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American Anthropologist 1998

AAA Executive Board. AAA Statement on Race. American Anthropologist September, 1998. Vol. 100(3):712-713.

This statement was adopted by the AAA Executive Board on 17 May 1998. The authors note that it does not reflect a consensus of all members of the AAA, but the general contemporary thinking of most anthropologists. The statement explains that race is not a direct function of biology, but is rather a creation of society. In the US, from its colonial beginnings to modern institutions and policies, race has been used to reinforce hierarchical distinctions between groups.

Human populations are not biologically distinct groups, and, according to genetic evidence, there is greater variation within racial groups than between them. Humankind is a single species, and the interbreeding of different groups has helped maintain that. Physical traits vary in gradual amounts, not bounded by geography. Additionally, the appearance of one physical trait does not predict the presence of others. Thus any divisions made among biological populations are subjective.

The idea of race has always included more than physical differences, such as social variations. In colonial situations, for example, European attitudes toward the native peoples were based on a modern concept of race modeled after the theorem of the Great Chain of Being. In this Chain, natural categories were arranged hierarchically, and race was taken as a means of classification. This attitude helped rationalize slavery and inequalities. In the construction of US society, positive and negative cultural/behavioral characteristics were linked to each race, and these ideas were built into American institutions and thought. Science also tried to pin down racial differences, even arguing that Africans, Europeans, and Indians were separate species. Racial theory as ideology was also used to justify European inequalities, including the extermination of “’inferior races’” during the Holocaust of World War II. The biases of race distort our ideas about behavior and differences, creating myths about the culture and biology of those “races.”

A normal human being is able to learn any cultural behavior; this learning begins at birth and is always subject to change. Sets of meanings and values, or culture, shape our personalities and behavior without regard to genetics. Treatment within a society also shapes how people act in that society, and the hierarchical racial world view has formed policies and practices that create and support inequalities among peoples of difference descent. The committee concludes that inequalities between racial groups are not based in biology but in social and ideological conditions.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

The AAA Executive Board. AAA Statement on Race. American Anthropologist May, 1998. 712-713.

This article addresses common misconceptions about race within the human species. It offers evidence from genetic analysis (e.g. DNA) and historical research to illustrate that “human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups.” It argues that race in the U.S. is a social construction, “a mode of classification,” developed by colonial Europeans during the 18th century to justify discrimination and rationalize inequality based on visible physical differences.

The article begins by presenting biological and genetic research to convey that the idea of race has less to do with biology and more to do with social and cultural ideology. It presents data from genetic analysis as evidence to illustrate that about 94% of physical variation lies within racial groups and that variation from one group to another is in only about 6% of their genes. The article then presents observations of the variability of physical features across geographical boundaries. It does so to demonstrate that attempts to invent divisions between populations are arbitrary and subjective. For example it presents how skin color varies from light in temperate areas in the north to dark in tropical areas in the south and that the intensity of skin color is not related to physical traits like nose shape or hair texture. In addition to genetics, the article presents historical research as evidence to show that race is a term that was developed by early European settlers to legitimize the slave labor of conquered African and Indian people.

Towards the end the article contends that the modern conception of race was modeled after categories of hierarchy. It identifies race as an “ideology about human differences” used as a strategy to correlate biological inheritance with cultural and societal dispositions. It suggests that race is a societal tool used to “assign some groups to perpetual low status while permitting others access to privilege, power and wealth” (713).

This article relies on examples from scientific and historical research to illustrate that biological inheritance is not corollary to cultural inheritance. The article uses race as a vehicle to illustrate the institutionalization of inequality within present- day American society and concludes that inequalities between racial groups are not consequences of biological inheritance, but products of socio-cultural circumstances. The article is clearly written, easy to read and simple to understand.

O’NEIL WALKER Middlebury College (David Napier)

AAA Executive Board. AAA Statement on Race. American Anthropologist Vol. 100 (3): 712-713

The AAA executive board released this statement in conjunction with a committee of “representative” anthropologists to reflect the general attitude within the field by a majority of scholars towards the concept of race in the United States. The overall issue discussed is racial divisions as a social construction, and how both academics and the general public have been “conditioned” to view such dividing lines as biological and concrete. Also taken into account is the impact this concept has had on historical development along racial lines throughout American history. The AAA statement argues that based on the findings and evidence of twentieth-century Anthropology, this notion of racial groups is unsustainable on a number of grounds. For one, the board offers the results of genetic research conducted on the so-called boundaries between groups previously thought to have been clearly demarcated, demonstrating that more genetic diversity exists within individual “groups” than between different ones. It is noted that it is this genetic overlap which maintains humans as a single species. Secondly, the board asserts that trends in the early colonial history of the United States based on an assumed hierarchy of these groups was engineered to assure white control over “inferior” races, in particular Native Americans and Negroes. Lastly, it is made clear that one of the major points of agreement within the anthropological community is the lack of connection between physical attributes and culture, namely that the circumstances of one’s upbringing factor into personal identity far more than do actual physical characteristics. Based on this data combined with the overall findings of twentieth century anthropology, the board concludes race to be a purely arbitrary and cosmetic designation of historical and political circumstances rather than genetics.

MICHAEL STEVENS Middlebury College (A. David Napier)

AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100(3):714-715.

This statement by the AAPA (American Association of Physical Anthropologists) is reprinted from the December 1996 issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The authors, from their positions as scientists of human evolution and variation, wish to share their understanding of human variation from a biological perspective. The statement begins by noting that current ideas of race are derived from 19th and early 20th century scientific constructions, which used visible traits like skin color or facial features, as well as social elements. These old notions of race are rooted in social conventions and institutions.

The authors give eleven points to express their views; these points are revisions of the 1964 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) statement on race. The first point states that all living humans belong to one species, Homo sapiens, and thus evolved from the same ancestral group. Second, both hereditary factors and environment affect biological differences. The third point notes that there is much genetic diversity within humanity, and pure races do not exist and probably never have existed. The fourth and fifth points explain that although people in different geographic areas do have physical differences, this variation does not present discontinuities within the species. Additionally, the differences result from a combination of inherited traits and the environment. The characteristics used to determine a race are usually independent of one another, or only show varying degrees of association.

The sixth point states that racial inferiority or superiority is baseless in biology because human features that affect survival of the species do not occur more often in one group than in another. Seventh, humans have adapted to many environments but not one in particular, so our species’ progress has been a result of culture rather than adaptation. Also, mating between different human populations is common and usually reduces their differences; society and culture discourage these matings, not biology. A related point, number eight, explains that gene flow, which is the exchange of hereditary characteristics between populations, prevents the permanent existence of distinct local groups. Ninth, traits of offspring depend only on the genes of their parents, not on the racial categories of their parents. The tenth point states that biological characteristics and cultural groups are not necessarily interrelated, and behavioral traits cannot be ascribed to genetics. Finally, the eleventh point notes that physical, cultural, and social environments affect behavior; heredity does not determine the ultimate behavioral outcome of a population. Ultimately, science does not back up racism.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Bakewell, Liza. Image Acts. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100(1):22-32.

In this essay, Bakewell extends the idea of speech acts to images, and suggests the use of a new term: image acts. “Speech act” refers to the activities of words; or, speech combined with relevant actions constitute a speech act. Image acts are the use of images or gestures along with certain settings as tools of communication. To explain this concept, the author uses the example of the word madre, a Mexican Spanish word that has many dimensions of meaning and usage. In order to fully comprehend each use of madre, one must also consider the visual surroundings of the instance.

Spoken language is meant to have an effect on people, and, the author argues, so do images. Museums, art, statues, posters, and magazine covers all elicit a variety of responses. The essay cites pieces of art that have caused public outcry, even bomb threats, in opposition to their exhibition. Having explained the power of images, Bakewell accuses academia of treating visual communication as less important than verbal communication. The argument makes lucid points about the status of images within scholarly disciplines, and also acknowledges recent challenges to this bias. Constitutional law scholars have already realized that images such as pornography can be acts of violence, and anthropology should come to similar conclusions.

However, visual anthropology is gaining status in the discipline, and the lack of understanding about the mechanics of modern images should encourage more scholarship. Images play a crucial role in child language development as well as in general human communication. Therefore, Bakewell concludes, a theory of speech acts should incorporate images.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Beidelman, T.O. and Fred R. Myers. Obituary: Annette Weiner (1933-1997). American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100 (3): 757-759.

T.O. Beidelman and Fred R. Myers give a brief, yet detailed account of the renowned cultural anthropologist, Annette Weiner. Having received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania (1968) and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College (1974), Weiner devoted the majority of her post-graduate life to the study of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea, reassessing Malinownski’s early research of the same culture. Weiner’s research greatly contributed to the development of anthropological theory concerning gender and women’s studies and to the importance of exchange among the Trobriand Islanders. A documentary filmmaker and an extremely intelligible ethnographer, Weiner left her mark as an anthropologist never to be forgotten. After gaining tenure at the University of Texas, Weiner accepted a position as Chair of the Department of Anthropology at New York University making great contributions to the development of the major. Weiner was also responsible for the creation of the linguistic anthropology program at NYU known as the Program in Culture and Media. After many years at NYU, Weiner accepted the position of President of the American Anthropological Association, taking part in a major reorganization process. Shortly before her death, Weiner received the American Anthropological Association’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her life’s work and her extraordinary professional accomplishments.

CORI PLOTKIN Middlebury College (A. David Napier)

Beidelman, T. O., and Fred R. Myers. Annette Weiner (1933-1997). American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol.100 (3): 757-759.

Weiner served as President of the American Anthropological Association (1991-93), President of the Society for Cultural Anthropology (1987-89), and Chair of Anthropology (1981-91), Dean of Social Science (1993-96), and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science (1991-96) at New York University. The author includes an excerpt from an interview in which Weiner explained how she arrived at anthropology as a career after having married young and raising two children. Her accomplishments at New York University included introducing linguistic anthropology and the Program in Culture and Media, as well as shaping smaller, Ph.D.-focused programs.

Weiner’s major contribution to the field of cultural anthropology was her examination and reinterpretation of the value and circulation of goods among the Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. She critically assessed Bronislaw Malinowski’s research in the Pacific and recognized the value of women and women’s wealth to exchange. Her more influential publications include Women of Value, Men of Renown: New Perspectives in Trobriand Exchange (1976), The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea (1988), and Cloth and Human Experience (1992), a volume she co-edited with Jane Schneider. These works deal with issues of exchange, sexuality, power, magic, and wealth. She contributed to the study of material culture by emphasizing properties of items of exchange, and changed how anthropologists think about exchange by showing that exchange expresses much more than reciprocity, gift, or commodity.

MARGARET BERGER Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Bennett, W. John. Classic Anthropology. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100 (4): 951-956.

This article examines and defines classic anthropology, which Bennett suggests begins in 1916 and ends in 1953. These classic years can be broken down into three sections: the early, middle, and late era. During this time, anthropologists were studying tribal and exotic cultures, which ironically brought about the end of the era.

The locals in these tribal areas eventually became educated in a western way and ended not only the ethnographies, but also political control over tribe members. Anthropology was the study of cultures, and culture could no longer, or maybe was never able to, explain human achievement.

Anthropology then developed a more focused concentration in archaeology and biology. The author attributes this newfound interest in prehistory to the outpouring of information derived from research. Anthropologists previously took information and theorized about it, drawing few conclusions and producing little insight.

In order to continue the study of culture, anthropology developed the term relativism, which stated that all cultures were equal, but not necessarily alike. In fact, the author states that at one point it was believed that science, and therefore anthropology, could not exist without relativism. Because of this, relativism served as the basis for all areas of anthropological human research.

Cultural anthropology could not, however, accept relativism because issues of morality became controversial. Bennett goes as far as to suggest that it was always “devoid” of values and ethics. The study of anthropology became obsessed with data analysis in order to avoid moral judgment. Classic anthropologists feared domination of the discipline by psychology and sociology; therefore, anthropology, had to be redefined in order to shift the focus of the discipline back to the study of culture.

Previous research existed only on exotic cultures and the theories developed from that research were used to try to define modern, or first-world, culture. Several problems arose from this movement. Few people were interested in studies in cities or familiar places, the exotic areas broke the rule that all cultures are equal, and, therefore, these areas drew the attention of anthropologists. Another problem was that all previous studies were done on societies with no recorded history, and, therefore, no changes in patterns or traditions were observed.

Bennett calls for a return to the classical concepts such as objectivity and functional analysis because it is these concepts combined with today’s knowledge of psychology that is the key to the future of anthropology.

KELLIE JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bennett, John W. Classic Anthropology. American Anthropologist December, 1998. Vol. 100 (4):951-956.

In this article Bennett reviews the Classic Era of Anthropology, roughly from 1916-1953. He divides this Era into the Early, Middle and Late. The Early Classic is the historical and depictive anthropology of the 1910’s and 1920’s, the Middle is the period of systematic ethnological research from the 1920’s through the 1940’s and the Late is the functionalist, cross discipline, problem oriented anthropology of the late 1930’s and 1940’s.

The principle concept explored by classic anthropologists was culture. Culture was the all consuming concept, and acted as a sponge, including every manifestation of human thought and action. This idea, called ‘cultural determinism,’ often limited anthropologists in their interpretations of field work. Classic anthropology used culture as a way of explaining the cause of human achievements.

With the focus on culture in Early Classic anthropology came a focus on the ethnography. The ethnographic mode of transmission required a certain relativism, and an objectification of all aspects of human existence. Relativism was also found in the scientific circles, and merged science with anthropology in providing a methodological way of study, known as methodological relativism. A slew of other relativisms followed (cultural relativism, ethical relativism, etc).

However, there were still strong values and morality present in Early Classic anthropology, especially with the work of anthropologists like Margaret Mead. These moral preferences combined with relativism lead to contradictions; the classic anthropologists professed humanitarian values towards colonized people while also having to deal with government control of their research, and anthropologists claimed their concepts of culture had universal applicability when they were really based on isolated groups that were uncovered and interpreted at times by only one anthropologist.

Finally, Classic anthropology’s focus on ethnology created several intellectual developments, including an obsession with the sense of the exotic and the virtuoso complex, of the daring anthropologist striking out into uncharted territories.

In Late Classic anthropology the discipline began to focus on phenomena other than cultural which lead to a number of post classic ‘institutionalized anthropologies.’ Now, Bennett says, while the future of anthropology moves towards prehistory and human paleontology, anthropology still has to answer for the social consequences of cultural relativism.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Born, Georgina. Anthropology, Kleinian Psychoanalysis, and the Subject in Culture.American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2): 373-383.

Anthropology may be related to psychoanalysis primarily through the work of Klein, who studied group psychological dynamics. Klein used Freudian concepts to develop her own theory that places more importance on the intermediate and foundational concepts in psychology such as projection and introjection. Aspects of psychology like projection and introjection work in group dynamics to develop individual internal states.

Splitting is an important concept introduced by Klein’s work with psychoanalysis. Splitting begins at a young age, and is the primary mechanism by which the child learns to distinguish between good and bad. The good object is the most desired whereas the bad object is feared and hated; the individual experiences a great deal of anxiety towards the bad object, and the bad is able to consume his/her life.

Gender classification is influenced from the individual’s perspective or tendency towards the good or bad, and because people have the tendency to motivate towards either the good or the bad, the issues of race, gender and class status are all conceptualized in extremity. Klein uses this opposition to develop a relationship with classification and ideology.

The classification of individuals into categories such as race and gender has certain implications. An individual belongs to the African American race if s/he has ancestry in Africa. Over time, racial and ethnic groups became stereotyped. These stereotypes are learned at a young age, and through splitting the child learned to distinguish certain stereotypes and therefore labeled the race as either good or bad. Klein believed that through the recognition of these childhood developments, an individual could correct the extremities of splitting and move towards a more realistic system of classification.

This article is wordy and time-consuming. Specific terms are used, and could be difficult to read if no prior knowledge of topic is known.

KELLIE JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Born, Georgina. Anthropology, Kleinian Psychoanalysis, and the Subject in Culture.American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):373-386.

Georgia Born argues for the use of Kleinian psychoanalysis as an important tool for Anthropology to utilize in its quest to gain insight into “sociocultural phenomena”. This school of psychoanalysis deals with studies of group dynamics that focus on the processes of projection, splitting, and fragmentation, and how they occur within institutions; it also focuses on the binding process of individuals and groups. Its methodology melds well with anthropology’s, for encounters are recorded, rich with description, in order to reveal the basis for the observer’s interpretations. This makes it possible to use psychoanalysis in the middle of an anthropological ethnography as an analytical tool or to go back and look at an ethnography to see if such an analysis might be helpful.

Born feels that when the Kleinian perspective is used to analyze cultural systems it can both enable a move beyond a functionalist and a historical approach to portray the unconscious workings of culture and provide a basis for analyzing the psychiodynamics that are involved in culture change. She looks at this specifically by engaging studies of gender classification and historical persecution. In cases like these the psychological concept of splitting gives us interesting insights, highlighting the universality of idealization, vilification, and fear.

At the end of the article Born takes us into her own research, tracing the replications of the same types of psychic configurations in an ethnography of a modern institution. This process highlighted the psychic mechanisms of the hierarchy of conformity and the rendering of good versus evil. This type of study allows for the illumination of various kinds of contradictions and ambiguities, such as the difference between words and action.

JULIA E. MACKESSON Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Bowie, Katherine A. The Alchemy of Charity: Of Class and Buddhism in Northern Thailand. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):469-481.

“The Alchemy of Charity” is a critical response to the dominant conception of merit making in Theravada Buddhism in northern Thailand. Merit making is an act of gift giving without expecting a gift in return; in Buddhism, it is giving gifts to the monks and temples, and, as Bowie explains, charity to the poor. This piece uses archival sources, oral histories, and interviews to reinforce its argument that unidirectional giving, like charity, has been important to the sociopolitical makeup of ranked societies.

