All of these managed impressions were described as “constructivist ploys in defense of objectivist authenticity”. Issues of authenticity and the construction of history confronted both the public and the employees at Colonial Williamsburg.

The importance of keeping the site authentic was to protect its credibility. As an institution Colonial Williamsburg works in the tourist trade and has to be concerned about its reputation, in light of the “donating public”. The authors point out that previous assessments of historical living museums as solely constructivist projects, neglects to include the need for the appearance of educational, and objective presentation of history. The authors concluded that this historical site, while maintaining a distance from parks like Disneyland, were not the purveyors of reality. The main focus of many employees’ time was to be historically accurate, this resulted not in more truthful displays of history; rather the authors argue that they present a more toned version of history, which is constructed in response to contemporary society’s failings. The authors found that the site of Colonial Williamsburg itself promotes an objectively inaccurate image of the past and depends on “essentialist authenticity” rather than simply constructivism to keep the site’s authority and clientele.

Emily Omura Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Gilmore, David D. Above and Below: Toward a Social Geometry of Gender. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98(1):54-66.

In this article, Gilmore attempts to address the problem of how to go beyond a traditional evaluation of gender toward one that deals with issues of social hierarchy. He advocates a “social geometry” approach to studying gender through three dimensions. Two dimensions are those traditionally considered in gender studies: power asymmetries and spatial relationships. The third, normative stratigraphic hierarchies, is of his own conception, and is the major concern of this article. Gilmore builds his argument around fieldwork in the southern Andalusia region of Spain and extrapolates from there to illustrate the global significance of the social geometry of gender.

The idea of a social geometry of gender is introduced through an acknowledgement of traditional dualisms, with a special focus on dominant/submissive and public/private. Gilmore asserts that, in addition to these dualisms of power and space, an understanding of a stratigraphic dualism (above/below) is necessary for a complete understanding of gender roles. He evaluates several kinds of stratigraphic situations (from the Indian caste system to stratigraphic examples from modern language) and confirms that things that are lower are considered primitive and inferior to their higher counterparts. Related to gender, Gilmore finds that “males are almost always on top in such vertical analogies and metaphors” (54). In Andalusia, where everything is stratified and hierarchical (politics, geography, even physical stature), gender and sex also take on stratified significance. As specific examples, Gilmore explains both the Greek olive harvest and the construction of houses in Andalusia, instances where men are physically situated higher than women. In these cases, men stand on ladders to do the “high” work in the trees or on the walls while women on the ground below do the fine and heavy work of collecting, fetching, and carrying. He also discusses the explicit references to women’s place “on the bottom” from festival verse called copla, as they are specific examples of the woman’s position below men in a spatial hierarchy.

Gilmore asserts that a “more complete image” (62) of people’s sense of gender can be understood through the social geometry approach. He argues for the theory’s universality, and discusses the political implications of such a construction of gender. He expands the theory to argue that the hierarchy (things primitive and feminine at the bottom, things pure, developed and masculine at the top) has significant consequences for men’s conception of themselves; for men, being “below” can mean being feminine. A closing discussion of the potential for reversal of the hierarchy is a bit convoluted and leads even Gilmore to conclude that to investigate this complicated byproduct of social geometry, more thoughtful, specialized investigation is required.

JULIANNE BAROODY Middlebury College (David Napier)

Gilmore, David D. Above and Below: Toward a Social Geometry of Gender. American Anthropologist, 1996. Vol. 98(1):54-66.

Gilmore’s article revisits the structural notion of binary opposition, exploring these dualisms within the framework of gendered hierarchies in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. According to Gilmore, male-female sexual politics are often expressed through linguistics and space. He asserts that there is another, “topographical,” dimension in which these politics can be explored. This dimension, Gilmore explains, is important in that it links issues such as social status, morality, and sexuality with notions of “aboveness” and “belowness.” Gilmore contextualizes this fascination with topographical “ladders,” citing general examples such as religion (heaven is up above, earth is down below); explorations of social strata and developmental stages; and body height (the tendency to see taller people as superior). He then localizes these stratifying metaphors to the Andalusian region, purporting that this area incorporates issues of politics, power, and sexuality into its topographical opposition.

Gilmore establishes the presence of topographical stratification in the region, citing examples such as economic wealth (the poor seeing themselves as being beneath the rich) and geographic centrality (associating urban areas with higher power status while equating rural areas with poverty). He then uses his own and several other anthropological studies to illustrate how aboveness and belowness come out in Andalusian discussions of politics and sexuality. Gilmore first explains how political stratification is carried over into issues of sexuality in such a way that men equate political weakness among other men with what they view to be the subordinating female, “recipient” sexual position.

Citing his own and other research, Gilmore expands this discussion of sexuality, power and politics into an exploration of the interactions between men and women in Andalusian olive harvesting and house constructing activities. Harvesting olives in this region requires a tiered work team. One team works on the ground to harvest fallen fruit while the other tier stands on ladders, removing olives from the trees. Despite the relaxation of sexual mores during this time due to the man-woman interaction the work requires, men always compose the upper tier and women the lower. In explaining why this is the case, men in the region first use physical traits, stating they are taller and can reach higher in the trees. When pushed, however, Gilmore states that the men will use a sexual metaphor, saying that when they harvest the olives from the ladder they are throwing seeds down onto the women. Gilmore illustrates the presence of these same metaphors in house construction in the region, where men are seen doing masonry work on the ladders while women mix plaster on the ground. Since, in this instance, the women are doing the more physically demanding work, the “men-should-be-on-top” sexual metaphor is the only explanation given. Gilmore concludes his structural exploration of this topographical dimension to gender relations by discussing the potential universality of preferencing that which is above.

LAURA M. GLAESER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Gossen, Gary H. Maya Zapatistas Move to the Ancient Future. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98: 528-538.

Gary Gossen analyzes the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico in terms of its connection to the reality, view of individual self, and expressions of identity among the Maya people. The Zapatista movement was created in response to the discrimination of the Indigenous groups by the Mexican government. While many see the goals of their movement focused on gaining political and economic autonomy, Gossen argues that it has much more to do with issues of cultural identity and representations in Mexico’s national idea. He draws a parallel between Maya history and epistemology to the characteristics and events of the Zapatista movement. He argues that the diversity and coordination of different Indian groups in the movement symbolizes post-colonial ethnic identity that extends beyond political achievement.

The events in Chiapas during the early 1990s are indicative of the movement’s focus on cultural agency rather than political autonomy. While the Zapatistas demonstrated their power as a revolutionary political group, they also supported plural Indian identities that threatened the country’s homogenized national identity. For years the government ignored their requests for autonomy, invaded their spaces of public forum, and disrupted their communities. Finally, after a forum in 1996 focused on cultural and ethnic autonomy, the government stated its intention to sign an agreement to expand the rights of Indians in Mexico.

Gossen continues by recognizing how Maya ideas about reality that can explain the qualities of the Zapatista movement. First, Maya reality is opaque. Interpreters and leaders are needed in order to understand what is going on in its entirety. Thus their leader, Marcos, is an outsider who is needed and spoken of in the same way as the god Quetzalcoatle and revolutionary leader Zapata who were also fair-skinned. Second, individuals do not have control of their destiny. Exercising on one’s own free will and self-interest often will lead to failure. Gossen suggests that Zapatistas wear masks so that their actions will not be seen as self-serving.

The third idea in Maya identity is that in order to situate themselves in the present, they rely on the acknowledgement and inclusion of other identities. According to the Maya, there is no privileged ideal form. This idea is in conflict with the Mexican national identity that tries to mirror the Western world by depending on a single, homogenized national identity. Instead of a hierarchy of authority among the indigenous members of the Zapatista group, they have a secret lateral organization. Gossen proposes that the pan-Indian make-up of Zapatista leadership is representative of ethnic assertion in the post-colonial era. As a result of diverse Mexican and Guatemalan Indian groups fleeing from political violence and oppression to what is the geographical center of Zapatista organization, they have created a powerful movement forcing the state to consider their requests.

JEHAN-MARIE ADAMJI Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Hinton, Alexander Laban. Agents of Death: Explaining the Cambodian Genocide in Terms of Psychosocial Dissonance. American Anthropologist, December 1996 Vol.98 (4): 818-830.

Alexander Laban Hinton calls for anthropologists to recognize the topic of large-scale genocide. He begins the process with this article concerning the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia during the Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 through 1979. He seeks to discover the ways in which historically calm, Buddhist Cambodians become violent, genocidal killers. Festinger was the first to develop a theory of cognitive dissonance (CD), which concluded that dissonance occurs when a person is confronted with a behavioral expectation (i.e. killing) that conflicts with their personal beliefs. Building upon the CD model, Hinton adds notions of cultural models, self, emotion, motivation, and contextual variation to create his theory of psychosocial dissonance (PSD). “Psychosocial dissonance is…those cases in which an emotionally salient cultural model about the context-dependent self comes into conflict with another emotionally salient cultural model that violates that context-dependent self-concept.” The PSD theory was developed to act as a starting point for anthropologists to begin their studies on large-scale genocide.

To be successful in psychological conversion, PSD had to be achieved at both state and individual levels. The state, the Khmer Rouge, created an ideology that “glorified revolutionary violence and blood sacrifice” in which communism replaced Buddhism. This was achieved through a transfer of commitment from the family to the Organization (Angkar) lead by revolutionary action within all daily activities. The individual level response varied based upon past experiences, each individual succumbing to a particular kind of dissonance, which transformed the individual into an “agent of death”. Dehumanization and the use of euphemisms on this level made it easier to morally justify the killing and violence. For instance, viewing the enemy as inhumane or as a threat to society and social order. Also, a process of desensitization was employed through rigorous training and propaganda that created an even larger amount of dissonance. Finally, the government through means of terror, indoctrination, intimidation, and the creation and exaggeration of group norms enforced an utmost obedience to authority. It was no longer an act of an individual, but of an individual following an order from Angkar. Thus, Hinton uses his theory of PSD to show cultural models are transformed through change of ideology at the state level and a change of consciousness at the local level. This is his explanation for the Cambodian genocide, but concludes with a reemphasis for anthropologists to study large-scale genocide with the potential for prevention of another occurrence.