By focusing on gifts to the monks and temples, and absolute rather than relative amounts of goods, the current definitions of merit making ignore charitable gifts and unfairly privilege the actions of wealthy villagers. The essay also argues that gift giving, particularly from more prosperous donors, is not entirely voluntary. Not only do large merit-making rituals garner social prestige, but social pressure and threat of uprisings encourage elites to share their wealth. Beggars could receive material goods directly or from post-festivity surplus. Basically, merit making helped alleviate interclass tensions by assisting the poor in the frequent times of need, while at the same time it reinforced the hierarchical relationships among the villagers.

Bowie also concludes that, unlike the assumption that unreciprocated gift giving always promotes inequality, it can give the recipient power by dictating the donor’s expected actions. The role of such forms of charity in complex societies has been neglected in scholarly literature, and Bowie feels that further analysis would advance the understanding of class relations. The author leaves the reader with reminders that charity is a complex relationship whose interpretation poses several problems As in the case of Buddhism in Northern Thailand, it does not always have easily observed benefits, voluntary action, and gratitude on part of the recipient.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Bowie, Katherine A. The Alchemy of Charity: Of Class and Buddhism in Northern Thailand. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):469-481.

In this article, the author investigates the importance of the merit making practice of giving charity among Buddhists in northern Thailand. The author contradicts many of the more traditional views about the institution of merit making, claiming it is a means of maintaining the class structure made up of few elites and many poor villagers. The author begins by affirming the presence of distinct social stratification among those living in the Chiang Mai Valley.

The author goes on to contradict the assumption that villagers can only make merit for the next life by giving gifts to Buddhist monks or to the temple. Most villagers believe that simply giving charity to the poor can be just as meritorious as giving charity to monks. In fact, the act of giving charity to beggars is treated as a religious experience comparable to giving charity to monks. The author also argues that it is not simply the donor of the charity that benefits through the exchange. The poor also make merit by allowing others to part with their goods.

The author points out that past ways of ranking charitable activities, which considered expensive acts to be more meritorious than others, are overshadowed in village life by a recognition of individuals’ abilities to give. The poor do not have much to give, so even if they give very little in comparison to a rich person, that is no reason why the rich person should be given more merit in the next life.

The institution of merit making puts moral pressure on the wealthy to give what they can to the poor. Even without consideration for the next life, wealthy people who do not give to the poor are subject to gossip as well as the attack of vengeful spirits. Physical force can also be wielded against unwilling donors in the form of theft or vandalism. The author strives to portray the poor as more than simply passive receivers of others’ wealth. However, the gratitude the poor are obligated to express when given charity implies their consent to the status quo. The author shows that charitable generosity cannot be treated as a mere religious practice. It is also rooted in the social inequality that is present in the village.

Despite the weighty topic, the article is well written and comprehensible. No extensive knowledge of Buddhist practice is necessary to understand and appreciate the points presented.

KATIE CURLER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Boyer, Pascal. Cognitive Tracks of Cultural Inheritance: How Evolved Intuitive Ontology Governs Cultural Transmission. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100(4): 876-889.

In this article Pascal Boyer seeks to address the debate surrounding evolutionary frameworks and cultural transmission. Boyer’s main assertion is that ‘intuitive ontology’ – a set of principled domain-specific inferential capacities – directs cultural transmission along domain-specific cognitive tracks. He begins by outlining the debate, demonstrating that a disciplinary agreement has arisen surrounding the repudiation of an evolutionary framework with regards to central anthropological subjects such as kinship, spirituality, and organizational schema. This, however, may be inaccurate in Boyer’s view; his aim then is to use the notion of intuitive ontology to bridge evolutionary predispositions with individual and group cognitive processes of cultural acquisition and communication.

Boyer then outlines the notions of acquired and evoked culture, the former requiring specific cultural input and manifesting cross-cultural variation, the latter evidencing a set of capacities inherent to all humans that may or may not manifest in a given cultural context. A fundamental question, then, is the extent to which human evolution is relevant to acquired culture; this Boyer explores in the context of the Pointed Collar Argument – that acquired culture incorporates many cultural representations for which evolutionary pressure is not definitive or relevant. While this argument may be compelling, Boyer explicates two criticisms that contribute to his overall argument: acquired culture needs to be re-described in terms that allow for the questioning of the involvement of evolutionary capacities, and mechanisms for cultural transmission need to be considered. Boyer then builds upon these two points in order to describe the manner in which intuitive ontology provides an explanatory tool for the recurrent trends in acquired culture. He looks at conceptual development associated with early childhood as definitive in the creation of domain-specific principles which orient attention to particular perceptual cues, constrain inferences stemming from those cues, and develop in relatively autonomous trajectories; the normal product of early cognitive development, then, is intuitive ontology. This intuitive ontology is at times built upon by cultural inputs so that cultural representations follow in congruence with prior intuitive principles. At other times, however, it seems that cultural inputs spur representations that are in violation of intuition; Boyer uses the manifestation of religion in most cultures as a fundamental example of this. He asserts that in fact religion does not contradict intuitive principles, but rather combines counter-intuitive cultural inputs and intuitive principles so that this type of cultural representation is especially compelling and successful. Furthermore, cultural representations manifest that seemingly replace intuitive expectations – scientific theories exemplify this particular case; Boyer however asserts that these representations in fact provide support for the meta-representation (the representation of the representation) of intuitive principles. This discussion of cultural representations, then, is aimed to explicate the manner in which acquired culture can built upon or pose alternatives to but not change or replace intuitive principles.

Boyer then discusses memes, abstract realities replicated through the passing from one mind to another, to explore cultural transmission as a function of the interaction of memes with activated intuitive inferences. It thus follows that cultural understanding depends not only on cultural inputs but also on domain-specific intuition; cultural acquisition is thus content-specific and intuitive ontologies proffer domain-specific principles applicable to particular aspects of social experience. In this way, Boyer brings to fruition his explication of acquired culture within an evolutionary framework.

This article is well-written and supplied with exhaustive explanatory examples; however, there is an overwhelming prevalence and usage of jargon and neologisms that may prove quite challenging for a reader unfamiliar with the debate surrounding evolutionary frameworks and cultural transmission. Indeed familiarity with this debate may greatly aid in the understanding and appreciation of Boyer’s more sophisticated theoretical nuances.

ANDREA HAMRE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bricker, Victoria R. and Evan Z. Vogt. Alfonso Villa Rojas (1906-1998). American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol.100 (4): 994-998.

This obituary shares with us the life’s work of Alfonso Villas Rojas, a distinguished Mexican ethnologist. His career spanned some 60 years concentrating on Maya ethnographies among the Yucatec-Maya and the Tzeltal-Maya. He analyzed unilateral forms of social organization, researched indigenous cultures of Mexico, and formulated general principles of Maya cosmology with the use of ethnohistory and archaeology. Much of Rojas interest in the area of anthropology can be credited to Robert Redfield of the University of Chicago; the two developed a great relationship, and Redfield taught Rojas how to be an ethnographer without any formal training or coursework. After studying the transition from primitive to civilized society is the Territory of Quintana Roo, Rojas went on to conduct an archaeological survey of a causeway that connected Yaxuna with Coba during the Classic time.

The work that ultimately made him famous was a published ethnography entitled The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo.

Rojas published illuminating articles on ancient and modern Maya cultural patterns in contemporary Yucatecan communities. He recognized the importance of history in understanding the culture of a community. Bricker and Vogt argue that his ideas were decades ahead of his time. This obituary also highlights the ways in which Rojas went about conducting his research that is rewarding for anthropologists young and old. Methodology is an area of anthropology often disputed and criticized, but Rojas technique truly reflects his sensitivity and skills in conducting research. The authors credit Rojas for his administrative work as well as his unfailing good sense. As a father of ethnography in Latin America, Rojas serves a permanent place in twentieth century anthropology.

CATHERINE SAMSON Middlebury College (David Napier)

Bricker, Victoria R. and Vogt, Evon Z. Alfonso Villa Rojas (1906-1998). American Anthropologist December, 1998. Vol. 100 (4): 994-998.

Alfonso Villa Rojas was born in 1906 in Merida, Yucatan, and went to school there until he soon made the acquaintance of Robert Redfield, an anthropologist from the University of Chicago. Villa Rojas helped Redfield to study the villagers of Chan Kom by keeping a dairy – this was Villa Rojas’ first fieldwork.

Villa Rojas eventually moved on to a less westernized Maya community than Chan Rom, called Quintana Roo. He initially studied these people to help test Redfield’s ideas about the transition from primitive to civilized society. (Also during this time Villa Rojas went to study at the University of Chicago. He was taught by Redfield as well as Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski).

Villa Rojas stayed with the people of Quintana Roo off and on for a number of years, and the results of this study led to his works ‘The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo’ and ‘Los Elegidos de Dios.’ These works made him famous.

Villa Rojas’ ethnography was a very detailed report that dealt with changes in the treatment of traditional Maya culture by 19th century Caste-Wars. The ethnography provided a rich historical context for the region and challenged Redfield’s acculturation model for the Peninsula. It showed that people of Quintana Roo were far from an isolated group in historical times. Villa Rojas was “decades ahead of his time” in recognizing the importance of history for understanding culture.

Villa Rojas continued to publish on the Yucatecan Maya, including a study of the Tzeltzal in 1938. Later, within the Tzeltzal, Villa Rojas selected a group of the hamlet of Dzajalchen, and spent 19 months with them. His resulting fieldwork was published in numerous journals. The crucial contribution Villa Rojas found was the discovery of patrilineages and patriclans, which provided models of what the social organization of these rural Mayans may have been like in classic periods.

Villa Rojas also held various administrative posts in the Mexican government, including directing major impact studies, director of anthropological investigations of the International Indigenous Institute, and director of the Institute of Anthropological Investigations of UNAM. Villa Rojas was known as a great advisor in later life, who provided sensitive and skillful administrative work. Finally, he was an eternal help in the fields of anthropology and ethnography with his additions of Maya ethnography.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Daag, Anne Innis. Infanticide by Male Lions – A Fallacy Influencing Research into Human Behavior. American Anthropologist. December, 1998. Vol.100 (4):940-950

Anne Daag’s article is a well-structured argument against the commonly accepted theory of male lion infanticide. Daag is particularly concerned about the idea’s unwarranted acceptance into human behavior theory. She wants to expose the fallacy in the theory that male lions routinely commit infanticide as part of an evolutionary adaptation. This theory has been used as a corollary model for the behavior of humans and non-human primates. Daag considers it to be an untenable idea. The commonly held belief is that when a male lion enters a pride of females, he purposely kills the females’ cubs in order to mate quickly with the female and pass on his genes. The theory is based on evolution theory, positing that the male lions that kill unrelated young will be able to mate more effectively and therefore produce more offspring. Daag contests the theory mainly by examining the existing body of observational fieldwork that documents cases of infanticide. Of the thousands of cubs that were recorded by field workers, only eleven cubs (in seven separate incidents) have been observed killed by male lions. The theory of male lion infanticide stems from several premises: male lions joining a pride of females must be related; these males kill the young when they enter the pride; the females mate with the new males; finally that the males stay with the pride long enough to support their offspring (about two years in necessary). The data collected on lion behavior does not completely support these premises; in fact, there have been no observed cases of male lion infanticide that fulfill all of these requirements. Daag wishes to show that if decades of lion research amounting to thousands of hours of observation have not observed the “common” practice of male infanticide, it cannot be accepted as a viable theory. Daag points out the variety of natural factors that instead account for many cubs’ deaths. Starvation, neglect, and other natural processes are largely responsible for high (around 80%) mortality rates for young lions. Daag argues that it does not make sense to propose an evolutionary theory to explain something that happens extremely rarely, and furthermore, that those studying human behavior have dangerously appropriated this theory. That this theory has been widely accepted and used to explain human behavior on only the sketchiest amount of evidence is Daag’s main concern.

Nathaniel Marsh Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Darnell, Regna. Camelot at Yale, The Construction and Dismantling of the Sapirian Synthesis, 1931-39. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2): 361-372.

In this article Regna Darnell documents the evolution of the Anthropology department at Yale University. She focuses on the work of Edward Sapir, asserting that his work in linguistics diverged from the department’s interest in physical anthropology during the 1930s. Darnell states that her purpose in writing this article is threefold: to examine the breakdown of Sapir’s influence at Yale, to examine the consequences of this deconstruction, and finally, to demonstrate the resurgence of interest in Sapirian theory by modern anthropologists. The body of the article, however, chronicles the development of the Anthropology department at Yale and the political infighting that took place to set the course of the school. While Darnell indicates that the Sapirian view of the anthropology curriculum was controversial, the professor’s actual work is largely ignored in this article.

“Camelot at Yale” is a detailed account of how ideas in anthropology changed throughout the 1930s, illustrating the field’s evolution with the example of Sapir at Yale. Darnell clearly states the positions of Sapir’s departmental peers Mark May and George Peter Murdock, highlighting the skepticism of the latter concerning the linguistic program at Yale. The author outlines the changes Murdock made to Sapir’s program during his sabbatical in 1937-38, and the greater effect this had on the university’s anthropology discipline. Darnell states that “students whose primary loyalty ended up being to Murdock still acknowledged considerable debt to Sapir,” asserting that Sapir is one of the cornerstones of American linguistic studies. In concluding her argument, Darnell states that Sapirian theory is being re-evaluated today as a pertinent topic in modern anthropological theory. “Camelot at Yale” is an ordered chronology of the evolution of anthropological studies and methods at Yale University, yet it does not provide much insight into Sapir’s actual linguistic studies.

MARY KATHERINE O’BRIEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Darnell, Regna. Camelot at Yale: The Construction and Dismantling of the Sapirian Synthesis, 1931-39. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2): 361-372.

Regna Darnell’s article traces the development of Yale University’s Department of Anthropology during the years of 1931 to 1939. During these formidable years, linguistic anthropologist, Edward Sapir, headed the department. Sapir was called to propel the university into the “major leagues, along with Chicago, Harvard, Berkeley and Columbia (361).” His synthesis of Boasian ethnology and linguistics as well as his focus on the relationship between culture and the individual dominated the Anthropology department until his health failed in 1937. Years later, George Peter Murdock (who is renowned for founding the Human Relations Area Files) replaced Edward Sapir as chairman. Yale’s Department of Anthropology underwent numerous changes because Murdock’s interests were in stark contrast to Sapir’s.

Darnell is interested in the theoretical and institutional changes that occurred at Yale University from the 1930s until the early 1940s. Darnell argues that this transition is important because the consequences of dismantling Sapir’s program at Yale continues to resonate throughout American universities (362). Moreover, there is some strength in the Sapirian synthesis, which has enjoyed a resurgence in contemporary American Anthropology (371).

Edward Sapir’s synthesis was heavily influenced by Franz Boas’ theoretical work. It was centered on the holistic study of the American Indian as well as the importance of fieldwork and linguistics in understanding the native’s point of view. Sapir also stressed the impact of “culture on personality” and the psychology of culture. These notions were the primary focus of Yale University’s Department of Anthropology. Although Sapir emphasized the four-field scope of Anthropology, he was mostly concerned with ethnology and linguistics. At Yale, he complained that more funds needed to be allocated to students’ research and that physical anthropology and archaeology ought to be taught in other departments. He also encouraged students interested in the technical aspects of language to study linguistics instead of Anthropology.

Murdock was hostile to Boasian anthropological concepts. Although Sapir and Murdock agreed that the core of any Anthropology program was ethnology, Murdock made archaeology Yale’s secondary focus (362). Murdock aspired for quantitative, scientific generalizations, which permitted numerous cross-cultural surveys. At Yale, he was also interested in extending ethnology beyond the boundaries of the North American Indian. Overall, Murdock sought to change all of Sapir’s synthesis with his scientific Anthropology.

The tensions in the Yale University Department of Anthropology were centered on the oppositions between quantitative and qualitative, ethnographic and comparative and the cultural and social (370). The conflict between Sapir’s synthesis and Murdock’s interests are evident today and significant because they characterize most academic institutions and the career commitments of most professional anthropologists.

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Early, Gerald. Adventures in the Colored Museum: Afrocentrism, Memory, and the Construction of Race. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100(3):703-711.

In the American Anthropologist’s special issue on race and racism, scholar Gerald Early traces the origins of Afrocentrism and how it influences Black conceptions of race. Early argues that Afrocentrism is used to create a world in which Blacks can see themselves through their own eyes. To be specific, Afrocentrism allows Blacks to reconcile the double consciousness or duality that comes from being Black and living in America. Therefore, Afrocentrism is important because Blacks use it to formulate a valid identity through the remembrance and interpretation of significant events and individuals in Black history, as well as by recognizing Africans’ major involvement in the emergence of Egyptian and other classical civilizations.

Afrocentrism was spawned by Black intellectuals like Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois; however, the man most responsible for its beginning was Chiekh Anta Diop. Diop was a Senegalese historian, who was also a strong adherent to the African Negritude Movement. In 1951, Diop submitted his dissertation to the University of Paris. He asserted that the Egyptians were of African and not European ancestry. His argument also claimed that the Egyptians were very influential in the development of civilizations in Greece and Rome. Although Parisian faculty members rejected Diop’s dissertation on several occasions because of its radical claims, the university finally accepted his research in 1960. Regardless of the University of Paris’s dislike and initial rejection of Diop’s ideas, they were widely disseminated and accepted amongst Blacks because of the full swing of African independence and Pan-Africanism.

Chiekh Anta Diop’s Afrocentrism calls for a more unified and humanized perception of Black people. Afrocentrism claims that there is a White conspiracy that seeks to discredit or ignore the role of African involvement in the making of great civilizations. Afrocentrism also advocates the need for Blacks to know their African past in order to unify themselves beyond the idea that they share a common oppression. Diop believed that without knowledge of the past Blacks would be politically impotent and mentally ill.

Early presents a solid overview of the history and significance of Afrocentrism. Although Diop’s Afrocentrism is prevalent among contemporary Black scholars, Early inquires about the efficacy of this type of memory and construction of race. Early questions the tendency in Afrocentrism to essentialize Black culture, the political intentions behind Diop’s notions, as well as the inability of some Blacks to identify with Afrocentric and other conceptions of race. Nonetheless, Gerald Early concludes that memories, interpretations and constructions of history change over time as part of the remembrance and interpretation of the past.

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Early, Gerald. Adventures in the Colored Museum: Afrocentrism, Memory, and the Construction of Race. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol..100(3):703-711.

The idea of using memory to construct a racial identity lies at the center of Professor Early’s article. Specifically he focuses on Afrocentrism and how African-Americans occupy a marginal position in American life in which they experience a ‘double consciousness’ as a part of two unique histories. Their position gives them a specific way of viewing the past, a unique memory. By reinterpreting the standard European historical accounts, using writings from his peers and colleagues, Early argues for the validity of racial construction through a shared racial memory. Early uses the example of Egypt repeatedly to support his point. He describes the long standing debate on the race of ancient Egyptians: white European historians deny that the Egyptians were black while the Afrocentrists claim to be descendents of the Egyptians they say were black. Early places this argument in the larger racial historical framework, relating his argument to statements and works made by W.E.B. DuBois, Cheikh Anta Diop, Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, and others, as well as using his own experiences teaching. Using these thinkers, and the carefully explained example of Holden Caulfield’s failing exam answer in The Catcher in the Rye, Early illustrates the complexity associated with identity. He questions whether Afrocentrists who claim to be of Egyptian heritage, a culture respected by Europeans, truly change views of racial superiority or simply work within the European definition of what is worth respecting. Most important to Early in this article is his idea that history is interpreted separately and uniquely by each individual to fit their outlook, specifically to help them construct a racial identity. This individualism is an experience he likens to walking through a static museum exhibit where each individual sees something different, however slight, while viewing the same display. Early uses solid examples and arguments to make his point leaving the reader satisfied, intrigued and curious.

ALEXANDRA BORDERS Middlebury College (David Napier)

Ebron, Paulla A. Enchanted Memories of Regional Difference in African American Culture.American Anthropologist 1998 Vol.100(1):94-105.

The Sea Islands, off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, have a rich and unique history of African American culture. Because of the landscape and climate, these islands are often thought to recreate the closest resemblance to African terrain in the U.S. For this same reason, the area seemed uninhabitable to southern white planters during the colonial era, and thus, as planters moved up-country to avoid the hot swampy fields, slaves took over the management of the fields. Paulla A. Ebron focuses her article on this area, and writes in particular about a 1991 film by Julie Dash entitled Daughters of the Dust which is based on stories and characters of the Sea Islands. She is particularly interested in Dash and other African American women writers’ departure from the traditional narrative (one which incorporates a confrontational male style) by evoking the healing power of the forgotten. Ebron examines this film and the area on which it is based in her greater exploration of the construction of African American communal memories.

The author’s central argument is that memory must not be regarded simply as a “natural” facility. Rather, she urges us to see the specificity of memory as a cultural technology. In this way, she presents her argument as relevant to anthropology in that a story like Daughters of the Dust, which disrupts Hollywood’s typical images of African American women, raises important questions about representation and authorial presence. Ebron asserts that anthropological analysis of culture is not, and should not, be segregated from public debates and passions about culture. She argues that the task of cultural analysis is not so much to evaluate the purity of cultural claims (like those present in African American memory projects) as to reveal their ability to move and mobilize.

At times a film review, and at other times a comment on African American memory perceptions and norms, this article succeeds, in its own way, to convey the argument and reveal the unique perspective of the author.

BENJAMIN H. WEBER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Ebron, Paula A. Enchanted Memories of Regional Difference in African American Culture.American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol.100(1):94-105.

Ebron addresses themes of gender and regionalism in her exploration of constructions of African American communal memory. She analyzes Julie Dash’s film, Daughters of the Dust, as a prime example of a memory project. Ebron recognizes the film’s limits as well as its power, and argues for the historical contextualization of any such analysis. Ebron’s discussion involves issues relevant to contemporary anthropology, such as debates over representation and authorial presence.

Dash presents a surreal, narratively disjointed, and highly sensory vision of the Sea Islands. These islands have long been thought of as a repository of African heritage within the United States. Its inhabitants speak Gullah and retain a mixture of African religious traditions. Ebron explains how Dash’s film-making techniques, or ‘technologies of memory,’ work to construct a shared African American regional memory. The nonlinear text blurs distinction between reality and fantasy, creating space for the production of memory. The visual focus on rustling surfaces, spiritual items, and multi-sensory images points to the prominence of spirituality and makes this memory of spirituality more accessible to the viewer. The film represents the Sea Islands as a place of enchantment, imbued with the spirit of its inhabitants’ African ancestors. What Daughters of the Dust ignores, points out Ebron, are the material circumstances of the islanders, past and present. This problematizes the film’s claims to representation. Both the film’s power and its weakness are located in Dash’s mystification of the islands.

Another source of the film’s power is its woman-centered narrative. This challenges the male-based, conflict-oriented plot lines of most contemporary African American films. Dash’s presentation of the Sea Islands is highly gendered. The Islands, like the female characters, are healing, communal entities who are prime actors in the film. Ebron points out that this construction, like the patriarchal model it reacts against, creates its own problematic gender standards.

Ebron believes that the partiality and imperfection of Dash’s film point to the need for complementary forms of representation where the emphasis is not on the accuracy of any one text, but on what can be learned from each.

BROOKE BOCAST Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Ebron, Paulla A. Enchanted Memories of Regional Difference in African American Culture.American Anthropologist 1998 Vol. 100(1): 94-105.

Ebron explores Julie Dash’s Film, Daughters of the Dust, in terms of how it evokes themes of male and female relationships and also themes of communal memories of African Americans. Dash’s film uses the Sea Islands as a prime example of a place that is different in terms of communal memories than it counterpart, the urban life of African Americans. She also explains how gender is a key role in understanding how memory projects differ.

The Sea Islands are located off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The Islands are a place where African Slaves were able to retain most of their African culture. They were able to retain a language, Gullah and also distinct religious beliefs that combined both African religions and Christianity. Both of these aspects help the Sea Island people retain their identity. The weakening of the Sea Island economy caused huge differences between Northern African Americans and the Sea Islanders.

In Dash’s film, Daughters of the Dust, the most central position is that of how women’s memories are different from men’s memories. She states that men’s memories are considered masculine because they are of retaliation. Women’s memories are opposite and consist of wanting healing. Dash’s film takes an opposing view of many of the popular films directed by artist such as Spike Lee and John Singleton, which were popular during the early 90’s. These films are filled with masculine themes while Dash’s films present opposing feminine themes. The feminine themes Dash addresses are of forgiveness and healing. Ebron’s analysis of how forgiveness is manifested is in how the women of Sea Island were able to forgive heinous things such as rape and even slavery because of their strong memories of Africa.

LACRETIA FARMER Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)

Field, Les. Post-Sandinista Ethnic Identities in Western Nicaragua. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):431-443.

Since the 1990 defeat of the Sandinista Front, a powerful indigenous movement has been taking place much to the surprise of Nicaraguan leaders. The indigenous culture was widely believed to have disappeared replaced by a growing mestizo population. The “myth of the Nicaragua mestiza,” as termed by Jeffrey Gould, is the transformation of indigenous communities to lower-class individuals who traded their ethnic identity for the non-ethnic Nicaraguan national identity. The rise of the indigenous movement has changed Nicaraguan history, as constructed by the political and intellectual leaders, weakening the myth that falsely enforced the extinction of the indigenous Indian culture.

Field’s fieldwork (conducted during the mid-1980s and again in 1993) with artisan communities demonstrates the changing attitudes among campesinos as to the importance of their indigenous heritage. Field evaluates the changes that occurred after the “myth of the Nicaragua mestiza” was emphasized by the nationalist regime. The article addresses three main issues: languages, politics, and the creation of the mestizaje who were believed to have overpowered and eliminated the indigenous culture. Despite all efforts, indigenous traditions and cultural practices failed to be abolished. Field worked closely with a leader of the indigenous movement. In the article, Field juxtaposes his own views with those of the movement’s leader to highlight why the indigenous movement has taken hold in Nicaragua.

Field does not want to undermine the myth because in some cases it is representative of Nicaraguan culture; however, in the same respect the myth is not all-inclusive because it ignores a large part of what defines Nicaragua. Field hopes that his study and the continued influence of the indigenous movement will create an equitable national identity that is more reflective of the Nicaraguan people than the prejudiced political construction formerly imposed on them.

ERIN JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Field, Les. Post-Sandinista Ethnic Identities in Western Nicaragua. American Anthropologist June, 1998. Vol. 100 (2):431-443.

Les Field’s article examines contemporary identities of the people of Western Nicaragua, specifically focusing on the presumed myth of the “Nicaragua mestiza” and a new indigenous peoples’ movement erupting after the defeat of the Sandinista government. In truth, says Field, political and economic situations have created “a panoply of divergent identity positions.”

Some anthropologists argue that indigenous identity is shaped by traits retained from the ancient past, while others, says Field, believe that ‘a history of resistance to nation-states’ is what has made indigenous identity. However, for the people of western Nicaragua there is a problem in that all markers of indigenous identity are faded and unclear. Field shows this by examining the process of ‘De-indianation’ (the compulsory loss of the original ethnic identity) in various communities in western Nicaragua.

Field proceeds to describe the mestizaje, the new majority in Nicaragua. He uses examples showing various personal identities of mestizaje, looking through a biological lens as well a political “nation building” lens. For example, regardless of the biological Indianness of some mestizaje, they can change their identities so as to benefit from the current political structure in different areas of the country.

Field collaborates on the project with several indigenous intellectuals, including Flavio Gamboa, a Nicaraguan intellectual and a leader of the indigenous movement. Gamboa stresses the importance of knowing one’s family history, and most of his concern focuses on the struggle for communal land (a problem in the agro-rich area of Western-Nicaragua).

Sandinista class ideology “romanticized Indianness without addressing the stigma of being an Indian.” Now with the Sandinistas gone, some Indians are finding Gamboa’s themes irrelevant to their situation. However, Gamboa’s work is good, Field concludes, in that it is an indigenous movement that seeks to reconstruct a more accurate and relevant Nicaraguan national identity.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Frake, Charles O. Abu Sayyaf: Displays of Violence and the Proliferation of Contested Identities among Philippine Muslims. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol.100(1):41-54.

His concern is with “the entailment of these events and perceptions with the changing social, political, and cultural worlds of Muslim Filipinos.” He details several hundred years of conflict between Christian and Muslim Filipinos and between subsets of Muslim Filipinos, focusing on the rise and fall of terrorist organizations such as Abu Sayyaf. He touches on issues of violence, linguistics, regional, national, and international politics, and ethnic, national and religious identity.

This historical account is the context for Frake’s ultimate question, “What causes acts of violence to occur?” He summarily dismisses all existing studies on violence as relying solely on etic evidence and presents a call to anthropologists to apply ethnographic methods to the understanding of violence. Frake proposes that thick research into the participants’ interpretation of events will lead us closer to an understanding of violent behavior.

Brooke Bocast Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Frake, Charles O. Abu Sayyaf: Displays of Violence and the Proliferation of Contested Identities among Philippine Muslims American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100 (1):41-54.

In this article Frake presents a history of the Muslim faith in the Philippines and a history of the development of various Muslim resistance movements in order to explain the occurrence of violent acts by Philippine Muslim organizations. The 1995 attack by the Abu Sayyaf group in Ipil provided the impetus for the article. The argument is made that violence provides a means of recognition for these individuals. However, by separating themselves into different resistance groups, the power of the Philippine Muslims is undermined.

A history of religious development in the Philippines begins with the arrival of Islam, followed by the arrival of Christianity with the Spanish colonizers. This created a divide in the Philippines with the Muslim population residing in the Southern portion of the nation. One factor causing isolation among different Muslim groups is the prevalence of many different languages, making it difficult to communicate or create a united voice.

Insurgent groups began to develop in the 1960s and 1970s in resistance to the rise of modernism that brought Western technology and the English language to the Philippines. Various resistance groups are named and described including the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Both of these are secular groups, the former being made up of nontraditional, university-educated Muslims, and the latter composed of the political elite. The Abu Sayyaf group, on the other hand, is a militant Islamic group made up of young, displaced Muslims from various ethnic groups. In this way, Abu Sayyaf positions itself in opposition both to the Philippine state and to the secular groups in the Muslim community. The outlaw status associated with the members of Abu Sayyaf adds to their identity and provides a motive for acting violently.

Frake concludes the article by naming the many strata of identity formation, including ethnic, religious, political and modernistic, that create divisions leading to violence in the southern Philippines. He discusses the need for a general sociopolitical theory of violence to help explain what causes acts of violence to occur.

KATHERINE TSE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Fujimura, Joan M. Authorizing Knowledge in Science and Anthropology. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):347-360.

In this essay Joan Fujimura examines the ongoing “science wars”, particularly the issues surrounding scientific authority, and the boundaries of science. This war is often characterized as science versus humanism, or science versus non-science, and takes place both within and between disciplines. Fujimura claims that science is more complex and diverse than the strictly dichotomous model often presented in the debates.

Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s book Higher Superstition is one the more noted attacks on social and cultural studies of science and technology. A further attack comes from Alan Sokal’s mock essay, which he appeared to publish in all sincerity, and his subsequent revelation of the hoax and vehement attack on postmodernism They all claim that the authors of science studies works are antiscientific, are often nonscientists who do not fully understand the subject, and that science is not merely a social construct, but shows objective reality through the use of the best available methods.

Fujimura first addresses constructivism as it is used in science studies. He defines it as the argument that scientists construct scientific representations and objects in the course of their research. Science also involves the construction of the rules, through the established methodology, by which scientists construct and confirm their representations. In this sense, all scientists are in some way constructivists. Beyond this, scientists create objects such as genetically altered mice. Sokal states that constructionist studies imply that their may not be an objective reality. However, Fujimura claims that while science studies are varied in their opinions on the nature of objects, none of them assume that scientific theories are without ephemera and without consequence. Science studies do vary a great deal and quickly enter into the philosophy of science. Overall, Fujimura finds Sokal’s position on constructivism simplistic and nonproductive.

To deal with the question of scientific authority, Fujimura brings in the history of pi. In Euclidean geometry, pi has a constant value. By challenging Euclid’s fifth postulate, the mathematicians Gauss, Bolyai, and Lobachewsky each created alternative plane geometries where the fifth postulate did not hold true. This work established a set of non-Euclidean geometries, which are now a part of standard mathematics. Within a geometry, pi is a constant, however, within the entirety of the set of non-Euclidian geometries, it does not have the same value. However, due to the radical transformation in thinking required to accept this concept of geometry, the original work was met with great criticism and even ridicule when it first came out. It was only by challenging the canons of science at the time that this entire concept could come about. Fujimura claims that scientific fundamentalists often possesses positions of authority and present themselves as defenders of truth, but it is often by challenging truth that innovation arises.

Sokal is also criticized for his use of parody to attack science studies. Just as Ostrogradskii’s students mocked Lobachewsky’s paper because they did not understand it, so may Sokal mock postmodernism without fully understanding it on its own terms. Sokal may use parody as a means of social control, to manipulate his audience without even fully understanding the object of ridicule, and to set himself up as an authority over all sciences.

SARAH MULLEN Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Fujimura, Joan H. Authorizing Knowledge in Science and Anthropology. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2): 347-360.

In this article, the author discusses issues concerning scientific authority and the production of knowledge. Fujimura’s central example is drawn from the history of geometry. The example is a nineteenth center incident concerning a challenge to Euclid’s fifth postulate. The author discusses this “science war” in order to make a comparison with the current debates that are being waged in contemporary science studies. The author’s intent is to add a historical perspective to these debates.

Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s 1994 book Higher Supersitition criticized science studies as heretical. In 1996 a series of responses to Gross and Levitt were published by anthropologists, sociologists, historians, population geneticists and others in science studies in the journal Social Text. Physicist Adam Sokal authored a famous article in Social Text that was a hoax; Fujimura says that it was “an attempt to parody what he considered to be incorrect constructivist and postmodernist arguments about science…” (348) Fujimura presents the five main arguments made by Gross, Levitt, and Sokal and then examines some of these issues and others in more detail.

The first issue Fujimura discusses is what she believes is Gross, Levitt, and Sokal’s misunderstanding of the notion of construction. Fujimura says that scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and the like construct and create new entities and these, in turn, change societies and cultural practices. The author goes on to counter Sokal’s claims and then turns to the issue of scientific authority that is raised in Gross, Levitt, and Sokal’s works. For this section the author discusses Euclidean geometry and the refutation of the Euclidean geometry view of a “constant and universal” unit circle circumference (pi) by noneuclidean geometry. Noneuclidean geometry and noneuclidean distances are then discussed in depth, using multiple equations and diagrams. Next, the author describes the early days of noneuclidean geometry. Finally, Fujimura discusses the use of parody and satire by criticizers of science studies to “ridicule and mock work that they did not understand.” (356) The author highlights the similarities between the nineteenth century “science wars” and the contemporary attacks by Sokal, Gross, Levitt, and others.

ASHLEY PRICE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Gottlieb, Alma. Do Infants Have Religion? The Spiritual Lives of Beng Babies. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100(1): 122-135.