MIRIAH ZAJIC Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Kendall, Laurel. Korean Shamans and the Spirits of Capitalism. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98(3): 512-527.

In “Korean Shamans and the Spirits of Capitalism,” Laurel Kendall returns to her fieldwork in Seoul, Korea, in an attempt to determine the effects of capitalism on traditional shamanic practices. She argues that, despite increasing capitalist enterprises, a “vital practice” of younger shamans has retained the rituals and spirit of Korea’s religious community. What has occurred, she asserts, is a transformation of many rituals to co-exist with the new capitalist culture. For example, Kendall writes that, while many Koreans consult shamans in the 1990s, their questions focus primarily on the prudence of opening a business, or how to conduct themselves in business relations. Kendall juxtaposes this with a comparison of her fieldwork in the 1970s, during which time she studied the primarily agrarian outskirts of Seoul, whose community members consulted shamans about startlingly different things (i.e. weather and planting). Kendall uses this article to document a change in cultural priorities as a result of urbanization and increased capitalism.

This article focuses on religious practice, clearly recounting many of the religious ceremonies Kendall witnessed during her 1994 return to Korea. One such case is that of the Kim family, who purchased a car in a year deemed “not auspicious” for the purchase of the vehicle. Had the family undergone the “car ritual” of reading horoscopes and consulting the Car Official (Ch’a Taegam) and the Engine Official (Enjin Taegam), the shaman says, danger would have been avoided. Evolved rituals such as these, the author asserts, have taken precedence in religious ritual. In the article Kendall also traces the history of the Korean political economy to explain why capitalism has become the dominant form of exchange in Seoul, and additionally how religion has paralleled this transformation. The author relies predominantly on examples from her own fieldwork to illustrate her argument, yet supports her findings by citing sociological, anthropological and economic texts. She concludes that rather than replacing shamanic practices, capitalism has instead contributed to a transformation that allows traditional religion to remain a part of day-to-day life in Korea. The article is clearly written and illustrated with photographs from Kendall’s fieldwork.

MARY KATHERINE O’BRIEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Kendall, Laurel. Korean Shamans and the Spirits of Capitalism. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98(3): 512-527.

In this article, Kendall explores the changing role of kut, or shamanic rituals, among the middle class in Seoul, Korea. She examines the increasing relationship between wealth and spirits in light of Korea’s rapid industrialization and urbanization. Kendall argues against the modernist notion that popular religions are dying out because of these changes. She argues, using the idea of religion as a tool of popular consciousness, that these practices are dynamic, and are a way in which the participants can reflect, validate, and possibly exert a degree of control over their position in a rapidly changing economic environment.

Kendall bases her article on fieldwork she did in Seoul and its immediate periphery from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. When she began her fieldwork, Korea was in the middle of rapid economic growth in which the country was transitioning from an agricultural and rural society to a predominantly industrial and urban one. When Kendall first started her fieldwork the families she observed had small family farms and produced grain for the market. Due to the physical nature of this work, illness posed the biggest threat to the stability of the household. Thus, most kut were held for reasons of health. Kendall notes that in the mid 1990s, individuals engaged in small businesses sponsored most of the kuts that she observed. Kendall observed that these individuals and shamans often attribute their economic success to good relations with the spirits. Similarly, economic hardship is often attributed to neglecting the spirits. Kendall comments that since entrepreneurship is a risky business, economic problems now pose the greatest threat to the stability of the household. Kendall believes that the role of the kut has shifted to accommodate for these new problems, possibly as a way for individuals engaged in small businesses to feel like they have some control over the unpredictable market.

The shifting role of the kut has also created a space in which the sponsors of the kut can reflect upon and validate their experience. The popular idea that money creates nobility is manifested in the kut. Images of greedy spirits and scholarly nobles waddling like fat merchants serve to give the small business owner access to nobility, which the elites claim can only be achieved through education and family background. It also serves to parody and make light of the world in which they live.

Kendall argues that popular religions are tools of the popular consciousness, not fixed practices. She claims that popular religions are not irrational constructs of marginalized people, but rather a way for the participants to apprehend the rapid changes in Korea’s political economy and to reflect upon the society in which they live.

OWEN ANDERSON Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Martinez, Samuel. Indifference Within Indignation: Anthropology, Human Rights, and the Haitian Bracero. American Anthropologist March, 1996 98(1):17-25.

Martinez focuses on the analysis of human rights from the standpoint of political economy. He assumes that the developing world tends to see economic instability, starvation, and disease as greater threats to humans than the right to hold free elections or organize politically. Given this assumption, Martinez claims that human rights abuses occur as a form of economic oppression rather than what a more liberal definition might suggest. To demonstrate this he uses the plight of Haitian sugarcane workers in the Dominican Republic. These workers are rounded up every year and promised good wages in their neighboring country. Upon their arrival, they are forced to do hard labor and earn small salaries. However, this trend has continued for decades.

Many refer to this situation with the term neoslavery. Martinez argues from a Marxian viewpoint, however, suggesting that freedom refers to a person’s ability to live as he desires. He also concedes that most braceros choose to work under these conditions because they hold the hope that their economic situation will improve from its dismal levels in Haiti. Interestingly, Martinez questions whether the Haitian braceros are free to begin with. It is obvious that both economically and politically, their freedom is severely limited. Spreading this question to other parts of the world, including the U.S., Martinez claims that considering only infringements of civil liberties to be human rights abuses makes it easier for those in power to, in effect, ignore survival dilemmas stemming from poverty. This article is extremely insightful and careful in its exploration of human rights. In an interesting turn, the author actually denounces the neoslavery thesis because, while it exposes liberal human rights abuses, it masks social and economic oppression.

Towards the end of the article, Martinez begins to turn away from his analysis of the situation of the Haitian bracero and focuses on the deconstruction of the human rights issue. He states that anthropologists should begin to talk about human rights abuses as culturally specific modes of inequality rather than simply as abuses. The author does an excellent job in waving his political-economic banner and explaining the different approaches taken by academics and activists on the issue of human rights.

JAMES J. PERGOLIZZI IV Middlebury College (David Napier)

Martínez, Samuel. Indifference within Indignation: Anthropology, Human Rights, and the Haitian Bracero. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol. 98 (1): 17-25.

In this article, Samuel Martínez uses a case study of Haitian men working in the Dominican Republic to problematize how anthropologists treat human rights in their ethnographies and how activists engage academic resources. He suggests that the two groups would benefit from collaboration. Arguing that previous anthropological perspectives on human rights were too limited to discussions of cultural relativism, he advocates a broader political-economic analysis that complicates the notion of freedom and takes into account economic circumstances.

Martínez bases his position on a review of human rights literature and his fieldwork in Haiti. He interviewed braceros, or men who, unable to find work in Haiti, sought seasonal employment in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. Human rights activists have argued that these men are unjustly coerced into crossing the border and then subjected to horrendous labor conditions once on the plantations. Therefore, they describe the braceros as neoslaves. Anthropologists, on the other hand, have emphasized that the men are free wage laborers and have dismissed the neoslavery thesis. Martínez seeks to address this disjuncture. He suggests that the men are not enslaved for three reasons. First, most braceros, motivated by economic need, choose to cross the border of their own free will. Second, repeat migration is prevalent. Third, wage incentives are used as discipline instead of physical force. He then uses the activists’ own neoslavery thesis, which ignores the problems in Haiti that prompt workers to leave, to critique their position. He asserts that by only concentrating on one side of the issue, the activists and their supporters remain indifferent to equally atrocious conditions in Haiti and implicitly judge which types of exploitation to condemn.

The implications of his work, therefore, extend beyond the Caribbean to address the broader question of what freedom means under capitalism and if it is economic or political in nature. For this discussion, Martínez draws upon the work of Amartya Sen, who suggests that freedom is the ability to live a chosen, meaningful life and is not limited to individual rights. Therefore, Martínez argues that the braceros are not “free” because economic unfreedoms, such as individual and structural poverty, complicate the notions of choice and consent. He posits that the activists’ argument that the men were “free” before coming to the plantations is invalid since migrating to work is necessary for survival. In other words, the men did not “choose” to migrate, but dire economic circumstances necessitated their movement. He asserts that economic freedom is just as vital to human rights as is civil liberty. In so doing, he contributes to an ongoing debate as to whether human rights should include the liberals’ focus on civil rights or the Marxists’ proposal of economic rights. By highlighting the mutually interdependent relationship between the two seemingly disparate types of rights, his work seeks a middle ground and revises traditional liberal and Marxist views on liberty and freedom.

JESSICA M. SMITH Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

McCall, John C. Portrait of a Brave Woman. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98(1):127-136.

This article explores the phenomenon of female husbands in Africa through the particular case of Nne Uko Uma Awa of Ohafia, Nigeria. Female husbands are not rare in Africa, but they were not common in Ohafia. The article emphasizes the way in which Nne Uko was able to change her social position through her own agency. She gained access to exclusive men’s societies, excelled at farming, often dressed as a man in her youth, and participated in the men’s ritual dance. Nne Uko is a dike nwami, a brave woman. The term is used to describe women in the legends of the Ohafia people who perform brave deeds. Like these legendary women, Nne Uko is known for her brave deeds. She was recognized as a dike nwami in her youth when she succeeded in a ritual hunt that was normally performed by boys. Nne Uko established herself as a leader in the community by engaging in behavior that was normally reserved for men. The case of Nne Uko emphasizes the ability of the Ohafia to choose and shape their own destinies.