Alma Gottlieb’s article explores a topic that is often ignored in the social sciences: the effects of religion on children’s lives. Acknowledging that anthropology specifically looks at religion in relation to the experiences and viewpoints of adults, Gottlieb is especially interested in how the religious beliefs of parents influence the lives and behavior of their infants. Gottlieb attempts to use feminism to dispute Western folk models that depict babies as “mute,” “uncomprehending,” or as beings that arrived into the world “from a restricted uterine life of minimal stimulation and no social interaction.” The author uses her research on Beng parents and infants in West Africa to illustrate that there is a connection between infants and religion, and that children can have spiritual lives just like their parents.

In her research on the spiritual lives of Beng babies, Gottlieb discovers that Western parents are usually unconcerned with “social relational” and spiritual matters of their young children. However, Beng adults are preoccupied with these concerns, believing their babies “lead profoundly spiritual lives, and the younger these infants are the more spiritual their existence is said to be.” Beng mystical beliefs are also linked with the notion that Beng infants are a reincarnation of a dead ancestor or family member, and it greatly affects how parents care for their young as well as how children develop their personality beyond infancy.

Beng babies are believed to emerge from a place known as a wrugbe (a place where a spirit goes after death and waits to be reborn as a new human). The wrugbe can determine an infant’s personal identity, for if a person knows whose identity the child has acquired it can influence how the parents treat him or her. For example, if an infant is born directly after a sibling’s death, he or she is said to be a reincarnation of that dead sibling, taking on all of that youth’s idiosyncrasies. Furthermore, the Beng believe that their children are capable of communicating on a spiritual and secular level. Until the infant disconnects him or herself from the wrugbe, babies communicate their extreme needs and desires through a diviner. The diviner can provide parents with a wide range of information (for example, these individuals can inform parents of why their babies are so colicky or whether or not they like the names they were given at birth). Therefore, as Alma Gottlieb states “infants are accorded a high level of agency” and consciousness because of Beng religious ideology.

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Gottlieb, Alma. Do Infants Have Religion?, The Spiritual Lives of Beng Babies. American Anthropologist May,1998 Vol.100(1):122-135.

Gottlieb focused on a subject commonly neglected by anthropologists, infants, more specifically the spirituality of infants. In the western world when a baby is born it is thought to be starting life from cells that joined together, and the baby is thought to interact for the first time after birth. In Western Africa the Beng mothers base their child’s needs on spiritual ideology. Gottlieb discovered Beng infants are thought to lead profound spiritual lives, through wrugbe. Wrugbe is in theory a type of in-between world, Beng consider life a continuum. Everyone is thought to be a reincarnation of an ancestor, and while they are waiting to be born again they remain in wrugbe where they live with ancestors. Beng believe that wrugbe has a type of counterbalance; each human life given from wrugbe must be counterbalanced by one taken back to wrugbe.

Completely leaving wrugbe can take several years, up to seven according to one of Gottlieb’s informants. The process requires large amounts of effort by mothers, they must perform several rituals such as constantly applying an herbal mixture to the baby’s umbilical cord, helping it dry up and fall off. Until the umbilical cord falls off the tiny creature is not considered a person. Mothers must try to keep their infants happy and content so they do not chose to return to wrugbe. When infants look distressed mothers consult diviners who contact the infants ancestors. The ancestors let the diviners know what would please the baby so they can relay it to the infant’s mother. Infants like money and jewelry because they had it when they were living in wrugbe. Also buying items for the children may remind the parents that although their children may seem helpless they were recently living a full life and need to be respected as a fellow person. Beng children continue to lead a parallel life, although they are leaving the after life their wrugbe parents continue to look out for them. If they feel the child is being neglected or abused they may choose to take the child back to wrugbe.

In wrugbe, different ethnic groups live together harmoniously, because of this, Beng children are thought of as multilingual. Beng babies have full comprehension of every language spoken on Earth. Except while they leave their previous existence they begin only to speak the language used around them. Until the several years of completely leaving wrugbe concludes the child continues to understand all the languages. They eventually lose knowledge of the other languages and improve on languages that are appropriate for their life.

Beng speak to there children as if they were adults, when the child is awake they are always directly spoken to due to religious ideology. In understanding Beng infancy you must first understand Beng religion. Childrearing with women was typically thought of as more natural than cultural, and more private than public. Gottlieb shows that women’s involvement in child rearing is almost fully culturally shaped, therefore having a direct effect on public events and common sense to one may not be common to another of a different religious ideology.

KATHERINE A ASELAGE University of San Diego (Denise Couch)

Gottlieb, Alma. Do Infants Have Religion? The Spiritual Lives of Beng Babies. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100(1): 122-135.

This article is Alma Gottlieb’s way of opening a new door of anthropological exploration. Social scientists neglect the relevance of early childhood to spirituality, so she attempts to answer the question. Do infants have religion? This negligence is probably due to the fact that it is difficult to get a high quality and quantity of information out of children, much less infants. Gottlieb defeats this barrier by several different methods. One method is speaking with Beng diviners, who themselves speak for infants after speaking with the spirits who speak for crying babies. Another way she overcame the limitation is by spending over 700 hours with the infants themselves. With this joining of approaches, the affairs of the infants became somewhat accessible.

Most examples of child development show that before entering into the world of humans, the newborn has no existence whatsoever. This is where the Beng see things differently. They believe that infants conduct very spiritual lives. Also, they are under the impression that the younger the infant, the more spiritual their existence. The Beng feel this way because in the villages, each baby is told to be a reincarnation of someone who died. When a baby is born, the Beng adults believe that the baby just came from a place called “wrugbe”, or “spiritual village.” Wrugbe is a rich existence as they look at it, and it is the place to which the wru (spirit) of a person goes when they die. The spirit then remains in wrugbe until they are reborn as humans. So newborn babies have just been living their lives in a whole other existence.

When babies are sad, it is believed that the infant yearns for something in their past life. This is when the diviners talk to the baby to find out what is wrong. A baby named Kouassi cried day and night, and would not stop. Then the diviner said it was because Kouassi wanted two bracelets on his left hand and he had been misnamed. After the appropriate measures were taken, Kouassi stopped crying. Babies born following a sibling’s death are said to be a reincarnation of one of those siblings, and be prone to depression. These children are called Sunu (female) and Wamya (male). There are many cases where sunus and wamyas are truly depressed and this theory holds true. These examples that Gottlieb brings forth all contribute to answer the question. Yes, infants have religion.

Clarity 5

Gutierrez-Estevez, Manuel. Plurality of Perspectives and Subjects in the Literary Genres of the Yucatec Maya. American Anthropologist June, 1998. Vol. 100 (2): p 309-325.

Gutierrez-Estevez discusses four different literary genres of the Yucatec Maya. He argues that in the genres the perspective of the work is imposed upon the enunciator, and that “each literary genre adopts a peculiar perspective to fulfill its task of textually constructing some fragment of the world.” Moreover, the perspective of the genre situates the enunciator in a specific place as a “subject in the fragment of the world which the text constructs.” In his analyses of the genres Gutierrez-Estevez uses art criticism parameters, in hopes that “a strong sense of the word perspective can be maintained.”

The first text Gutierrez-Estevez analyzes is of the genre “autobiographical happenings.” In brief, a man tells a story about a time when he followed his dog down into a cave to chase after an armadillo, and ended up in a large room below ground with snakes blocking the exit. The man eventually found another way out of the room and out of the cave. Of this text Gutierrez-Estevez says “what takes place or unfolds escapes the possibilities of the subject’s full comprehension.” For this extraordinary nature to be preserved, the text’s perspective constructs a particular subject, of a man whose ordinary capacities have been diminished and doesn’t understand what is happening to him.

The second text is of the “true narrative” genre, and is a famous Yucatan narrative, entitled “The Dwarf of Uxmal.” It is about an old woman who gets an egg that hatches and turns into a half-man, half-chicken. She calls him “Half Little Chicken,” and he eventually outfoxes the king with magic to become king himself. Here, the narrator is omniscient, and the distance between the observer and the observed is very small. Unlike the first text, nothing appears dark or incomprehensible. Here the subject is one who “identifies with the norms governing the narrative universe he reproduces with his words.”

The third text belongs to the genre of “major words.” It is a magic spell that is recited to a patient. The text of the spell is filled with proper names, including the names of several Saints and Virgins, but lack verses that describe actions. The spell also has a rhythm of repetitions that in a way is more important than the text itself. Gutierrez-Estevez compares this narrative to a Japanese tattoo, where the image adapts itself to the volume of the body. Here the subject is situated below the norms governing his world, as these norms are incomprehensible to him.

The final text is of the “virtual” genre. It is included as a contrast to the spell. In this text, Gutierrez-Estevez interviews a man about illness and the proper cures. Here, there is an accumulation of detail without any rhythm, whereas the spell has profound rhythm but has a text without detail. Gutierrez-Estevez compares the “virtual” text with a collage, in that “its parts are heterogeneous and naturally independent.” Gutierrez-Estevez function as the interviewer is to hold the collage together – he is the glue. Here, the subject is autonomous as he “handles the encyclopedia of his culture in order to answer various demands and questions never heard before.”

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Gutierrez-Estevez, Manuel. Plurality of Perspectives and Subjects in the Literary Genres of the Yucatec Maya. American Anthropologist June, 1998 100(2):309-325.

This article seeks to explain the different perspectives and subjects in certain literary genres of the Mayero people of South America using parameters derived from art criticisms. Gutierrez-Estevez’s argument is that each genre uses a particular perspective to explain some aspect of life, and that these perspectives place the storyteller in specific relation to the subject of the discourse (in order to get across the message of the piece to the reader). The author then sets up each genre by describing it in literary terms. He then gives a brief example of each genre at the end of which he discusses the meaning of the piece and explains how its perspective relates it to the subject. Gutierrez-Estevez broadens his approach by using several outside media such as paintings and to help make his explanations clear and descriptive. This is very effective for more visual learners.

The first Mayero genre Gutierrez-Estevez displays is autobiographical happenings. In his example of a journey through the center of the earth, emphasis is placed on the protagonist’s own feeling of wonder and fear of remembering little from the journey. Everything is described in a dream-like state defined only by shades of light and dark. The subject questions the solidity of his Mayero common sense and the storyteller is not able to explain much past the wonder of the piece. Gutierrez-Estevez’s next genre is true narrative. In the story of “The Dwarf of Uxmal,” the storyteller is omniscient. Because there are no obstacles to the narrator’s knowledge, the distance between the observer and the observed is small enough that the true narrative seems much more believable than the autobiographical happening. Everything occurs in proper dimension so that all of the details of the story can be seen at the same time. The genre of third text is called “major words.” Texts of this nature are designed automatically to produce a change in the state of the world. Gutierrez-Estevez produces a magic spell of the Yucatec Mayans. This spell lacks narrative articulation and described actions but the text looks like the form of a human body. Perspective is difficult to understand because the themes of the spell continually disappear and reappear later in the text. The last piece is not a Mayero genre but rather a part of an ethnographic interview, and is, therefore, in a genre of its own. While the spell is a conversation that has several silent beings, the interview is a conversation with someone who chooses to be silent. This dichotomy produces interesting contrasts between the two texts. The author describes the interview as a collage of random thoughts brought together to create a view of Mayero culture because its parts are naturally separate and combined only through a series of questions.

The first two examples provided by Gutierrez-Estevez fit well into his argument and make both logical and theoretical sense. The third and fourth examples are a bit more convoluted and seem forced into his thesis.

Gutierrez-Estevez concludes this article by explaining the significance of different perspectives to literary genres of the Yucatec Maya. He states that perspectives reveal forms used to understand some aspect of the world through the relations of the narrator and the subject.

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

Harrison, Faye. Introduction: Expanding the Discourse on Race. June, 1998 American Anthropologist Vol. 100(2): 609-631.

Faye Harrison’s essay is an introduction to the American Anthropologist’s special forum on race and racism. This forum addressed how anthropological discourse on race could be more holistic and amenable to the public (609). Harrison’s essay details the history of the resurgence of racial matters in anthropology as well as provides an overview of the essays in the forum. She believes that anthropologists need to continue building upon the discipline’s rich legacy of challenging scientific and popular racism by better preparing themselves and the public to understand and resolve current racially based problems. This can only be achieved through a collaborative and interdisciplinary study of race that includes intellectuals from the sub-fields of anthropology and scholars from disciplines such as gender and ethnic studies. The unique perspectives that arise from the interdisciplinary analysis of race will provide anthropologists with the tools to continue challenging racism and promoting a multiracial and multicultural society.

Anthropology has played a major role in the dismantling of racial hegemony in the academic and public world. Anthropological discourse has been extremely successful in challenging biological determinism. Anthropologists such as Franz Boas and Zora Neale Hurston played crucial roles in the deconstruction of racism. They experienced racism and prejudice because of their Jewish and African ancestry. Their lives and studies were obvious challenges to the prevailing racist notions of the day as well as important in illustrating the significance of acknowledging socio-cultural factors such as power, gender and language in handling issues of race. For example, Boas’ antiracist assertion that race, language and culture were not mutually determining eventually led to anthropology’s official recognition that race was a social construction.

In spite of this rich legacy, anthropologists became indifferent to issues of race. The current age of globalization spawned a new interest in this topic. Globalization resulted in sophisticated technology and the speedy exchange of capital, labor, culture, and ideas, but has also caused a greater focus on cultural and racial differences. The heightening of cultural and racial distinctions has caused a deepening of identity politics, which has resulted in the eruption of violent conflicts throughout the world as well intensified debates on topics such as reverse racism, welfare reform and the criminal justice system.

Harrison believes that anthropology’s acknowledgement of the influences of history and power is not enough in understanding race and contesting racism (616). She believes that anthropology should revive, refine and expand its cognizance of race. All of the sub-fields of anthropology have a responsibility to do this and she challenges all of their perspectives on race. For example, Harrison asks cultural anthropologists to further examine the socio-cultural dimensions of present racial notions and biological anthropologists to evaluate their ambiguous references to racial characteristics in their research. Archaeologists are asked to pay greater attention to past socio-cultural impressions of race in their excavations (616). Overall, Harrison believes that anthropologists must collaborate amongst themselves and with other disciplines to take full advantage of the different perspectives afforded to them through the interdisciplinary study of race and their united attempts to further dismantle racial hegemony.

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Harrison, V. Faye. Introduction: Expanding the Discourse on “Race”. American Anthropologist September 1998 Vol. 100 (3): 609-627.

This article addresses the recent growing awareness of racism in anthropology; it serves as an introduction and draws from several articles that follow in the journal. A certain degree of responsibility is recognized by these authors to analyze this issue of racism according to its cultural and historical value. These authors believe that in order to end discrimination and promote racial equality, the creation and development of race must first be studied.

The biological makeup of an individual has been theorized by some to determine his/her IQ, social status, and potential for success; in fact, research is being conducted to test this hypothesis. Research led to an increased interest in race relations. Dissenting opinions argue that biology only affects ethnic distinctions and that race plays no part in this. These arguments exist on opposite ends of the spectrum of research analysis.

However, the current thought in the general public on racism is fairly relaxed and naVve. It is widely believed that America is not a racist country because a civil rights movement took place; however, acts of racism occur daily and prejudice exists in many facets of this society. Historically, race was not an issue or even considered until the eighteenth century. The creation of racial groups led to the development of prejudice and eventually a strong black/white opposition.

The history of race brings yet another anthropological field into play: archaeology. Previous archaeological race research focused specifically on African Americans and the author suggests that other patterns of immigrations and assimilation (such as Irish) be studied. However, race has been ignored since the 1960’s in anthropology, and before archaeology can address the escalating number of questions of history and race, race must first be recognized.

It is important, one author warns, that the disciplines work together to end racism, not simply to enhance or expand the previous dialogue on racism. A new dialogue needs to be developed so that the discourse on racism can change. All areas of anthropology need to be utilized in developing this new dialogue.

It is readily apparent from this summary how many subfields of anthropology are required to work together to begin a dialogue on racism. Biology, sociology, and history are a few of these fields, each having its own specific research to conduct in order to provide a well-rounded and encompassing definition of race. Harrison introduces all of these fields in his well-written and insightful essay.

KELLIE JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Hill, Jane. Language, Race, and White Public Space. September, 1998 American Anthropologist Vol. 100(3): 680-689.

Jane Hill’s article explores the impact of language and race in relation to the construct of white public space in America. Hill uses Page and Thomas’s definition of white public space, which is characterized as a site of racializing hegemony, where whites are viewed as invisibly normal and racialized populations (i.e. Latinos and African-Americans) are viewed as visibly marginal (682). She specifically looks at the use of Mock Spanish in the media and informal conversations as the basis of her analysis of how native Spanish speakers are negatively racialized.

Hill found that the use of Mock Spanish was a racist discourse. Whites construct their own space by monitoring the difficulties that other groups have in speaking a language different from their own. Often times, bilingual Spanish speakers are anxious about expressing themselves in English because they are afraid that they are not speaking correctly. These feelings may be real or imagined. However, whites permit themselves a considerable amount of latitude in expressing themselves in languages besides English, even to the point of making racist jokes and speaking the language incorrectly. While bilingual Spanish speakers attempt to perfect their use of English, whites are able to use Mock Spanish, which is non-standard and ungrammatical, in the attempts to look cosmopolitan or sound humorous. Hill labeled this “direct indexicality” (680). The practice of Mock Spanish results in the dissemination of highly racialized stereotypes, which is categorized as “indirect indexicality” (680).

Hill also examines the studies of Hewitt (1986), Gubar (1997) and Butler (1997) in her article. These individuals analyzed the use of language in multiracial friendships amongst children in the United States and London, England. In these studies they found youth that commonly exchanged racial epithets in their social interactions. However, the use of these negative terms ceased when the children reached adolescence. While Hewitt, Gubar and Butler believe that these studies serve as examples of how linguistic borrowing can subvert racial orders and practices, Hill believes that this is another example of the privilege afforded to whites when they use language to construct white public space. Further study is needed to elucidate whether the exchange of racial epithets within multiracial friendships is successful in deconstructing racism.