Nne Uko’s position as a dike nwami allowed her to seek wives from nearby villages so she could produce heirs to inherit her land. However, the author points out that taking wives did not reclassify Nne Uko as a man in Ohafia society. She never forfeited her womanhood. In fact, as she aged Nne Uko felt less compelled to define herself through the practice of men’s roles, and she has adopted the lifestyle of an elder female. She has become priestess to her family shrine, a common practice for elderly women, and when she dies she will be honored as an ancestress. The author of this article uses the life of Nne Uko to demonstrate that social structure is not immune to the efforts of an individual to change or improve his or her position.

The life and accomplishments of Nne Uko are presented clearly in the article, with direct quotes used to clarify Nne Uko’s own opinion of her role in Ohafia society. However, some of the description regarding the formation of social roles within society requires careful reading to comprehend.

KATIE CURLER Middlebury College (David Napier)

McCall, John C. Portrait of a Brave Woman. American Anthropologist March 1996 Vol. 98(1):127-135.

This article challenges the existing body of scholarship on female husbands by looking at the case of Nne Uko. This Nigerian woman believes she was meant to be a man but came into this world in a woman’s body. She therefore adopted masculine characteristics and activities, but without giving up womanhood. Although she participated in traditionally men’s activities, she achieved recognition through heroic acts and became regarded in her community as a brave woman, or dike nwami. Nne Uko gained the title during one of the girls’ coming of age ceremonies where she led a ritual hunt for antelope dressed as a warrior man. Her physical presentation symbolically linked her to the Ohafia warrior legacy; it was on this occasion her fellow villagers noticed this and referred to her as a brave woman.

In the years following this event, Nne Uko’s first marriage (to a man) dissolved when it produced no children. In Ohafia, motherhood distinctly defines womanhood, but because she was already a dike nwami, she could establish herself in the community through means normally reserved for men. Women normally have access only to marginal land, but she gained access to good farmland. Great skill rendered her successful, gaining her wealth and additional prestige in the community. From this she attained membership into various men’s societies and was able to take two wives who subsequently had children. Having already earned respect in the community through her exemplary acts as a male character, Nne Uko then earned respect as a woman through motherhood. Being respected as/by both genders, she could use means usually only accessible to men to become a leader among women in the village. She even rose to a position of priestess in her matrilineage, and will be honored as an ancestress upon her death.

McCall explains that Nne Uko does not fit into the normal category of “autonomous female husband.” Historically, they have been construed as barren women who aim to improve their social standing by taking wives and claiming their children as her descendants. Nne Uko, however, actualized her identity as dike nwami even before marriage or any attempt at having children. Her case therefore challenges the assumptions in the debate over female husbands’ gender category. McCall draws attention to the fluidity of Nne Uko’s gender category, which, perhaps, is brought into relief because he allows her to explain how she conceptualizes her own life. McCall additionally asserts that her unique achievements exemplify how a woman successfully employed agency within a social structure that typically essentializes gender roles. She acted in what McCall terms a “latent system of potential alternatives,” where her role reversal defined her social status but did not result in revolutionary change in Ohafia. Nne Uko manipulated the social order by cultural means to her own ends.

Clarity: 5
HEATHER BUESSELER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

McCoid, Catherine Hodge and LeRoy D. McDermott. Toward Decolonizing Gender Female Visions in the Upper Paleolithic. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol.98(2):319-326.

McCoid and McDermott’s article uses a feminist approach to re-examine the framework in which the Venus figurines of the Upper Paleolithic period can be interpreted. Due to the exaggerated size of the breast and buttocks/thighs, the figurines are generally regarded as sex objects made from the male perspective. McCoid and McDermott assert, however, that it is possible to interpret the figurines as women’s self-representations, attributing the anatomical inaccuracies to the woman’s point of self-reference.

The authors use photographs of women’s bodies from different vantage points – looking down toward the chest and back toward the buttocks – to illustrate parallels between the figurines’ shapes and the angles of the female body as a woman looking at herself would see them. McCoid and McDermott propose that variations in the construction of the figurines’ buttocks may be related to cultural variations in female self-inspection routines.

The authors suggest that these figurines may have played an evolutionary role in the understanding of female reproductive health, supporting this postulation by citing studies of the way “preindustrial” women used images to aid in reproductive success. McCoid and McDermott conclude their article with a series of recommendations for further study. These recommendations include exploring the reproductive tendencies of women in the various geographic regions where the figurines have been found, examining the figurines’ regional corporeal variations, investigating and analyzing the physical spaces where the figurines have been found, and conducting continued ethnographic examinations into their potential use.

LAURA M. GLAESER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Moore, Jerry D. The Archaeology of Plazas and the Proxemics of Ritual: Three Andean Traditions. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Volume 98(4): 789-802.

This article examines the perception of plaza architecture in pre-historic Andean society based on “the proxemics of ritual”, which allow one to look at plazas in terms of the requirements of personal space in ritual practices. Moore wishes to escape the traditional view of plaza architecture, which has traditionally been to categorize it based on archetypal architectural features. In critiquing this conventional stance, Moore demonstrates how plazas are places for human interaction. The author analyzes religious ritual and its expression through various elements of human communication, while suggesting that architectural features are a result of the spatial requirements of these rituals. In relating ideological and socio-political aspects of the cultures he studies, Moore explains how spatial structures facilitate different methods of communication and, thus, human ritual. Links are then made to three types of architectural settings that compliment the ritual practices of their creators.

Through a discussion of ritual, Moore analyzes paralinguistic communication and the ways in which different forms of human interaction rest on their participants’ “special settings”, or spatial requirements. To do this, the author makes reference to Edward T. Hall, who defined the different levels of communicative distance based on the perceptual limits of the human senses. Through an analysis of the linkages between ritual, communication, and perception, the author is able to make suppositions about the presence and form of public ceremony in three prehistoric Andean societies. Moore demonstrates how the different plaza patterns of the Inca, Chimu, and Lake Titicaca-basin societies reflect different modes of ritual organization.

Moore examines, through historical analysis, the social formation of these three societies, highlighting differences in class structure and the size of ritual gatherings. The author then shows how the architecture of the plazas was conducive to each society’s ritual practices by comparing it to what he learned of their social structure. Moore’s analysis then turns to a comparison of the sizes of the three categories of plazas, which are distinct, yet overlapping. Connections are made to the discussions about space and human perception; the author writes that the distinct architectural design of plazas by each of the three societies in question shows a reliance upon the special needs of their ritualistic interactions, and the consequent elements of communication that are required. Moore concludes by showing how those special elements, in relation to the formation of ritual practices, assisted in the creation and maintenance of legitimacy and power by the elites of those societies.

ANGUS BIRCHALL Middlebury College (David Napier)

Moore, Jerry D. The Archaeology of Plazas and the Proxemics of Ritual: Three Andean Traditions. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol.98(4):789-800.

In this article, Moore investigates the domain of the Andean plaza through a proxemics/spatial analysis approach. He argues that plazas are not simply areas for encounter, but that the shape, size, and location of the plaza constructs different possible modes of human interaction. By applying an interactional model which links the communicative elements of ritual, the proxemics of human communication, and the spatial properties of plazas, Moore analyzes archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric data to reinterpret three types of Andean plazas and their possible structuring of human interaction.

Moore argues that by looking at public space in terms of its capabilities for human interplay, one can suggest the modes of interaction possible in a given space depending on its size, location, and access patterns. In general, as the distance between participant’s increases, different modes of communication (paralinguistic, verbal, nonverbal) will vary in importance; space and perception filter modes of communication. Moore maintains that because the archaeological record indirectly reflects the use of constructed spaces in public ceremony, it is possible to infer what forms of ritual may have transpired in prehistoric plazas.

To test his hypothesis, Moore examines plaza patterns and modes of interaction in Inka, Chimu, and Lake Titicaca-basin societies. The large plazas of the Inka, the enclosed courtyard of the Chimu, and the small sunken plazas of the Tiwanaku reflect different conceptions of publicness and rite. He found that because human communication has distinct spatial range, rituals in plazas of different size necessarily incorporated varying modes of communication. His analysis suggests that Andean plazas fall into distinct, though overlapping size modes; each reflecting particular sets of ritual interaction. By analyzing ethnohistoric data on plaza shape/size and ritual in these societies, Moore’s analysis not only describes the nature of public rite, but also suggests possible theories on conceptions of power and legitimacy in these spatially defined areas. In conclusion, Moore advocates further use of proxemics in archaeological analysis as it can provide new insight into many aspects of the prehistoric built environment.

MOLLY O’SULLIVAN Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Nájera-Ramírez, Olga. The Racialization of a Debate: The Charreada as Tradition or Torture. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98 (3):505-511.

In this article Nájera-Ramírez argues that the debate about the charreada has been racialized by the media and animal rights activists in the United States. The charreada is the traditional Mexican rodeo involving a series of nine roping and riding contests in which lassoing or tripping the animals is part of the contest, which has been portrayed as a form of animal abuse. To the Mexican-American population that is involved with the charreada, it is a legitimate cultural practice that helps maintain their culture and promotes a positive form of family entertainment.

In addition, the charreada is one area where Mexican-Americans can feel proud of their heritage, whereas in the rest of their lives they encounter stereotypes and adversity because of their race. In 1994 animal activists chose to target the charreada as inhumane to animals. These activists chose not to target the American rodeo at the same time because there would be too much popular support for it in the U.S. As for the charreada, little support could be expected from the American public for a practice involving Mexican immigrants, therefore the battle of the animal activists could be won.

Two television news episodes are contrasted in the article as to how they covered the debate surrounding the charreada. First was an episode on 20/20 entitled “Pity the Horses” which took the position that the charreada involved cruelty to animals, promoted violence, and was un-American. The anchorwoman, moreover, claimed to have been threatened with violence during her investigation. The 20/20 program did not address the issue of the American rodeo as an animal rights abuse. Instead the Mexican population was singled out as the promoters of a violent tradition.