It elevates whites by negatively segregating non-whites. Whites do not see the negativity in their use of racialized language; however to use these phrases and understand them one has to acknowledge the stereotypes of Hispanic and other racialized groups as stupid, corrupt and disorderly.

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Hill, Jane H. Language, Race, and White Public Space. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol.100(3):680-689.

Jane Hill’s article engages the reader in a dialogue about the construction of white public space through the monitoring of the speech of Latinos and the use of Mock Spanish by whites. White public space refers to a morally significant set of contexts that establish the racial lines between whites that are considered normal and racialized populations that are visibly marginal. When English-speakers include Spanish phrases in their speech, it creates a desirable colloquial presence. However, Puerto Ricans (and other Spanish-speaking populations) are often perceived as impolite or dangerous when they use Spanish in public. This double standard is a form of racism. The author labels Mock Spanish a “covert racist discourse” because it is a way of classifying people that is not acknowledged by its speakers.

Jane Hill begins her article by looking at the role of anthropology in the study of racism. She contends that the field has great potential because racism is a global problem that is grounded in the political, economic, and social realities of people. In the realm of linguistic anthropology, relatively little research has been done linking the use of language in the contribution to the construction of white public space. Her own study was designed to build on an analysis of the racialization of Puerto Ricans through attention to their linguistic disorder by Urciuoli (1996). While Urciuoli’s analysis was limited to New York City, Hill expanded her field of inquiry to include the national community of Whites.

Hill’s article is centered on the use of Spanish and Mock Spanish in the social sphere. Her argument is clearly organized. She focuses first on how Puerto Ricans experience marginalization. While they may have a great deal of skill and fluency in both Spanish and English, Spanish-speakers are subject to intense scrutiny when they speak in public. Because accents differentiate them from the white majority, they often become preoccupied with worrying about how they sound when they speak in public. Hill moves on to how English-speakers allow the same degree of disorder within their own speech with a contrastingly positive effect. She brings in many rich examples from television, printed media, advertising fliers, gift coffee cups, souvenir placemats, and greeting cards that she collected over several years.

In the last section of the article, Hill compares the crossover use of African American English to Mock Spanish. Mock French, Mock Italian, Mock Yiddish, and Mock Japanese are also touched upon. However, Hill asserts that Mock Spanish is the clearest example of the incorporation of another language into English. She concludes by questioning whether or not Mock Forms can also help deconstruct racial categories.

JUDITH SCHUTTER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Isbell, Billie Jean. Violence in Peru: Performances and Dialogues. American Anthropologist June, 1998. Vol. 100 (2): 282-292.

Isbell analyzes Peruvian protest art and music. In doing so she attempts not only to educate and influence reader’s perceptions of the political violence that has racked Peru in the last 15 years, but also “to transform the relationship of researchers to such events and the rules of academic discourse about such events.” She analyzes the songs in terms of hybridization in the exchange of goods, cultural and ideological, taking Nestor Garcia Canclini’s definition of hybridity: “fragmentation and multiple combinations among tradition, modernity, and post-modernity.”

Isbell begins the paper with a dedication to Guadalupe Ccallacunto, an activist in the work of the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared in the Emergency Zone and other organizations, who was dragged from her home in 1990 and is presumed dead.

The first analyses are of two protest songs, “Democracy and Liberty” and “The Disappeared.” Sung in Quechua, the songs not only challenge hegemonic values, but also decenter the speaker-listener relationship with an ironic discourse, as the songs are directed towards those in power who mostly do not speak Quechua.

The songs also are grammatically structured to communicate a firsthand experience, which is to be taken as more valid over the bureaucratic hearsay that is alluded to in the songs. With this firsthand experience comes the mentioning of specific geographical locations that work to recreate the horror of the events. For example, one song refers to the Infiernillo, or Little Hell, a site where the remains of disappeared and assassinated students were found.

Isbell next analyzes protest art and its background, analyzing it in terms of its “symbolic productivity in a trasnational culture market.” Associated with this are the meanings that come from each process of creating, performing, selling and interpreting the art that Isbell discusses as a means for “understanding the power relations now being created in Peru’s post-war environment.” She analyzes briefly three types of protest art, arpilleras (cloth pictures), tablas (painted panels), and retablos (three-dimensional boxes).

Isbell finishes the paper by discussing her recent return to the area and her dismay in the lack of protest art and music remnants. She terms this a “forced forgetting,” and finds that many Peruvians are still dealing with the losses in more private ways.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Isbell, Billie Jean. Violence in Peru: Performances and Dialogues. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):282-292.

The author begins by dedicating this article to Guadalupe Ccallacunto, whom Isbell describes as a selfless human rights activist who lost her husband and brother-in-law in 1983-84, and who was herself dragged from her parents’ home in the city of Ayacucho in 1990. All of these disappeared persons, Isbell explains, are presumed dead, and their disappearance is attributed undoubtedly to the Peruvian military and national police, who have been responsible for thousands of deaths in the past years. The author has great concern for the violence in Peru and the aftermath of the years of war, and the article focuses on protest songs and folk art that reflect the attitudes at hand in Peru’s post-war environment.

Isbell asserts that the images and dialogues present in the art and songs which she examines can not be clearly labeled as “traditional,” “modern,” or “postmodern.” Rather, she proposes that it is far more fruitful to think of them as creating new and complex power relations, as well as serving as a reflection of all that is changing in Peru. It is the author’s central argument that examining these processes of creating, performing, selling, and interpreting protest art provides a means for understanding the power relations now being created in Peru’s post-war environment. She points out that by taking such an approach, it is possible to move beyond the Foucauldian conception of power as vertically imposed by institutional structures.

One of the protest songs Isbell discusses, “Democraciana Libertadllana” (Democracy and Liberty), is spoken and sung in Quechua. For Isbell, this is significant in that, while much of its message is directed at those in power, Quechua is an oblique language which most people in power do not speak. While this allows for protest and rally cries to go uncontested by the authorities in power, it also means that they go unheard by these people. Similarly, Isbell makes the point that these songs are part of an extensive discourse that remains invisible to, and unheard by, Lima’s Spanish-speaking middle and upper classes, which were currently celebrating the return of some international capital to Peru’s economy.

BENJAMIN H. WEBER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Jackson, Bruce. In the Arctic with Malaurie. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):275-282.

Bruce Jackson takes us on his trip to the Arctic with Jean Malaurie by giving us a series of introspective, stream of conscious snapshots of people he met and experiences while he was there. Malaurie asked him to come to Nome because the 1999 Polar Academy was going to focus on social and economic problems, and he wanted to find people to join in the conversation. Jackson was to be the eyes and ears of Sociology, Malaurie of Anthropology; together they would assess the information.

Jackson shows us local color by relaying conversations with the locals and by showing us how being there with them affected his thoughts. He tells us stories of the people he met, including the hitchhiker with the sick sister and the blond Eskimo showing in subtle and not so subtle ways how western culture has affected the people in this area. Jackson also discusses the line between participant and observer that the ethnographer straddles and how it affects the way we experience different activities. He uses conversation as an interesting example, noting how just having a conversation is much more interactive. He observes how fieldworkers have to listen far more than they talk because they are trying to learn, wher as normal conversation allows a participant to lead and influence.

Jackson leaves us with a thought-provoking section entitled Things I Wonder About. This section talks about the gains and costs of the new. “Human cultures are always in a condition of change, a state of flux, a mode of adaptation.” He reminds us that while this is true, it is important to think also of the things that are lost in the process, such as language and stories. So when you stop and look at the stars and see Greek/Roman constellations, remember that other cultures had their own.

JULIA E. MACKESSON Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Jackson, Bruce. In the Arctic with Malauri. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2):275-282.

Bruce Jackson’s essay is a fluid account of his trip to Nome, Alaska with arctic anthropologist Jean Malauri. It is not a sociological case study, rather a collection of Jackson’s musings over matters that concern him, observations from daily life, and snippets of conversations and interviews with townspeople. Broken into thirteen short sections titled by location, story elements, and names of Nome locals, the author deals with issues that plague the arctic such as alcoholism, homelessness, and the effect of the introduction of white missionaries. Much attention is given to the latter topic. Through the narrative of informants we learn that missionaries had a strong negative presence, specifically from the 1920’s through ‘40s. Missionaries attacked Eskimo language and culture, conveying that unchristian practices were evil (278). Their presence and scorn of arctic culture led to tremendous discrimination toward Eskimos. The awful nature of their actions are now acknowledged. Jackson devotes much of his essay to the changes in Nome brought about by white influence. The elders of the town have seen transportation go from “dogsleds to jets,” communication from “word of mouth to the cell phone to the Internet,” had their religion thrown to the wayside, their lifestyles altered irrevocably. This tremendous change is felt strongly by Malauri. Jackson, who throughout their joint-fieldwork had been aggravated by Malauri’s ultra-personal approach to interviewing, realizes that Malauri is the anthropologist who has truly invested himself in his work. He can no longer fully separate his work in the arctic from his everyday life in Paris; they have been integrated.

AMY VAN AALST Middlebury College (David Napier)

Kaschube, Dorothea, and Duane Quiatt. Gordon W. Hewes (1917-1997): Scholar, Scientist, General Anthropologist. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100(4):984-998.

This obituary for Gordon W. Hewes (1917-1997) pays tribute to an anthropologist whose work fell into all four of the discipline’s subfields: cultural, physical, archaeology, and linguistic. Hewes took an early interest in evolution and, in particular, examples of human culture, and the authors point to his childhood activities as antecedents of future interests. Childhood drawings showed people in action or while gesturing; Hewes’s research looked at how posture and gestures were part of the evolution of human communication. The authors give a chronology of Hewes’s travails as a student and professor. During graduate school, World War II broke out and he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Office of Strategic Services. His teaching career also sent him abroad, to Tokyo and Lima.

As noted in the title, Hewes was a “General Anthropologist.” He worked as an archaeologist during and beyond graduate school. In 1962, he ran the first season of excavations and projects at Wadi Halfa, Republic of the Sudan, and the University of Colorado continued work in that area. Later he addresses questions about biocultural evolution, especially cultural transmission among social groups and the relationship of bipedalism to hominid behavior and evolution.

Hewes’s best-known work is on the cultural geography of human posture, food-gathering and habitual bipedalism, the relationship of bipedalism and hand use for self-mapping the environment, and evolutionary change leading from gestural to vocal language. While doing his other work, Hewes continued a project of global history in the 7th century, during which there was an increase in worldwide exchange of ideas and artistic motifs.

Final notes in the obituary reference Hewes as a professor, in and out of the classroom. The authors note that his reputation was based on only his own work, and though a popular teacher, he directed few graduate dissertations. He was a brilliant and enthusiastic anthropologist who contributed to scholarship on the origins of bipedality, tote evolution of language, and the development of civilization.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Lewis, Herbert S. The Misrepresentation of Anthropology and Its Consequences. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol.100(3): 716-728.

In this essay Herbert S. Lewis voices his concern about criticisms and misrepresentations of the field of anthropology. The author cites a trend within and outside of anthropology to discount findings based on the idea that earlier anthropologists reinforced biases and stereotypes by using flawed methodology in their works. In this piece, however, Lewis argues that these claims are unfounded, and uses both historical and modern anthropological citations to support his claim. He uses 1965 as a turning point in anthropological thought, relating the Vietnam War-era controversy to the questioning of the canonical texts of anthropology. The author outlines three claims that surfaced about the discipline: that anthropology treats the people it studies as “radically alter”; that anthropology has always been ahistorical, and that anthropologists treat each culture as an isolated unit, unconnected to any others.

Lewis outlines the argument of his opponents (specifically Roger Keesing) and rebuts the logic of his opponents by clearly defining and enumerating each point. The author states each claim made by Keesing and his associates, and then, point by point, provides evidence to the contrary. Lewis first addresses the issue of studying the “other” by citing studies in North America and Western Europe dating as early as the 1920s, drawing especially upon the examples of Walter Goldschmidt’s study of rural California (1940), Charlotte Gower’s work in Sicily (1928), and James Slotkin’s study of Jewish marriage practices in Chicago (1940). Second, Lewis denies that American anthropology ignores historical content by citing Franz Boas’ emphasis on historical background and also by demonstrating that certain anthropologists, such as Melville J. Herskovits, were vocal in demanding that historical content be addressed within anthropological works. Finally, Lewis argues that American anthropology does in fact connect its subjects to a greater context by again highlighting the work of Boas on the Northwest Coast, and also the 1910 works of Paul Radin in peyote cults. While Lewis cites specific academic texts to back his claims, he draws heavily on the emergence of anthropological trends to refute Keesing’s critical generalizations.

MARY KATHERINE O’BRIEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Lewis, Herbert S. The Misrepresentation of Anthropology and Its Consequences. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100(3):716-731.

Since the 1960s, cultural anthropology has been the target of critical attacks both from within and without the discipline. The condemnation of anthropology and anthropologists by postmodernism, literary theory, and postcolonialism, among others, has been directed at its status as a science and its participation in the oppression of minorities and justification of colonialism. These critics assert that anthropology has been used solely to objectify oppressed peoples and that it cannot be considered a science; the anthropologist, they say, asserts domination over his or her subject. In his essay, Herbert S. Lewis responds to these attacks with the concern that the newer generations of students will lose contact with older anthropological theory due to the negative and inaccurate representations formed by the critics. He discusses three claims about the problems of anthropology, and attempts to refute each one by citing myriad anthropologists whose work contradicts the criticisms.

The first claim is that anthropology projects “radical alterity” onto the people it studies; it assumes that “they” are radically different than “us.” Second, Lewis challenges the idea that anthropology has always ignored history in studying non-Western societies. The third critique alleges that anthropologists treated cultures as isolated from neighbors and the world, as timeless entities.

The article addresses each charge by pointing out that these critiques were quite contrary to pre-1960 American anthropological theory. Leading and influential anthropologists in America generally believed in uniformity in the actions and nature of humankind, not in the idea of self and the Other. They wanted to study all forms of culture, at home and elsewhere, because of their similarities. As for the contention about ahistorical approaches, Lewis notes that American anthropologists never accepted the brief movement in British anthropology upon which this claim is based. He quotes scholars as insisting on the use of history and historical processes to study a culture. The third notion, that cultures were treated as isolated units, is not true, states Lewis; it certainly may have occurred but was not the norm He cites several examples of anthropologists who recognized the importance of borrowing, diffusion, and regional and global interactions in shaping a society.

The author asks that anthropology put the recent criticisms to a careful scrutiny of their verity and basis in fact. While the questions and ideas put forth by anthropology’s critics do have use and merit, he fears that the misperceptions and poorly founded opinions have become common knowledge in the new generation of anthropologists. He calls for a reexamination of the prevalent attitudes in anthropology, as well as judicious critiques of early work, so as to move away from the notion of anthropologists as authoritarian figures and back to its humanistic, scientific foundation.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Little, Peter D. Maasai Identity on the Periphery. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):444-457.

Peter D. Little’s article examines the construction of ethnic identities in the Baringo Basin of northern Kenya through his research on the Maasai-related Il Chamus. Understanding the ethnic identity of the Il Chamus is a difficult task because it is heavily influenced by various political, historical and cultural factors. However, land has figured the strongest in the ethnic relations and struggles of this group. Struggles over land have created boundaries and identities that were non-existent during the nineteenth century. These constructed identities have resulted in tense and often violent relations between the Il Chamus and other Kenyan groups over the past two hundred years.

The Baringo Basin is an ecologically rich region that contains some of the most important water points and grazing land in Kenya. The Il Chamus occupied this region since the eighteenth century and during this time pursued a lifestyle of hunting and gathering. The resources of the Baringo opened up the region to further occupation by pastoral groups such as the Maasai, Samburu, Turkana and Pokot. These pastoral groups used warfare, deception and “an ideology of superiority” to subjugate the Il Chamus. The Maasai particularly used their disdain for hunter-gatherer cultures to dominate the Il Chamus. Although remnants of the Il Chamus’ culture and social structure could be observed in rituals, customs belonging to the Samburu and Maasai were infused with their traditions. Europeans eventually labeled the Il Chamus as members of the Maasai. However, the group had few interactions with the Maasai core; most of the Il Chamus’ relations were with peripheral, Maa speakers like the Samburu (446).

Under British colonialism, the Il Chamus greatly benefited from their Maasai identity. They were given unrivaled access to the Baringo region, cattle for their recently adapted pastoral economy and government protection. Further debate over land amongst native groups and the Europeans led to the Il Chamus’ gradual loss of their land. Upon Kenyan independence, the struggle over official boundaries and traditional homelands continued, especially in the Baringo. Similar to the colonial government, the African government attempted to use rigid definitions of identity to negotiate control and territorial disputes over this region. Again, this resulted in tense and often violent relations between Kenyan groups.

Peter D. Little concludes that the situation in the Baringo supports the contention that issues of ethnic identity are products of historical processes as well as unequal power and economic relations. The state’s enforcement of fixed categories on groups, who initially possessed fluid identities, has led to a heightening of ethnic differences and the re-interpretation of history and traditions to meet specific political ends. The challenge for anthropologists is to remove “smokescreens of tradition and primordialism” surrounding ethnic relations and see the struggles over resources and power that are disguised by them (453).”

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Mannheim, Bruce, Van Vleet, Krista. The Dialogics of Southern Quechua Narrative. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Volume 100(2): 326-346.

This co-authored article examines traditional views on the understanding of narrative stories, most particularly, those of the Southern Quechua. While anthropologists have often seen these narratives as being directly translatable, mythical monologues that are more or less easy to interpret, the authors of this article feel that a more dialogical approach needs be taken; one that sees narrative conversationally, in terms other than those of traditional Western story lines. Because of the disparaging difference in form and meaning that exists between the narrative of the Southern Quechua and traditional academic expository prose, it is essential that ethnographers look beyond the realm of “the text”, a concept for which Quechua narrative has no direct translation.

In order to illustrate this difference in point of view, Mannheim and Van Vleet discuss the conversational narrative of the Quechua in four separate areas. The first is cited as formal dialogism, which the authors describe as requiring the use of participant listeners. These participants become a part of the “telling” of the “story” and are essential to its being told and understood. On this level, the narrative exists amongst all members of the dialogue and, thus, requires the interruption, agreement, and addition of the other members present in order for it to be perceived as legitimate. Another interpretive area that is discussed is embedded discourse, which makes use of citations and indirect discourse in a more multi-levelled way than most academics are used to. While quotation and reference are a part of all genres of storytelling, this form of conversational narrative uses it in such a way that is constantly embedding narration within a cultural “context-of-situation”. A third level of dialogism discussed is intertextual dialogue, through the recognition of which a participant must be aware that narrative speech, on any level, is always composed of various interpretations and translations of other, previously conveyed texts. The authors discuss one final level upon which Quechua narrative can be understood; through various types of participation format, a narrative can be interpreted differently. For the Quechua, all of the components of a dialogue or conversation help to construct its very meaning. The ways in which its participants interact, their social context, historical background and discourse methods, all combine to form a level of narration that is unique and ever changing.

The authors use audiotaped conversations between ethnographers and Quechua speakers to illustrate these different levels of dialogism. They return to each different form of dialogism afterwards discussing the relevance and context of each as it applies to the case studies given. The paper concludes with an explanation of “participant roles” found within Quechua narrative; participants in a dialogue can take many different forms and contribute in a multitude of ways. A further discussion as to the multiplicity of these narratives covers three areas of “evidentiality.” Various levels of tense, suffix, and emphatic tone are used to diversify the discourse. The paper concludes by touching on the broader aspects of their discussion; the authors highlight not only the cultural and historical insight that can be gained from this type of study, but also the directional shift in methods of ethnographic perception that they have spoken to.

ANGUS BIRCHALL Middlebury College (David Napier)

Mannheim, Bruce, and Krista Van Vleet. The Dialogics of Southern Quechua Narrative.American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):326-346.

In this article, Bruce Mannheim and Krista Van Vleet examine dialogue in Quechua narratives, using examples from their fieldwork in Bolivia and Peru. On paper, Southern Quechua narrative appears to be prose, but the authors explain that printed text leaves out the social nature of the story. The narrative has four levels of dialogue: formal, embedded, intertextual, and roles.

The formal level refers to how the narrative is formed by the active participation of the listener. It requires listener response, encouragement, or disruption to jointly create the narrative. Embedded discourse is that in which the narrative cites other dialogue, like quoting other speakers. The third level, intertextual dialogue involves a dialogue between texts: each text references another, directly or indirectly, thus building a network of meaning. The final level refers to the relationship of participant roles to frame the story within a social field. The article includes narratives gathered by the authors, that illustrate the use of each level in the narrative structure. The topic is the lik’ichiri, a fat-extracting creature that has plagued the Peruvian peasants since the Spanish invaders.

The conversational narrative relies on re-tellings to fully form the web of intertextuality of the story. It also obliges the ethnographer to be familiar with its references in order to adequately analyze the text. Participant roles intersect within the conversational narrative, and an individual may hold more that one role at a time. The essay explains that the speaker and the listener can occupy roles such as author, principal, or animator, for the formers, and addressee or bystander for the latter. Meanings morph according to the dialogue between the parties and their roles, or perspectives, as well as their experience of other narratives. Mannheim and Van Vleet include a detailed explanation of the grammar of the narratives, breaking it down into tense, evidential suffixes, and emphatics. These work together to determine the relationships of the participants.

The authors, by laying out the complexity of Southern Quechua oral tradition, argue that the narratives must be analyzed with knowledge of social life and language customs. If the ethnographer does not understand the framework and variable nature of the narrative, then meanings will be lost, while select others will be reified on the printed page.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Morbeck, Mary Ellen, Mary Catherine Bateson, and Anna Roosevelt. Lita Osmundsen (1926-1998). American Anthropologist September, 1998. Vol.100(3):753-.

Lita Osmundsen, President Emerita of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, passed away on January 9, 1998. She was seventy-one years old. Osmundsen made her greatest contributions to anthropology during her tenure as Director of Research at the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She developed programs to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of the field and encouraged intellectual risk-taking. She organized innovative conferences to challenge the state of anthropology and to push it in new, yet always integrated, directions. Osmundsen is survived by her husband, John A. Osmundsen, children Jonathan Osmundsen and Mirjana Dougherty, and granddaughter Meaghan Kate Dougherty.

Brooke Bocast Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Muratorio, Blanca. Indigenous Women’s Identities and the Politics of Cultural Reproduction in the Ecuadorian Amazon. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100 (2): 409-420.

Muratorio has worked to record the life histories of a group of elder women in the Upper Napo area of the Amazon in Ecuador. These women speak more now than ever of the behavior of their adolescent granddaughters, whose indiscriminate sexual adventures and the resulting unwanted pregnancies are a cause for concern to them. What is of greater concern to them, however, is the incorporation of nonindigenous people into their granddaughters’ social circles and the question underlying the grandmothers’ concerns is the essence of social and cultural reproduction and the role these young women will play in it. She quotes one of her informants, who uses a mirror as a metaphor to describe the young women’s experiences as indigenous in an increasingly global society.

The author focuses on the grandmothers’ side of the debate between grandmothers and granddaughters about gender roles and relationships. She thinks that the main issue is how young indigenous women will incorporate modernity through neocolonial mirrors while reinventing their gendered indigenous identities. She attempts to show that some Napo Quichua young women struggle through the everyday realities of adolescent peer groups and the global consumer culture offered by the media as well as what they consider to be old-fashioned ideas of their parents and grandparents.

The author bases her argument on historically oriented anthropological research among the Napo Quichua culture. She takes an intergenerational approach to address women’s life experiences in the greater context of socioeconomic change in Amazonian societies, and to find out how narratives of intracultural struggles reveal women’s histories as they are produced in the present. She also seeks to address the issue of gender and the role it plays in cultural reproduction.

MARGARET BERGER Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Muratorio, Blanca. Indigenous Women’s Identities and the Politics of Cultural Reproduction in the Ecuadorian Amazon. American Anthropologist, 1998. Vol. 100(2):409-420.

In this article Muratorio Blanca addresses the issue of social and cultural reproduction in indigenous societies. Her domain of inquiry is focused on the experiences of gender, intracultural struggle, and intergenerational conflict within the context of an indigenous society experiencing various processes of social change. The main purpose of the author, though, is to represent the essence of the rapid social changes going on in the Ecuadorian Amazon through an analysis of the “intergenerational conflict over images and practices of gendered identities.”

Blanca constructs her argument by explaining that many young women in the indigenous Napo Quichua group are becoming involved in the complex process of integrating old and new models of femininity and modernity into a new individual and group identity. She explains the frustrations that elder women have communicated regarding this movement towards a modern identity because they see their failure in reproducing their own culture as a crisis threatening the unique consciousness of the Napo Quichua people. In narratives of their own identities, the grandmothers note that the new generation of teenage girls is falling into “a perilous cultural vortex full of uncertainties that contributes to the insecurities and anxieties they feel about themselves.” Thus where we, in the modern world, would look at this process and commend it as a tribute to women’s liberation, the grandmothers of these young girls actually despise it as a threat to not only women’s unique identities within the community, but also to their autonomy as individuals. Why?

Blanca’s first example is an explanation of the grandmothers’ ideals of femininity. The ideal woman is one who adheres to a strict and elaborate work ethic while at the same time maintaining intimate social relationships with other women. The women recognize the domains of the garden plot and the hearth not only as places where they can work to build their own sense of identity and to share time with others, but domains which also establish women’s independence. The grandmothers recognize the ideals of hard work and generosity as ideals opposed to male laziness. The movement away from the garden plot is thus identified as a movement which only makes women more dependent upon their husbands’ money and one which eradicates the autonomy once realized through hard work.

The images of sexuality that have entered into the Quichua community are, according to the elderly women, working to eliminate the social nature of women’s identities and instead have idealized the foreign, white, individually indulgent, stationary, and self adorning woman. In addition, the grandmothers have become increasingly concerned that young girls are mirroring the practices of open sexuality they observe on the television because they feel that this could only have negative consequences for the codes of behavior that have kept the traditional kinship systems in place.

Blanca does not wish to impose her stance on the reader, but she makes it clear throughout her argument that the process of “self-modernization” that many indigenous societies are now going through is a very painful one for all of the members of these communities. It creates antagonisms within the community and often causes young people a great deal of unnecessary stress regarding their own identities within the community and within the modern world.

FREDERICK EDWARDS Middlebury College (David Napier)

Nowak, Mark. Zwycaj. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):271-274.

The opening Forum section of the June 1998 issue of American Anthropologist addresses an important issue of debate for the journal: the nature of ethnography. The pieces in this Forum are initially noteworthy due to their format: the Forum is composed of poems. The first of these is Mark Nowak’s Zwyczaj (“custom” or “practice,” in English). Nowak’s composition is a clever expression of his argument for the treatment of social life as a process that changes over time through social interaction and developing tradition, one that can only be captured through ethnography by participation. The piece is introduced by a straight quotation, but is thereafter divided into twelve sections. Each section consists of various quotations (only a few connecting words are Nowak’s own) spliced together to form a unified work. The quotations come from three sources: the first-person voice of an interview with a Polish woman familiar with making pierogi (a traditional Polish dumpling), an ethnography of pierogi making in New York, and a text on ethnographic methodology. Nowak’s creativity comes in splicing precise quotes together so that they support each other. The author begins by describing the ethnographer’s process of “getting the roots in” (zakorzenic sie), works through his/her potential impact on the place and reality he/she perceives (the role of ethnographer as interpreter and the value of participant observer fieldwork), and concludes with an observation about the heightened sensitivity that closeness brings. He implicitly likens the unique dynamic of closeness to both the case of the ethnographer and that of the community he/she studies. Nowak’s treatment of the subject makes a clear statement about the nature and value of participant/observation, while at the same time, by his use of the poetic format, the author leaves the subject open to interpretation.

JULIANNE BAROODY Middlebury College (David Napier)

Nowak, Mark. Zwyczaj. American Anthropologist. 1998 Vol. 100: 271-274

This article is unique in itself due to the fact that it is a poem. The author takes it upon himself to use quotations from interviews that he himself conducted and borrowed information. The title of the article is simply Zwyczaj, which in Polish means custom or practice. The custom that is the main subject of the poem is the cooking of pierogies. Pierogies are pasta shells, similar to ravioli, only they are stuffed with a variety of things including potatoes, cheese and onions. A longstanding Polish tradition, the author uses a unique writing style not only to inform the reader of the importance of cooking pierogies but also to explain how the ethnographer should conduct him/herself.

The entire poem is divided into twelve stanzas, each assigned a number to distinguish them from each other. Within the stanzas, there are two types of quotations. The most abundant quotations are the non-boldfaced ones that are taken from the perspective of an ethnographer. These quotations describe the setting, give a little bit of background information on the pierogies, observations and knowledge obtained from the women at work, and the role of the ethnographer in a situation like this one. The boldface quotations are actually taken from the mouths of the women who are cooking the pierogies in the basement of the New York Mills. Their comments are carefully plucked from the interviews and placed in exactly the right spots where their meanings can be fully grasped by the reader. The non-boldfaced quotations also repeat bits and pieces of the boldfaced quotations to add emphasis.

Although nothing is ever blatantly stated regarding why these women cling so strongly to tradition, it is obvious that cooking is one thing that they had in common when they arrived in a new world so long ago. This poem, or article, implicitly describes the importance of community among people and also educates the reader on the impact of the ethnographer in the study.

ERICA HATCH University of San Diego (Denise Couch)

Ortner, Donald J. T. Dale Stewart (1901-1997): Anthropologist, Administrator, Educator, Gentleman. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100 (4): 990-993.

This article is an obituary of T. Dale Stewart, an important physical anthropologist of the twentieth century. While Stewart’s main research focus was on New World Native American populations (primarily skeletal biology, but also living groups), he was also interested in homonid evolution, particularly Neanderthal man. Ortner describes Stewart as an honorable man who made many and diverse contributions to physical anthropology. Stewart received his A.B. degree from George Washington University in1927 and an M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1931. While in school, Stewart came to know Aleš Hrdli ka, who introduced physical anthropology to the United States, and Professor Adolph H. Schultz, the famous primatologist and physical anthropologist; these were two of the most influential people in Stewart’s early career. Upon completion of his M.D., Stewart went to work at the Museum of Natural History under Hrdli ka, and in 1942 became Curator of Physical Anthropology.

Stewart’s work in skeletal biology falls into three areas: 1) population studies, 2) paleopathology, and 3) forensic anthropology. Some issues Stewart examined within population studies were the origin of Native American people that were in the New World when the Europeans appeared, genetic uniformity in the Western Hemisphere prior to 1500s A.D., and the apparent genetic linkages between Asiatic human remains and early Native Americans. An example of Stewart’s research in paleopathology was his work on spondylolysis, an abnormality of the spine. In the area of forensic anthropology, Ortner refers to Stewart as a pioneer. When Stewart’s work on forensic identification of human skeletal remains was initially published, few other sources existed on that topic. Stewart’s work provided a major source of information on the topic, and during his career he served the military on multiple occasions, especially the FBI. In one such project, Stewart was involved in the identification of war dead after the Korean War. The data from this project caused changes to the way estimation of age of death is achieved. Ortner calls this work a classic study in forensic anthropology.

As well as an accomplished author, which are known for their clarity and attention to detail, Stewart was a talented administrator and a gifted teacher at a number of medical schools. He was also active in many organizations, often serving in leadership positions. Among his many awards include the Charles Darwin Lifetime Achievement Award of 1993.

ASHLEY PRICE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Ortner, Donald J. T. Dale Stewart(1901-1997). American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100(4):990-993.

T. Dale Stewart began his college education at George Washington University getting both his premedical training and AB degree. It was during this time that he came in contact with Ales Hrdlicka who introduced biological anthropology in the United States and worked at the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian. It was through this association that Stewart was influenced to pursue his own career in biological anthropology. He continued his education by getting a medical doctorate at Johns Hopkins University. Hrdlicka insisted that it was an integral to physical anthropology.

Stewart made a large contribution to physical/biological anthropology, publishing more than 200 articles. He was a leader and a wonderful administrator, serving as the head of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and in multiple other appointments at institutions such as the Anthropological Society of Washington, and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Stewart’s primary focus was on Native Americans and early hominids, researching their skeletal biology with emphasis on population studies based on osteological research, paleopathology, and forensic anthropology. He made major contributions to all parts of the discipline he worked in.

JULIA E. MACKESSON Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Orser, Charles E. Jr. The Challenge of Race to American Historical Archaeology. American Anthropologist September, 1998. Vol. 100 (3):661-668.

Orser states, “Historical archaeologists should be leaders in examining the archaeological dimensions of race and racism in the United States.” However, they are not, as they conflate race and ethnicity, and accept whiteness as an unalterable fact of nature. Orser challenges historical archaeologists to look at archaeology outside the perspective of the dominant national ideology and to “understand the material relationships between and among reified categories of ethnicity, race and class.”

Many archaeologists, searching for “ethnic markers” are drawn to the study of “seeing artifacts as tools for manipulating the social order while also creating and promoting a sense of people hood.” These people look for ways that the material culture shows ethnic boundary maintenance, ethnic pride and other associated factors within ethnic studies.

However, Orser says that while many are drawn to the study of ethnicity, few are drawn to the archaeological examination of race. They downplay race as a means of upholding the social inequalities that characterize American society. Orser says that this failure to address race has lead to the field’s political conservatism and societal irrelevance.

Having said this Orser proceeds to examine a few archaeologists who have dealt with race. David Babson is one. Babson argues “because racist ideology structures how people treat one another, racism should leave identifiable traces in archaeological deposits.” Terrance Epperson is another. His work has two goals, “the valorization of the African American culture of resistance and the denaturalization of essentialist racial categories.” However, both Babson and Epperson are challenged with the fact that race is a variable, situaltionally defined designation and is hard to study using material culture.

Finally, Orser talks about the work of Paul Mullins, who has looked at African American consumer culture (called ‘bric-a-brac’) between 1850 and 1930. Mullins found capitalist institutions that effectively were intended to control African American buying habits down to the smallest objects. Thus the African American bric-a-brac are poor ethnic markers, and instead show the connections between racism and consumerism at the time.

However, African Americans aren’t the only ones to consider when talking about race in historical archaeology. Orser next discusses the Irish as an example of a group that had to struggle for years to get into the highest racial category, that of ‘whiteness.’ Historical archaeologists can show that the Irish were not always ‘white.’ Thus whiteness is more diverse then it might seem and is not a monolithic sphere of power.

For the future of race in historical archaeology, Orser says intellectual isolation is one of the biggest problems, as archaeology is a field normally kept out of the public eye unless a profound new discovery is made. Orser says that focusing on race is a way to raise the societal relevance of the field. Whether archaeologists move in this direction or not is up to them.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Paerregaard, Karsten. The Dark Side of the Moon: Conceptual and Methodological Problems in Studying Rural and Urban Worlds in Peru. American Anthropologist June, 1998 100(2):397-408.

This article considers the relationship between rural and urban worlds in Peru and the problems associated with studying the two groups. Migration studies address aspects of change in the lives of peasants adapting to an urban environment. Recently, researchers have begun to consider community and migration analyses as a single field. Several questions regarding framework and conceptual links between identity, place, and territory must be addressed before community and migration studies can be brought together in a single analysis. Paerregaard’s argument is that this interdependence must be included under a single analysis in order to understand the lives of migrants and their fellow villagers. Interestingly, Paerregaard also states that Peru’s lack of social order and nation integration actually generates a strong sense of identity sharing between migrants and villagers. Migrants are people continuously on the move between cities and villages; this implies that migrants and villagers constantly interchange goods and ideas, thus bringing them together.