The second program was on the Spanish language program Primer Impacto: Edición Nocturna entitled “En el Nombre de la Tradición”. This show reported on the treatment of animals in the charreada and the American rodeo. Men involved in the charreada were given the opportunity to voice their opinions and veterinarians were asked about animal injuries in the charreada and the rodeo. In this way the issue was deracialized by showing that the animal abuse issue existed among different cultural traditions and ethnic groups. Since this program was in Spanish, it did not have the potential to reach as large an audience as the 20/20 episode.

The author’s final analysis focuses on the role of the anthropologist in cultural debates such as this. She was called on as a witness for her study of the charreada. Instead of her testimony being used in the debate over tradition versus torture, it was used to verify the importance of the charreada as a Mexican practice, and therefore frame it as a violent and un-American act which could not be tolerated on this side of the border. The article is a call to other anthropologists as cultural experts to bring attention to the subtleties of racism in everyday discourses.

KATHERINE TSE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Nàjera-Ramìrez, Olga. The Racialization of a Debate: The Charreada as Tradition of Torture. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98(3): 505-511.

In this article, Olga Nàjera-Ramìrez discusses the debate surrounding the Mexican tradition of the charreada. In doing so, she addresses racism as an inherent part of everyday discourses and social structures. Furthermore, she argues that anthropologists, or cultural experts, need to help expose this racism, specifically in regard to cultural debates such as the charreada. Ramìrez’s discussion can be located within a theoretical framework that emphasizes agency and resistance to hegemonic structures within everyday activities or traditions; in this case, the charreada. However, it extends this framework by attempting to position the anthropologist within the discourse of agency and resistance, highlighting their ability to help transform oppressive structures.

The charreada, which is similar to an American rodeo, finds its roots in colonial Mexico and is practiced in Mexico as well as in the United States. Mexican immigrants suggest many reasons for the practice of charreada in the United States, including its ability to help maintain Mexican culture and tradition. Ramìrez argues that Mexicans face many challenges, largely associated with racism, when attempting to maintain their culture within the United States. As such, Mexicans feel that the charreada gives them the opportunity to present a positive image of Mexican culture to America.

However, instead of presenting a positive image of Mexican culture, the charreada has been criticized and labeled as an event that promotes the torturing of animals. Although American rodeos have often come under similar criticism, critiques of the charreada have been framed in such a way that the charreada has become a racialized debate. This debate has resulted in the reinforcement of racist stereotypes of Mexicans as being macho, or banditos that have an inherently violent nature. Furthermore, this debate has caused the charreada to be labeled as another social problem that Mexicans have brought with them into the United States.

Ramìrez argues that the media has played an essential role in the creation of the charreada as a racialized debate. She contends that the American, English speaking media, primarily through a program on 20/20, has presented the charreada from a very biased standpoint. This program chose to only focus on the opinion of those opposed to the charreada, presenting it as an issue of animal rights. This presentation encouraged viewers to assume the position of an animal rights activist, making it impossible for viewers to understand the charreada from the standpoint of its supporters and thus causes them to automatically look at it negatively. Unìvision, an American, Spanish speaking television station, presented the case of the charreada from all sides, acknowledging the concerns of animal rights activists as well as those of in favor of maintaining the tradition. This presentation attempted to reach a compromise between the two sides by suggesting that the charreada be maintained as a cultural event, but that certain practices change in adherence to the wants of animal rights activists. Although this program presented all sides of the debate, allowing viewers to choose their own stance on the issues, the program was in Spanish, and therefore was only able to reach a certain audience.

Since Ramìrez has studied the charreada extensively, many groups, on both sides of the debate have asked her opinion of the charreada. She argues that this is not an isolated case and that anthropologists are frequently called upon to offer their opinions as “cultural experts.” She cites that it is important for anthropologists to acknowledge their own identity and how that affects the reception of their opinions; for her, this meant understanding how her ideas would be perceived since she is Mexican. Additionally, she argues that in order for anthropologists to have better control over the consequences of the sharing their information, it is their responsibility to offer all sides of debates and specifically, how it is racialized in everyday discourse. This exposure can then help to transform discourses and social structures.

NATASHA WINEGAR Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Park, Kyeyoung. Use and Abuse of Race and Culture: Black-Korean Tension in America.American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98(3):492-499.

Using the highly publicized conflict between African Americans and Koreans in Los Angeles during the early 1990s as a framework, Kyeyoung Park attempts to describe the root causes of friction between the two groups. Park claims that the public’s tendency to blame tension on cultural misunderstandings and the media’s part in stressing the role of race prevent the community from recognizing the structural factors at work. These approaches underestimate the social and economic forces involved in the conflict.

The history of tense relations between African and Korean Americans is short, since the great influx of Asian American and Latin American immigrants to inner city areas resulted from the Immigration Act of 1965. Park suggests that issues of race are more complicated in the post-civil rights era. Disinvestment by the federal government in Los Angeles led to the loss of jobs and social programs in the 1980s. As poverty increased and property values in South Central Los Angeles declined, many Korean immigrants started businesses there because of the low costs. Thus, Koreans entered into the role of the minority middleman, connecting local black residents to goods and services controlled by those in economic and political power.

Park conducted fieldwork in South Central Los Angeles, interviewing Korean American merchants as well as African American residents. She found that the majority of Korean Americans believed cultural differences were the cause of conflict, while most African Americans pointed to racism and discrimination. The media complicates the relationship by presenting an ahistorical discourse that fuels negative feelings between the two communities.

Park argues that race discourse between African and Korean Americans involves whites as well. Many Korean immigrants arrive in America with racial attitudes about both whites and African Americans shaped by the American cultural presence in South Korea. Furthermore, shop owners quickly develop notions of their place in society with respect to whites, especially through “ethnic succession” wherein Koreans take over businesses abandoned by upwardly mobile whites. In a series of cases where Korean shop owners who killed blacks were given light sentences, the judicial system proved to African Americans that Koreans would be judged as white, unless they committed crimes against whites.

Park finds that black-Korean tension in America is difficult to delineate, even in anthropological terms, because there are different ways to interpret the situation. The anthropological definition of culture is problematic because it does not allow room for a discussion of power and social conflict. Moreover, members of the African American and Korean American communities are working with a concept of culture as quantifiable, with some groups having more than others. Park concludes that regardless of the roles race and culture play, the black-Korean conflict is leading to a new American race discourse wherein race is culture.

ELIZABETH TULL Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Patterson, Thomas C. Conceptual Differences between Mexican and Peruvian Archaeology. American Anthropologist September 1996 Vol.98(3): 499-504.

In his evaluation of the Mexican and Peruvian schools of archaeology, Patterson argues that these countries’ twentieth century archaeologists have used two separate categories to organize their understanding of the past. In Mexico, civilization is the defining paradigm for analysis, whereas in Peru this paradigm is the concept of culture. Patterson begins by introducing the difference between the two categories of archaeology, then identifies what these categories are and how they are historically represented through work in both countries, and concludes with a discussion of the value of each category and the implications of these categories for future archaeological work.

Patterson asserts that the main reason for the difference in interpretation between Mexican and Peruvian archaeologists is the expression of political domination and hegemony in each country during the 20th century. In Mexico, the state’s incorporation of popular agendas as well as the long-term relationships shared between the archaeologist and the state shaped an approach that was civilization based, focusing on institutions, value systems, and “high” culture. In Peru, marginalization and repression by the state of “regionally based peoples” and discontinuous relations between archaeologists and the state influenced an understanding of history based in culture, with much stress put on the collective as a developing organism. Patterson identifies numerous ways in which civilization (in Mexico) or culture (in Peru) affects the interpretation of archaeology in each country. He identifies disadvantages to each viewpoint: the civilization viewpoint, that it makes it hard to examine the histories of local disenfranchised people, and the cultural, that it makes it hard to consider exploitation by the state of marginal areas. The author then draws two conclusions from the comparison. First, a combination of civilization and culture analysis is probably needed for the best interpretation of archaeology. Second, Patterson believes that the difference in archaeological styles illustrates the diversity of Latin American hegemony and, therefore, Latin American academic thought. This difference poses a challenge to the globally held view of Latin American homogeneity. In a relatively short article, Patterson turns an evaluation of two schools of archaeology into a remarkable criticism of popular/traditional views of Latin America, its political authority, and its academia.

JULIANNE BAROODY Middlebury College (David Napier)

Patterson, Thomas C. Conceptual Differences between Mexican and Peruvian Archaeology. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98:499-503.

Thomas Patterson claims that political domination and hegemony during the 20th century in the nation-states of Mexico and Peru have resulted in two contrasting analytical frameworks used by Mexican and Peruvian archaeologists. The unit of analysis for Mexican archeologists is civilization while Peruvian archaeologists use culture. Patterson argues that there are consequences in such analytical approaches defined by categories. He alludes to hegemony by acknowledging the state’s ability to shape the ideas and categories used by archaeologists. At the same time, Patterson makes note of the diversity of political hegemony from one state to the other and that anthropologists mask this diversity.

Civilization as the unit of analysis in Mexico is first explored. Ignacio Bernal, UN ambassador and director of the National Museum in Anthropology, recognized population increase as the determining factor for the rise of civilization in central Mexico, creating repercussions on all aspects of human life. The surrender of freedom for collective benefit led to the attainment of leadership roles by certain individuals who then became professional men of religion. Eventually division of labor and commerce resulted in civilization. This creates a cosmopolitan identity of the civilized state, is liked with the nation-state and encourages comparison and generalized explanation.

In Peruvian archaeology, culture is the unit of analysis. This creates a national identity of the local culture, separates the nation from the state, and the importance of local identities of culture focus attention on contingency and history. Peruvian archaeology shifted from studying history in terms of Andean culture to using cultural evolution as the conceptual framework for examining prehistoric cultural development. This idea of cultural evolution differed from the classic unilinear model because a group’s process in mastering nature is seen as the determining factor for cultural progress and change.