Paerregaard uses many statistics to demonstrate the great social gap between the rural and urban populations of Peru. In his analysis, Paerregaard studies the migrant flow of the Tapay people of the Andes Mountains to the major cities of Arequipa and Lima. He claims that many migrants from Tapay visit their villages often, especially around the time of major festivals such as the Candelaria, and some even decide to return permanently. Again Paerregaard uses statistics which are not very effective in the broad context of his analysis. He states that, because of regional infusion, the Candelaria is even being performed in cities now with only slight differences from its Tapay roots. Thus, village life is affecting city life, not just the other way around.

In conclusion Paerregaard claims that the people of Peru recognize their transregional heritage, and have a better grip on what it means to them as individual than do anthropologists. He says that the Tapay migrants are subjected to racism and cultural prejudices, but overcome this by creating a strong feeling of unity as they construct a world of their own. Even as a participant observer, an anthropologist could not understand the background and obstacles faced by Peruvians with transregional heritage. This article is quite easy to read, and aside from superfluous statistics, concise.

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

Paerregaard, Karsten. The Dark Side of the Moon – Conceptual and Methodological Problems in Studying Rural and Urban Worlds in Peru. American Anthropologist June, 1998. Vol. 100 (2):397-406.

This article discusses the rural-urban identities of migrants from the small village of Tapay, located in the Peruvian Andes, and how the migrants function to bridge the gap between Peru’s Urban and rural worlds.

Peru has a history of conflict between urbanization and rural groups/native cultures. Lima, the capitol, has been since colonial times a symbol of European and mestizo domination over Andean culture. This is contrasted with Tapay, which still exhibits a limited use of money, and fruit stands as the commodity by which Tapenos trade for other foods and products.

Tapenos of migrant communities generally return to the village at three stages: either in their teens or early twenties when they have more options in life, later in life to retire (this remains a dream for most) or when they marry fellow villagers or become separated from their non-Tapeno spouses. The migrant communities in the cities also form activities, such as soccer games or parties with dancing and beer drinking, that are specifically designed to foster migrant community within the large city.

Aside from these urban activities, there are also activities within the village that bring together Tapeno migrants. One primary activity is the annual Candelaria fiesta, which brings Tapenos from all over Peru. Each year someone, called the altarero, volunteers to sponsor the fiesta. This is a very important job, yet it as also expensive and time consuming. In recent times, with Peru’s economic recession that has especially hit rural communities, the altareros have been wealthier Tapenos with relatively weak ties to the village. For them the festival is a way to rekindle cultural identity. However, it may be for capitalist purposes, as tourism has recently given much monetary value, and thus returned pride, to native Andean culture. This is also the case in folklore festivals, which have of late become popular in some of the Peruvian cities.

The Candelaria fiesta is also one of the means by which migrants ‘reterritorialize Tapay.’ The fiesta is currently the most important event on the ritual calendar of Tapenos. It reflects the hybrid nature of their culture and identity, and the importance of the village in the construction of urban Tapenos’ identity.

Paerregaard attempts to show that for migrant Tapenos, leading a double life can, instead of splitting one’s identity, foster stronger feelings of unity and identity among a larger transregional community. For the Tapenos, their common point of reference in identifying culture becomes their geographical roots. Thus, Paerregaard says, in studying migrant communities there is always a ‘dark side of the moon’, or a place of origin that is not the place of residence but nevertheless maintains a crucial role in their current existence.

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Palsson, Gisli and Agnar Hekgason. Schooling and Skipperhood: The Development of Dexterity. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100(4):908-923.

“Schooling and Skipperhood: The Development of Dexterity” carefully examines the differences in fishing performance and its relationship to practical and “formal” education. Through close ethnography and careful statistics, Palsson and Helgason explore the transmission of fishing skills. They hope that this study will contribute to the growing trend in the literature that places learning and cognition in their socially meaningful contexts, neither glorifying nor trivializing any type of knowledge.

In this fieldwork Palsson and Helgason focus on the Vestman Islands off the south coast of Iceland. For decades these islands have had one of the most important fishing fleets in Iceland. Every type of gear needs a different type of dexterity, although each fisherman is not required to know them all. The authors focus on four main types of gear: trawling, handlines, gill-lines, and longlines. In Iceland, the twentieth century made fishing a highly specialized full time career with legal rights, obligations, and regulations. As the job evolved so did the public need for a “fishing school”, where navigation, safety operations, and formal and informal rights and duties could be taught and where licenses given out. This was an ideal place where practical knowledge and “school” knowledge can be compared. Palsson and Helgason feel that it is important to document the factors underlying the recorded success rate for fishing halls and to establish systems that integrate the daily practical knowledge the fishermen have been relying on for generations.

Palsson and Helgason did statistical testing to compare school records to catch size, as well as to correlate public opinion about who were good fishermen. They found that the main reason for fishing success was unrelated to scholastic achievement; it was in the actual practice of fishing that a good fisherman developed. It is this collective practical engagement that develops dexterity. Although they are not trying to devalue the role of school, studies like these give the apprentice process back some of its original respect.

JULIA E. MACKESSON Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Paul, Robert A. The Genealogy of Civilization. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2):387-396.

Paul argues in this article that civilization is made possible and reproduced by the existence of a conscience produced by the feeling of guilt, which in turn is created by civilization’s monopolization of violence and suppression of aggression. The article begins with the Biblical mandate in Genesis to reproduce in order to continue the Israelite lineage. When the Israelites come under the rule of the Egyptians, the source of political success is changed from a relation of kinship between father and son to a relation of institutionalized ruling power of lord over bondsman. Kin-based loyalties are redirected in the service of the state.

At the point of liberation of the Israelites from the Egyptians, the importance of reproductive success is augmented by cultural transmission of ethnicity to continue the Israelite lineage. When Christianity emerges it casts aside the notion that biological ties are necessary to replicate the Christian faith, instead creating spiritual descendants in great numbers based on an indoctrination of its codes of conduct.

The establishment of the Roman Empire allowed the rise of Christianity to proceed universally. The state monopolized force and checked violence so as to produce civilization and foster a sense of conscience among individuals in Roman society. With the emergence of feelings of guilt, individuals identify with the cultural myths and help to reproduce the civilization. Paul defines civilization to mean the “social, cultural, economic, and political arrangements” of a centralized, urbanized national state.

In conclusion, Paul compares the core myth of our civilization to a pastoral ideology in which the rulers equate their relationship with the population to the relation between a herdsman and his flock. The bureaucratic elite subordinates reproduction to economic production in a shift that is illustrated by Judeo-Christian narratives. Sexual energy is redirected through guilt from reproductive goals to working in pursuit of continuing civilization.

KATHERINE TSE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Paul, Robert A. Genealogy of Civilization. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2):387-396.

The goal of this article is to trace the origins of civilization from the earliest moments of Genesis, down to modern state society. Society, and later civilization, are, according to Paul, generated in different ways through time. In Genesis, society is generated through sexual reproduction. However, after the Israelites are absorbed into Egyptian society, their reproductive capacity is co-opted by the Egyptian ruling elite toward the reproduction of Egyptian society. This state of affairs is true thereafter not only for the Israelites but in general for people living as non-elites in a state society.

Paul examines the problem of the generation and reproduction of society through both historical and psychological frameworks, as society is seen through the eyes of the individual. He makes reference to Freud’s hypothesis of the primal horde as the original formation of society; however he attaches the kind of Freudian jealousy of the son to a lord-bondsman relationship present in state societies, where the sons, or men in general, have no hope of overthrowing the father/master in favor of their own reproductive supremacy.

Paul also discusses the impact of Christianity on the Israelites and on formations of society in general. He describes the Christian way of reproduction not as a sexual reproduction but as reproduction through transmission of an ideology and system of values, which accomplishes growth in numbers much faster than sexual reproduction.

Thus, civilization is accomplished through the state monopolization of reproduction and power, through the spread of ideological and value systems, and through the psychological guilt of the citizenry. The latter regret their resentment of the state and their rebellious tendencies, despite a lack of actual infidelity. Paul suggests that the roots of the original concept of social monopoly of sexual reproduction may have come from an original pastoral society in which a man manages the reproduction of his flock. Paul concludes with the assertion that civilization produces guilt, which causes people ultimately to participate willingly in the reproduction of the civilization.

GWENDOLYN KELLY Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Peace, William J. Bernhard Stern, Leslie A. White, and an Anthropological Appraisal of the Russian Revolution. American Anthropologist, March 1998. Volume 100(1): 84-93.

In this article, William J. Peace writes about the damage to “America’s freedom of thought” that was produced by McCarthyism during the cold-war era. The author focuses on a particular article, written by Leslie A. White, entitled, an Anthropological Appraisal of the Russian Revolution. Peace’s discussion of the article focuses, particularly, on the personal and professional relationship that White held with another academic, Bernard Stern. Peace, in discussion of the article, relates what could happen during the Cold War if an American academic showed support for the socialist movement in Russia.

Peace feels that McCarthyism affected academics in a way that caused scholars to censor their own work. The ordeal that developed between White and Stern serves as an example of the tensions that existed between academics and within their educational institutions, and also the conflict that resided between the radical leftist groups of the time.

Peace first examines the address made by White to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, discussing how his thoughts were inspired by the social state in the Soviet Union. White, according to Peace, had strong feelings that the end of Capitalism was near, and that the tenets that the Soviet system was founded upon were much stronger and more admirable than those that Capitalism was based on.

Bernard Stern, who was a contributing editor for New Masses, a journal that “was sympathetic to the positions held by the Soviet Union,” printed the speech made by White to the AAAS. The article focuses on the fact that the printing of the article was done without proper consent, and discusses in depth the banter that ensued between the two scholars after its reprint. Peace ultimately speaks to the consequences that the printing of the article had on White and the resulting career troubles that he experienced. The article also addresses the political ramifications that the article had, both in terms of the credence it leant to two leftist political parties, and in terms of the uproar it caused within academia. Peace’s overriding point is that there were a multitude of ways in which many people were affected by the Cold War and the apprehensions it filled people with.

ANGUS BIRCHALL Middlebury College (David Napier).

Peace, Willliam J. Bernhard Stern, Leslie A. White, and an Anthropological Appraisal of the Russian Revolution. American Anthropologist March, 1998. Vol. 100(1): 84-93.

William Peace, in “Bernhard Stern, Leslie A. White, and an Anthropological Appraisal of the Russian Revolution,” examines McCarthyism which swept America during the 1950s in relationship to two prominent social scientists of the time, Leslie White and Bernhard Stern. The article discusses an address White gave to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1930, and the ramifications it had on White’s academic career at the University of Michigan. Stern, an editor of the socialist journal New Masses, becomes involved when he publishes the address without White’s consent. Peace believes that Stern and White fit into a “gray area” of political persecution, being profoundly affected by the sociopolitical environment of the time yet not being affected by McCarthyism as much as others. They were persecuted, but they were not formally fired. White and Stern’s personal experiences with institutional anticommunism caused them to become bitter enemies, instead of focusing on the ideological commonalities that they had together.

White’s address entitled “An Anthropological Appraisal of the Russian Revolution,” contained his views of how the Russian Revolution fit into anthropological thought. White, being a unilinear evolutionist, believed that during the course of social evolution capitalism would cease to exist. He suggested that it was not a revolution at all, but a cultural mutation, resulting from an ongoing cultural development. Initially after the address, White was courted and flattered by various communist political groups but he indeed refused to join any.

This set off an ongoing dispute between White and Stern over intellectual freedom at universities in America. White was openly against the Communist party, yet continually associated with radical elements because of his address. White and Stern were both hindered by university hierarchy, but to different extents. Peace uses various pieces of correspondence from both to illustrate their opposing views and the developing personal feud. The unauthorized publication of White’s address also affected the supposed unbiased scholarship of both, with White alleging that Stern’s political views were tainting his scholarship.

MICHAEL BOBICK Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Pilbeam, David. Mary Douglas Leakey (1913-1996). American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol.100 (4): 988-990.

The author describes Leakey’s personal life and intellectual contributions. Her skills as an artist and curiosity about the natural world launched her into a career in paleoanthropology with an interdisciplinary perspective, often collaborating with geologists and paleontologists. She conducted her most important work at the East African Rift Valley sites of Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli, discovering numerous specimens of hominid fossils including Homo erectus, Australopithecus boisei, Zinjanthropus, Homo habilis, and Australopithecus afarensis, and the fossil ape Proconsul. She objectively analyzed, described, and illustrated Acheulean and Olduwan tools.

Later in her career, she also contributed to the study of Tanzanian rock art, tracing and copying over 1600 figures. Her extensive career on and off in the field spanned nearly 50 years and resulted in numerous publications, the most famous of which is the Olduvai Gorge monograph series. She thought of her discovery of fossil footprints in an ash layer from about 3 million years ago at Laetoli to be one of her most important contributions.

MARGARET BERGER Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Plattner, Stuart. The Market for Contemporary Fine Art. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):482-493.

Stuart Plattner examines the economy behind contemporary art in the United States. Plattner sees a paradox in the economics of contemporary art. In contrast to Western economic expectation, supply will not follow demand. The artists create their art because they are driven to. Artists associate the art with themselves. Creating the art “affirms their identity as artists …”(482). Although many artists would love to be able to earn their living through art, this is no the motivation for its creation.

Art is also unlike the Western market in that it is difficult to gauge the worth of most art before it sells. The exception to this rule is the art that sells in an “elite market.” This elite art has a more predictable market value due to the information that is known about the piece, the artist’s name, and previous sales.

The artist creates even if there is no market for his or her work, whereas normally, if there is no demand the producer will cease creating a supply. Plattner refers to this aspect of the artist economy and psyche as the “Van Gogh effect.” The theory is aptly named for the 19th century painter. During his lifetime Van Gogh was a failure in the art world despite his connections with local art movements and dealers. Van Gogh’s work received wide recognition after his death and continues to sell for extraordinary sums. Plattner theorizes that modern artists are encouraged by the fact that Van Gogh received such recognition after his death. Although modern art critics may not accept their work, artists continue to create in the hope that they will be recognized after death for the brilliant artists they see themselves to be, just as Van Gogh was.

The “Van Gogh effect” has influenced the modern audience as well. The impressionist movement initially was not well received in the Salons of Paris. The movement was denounced, only to become very influential and highly praised. Since then the critic and common observer alike have been less likely to criticize any particular movement for fear of appearing a fool later on.

Plattner attempts to determine the logic behind the price difference in art, but ultimately fails. He is able to determine that the price may depend on the prestige of the artist, the identity of collectors owning other pieces by the same artist, the media coverage of the artist and his or her work, and the type of art and the media used in its creation.

Clarity Rating:2
CHRISTINA BURRIS Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Plattner, Stuart. A Most Ingenious Paradox – The Market for Contemporary Fine Art.American Anthropologist, 1998. Vol. 100 (2): 482 – 491.

Plattner looks at how and why the buyer-seller practices of local contemporary fine art markets subverts normal market behavior. His domain of inquiry is non-investment quality art (i.e. art not displayed in museums); his study is based on artists, dealers and collectors in St. Louis, Missouri in 1992, whom he claims are representative of most local art markets outside the leading art center in New York City. His article explains how unique cultural contexts explain the seeming irrationalities and oddities of this market. His analysis points to alternative logic and functionalism found within a microcosmic cultural framework that operates outside of, yet side-by-side with mainstream society. Plattner’s basic argument is that the motives of buyers and sellers are not congruent because of asymmetrical information situations inherent in his domain on inquiry. He says that this market has become an economic subsystem with different goals and constraints because of the lack of “standards” in the market, the role of artists as “identity-producers”, and the “risk-averse” attitude of consumers. The absence and/or mistrust of dominant theories and/or authorities regarding the value of artwork causes changeable public opinion. The value of goods is frequently misjudged, as there is no yardstick of measure. Hence, there is a rise of “risk-averse” consumers, who are afraid to venture into a market where cultural value is in flux. The role of artists as “identity-producers” and not profit-maximizing producers of goods and services causes artists to focus on producing culture, and not making a living. The economic nature of the good thus becomes variable, as it is a commodity that seeks out its own market (and does not fill an existing need). Price theory becomes obsolete when a product is meant to “expand civilized consciousness”. Because cultural life is “post-modern”, the notion of time erodes and augments the legitimacy of artists, thereby increasing the precariousness of the value of fine art. This is why the “Van Gogh effect” (or the paradox of avant-garde work) is prevalent – many artists are motivated by dreams of posthumous recognition (the result of the Impressionist movement in Paris). As nonutilitarian symbols of high culture, fine art qualifies as a “Veblen” good that accounts for the importance of image creators in the market. These people are usually the middlemen who are perceived as “connoisseurs” who know the system better. This explains why dealers get high cut of the sale price of any piece of fine art, even though they are not involved in the transaction. This is also why designers are integral to this microcosmic economic system and make money off a transaction they are not directly involved in. His solutions are for economic anthropologists to go beyond current regressional analysis, which explains less than 10 % of the variance (Bruno Frey and Werner Pommerehne (1989)). He says coding processes need to be more complex and there was a great need to personalize transactions and to understand logic of “Veblen” goods. Plattner’s analysis is very lucid and reasonable – it just falls a little short of the conclusiveness that is promised in the introduction.

JASMIN JOHNSON Middlebury College (David Napier)

Rahier, Jean Muteba. Blackness, the Racial/Spatial Order, Migration, and Miss Ecuador 1995-1996. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):421-430.