Patterson concludes that these differences in categorical frameworks result in a number of consequences and contrasting relations between archaeologists and civil society in the two states. Mexican archaeologists fuel the ideology of a national identity created by the state. Thus they view indigenous civilizations as unable to develop beyond a certain point and fail to examine the histories of certain regions because in doing so they would be resisting the existent hegemony. In Peru, archaeologists support the belief that cultures have developed independently from the state and thus ignore the important issues of exploitation that are apparent in Peruvian history. Patterson believes that both approaches are flawed and suggests that archaeologists and anthropologists should instead combine these two conceptual frameworks and use world-systems analysis in their fieldwork.


Reed-Danahay, Deborah. Champagne and Chocolate: “Taste” and Inversion in a French Wedding Ritual. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98 (4): 750-759.

Reed-Danahay addresses the tendencies of anthropology to study and research exotic cultures and undermine or ignore their own or similar cultures. She uses the example of a French wedding ritual, which she adds has been studied only several other times.

The ritual includes a chamber pot filled with champagne and chocolate covered bananas (among other things). After the wedding celebration, the new bride and groom are escorted to a local home where they will spend the night. Several hours later, the wedding party begins searching for the hidden couple. Upon finding the home, the party storms into the bedroom. The chamber pot is presented and everyone proceeds to drink and eat from it. This ritual is symbolically quite sexual, and signifies the intimacy of marriage.

The wedding ritual described above is not practiced countrywide. The author considers the diversity that exists within cultures an important aspect that should not go unrecognized. Anthropologists are beginning to generalize cultures based on research in one area, ritual, or belief, and, therefore, often ignore something as profound as a culturally and historically rooted wedding ritual. This ritual symbolizes the local culture and practice- a dying (or undocumented) aspect of first world countries.

The argument is well-written, addressing the discipline and nature of anthropology as the study of culture. An enjoyable read.

KELLIE JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Roseberry, William. The Rise of Yuppie Coffees and the Re-imagination of Class in the United States. American Anthropology 1996 Vol.98(4):762-775

William Roseberry discusses the coffee industry and how it has developed into the large and varied empire it is today. He begins his essay by discussing the role of standardization and mass marketing in shaping consumer taste and in the creation of what he calls yuppie coffees. Yuppie coffees otherwise known as specialty brands, according to Roseberry, refer to the wide variety of coffees sold under an assortment of names based on preparation method, blends and added flavors.

These new coffees have, due to a variety of factors, gained popularity not only amongst those involved in the trade, but among drinkers as well. He mentions factors such as the fact that the presentation of these coffees in shops and their identification evokes nostalgic feelings, amongst consumers and sellers alike, of the glory days of coffee. The long-term decline in consumption in the 1960’s, from Roseberry’s point of view, forced the industry to change its marketing strategy from one of mass marketing to a more selective strategy, which categorized consumers and allowed better targeting of products to them. He also attributes the gain in popularity and industry growth to new agreements that allowed international involvement and control, to technological expansion and to commercial developments such as the reduction in amount of travel time for coffee shipments. The different methods of processing, size and texture of the beans, moreover, allowed roasters the flexibility of coming up with different styles and flavors of beans. This was also a plus for the coffee industry.

Roseberry suggests that specialty coffees are the products of post-modernism, representing the freedom of choice in today’s society. He, however, states that it is important to bear in mind the fact that the choices made available to the individual are predetermined or shaped by traders and marketers using marketing strategies based on class and generational groupings.

AKOSUA NYAKO Middlebury College (David Napier)

Roseberry, William. The Rise of Yuppie Coffees and the Reimagination of Class in the United States. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol. 98(4):762-775.

William Roseberry examines how the history of specialty coffees and their rise through changing markets and consumption patterns can illuminate social and cultural shifts. Roseberry shows through an historical and Marxist analysis that the coffee trade was subject to and participated in a broad range of economic and social transformations that resulted in American capitalism. Using data from two trade journals, The World Coffee and Tea and Coffee and Cocoa International, Roseberry traces the rise of transformation of the coffee trade. He focuses on how and why specialty coffee producers, who marketed to distinct groups in American society, appeared what began as a market dominated by standardized, industrialized producers. He concludes with an examination of coffee as a possible beverage of post-modernism.

Roseberry begins by showing how the process of standardization and concentration was strongly consolidated after World War II due in part to heavily controlled export quotas on producing countries. Thus, consumers drank a standard variety with little concern with roast style or production locale. During this time and through the 1950s, coffee consumption was generally consistent. However, from 1962 until the early eighties consumption significantly declined as younger consumers associated it with the older generation. This trend was further exasperated by a rise in prices due to the July 1975 frost in Brazil. In reaction “coffeemen” (those involved in distribution) began to sell coffee not on price, but on quality, value and image. This specialized coffee was thus fetishized and marketed to groups according to class and generation with a general focus on college students and Yuppies.

Roseberry emphasizes the production shifts and changes in social relations that optimized the development and rise of specialty coffee. Some examples are the improvement of shipping and storage methods, allowing smaller quantities of coffee to be purchased and stored by independent distributors. Also important is the restructuring of the relationships between roasters, traders, and bankers that allowed for further flexibility. Specialty coffee became such a viable commodity as a result of these changes that eventually the large corporations began producing their own specialty coffees. This corporate production further demonstrates the coffee trades relation to the capitalist mode of production.

To conclude, Roseberry raised the questions of whether or not coffee, with its seemingly endless number of choices, is a postmodern beverage. In other words, can broader social and cultural formations be viewed via the examination of the production, marketing and consumption of coffee? Does the plethora of choice equal entrance into a post-modern standpoint? To answer this question, Roseberry uses David Harvey’s analysis to show how specialty coffee is representative of flexible accumulation. In conjunction the consumer is separated from knowledge of the labor process, and that the apparent plethora of individual choices is actually structured by niche marketing. Therefore, choice itself is structured. Hence, coffee perhaps is not a postmodern beverage, but it does help illuminate social and cultural changes. Therefore, Roseberry ends with a call for further research into coffee’s this very political commodity.


Seremetakis, C. Nadia. In Search of the Barbarians: Borders in Pain. American Anthropologist 1996 Vol.98(3):489-491.

The author of this article is the Advisor to the Minister of Public Health in Greece and Visiting Professor of Anthropology at the National School of Health. She has also spent over twenty years of her career in the United States. This article is a brief essay reflecting this woman’s perspective and her contemplative thoughts on the controversial issue of the national borders of Greece.

Seremetakis begins with a description of a group of young Albanians with backpacks traveling illegally across the border and into Greece. She continues in the essay to examine the current dimensions and definitions of Greek identity, and how it is being changed internationally as a result of illegal border activity. She discusses the controversies and fears related to who and what crosses the border, such as the danger of disease and infection.

The overall concern of the essay is the stigma that immigrant Albanians and other groups crossing the Greek borders must shoulder the blame for all social and political problems in Greece today. The author’s basic argument is that the borders are “bidirectional.” She means this both literally, in the sense that virus and disease is being carried out of Greece and into other countries across the border, and also figuratively, in that Greeks must deal with their societal problems actively and constructively instead of simply blaming them on illegal immigrants. The author expresses her own dilemma of being torn between studying the situation as an ethnographer and acting upon it through her position in the Ministry of Public Health. She then recognizes that prior to either of these identities, she herself was an immigrant in the U.S.

In the process of examining the history of border crossing into Greece, primarily by Albanians, the author draws parallels between the handling of illegal immigrants in Greece and the treatment of detainees in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In doing so, she effectively considers the changing face of modern Greek identity.

BENJAMIN H. WEBER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Stanford, Craig B. The Hunting Ecology of Wild Chimpanzees: Implications for the Evolutionary Ecology of Pliocene Hominids. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98(1):96-109.

This article attempts to gain an understanding of early hominid evolutionary history through the observation of wild chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. Stanford is principally interested in the role of hunting and/or scavenging in in early hominids, responding to the debate on which specific modes of meat procurement may have been used. In this study, Stanford compares chimpanzee behavioral ecology to that of early hominids, examining methods of hunting behavior and what they may suggest about the origins of human adaptation. Stanford focuses on the role of predation in chimpanzee behavioral patterns, the evolutionary significance of seasonal hunting, the role of cooperation during the hunt, and possible reasons for hunting in both chimpanzee and early hominid populations.

Stanford’s research is based on the predator-prey ecology of red colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. Stanford argues that at every field site of chimpanzee study, chimpanzees have been observed to hunt. Previous hunting data in other environments has shown similar hunting patterns and therefore, Stanford concludes, hunting is a basic aspect of chimpanzee behavioral ecology. This statement is then applied to the use of hunting in early hominids; the general basis for Stanford’s argument. All of Stanford’s comparisons rely on the behavioral ecology research of chimpanzees in the wild.

Stanford’s conclusion outlines eight similarities and two differences in probable predation patterns of Pliocene hominids versus wild chimpanzees. Stanford finds that the diet of both chimpanzees and early hominids consisted primarily of plant foods, with meat contributing a small percentage of overall diet. Season, hunting range, and the number of males in the hunting group also determined hunting frequency.

Stanford believes the key issue in the hunting versus scavenging debate is the amount of meat eaten and its relative importance in the diet of Pliocene hominids. Though few quantitative estimates have been made on the importance of meat in the hominid diet, chimpanzee data suggests meat obtained through seasonal hunting could have been a significant part of the australopithecine diet. Stanford concludes that while the importance of meat to the early hominid diet may have been small, the amount of meat consumed may still have been substantial. Stanford suggests further research be applied to how, why, and when chimpanzees prey upon other animals; questions of great importance to human evolutionary studies.

MOLLY O’SULLIVAN Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Stanford, Craig B. The Hunting Ecology of Wild Chimpanzees: Implications for the Evolutionary Ecology of the Pliocene Hominids. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol 98 (1): 96-113.

Craig B. Stanford analyzes and compiles the hunting patterns of wild chimpanzees from various wildlife reserves throughout Africa. After compiling and analyzing the data, he uses it to form generalizations about hunting patterns of Pliocene hominids. Stanford asserts that the study of chimpanzee behavior, specifically hunting behavior, is a valuable tool to the study of evolutionary ecology of early hominids.

The chimpanzee behavioral data is from observations of chimpanzee groups in Gombe National Park and Mahale National Park in Tanzania, and Tai National Park in the Cote d’Ivoire. Stanford observes chimpanzee hunting of red colobus monkeys because of its frequency, around eighty percent of observed chimpanzee kills include red colobus monkeys, and the planning and deliberate actions that have been observed as chimpanzees hunt the red colobus monkey.

Sanford uses ecological and physiological similarities between Pliocene hominids and modern chimpanzees to draw parallels. The first parallel is that the diet of Pliocene hominids and modern chimpanzees is composed primarily of plants and any hunting that does occur is obtained while foraging for plant food. Secondly, meat is eaten seasonally, most likely due to nutrient shortages. It has been documented that nearly forty percent of kills made by chimpanzees in Gombe National Park were during the late dry season when the lowest body weight of the chimpanzees is recorded. Chimpanzees also consume first the brain and bone marrow of their prey, the areas with the highest concentration of fat.

Observations of chimpanzee social interactions before and during hunting suggest that hunting is a highly social activity for modern chimpanzees. Hunting is primarily done in groups of adolescent and adult males and success of the hunt is directly correlated with the number of males participating. Additionally, after a kill is made, the division of the meat is a highly political activity that may potentially raise or lower the status of a chimpanzee and also may give males increased sexual access to females. Females in estrus in a chimpanzee group increase the likelihood of a hunt.

Stanford acknowledges two fundamental differences between modern chimpanzees and Pliocene hominids. Around 2.5 million years ago, hominids began using tools for butchering and acquiring meat. Stanford surmises that at this time Pliocene hominids also began procuring larger prey and that meat became a more significant part of their diet. Yet, despite these divergences in chimpanzee and hominid behavior, Stanford contends that the study of chimpanzee behavior is vital to the reconstruction of early human existence and that we must continue research and observation.

ROSE CARLSON University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones).

Stoller, Paul Spaces, Places, and Fields; The Politics of West African Trading in New York City’s Informal Economy American Anthropologist 1996 Vol.98(4)776-787.

This essay by Paul Stoller is based on the ongoing fieldwork conducted by himself and Rosemary J. Coombe at the African street market on 125th street in Harlem. The article explores the political and anthropological significance of this growing market and the complex debate surrounding it. The informal economy of New York City (the exchange of goods and services that is unregulated by the state) is typically dominated and saturated by immigrant labor. In this way, its study represents a key examination of transnational activity in our society. Stoller uses the fascinating story of the growing Harlem African market as a demonstration of the cultural and political significance of space. The concepts of space and spatial relations have a long history in anthropological discourse. Stoller observes that the West Africans of the 125th street market are an example of a third-world spatial practice that has taken place in space zoned “first-world.” As this process creates a spatial arena of contestation and struggle, the author argues that the study of transnational spaces – a label appropriate in more and more contemporary settings – requires “fresh epistemological and representational strategies.”

The story of the African market on 125th street introduces a range of cultural, political, sociological, economic, and anthropological issues. Stoller structures the elaborate story of the market’s history by focusing on the events leading up to the culminating point in 1994 when the market was ordered closed by New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The ultimate cause for the bevy of political attention the market attracted was not the various city regulations and trademark and copyright statutes which the vendors violate on a regular basis. Rather, it was the controversy over the disruption of commercial space, especially as vocalized by the Harlem Business Alliance, which prompted the city’s action. This conflict was essentially the result of a third-world organization of commerce thrust upon urban, “first-world,” established businesses.

The author presents a highly engaging summary and perceptive, thought-provoking analysis of the story of the African market in Harlem. He effectively examines this phenomenal case study and highlights its cultural and anthropological relevance, while maintaining a respectful, non-biased position.

BENJAMIN H. WEBER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Stoller, Paul. Spaces, Places, and Fields: The Politics of West African Trading in New York City’s Informal Economy. American Anthropologist December, 1996 Vol.98 (4): 776-788.

Using the case of the informal African Market in New York City, Paul Stoller addresses the more general issue of transnational spaces. Resonating with Arjun Appadurai’s concept of “ethnoscapes,” Stoller presents a reconceptualization of New York City as a simultaneously First- and Third-World location. He focuses specifically on the events leading up to and from the attempt to shut down the African Market, by the Giuliani administration on October 17, 1994. This event was the climax of a long and complex conflict over space, in which various groups – West African “illegal” vendors, African American interest organizations, religious groups and government groups – participated with differing agendas. Theoretically, this struggle can be seen as a First-World attempt to impose structure on an encroaching Third-World space.

Stoller focuses on the West African vendors at the center of the conflict. The informal market they created in New York City combined West African market organization with necessary adaptations to a “first-world space,” in which differentiation is made on the basis of nationality rather than ethnicity, and which demanded new kinds of products, such as “ethnic chic” and so-called “authentic” African crafts. The vendors established and maintained their informal economic practices initially with a solidarity that reduced their visibility to law enforcement officials. As their presence grew and spread out of the Midtown area, visibility was no longer the main basis for solidarity as the increased number of vendors multiplied their potential common agency. Their solidarity centered on their common interest in vending. This solidarity crumbled with the pressure to close down the market on 125th Street, as the inability of individual vendors to coalesce hampered a collective resistance. Individual vendors reacted in differing ways, reflective of their differing interests: some decided to accept the proposal to move to a legitimate vending space, others refused to move and chose to stage a failed boycott of the nonblack businesses on 125th Street. The agency of the West African vendors is thus clearly implied to be collective, hence the powerlessness of individual traders in the face of pressure from the government and local organizations such as the Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, the primary group sponsoring a move to a legitimate market space. Thus, although the vendors managed to manipulate the political structure to a certain extent, when their increasing presence became visible, they were no longer able to resist the enforcement against them.

Stoller concludes that the contemporary anthropologist should address the notion of transnational spaces in which multiple discourses are at play, making such spaces the new “field.” Studying such complex spaces requires a new epistemological diversity, which combines politics, economics, geography, literary theory and fiction with ethnography. Stoller sees his article as a step in the direction of such a new anthropology, as he examines the issue of New York City’s informal African Market from multiple perspectives, both theoretical and practical, both historical and contemporary, both individual and common, thus attempting to capture the complexity of the space of West African New York City vendors in his article.

NATALIE METTLER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Saris, A. Jamie. Mad Kings, Proper Houses, and an Asylum In Rural Ireland. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol. 98 (3): 539-554.

The focus of this article is an English-built mental asylum in rural Ireland and its importance in the lives of its patients, staff and surrounding environs. The historical importance of the mental hospital, and the relationship that formed over the years between the local town and the hospital, are repeated themes throughout the article. These relationships serve as evidence supporting the author’s theory that the hospital played an important role in shaping not only the lives of those residing and working within its walls, but the lives of those living outside of its perimeters as well. The author refers to the concept of “place” as being an important element in Irish society, as well as in the creation of the hospital and its symbolic functions in the lives of the inmates. According to the author, the actual architectural design and systematic placement of specific locales, such as female and male wards, within the building is based on structure and basic order easily understandable to the disordered mind, serving as therapeutic in the healing process of the mentally unstable.

The system of naming becomes a prominent theme in the history of the asylum, not just within its walls, but for the local community as well. Over time, the area surrounding the institution relates the local identity of the town with the historical functions of the asylum, giving local places names that refer to memorable occurrences within the asylum. Change over time, common to all historical contexts, is an issue in the identity of the institution and its local importance; the author notes how the present day local community’s mentality transformed from social to monetary concerns, therefore effecting the original motivation of the hospital’s founders who strove to provide aid for all walks of life. The changing atmosphere of the surrounding area and the arrival of a new, more modern generation of local inhabitants creates a change in direction for the once-close relationship between the town and the institution. The “new” hospital has become a separate entity from the town, with only memories and historical connections to maintain the idea of a symbiotic existence. All in all, the author successfully exhibits how the history of one such mental hospital “provides us a way of understanding the dynamic nature of a historical change in one part of rural Ireland.”

This article is very dense and at times the author strays from the original focus, making it difficult for the reader to follow the author’s path of logic.

CORI PLOTKIN Middlebury College (A. David Napier)

Shankman, Paul. The History of Samoan Sexual Conduct and the Mead-Freeman Controversy. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98(3):555-567.

In his article, Paul Shankman examines the Mead-Freeman controversy that has arisen regarding the sexual conduct of Samoans prior to the 1950s. Shankman conducts a reanalysis of Freeman’s argument questioning the validity of some his major points concerning the taupou system and the value of virginity in Samoan culture. By reexamining Freeman’s findings, Shankman is able to undermine certain anthropological findings that were once considered irrefutable.

To present his argument, Shankman conducts a thorough but brief review of Samoan history from 1830 until 1950, a time period which Freeman reported was characterized by a stable and unchanging society. Shankman proves quite the opposite, showing that Samoan culture was actually very malleable and considerably influenced by foreign missionary, colonial, and military pressures. Shankman then discusses the taupou system at great lengths. In Samoa, the taupou system is a system of institutionalized virginity. For Freeman, the key to comprehending Samoan sexual conduct lies rooted in an understanding of the taupou system in combination with Christian values. Freeman states that the value of virginity highlighted in this elaborate system extended to all young girls, an argument which is in direct contrast with Mead’s findings when she conducted her fieldwork in Samoa in the 1920s. Freeman omitted crucial information from a number of the sources he used in his research. Shankman contrasts information that Freeman cites in his published research with additional information from those same sources. In doing this, he demonstrates the partiality Freeman had to only certain passages of the materials he used in his research.

Shankman goes on to refute Freeman’s argument yet further by showing that Freeman documented conflicting arguments about the true value of virginity in Samoa. Discrepancies could also be found between Freeman’s published findings and the information contained in his own field notes as to the role that sex played in lives of the young people of Samoa. Using historical data, much of the same literature quoted in Freeman’s work, and Freeman’s own field notes, Shankman criticizes both Freeman’s failure in reporting factual information in his research and his inability to support his own argument.

This article offers a general warning to all types of researchers about the dangers of misrepresenting sources and omitting significant information in order to further a writer’s point.

ERIN JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Shankman, Paul. The History of Samoan Sexual Conduct and the Mead-Freeman Controversy. American Anthropologist September, 1996 Vol.98(3):555-567.

Anthropologists continually strive for ultimate accuracy in all published works, both past and present. In this battle, one can find the Mead-Freeman controversy, which has existed for well over a decade. The argument concerns the validity of each person’s portrayal of Samoan culture, with particular disagreement upon issues of sexual conduct. This article specifically focuses upon the taupou, an institutionalized system of virginity, and the actual value of virginity itself within the culture. The importance of this controversy within anthropology is that it sets precedence for accuracy within ethnographic work.

The taupou was traditionally an adolescent virgin appointed by the chief whom was usually her father. She held an important societal position and her marriage was one of political alliance. She was highly sought after by men and it was her virginity that was highly valued, so much so that she was given a public defloration ceremony. The basic disagreement between Mead and Freeman was the sexual behavior of the majority of young women within Samoan culture. Mead argued that the taupou is the exception and that most young women are not virgins and some are even highly promiscuous. Freeman argued against Mead, claiming that the value of virginity was as high for all young women as it was for the taupou because the importance of virginity lied within the public ideology. Yet, despite both arguments, Shankman provides ethnographic data to present the incredible change of the taupou system that occurred years before either Mead or Freeman came to the island. Thus, both representations are based upon a small timeframe that does not include the major historical transformations of the system.

To refute Mead, Freeman utilizes numerous historical texts including ethnographic work from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet, as Shankman points out, the historical data actually does not support his arguments. The very foundation of Freeman’s argument is flawed because of his selective use of portions of historical data, omitting passages that refuted his argument. Another interesting exclusion was any data from World War II, the actual time that Freeman was studying in Samoa. Shankman concludes that Freeman’s argument is not convincing and it has inherent flaws. Thus, the controversy continues as does the search for complete accuracy.

MIRIAH ZAJIC Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Shryock, Andrew. Tribes and the Print Trade: Notes from the Margins of Literate Culture in Jordan. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol. 98 (1): 26-40.

The concept of cultural transformation in non-Western societies due to Western influence has become a major issue in anthropological studies throughout the twentieth, and into the twenty-first, century. The author of this article applies this influence of change to the Bedouin tribes of Jordan, focusing on the effects of literacy on a culture previously accustomed to oral history. The initial purpose of introducing Western education and literacy to the Bedouin tribes was to draw the culture away from the “backwardness” of tribalism and force them into modernization. The result, however, was completely opposite of the expected outcome. With the introduction of the written form, the Bedouin peoples have returned to their tribal heritage in writings claiming these traditions as defining factors of their ethnic identity.

A large portion of the article is dedicated to the author’s personal experiences with a Bedouin historian, Muhammad Hamdan, who is currently facing the controversial decision of what to record textually about his peoples’ cultural history. There exists a major difference in oral history versus that which is recorded in print; with the introduction of textual historicism comes new, more standardized perspectives on ethnic identity. Modernization has created a new standard of identity, claiming any and all historical references to “tribal” life as unacceptable in the cultural evolution of the Bedouin peoples. Historical information that was formerly transmitted orally from generation to generation included fragmented stories and accounts that united to form a cultural history. These disjointed historical descriptions do not always stay the same when transferred into print, creating a controversy as to what “history” to believe. “Most of what counts for tribal history (agnostic poetry, tales of violent conflict, and genealogical disputes) must be left out of their books” (38). Instead, less “barbaric” aspects such as the use of long-stemmed pipes and the creation of handwoven textiles have become the defining qualities of Bedouin culture.

The conclusion of this article focuses on Hamden’s struggle in determining where his loyalties should lie. Shryock successfully displays how the new British-influenced parliamentary government of Jordan has culturally transformed the Bedouin peoples by controlling historical documentation. As in many cases around the world, the issue of power plays a major role in this process of disappearing ethnicity.

CORI PLOTKIN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Terrio, Susan J. Crafting Grand Cru Chocolates in Contemporary France. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98(1):67-79.

Susan Terrio examines the evolution of chocolate through the modern era demonstrating how chocolate candies have become fundamental symbols of French culture. Terrio’s analysis of the rise in importance of handcrafted chocolates is supported by a year of anthropological research bringing her into close contact with producers and consumers of chocolates alike. A combination of chocolate boutiques representing family values, capitalism, creation of a taste standard, and manipulation of history has distinguished chocolate as something positively French deeply rooted in French culture and traditions.

French chocolatiers are asserting the uniqueness of French cuisine, exemplified by the French “art” of chocolate making, through their expert culinary skills and skilled artisanship in constructing delectable treats. Appealing to the sympathies of the French people, chocolatiers have mixed traditional modes of production with modern means. Because chocolate is a craft commodity, chocolatiers have succeeded in linking contemporary craftsmanship with pre-industrial guild values. As in earlier times, chocolate boutiques are family businesses where the men are in charge of production and the women in charge of sales.

Chocolate boutiques have come to occupy their own little niche within a fully mechanized industrial sector of the economy. Despite globalization of markets and transnational consumer demand, the cultural authenticity of craft commodities still exists. Capitalism has reinforced the cultural authenticity of chocolate and the need for craft commodities because locally produced crafts can be commodified.

French chocolatiers have developed their own taste standard for judging the authenticity and quality of chocolate modeled after standards used by wine connoisseurs. Using this standard, French boutiques are able to establish the exceptional quality of their chocolates over commercial brands.

Manipulation of history has also facilitated chocolatiers in increasing chocolate’s prominence in society. Through selective choice and reinvention of the history of chocolate, French chocolatiers create myths, part truth and part fictitious, explaining the transformation of chocolate from a primitive food discovered in America to a refined French culinary art that reinforces the idea that French tastes are superior to the remainder of the world.

ERIN JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Terrio, Susan J. Crafting Grand Cru Chocolates in Contemporary France. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98(1):67-78.

This article examines the process through which fine French chocolate has become a cultural symbol of traditional craft production as well as gentrification in the context of contemporary, postindustrial French society. As globalization threatens French national identity, chocolate has become a means for the French to reclaim national character. To show this, Terrio draws from a diverse theoretical background, including world-systems analysis, nationalism, Marxism and symbolic anthropology.

Terrio begins with a description of how the French chocolate business is organized into small boutiques. Consumers are interested in buying authentically French chocolates, and shop owners are careful to create an environment that evokes traditional cultural values. Such shops also convince the customer that they are connected to the means of production, while disguising the fact that the chocolate is mass-produced elsewhere. The introduction of American, and especially Belgian chocolates to the French market and the trend toward a common European identity has increased French concern with the genuineness of their own cuisine.

The consumption of a craft commodity such as chocolate is also affected by the attachment of social attributes, which gives the purchaser of fine chocolates a certain amount of cultural cachet. Terrio traces this “gentrification of chocolate taste (71),” which dramatically increased the preference for bittersweet dark chocolate and compares it to the wine industry in terms of its set of standards. Of course the raw material of chocolate, cacao, is imported to France from the Americas, which is part of what makes chocolate production inextricable from the global economy. The historical significance of chocolate as an exotic, hedonistic pleasure from the New World is still a part of the candy’s appeal to Europeans today. But French chocolatiers have constructed an image of their products as the exquisite refinement of what was previously foreign and wild.

Terrio injects the article with some ideas about the role of ethnography in contemporary society. She considers the responsibility of the ethnographer and the capability of informants to interpret what is written about them in concluding that both have the agency to utilize ethnographic materials for different means. The questions she asks about the ethnographer’s duty to share information with informants are compelling for any fieldworker.

Terrio focuses on several facets of the production, exchange, and consumption of French chocolates. She concludes that economic changes, the growth of public purchasing power and manipulation by chocolatiers have transformed the fine chocolate industry from one that was concentrated on exclusivity to one that is preoccupied with the presentation of authenticity. Whereas chocolate once simply indicated wealth, it is now imbued with a more complicated set of cultural meanings, such as fine taste and dedication to French heritage.

ELIZABETH TULL Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Thomas, Nicholas. Cold Fusion. American Anthropologist March, 1996 Vol.98 (1):9-25.

The idea of hybridity is important for cultural studies and anthropology. It also serves as a motif in art milieus and cultural commentary. In this article, Nicholas Thomas suggests that hydridity (something of mixed origin, or composition) is too general to contribute to the understanding of cultural forms. He argues that the enthusiasm around hybridity produces cultural hierarchies that are disputed by anthropologists. Anthropologist are motivated by the interplay between exotic cultures and Western cultures. Particularly in art, hybridity enables critics to celebrate their own capacity to recognize cultural differences while at the same time resisting stories and works that emerge from alien environments. Thomas uses as an example, a critic’s review of African Artist. He challenges the critic because of his misrepresentations of forms of selfhood and collective representation among “premodern” peoples of Africa. Indigenous artists feel the need to emphasize their presence as constituting a fusion of traditional work and colonial influences. This fusion enables these artists to “recohere a long-lost identity.” By acknowledging the range of past and present creativity, we appreciate the equally legitimate products in different historical and cultural situations. Thomas goes on to examine Aboriginal art and how it pertains to these ideas.

A background in the study of postmodernism and cultural studies would greatly benefit the reader of this article. The article primarily focuses on the subject of contemporary indigenous artists and the ways in which their paintings reflect concepts of identity that are prevalent in the culture at large. Although the article is well organized, the vocabulary is far too obscure, making this subject inaccessible to the public.

CATHERINE SAMSON Middlebury College (David Napier)

Van Buren, Mary. Rethinking the Vertical Archipelago: Ethnicity, Exchange, and History in the South Central Andes. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol. 98 (2):338-351.

The author of this article analyzed previous models pertaining to the colonies of the South Central Andes. The vertical archipelago is a model that posits that Andean societies established colonies in distant and often noncontiguous ecological zones in order to gain access to the goods produced in them. This model was used to explain the success of high-altitude populations in a harsh and unpredictable environment. Lupaqa colonies were found at both high-altitude and low-altitude slopes of the Andes. The indigenous people living in the lowlands were able to grow maize, peppers, and cotton.

The anthropologist who developed the vertical archipelago model, John Murra, believed that it was a physical manifestation of a distinctly Andean ideal of economic self-sufficiency. Not only were the Andean communities considered to be autonomous; their sustainability relied on reciprocal relations between ethnic groups. However, Murra assumed that redistribution and political authority benefit the ethnic group as a whole. Van Buren criticizes this as being a functionalist perspective related to the ecological concept of adaptation. She formulates her argument by critiquing Murra’s interpretations of a series of surveys that contain information gathered by Spanish officials during the mid-16th century.

Van Buren begins with an explanation of the development of the vertical archipelago model and why it was so widely accepted. The clearest, strongest case for this model was the Lupaqa colonies. The Lupaqa were a relatively complex society consisting of about 20,000 households at the time of the Spanish Conquest that persisted during the colonial period. Murra offers their longevity as evidence of their antiquity. However, Van Buren counteracts this by noting the lack of evidence of Lupaqa communities predating Inca times in archaeological records. She contends that their persistence can be better explained by considering contemporary economic conditions. During colonial times, the Lupaqa were granted special status because they lived on personal property of the Spanish crown. They were well situated to take advantage of economic opportunities generated by the mining industry. However, the economic advantage of the colonies did not equally benefit everyone in the community. The population was visibly stratified with political power in the hands of highland elites. Members of Lupaqa colonies were forced to pay tribute in order to avoid forced labor in the mines. Residents of the lowland were divided into two groups: commoners who worked in the maize fields (indios) and a select group of landowners (kurakas). Contemporary society was not designed to provide everyone with equal access to food. Maize grown in the lowlands was rarely redistributed among the indigenous population except as compensation for labor services. In fact, it did not even significantly contribute to the daily diet of the majority of the population. Therefore, the economic relationship between the highlands and lowlands cannot be explained using an ecological model of adaptation because it did not promote the balance of resources.

JUDITH SCHUTTER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Van Buren, Mary. Rethinking the Vertical Archipelago: Ethnicity, Exchange, and History in the South Central Andes. American Anthropologist. June, 1996. Vol. 98(2):338-351.

In this article, Mary Van Buren critiques John Murra’s model of the vertical archipelago, which has framed the discourse regarding Andean cultures since its creation. Van Buren argues that the assumptions made by the vertical archipelago theory obscure the variability of Andean societies and implicitly compare the organization of these societies to that of Western societies. Furthermore, Van Buren suggests that Murra’s model finds its theoretical underpinnings in structural functionalism and cultural ecology and as such, not only neglects to clarify the varying forms of agency within the economic structures found in the vertical archipelago, but also the ways that different structures interacted, namely colonialism and the indigenous social system. She asserts that these assumptions, and theoretical structures have been used to frame more recent discussion of verticality as well as archeological studies of these societies. Therefore, in the article, Van Buren argues against Murra’s ideas and offers a more conceptual perspective of these societies which recognizes different groups within them as well as the ways that these societies interacted with other social structures.

Murra’s model regarding the growth of Andean societies suggests that these societies established colonies in distant places in order to have access to diverse resources without having to trade with other groups. The model expounds that these communities had an inherent cultural ideal of economic self-sufficiency and that because of this ideal, as well as their adaptive nature, they were able to survive colonialism and the Spanish conquest. Murra suggests that this ideal has its roots in pre-Inka civilization because other Inka and post-Inka colonies were unable to survive the Spanish conquest. Also, he articulates that these adaptive societies were relatively autonomous and that political authority within them benefited the group as a whole.

Van Buren utilizes a case study of the Lupaq community to suggest that the societies highlighted by Murra were not necessarily pre-Inka. She argues the persistence of these communities through the Spanish conquest was not a result of their ancient systems, as Murra suggests, but were maintained because of the actors within these systems as well as the socioeconomic circumstances present at the time. Van Buren argues that these communities played a specific role during the colonial period. This role was not only characterized by economic interactions with other communities, specifically Spanish ones, but also by the ways that the actors within the communities benefited from the colonial period. Thus, these communities changed due to changing social circumstances, they did not simply rely on ancient cultural ideals to survive the colonial conquest. Van Buren also discusses archaeological finds that contrast Murra’s model and support her ideas that these communities were dynamic. These finds provide evidence that these communities were not isolated ethnic groups, but that there was colonization within the Andean societies as well as interactions on various levels, depending on one’s class, with Spanish colonialists.

Van Buren concludes that those who study ancient cultures, including archaeologists, need to look at the relations of social actors within communities as well as the historical conditions of those communities in order to assess social systems. This will allow these investigations to recognize the variability and dynamic nature of societies, in this case Andean ones, and as such, not make the mistake of homogenizing history and simply comparing it to the past or present.

NATASHA WINEGAR Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Wikan, Unni. The Nun’s Story: Reflections on an Age-Old, Postmodern Dilemma. American Anthropologist June, 1996 Vol. 98 (2):279-289.

In this article Wikan uses the life story of a Bhutanese nun as an example of postmodern life. Her argument is that the conditions of postmodernism, the “collapse of metanarratives in a world where reason and reality” are unstable, have been present in Asia for thousands of years. She addresses the notion of the “decentered self,” being forced to manage different selves in different worlds, in order to get at the real purpose of her research which is to understand what stops people from “falling apart” under the pressures of life.

The story of the nun’s situation is analyzed in three parts: life condition, cultural models, and experience. She was poor, raped during her time in the convent and subsequently forced to leave the convent. Her land was taken by the government without compensation. The nun’s life condition was full of disappointment and despair. The culture of the Bhutanese places women in lower social status than men, as does the Buddhist notion of reincarnation in which a woman is believed to be nine reincarnations below a man. This cultural model served to explain and justify to the nun why bad things happened to her in her life. Though her life experience filled her with sadness and discontent, she struggled through all of the hardships that faced her.

Wikan explains the nun’s perseverance as being fueled by the necessity to work in order to stay alive. The nun did not have time to suffer or complain because she had to ensure that she had enough food or money to sustain herself and her family, a task that required constant work. Work provided the nun with an escape from all of the pain in her life. If there was ever a point in her life that she did not have anything to work at, she created something for herself so that she could keep her mind distracted.

The style of ethnography in this article is self-described as minimalist in order to emphasize the story for what it is, an argument that postmodernism is nothing new. The idea of people falling apart has been explored in the past and can be explored from the postmodern point of view in the present. The purpose is to explore the importance of how people create new narratives for themselves so that they can endure, and whether or not the cultural models in a society help or hinder an individual in this process of coping. The article is a call to other anthropologists to examine these problems more.

KATHERINE TSE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Wikan, Unni. The Nun’s Story: Reflections of an Age Old, Postmodern Dilemma. American Anthropologist 1996 Vol. 98 (2): 279-289.

Wikan begins her essay with the assertion that postmodernism, as currently theorized, is primarily a petit bourgeois concern of the West and that those who adhere to this theoretical paradigm must look outwards and redefine what is postmodern. In her article she maintains that postmodern notions of a fractured identity, destabilization of meaning and the waning of metanarratives can be seen throughout the world throughout history. To illustrate her point she tells the story of a nun in Bhutan, who has survived rape, the death of a child, raising three children and the seizure of her land by the government.

Wikan draws off multiple areas of her fieldwork: her work in Bhutan, her work with Balinese women, as well as her own experiences in her native Norway. By comparing experiences she is able to shed light on some of the particular cultural mechanisms that have affected the nun she bases her paper around. In her examination, the role of women in a Buddhist Lamaist society creates particular conceptions of rape, as well as the right to land, that are influenced by gender, status and class. Bhutanese Buddhist beliefs make certain avenues unthinkable, for example suicide, and shape the struggle of the nun. However, these structures are not necessarily determinant. Wikan looks for particular ways in which individuals combat despair, through work for example, and grant themselves some form of agency.

Wikan writes in a style that she calls “minimalist ethnography” which is sparse and uses little descriptive information. She states she wants to let the nun’s story to speak for itself, although the lack of specificity also gives her ethnographic work an iconic appearance that lacks specificity, which may lead to generalizations.

In her conclusion, Wikan returns to her original questions upon the nature of postmodernism, using her previous discussion to assert “falling apart, or being decentered, is nothing exceptional, just particular” (285). She criticizes postmodernist discourse for not paying enough attention to material interactions and ways of gaining agency within structures. However, her argument never covers the ways metanarratives have fallen disintegrated in a late capitalist Western society, the societies most postmodernists focus on, that are different from the situation she describes in Bhutan, which is key to the question she raises in her introduction. This is an incredibly large field of inquiry that merits much more than a single article, therefor Wikan ultimately raises more questions than she answers.

NED MEINERS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)