Jean Rahier discusses the influence of spatial order on racial relations between black indigenous Ecuadorians and the white and mixed-race populations of Ecuador. Rahier argues that the racial ideology of the white and mixed-race (Mestizo) Ecuadorian is based on two myths, the myth of the dominion on the soil (which sees Ecuador as a land blessed by nature) and the myth of the vanquished (which views the indigenous community as non-existent because they were defeated in the past). These myths are a consequence of a belief in the inferiority of the indigenous people and identification with, and preference for, western culture. The resulting ideology is that the non-white population is seen as backwards and uncivilized. It is believed that their situation can only be improved by the outflow of civilization from the cities, in which the whites and Mestizo live, to the rural areas in which the Blacks are found. This according to Rahier represents the spatial nature of racial ideology in Ecuador. The racial stratification of Ecuador is reinforced in various aspects of society whereby being black automatically qualifies one for stereotyping as uncivilized, lazy and inclined towards criminal acts.

Rahier uses the example of Miss Ecuador 1995-1996, Monica Chala, to illustrate the situation. As the first black Miss Ecuador, her election sparked controversy among those who felt that Miss Ecuador should represent the Ecuadorian ideal (and, thus, should be Mestizo) and black political activists (who supported the jury’s decision). Rahier indicates that the general consensus was that the mostly Mestizo jury’s decision was not based on the need for racial equality, but was rather influenced by political factors, such as the fact that the Miss Universe competition was going to be in South Africa, that they wanted to please Nelson Mandela and the Miss Universe jury and the fact that Western television images had brought respectability to the idea of a black Miss Ecuador through the images portrayed of successful blacks in TV shows. Rahier concludes that racism in Ecuador is still alive and well based on the fact Monica Chala did not identify with problems faced by black Ecuadorians and the fact that organizers chose her because her blackness did not threaten the Ecuadorian mestizo ideal.

AKOSUA NYAKO Middlebury College (David Napier)

Rahier, Muteba Jean. Blackness, the Racial/Spatial Order, Migrations, and Miss Ecuador 1995-96. American Anthropologist June 1998, Vol.100, No.2: 421-428.

In his masterful essay titled Blackness, the Racial/Spatial Order, Migrations, and Miss Ecuador 1995-96, Jean Muteba Rahier addresses the racist construction of an Ecuadorian national ideology, an “ideology of blanqueamiento (whitening),” designed to shape national images and perpetuate a hegemonic structure and discourse that enables the white “mestizo” elites to “locate blackness within an inferior racial/ spatial order” in Ecuador (421).

By delving into the hierarchical, racist constructions of “Ecuadorianness”, Rahier demonstrates how Ecuadorian society is spatially constituted so that blacks and “blackness” occupies the lowest possible position in society. To prove how and why blackness occupies an inferior position in Ecuadorian society, Rahier highlights how “Ecuadorianness is defined in terms of mestizo-ness” and how whiteness is “imposed on the national space (422).”

In order to explain how racial ideologies shape national identity in Ecuador, Rahier supports his article by breaking down Ecuadorian discourse about blackness and uses: informed direct personal experience, the accounts and viewpoint of a white mestiza towards Ecuadorian blacks, skewed police reports and grotesquely biased journalistic accounts and analysis of crimes written by white mestizo’s in the daily newspaper, and the significance of 1995-1996 Miss Ecuador pageant, to both “illustrate the process of reproduction of stereotypical images of blacks in Ecuador,” and demonstrate how blacks are “geographically and ideologically excluded from Ecuadorian national identity (423,424).” Finally, he shows that although the 1995-96 election of a black Miss Ecuador signaled a “tolerance towards blackness in Ecuadorian society,” in actuality the white mestizo elite were able to structure and “domesticate” the notions of black beauty in a way that was unthreatening to the hierarchical social, racial and spatial order of the country (428).

CLARITY: 5 (as clear as black and white)
IAN P. TRACY Middlebury College (David Napier).

Rasmussen, Susan. Ritual Powers and Social Tensions as Moral Discourse Among the Tuareg. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2): 458-468.

This article examines witchcraft, pollution, and other forms of social/ritual powers and tensions among the Kel Ewey Tuareg of Niger, West Africa. The author sees these practices as a form of moral discourse. She is interested in these powers, tensions, as moral discourse, their interrelationships, and how they are embedded in a historical context. Although the author specifically studies the Tuareg in this article, she feels that they bring up wider issues of cultural dynamism. The author’s analysis is through case studies and an ethnographic incident.

Rasmussen begins by describing social stratum within the Tuareg and client-patron relationships. The relationships between smiths and nobles are paid considerable attention. Smiths serve many roles, including those of musicians, oral historians, jewelry, tool, and weapons makers, and confidants to nobles. In a client-patron relationship each family of nobles has a smith family attached to it. Smiths are used to assist in bride wealth negotiations (on the side of the woman) and Islamic scholars, marabouts, assist the man and his family. The roles of the nobles and smiths are sometimes reversed, such as at smith namedays and weddings, where nobles sing praise songs and prepare and serve food. Next, the author discusses some cultural values and then gender roles and relations. There are Tuareg cultural values of dignity, reserve, and indirect (rather than direct) speech. These values are most important among nobility, who use go-betweens of traditionally low status, namely smiths and servile people. There is fairly free social interaction between the sexes in Tuareg culture. Individuals are generally supposed to marry within one’s social class, but there has been intermarriage between nobles and former slaves. Smiths most strictly practice endogamy. Single, childless, and divorced women are not stigmatized.

The ethnographic incident that the author analyzes is an August 1995 public flogging of three men whom residents accused of “stealing other men’s women.” One of the punished men was a noble and the others were smiths. The local people were particularly critical of one of the men, a smith. By looking deeper into the family of the accused smiths the author uncovers issues of sorcery, gossip, illness, social tensions, and scapegoating. The author asserts that powers used in ritual contexts are contained and used positively, but in other instances, such as difficult economic conditions and times of wide social upheaval, they can be tools of scapegoating.

ASHLEY PRICE Middlebury College (David Napier)

Rasmussen, Susan. Ritual Powers and Social Tensions as Moral Discourse among the Tuareg. American Anthropologist. June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2):458-468.

Rasmussen seeks to explain the role of traditional concepts of witchcraft/sorcery and the evil eye and other pre-colonial beliefs in modern postcolonial society. These ideas and roles of traditional social forms are transformed in the modern era as a result of civil wars and political tensions, as well as threats to Tuareg cultural autonomy. The result of these transformations is an ambivalence toward certain elements of society, namely, smiths. The role of the smith has become more ambiguous, and the smiths themselves are scapegoats for changes that are the result of interactions with outsiders.

Rasmussen discusses her own ethnographic data in general and in particular regarding an incident in which a particular smith is accused of adultery. Adultery is not taken seriously. However, because of his ambiguous inside/outside relationship, his transgressions are considered more serious than would otherwise be the case. According to Rasmussen, the smiths retain some of their traditional positive associations but the original fictive kinship system (between nobles and slaves as father to child, and nobles to smiths as “cousins”) is ignored.

Rasmussen also discusses the symbolic linkages between smiths and women, between sex and the stomach, and between womanizing and the mystical powers of smiths. These symbolic connections are what drive many aspects of the social tensions surrounding smiths. However, these tensions are a dynamic part of the way in which the Tuareg are dealing with the present economic and political situation.

Although the smiths are financially successful, and they are often able to find ways to avoid conflicts, they are only able to do this through connections to non-Tuareg people, which contributes to their outsider role. Rasmussen concludes that these changes in the meaning of traditional roles and concepts are dynamic and unique reactions to changes in the social, economic and political environment. However, not all change in Tuareg society is the result of outside influence.

GWENDOLYN KELLY Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Richardson, Miles. The Poetics of a Resurrection: Re-Seeing 30 Years of Change in a Colombian Community and in the Anthropological Enterprise. American Anthropologist March, 1998. Vol. 100 (1): 11-22.

Richardson returns in 1992 to the small village of San Pedro in southern Colombia, after an absence of thirty years. In 1962 Richardson described the place as a ‘hole,’ a town without colorful customs or exotic ceremonies that was only known for its poverty. Now he finds change in “paved streets, potable water, telephones and aparabola antennas” and in the voices and lives of the people.

Richardson chooses a poetic presentation for showing the changes. He wants the reader to see the change in a specific way, “a seeing that allows the lived-in world of people’s lives to come forth.” He says that this world is largely one of talk, and so “to see that world, you have to see voices.” Thus most of the ethnography is a collection of voices, both the peoples’ and Richardson’s.

In the early 1960’s functionalism loomed large in anthropology and especially in the work of Richardson. While in San Pedro, Richardson tried to figure how San Pedro was a part of Colombia, and what parts specifically represented Colombian culture.

Coming back, Richardson sees the place very differently. He describes it as “an emerging how of artifacts, actions and words in which we are a process.. of being in the truth.” First he visits a nearby archaeological museum, where he meets an old Colombian anthropologist who was his colleague back in 1962. Eventually back in San Pedro, he finds Seneca Libreros, a man he knew well in 1962. Through the voices of Libreros and others we hear summations of thirty years of change. Libreros talks of how the old mayor, Don Hernan, was killed, and how the new one is a liberal democrat “like Bill Clinton,” and of how today you can’t afford to have nine children like you could thirty years ago.

Richardson also takes us to the church, where religious reform has retired all the saints in favor of a more generic Christianity. As one priest says “today we teach the whole Christian experience.”

During his return Richardson finds a new relationship between San Pedro and Colombia, stating “San Pedro is not a point on a continuum, but a place where people, through speech, action and artifact, bring about Colombia.” Richardson concludes that his goal is to have the reader see culture “not as an underlying structure but as a presence, where we, you and I, exist together in the mutual reciprocity of our own voicings.”

MICHAEL SEVERINO Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Rodseth, Lars. Distributive Models of Culture: A Sapirian Alternative to Essentialism.American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100 (1):55-65.

In his essay, Lars Rodseth urges social scientists to reject the essentialist definition of culture, one with concrete absolutes that extend to the entire population at hand. Instead, a culture should be treated as just that: a population. Populations are comprised of unique individuals all holding their own concepts of what represents and define their own culture. Definitions should reflect the nature of culture, a dynamic collection of events that Rodseth refers to as “patches…historical particulars variable distributed in space and time…specific sets of things in the world” (56). He likens distributive models in anthropology to the concept of biodiversity in biology. Within a species, genetic traits vary tremendously. This being the case, individuals within a society would have the same degree of distinctiveness, very few would have the same “essence” or “genius”.

Rodseth identifies two forms of delineating “otherness”: one he calls the “abstract universal” and the other, “abstract singular” mode. The abstract singular mode is seen when an anthropologist describes a culture (the Balinese is the example given) as a single entity rather than a group of individuals. The abstract universal is similar however is a generalization of the interests of humanity at large. Both modes ignore individual experience within a culture. The “concrete singular” mode recognizes individual nature informants and ethnographies and their effect on produced texts. Rodseth uses his own experience conducting fieldwork in Nepal. In deciphering discrepancies in his informants’ narratives he realized the information he had received varied because they had all been differently positioned. He refers to the Akira Kurosawa film, Rashomon, in which four participants tell the same story differently. Rodseth sees the “Rashomon effect” playing into the role of ethnographer as well as informant. Different perspectives result in distinctive narratives. In smoothing over inconsistencies, the author was forced to define the historical elements of his research in terms of the accurate reconstruction or history as a form of culture. Between the contradictions encountered in interviews, and the creative license undertaken in producing text from fieldwork, one anthropologist’s take on a culture cannot function as an absolute account. Rodseth concludes his essay by explaining how Darwin destroyed essentialism in biology and through this achievement the principle of individuality entered the biological sciences.

Lars Rodseth’s case against essentialism is compelling, however he describes what could have been said in two to three pages in ten. His writing is overwhelmingly verbose and serves only to muddle his points.

AMY VAN AALST Middlebury College (David Napier)

Rodseth, Lars. Distributive Models of Culture: A Sapirian Alternative to Essentialism.American Anthropologist. March, 1998. Vol.100 (1): 55-69

This article is an explanation of the distributive model of culture. Rodseth introduces this theory as an alternative to essentialism, a prevalent method of studying culture. Essentialism is the idea that culture can be distilled into something that accurately describes its constituents. It is the idea that a culture can be neatly summarized into its component features. Rodseth challenges this theory, believing it to be an outdated model, similar to the previous anthropological notion of “race”. Instead of essentialism, he is a strong proponent of the distributive model, an idea proposed by Sapir. Sapir’s real expertise was in linguistics, but he recognized that the models that explained linguistics could also explain culture itself. One major flaw of essentialism is that any two people of the same culture will still have a number of important differences, making the idea of a simple shared culture problematic. An example of these distinct elements is personal lexicons. Any two people will not have identical lexicons, and will therefore be unable to understand and communicate the exact same thing in the exact same way. Language is an undeniably important part of culture, so there needs to be a way to explain this type of difference. The distributive model of culture handles this problem by incorporating a multitude of voices, creating a more comprehensive cultural description. Rodseth is quick to compare this shift in thinking to similar changes in biology. Biology has made a paradigm shift from focusing on large presumably identical groups, to recognizing differences based on the individual level. This has meant the individual has become the center of focus, a departure from theories based on widespread generalizations. The distributive theory follows much the same path, discarding generalizations in favor of a synthesis of individual conceptualizations. Rodseth’s intent is to reintroduce Sapir’s theory as an alternative to the outdated model of essentialism.

NATHANIEL MARSH Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Roseman, Marina. Singers of the Landscape: Song, History, and Property Rights in the Malaysian Rainforest. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol. 100(1):106-121.

In this article, Roseman examines the role of the performance of songs as a means of recording history, land tenure, and genealogy of the Temiar people of peninsular Malaysia. She attempts to prove that the semi-sedentary Temiars have a concept of ownership, especially land ownership. Roseman describes the problem of land ownership in terms of the history of foreigners entering the traditional lands of the Temiars, from Malays and Muslims to the British colonial establishment.

Roseman begins by comparing the maps of British cartographers and engineers to the Temiars emic view of the landscape. She describes the many contradictions between these two conceptions of land. Roseman draws on and presents ethnographic data of spirit mediums who sing songs composed by the spirits of the landscape in which they live. These songs describe the boundaries of traditional territories of the spirit who is the personification of the land and the representative of the people who traditionally lived there.

Roseman discusses several other points, aside from the songs of the landscape, to demonstrate her point about ownership of land and its products. She describes four types of property of which the Temiars conceive: territorial ranges, household plots, garden plots, and fruit trees. All of these except fruit trees are owned communally by either the village or a corporate group within the village, such as a household, lineage, or kin group defined by affinal relations. Fruit trees, which are the most permanent part of the landscape, are individually owned and heritable. Roseman points out that the distribution of fruit trees could be used to demarcate in etic terms the functional territory of the village.

Roseman concludes that the problems of conception of land ownership and the Temiars legal status as tenants on state owned land must be resolved in order to create a space for these people to live. She argues that an understanding of the song-based conceptions of the landscape are necessary in order to make decisions about the land that respect traditional land rights.

GWENDOLYN KELLY Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Sabloff, Jeremy A. Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology: Communication and the Future of American Archaeology. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol. 100 (4):869-874.

In the article, Jeremy Sabloff expresses his concern for the future of archaeology. He addresses a lack of communication with the public and a troubling declining trend in relevance for non-archaeologists. If archaeological research is not made applicable to the modern world, the relevance of archaeology will fade out, a fate seemingly contrary to recent growth in jobs, courses at universities, publications, etc. This growth points to the professionalization of archaeology. Sabloff points out that archaeology played an important role in society during the nineteenth century. Books on the subject were widely read. Darwin’s work, for example, significantly changed beliefs on human history and development of the modern world. Throughout this era of advancements academic archaeology was on the rise. This movement phased out the participation of amateurs in the field, creating a more elitist and inaccessible discipline. While professionalization has certainly had numerous benefits—including developments in “method, theory and culture historical knowledge”, its negative aspects are causing a significant deterioration of popular interest in archaeology, a problem Sabloff implores his colleagues to acknowledge and change (870). Growth in academic archaeology has created increased competition for university positions. With these jobs comes increased pressure to publish, especially in peer review journals that have a tendency to devalue material of a non-scientific nature. As a result, journals have become incomprehensible to interested readers outside the academic archaeological world, even to social scientists outside the immediate field. Popular writing has become taboo for those who consider themselves serious archaeologists. A movement towards popularization through accessible writing must take place in order to involve the public and rekindle active interest in archaeology.

Sabloff is also highly concerned with the relevance of current research. He cites Alfred Vincent Kidder, author of the popular 1924 book An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology, urging that the archaeologist be “forced to take stock, to survey his field, to attempt to show what bearing his delvings into the past may have upon our judgment of present day life; and what service, if any, he renders the community beyond filling the cases of museums and supplying material for the rotogravure sections of the Sunday papers” (870). He stresses a need for more of what he calls “action archaeology…archaeology working for living communities not just in them” (872).

Archaeologists ought feel a moral responsibility to reach out to the public, since there work is largely funded through public grants, university jobs, etc. If they do not prove their necessity the money will simply go elsewhere, Sabloff warns. To ameliorate the problems of accessibility and relevance, he suggests that academics applaud popular writing instead of scorning it for being too unscientific. Archaeology need not be confined to the page; Sabloff insists it reach a wider audience through other forms of media such as television, film, and CD-ROM. A change in academic values will revitalize archaeology’s role in society. This will be achieved when it is realized that accessibility glorifies the field, rather than denigrates it.

AMY VAN AALST Middlebury College (David Napier)

Sabloff, Jeremy A. Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: Communication and the Future of American Archaeology. December, 1998 American Anthropologist Vol. 100(4): 869-875.

Jeremy Sabloff’s distinguished lecture was presented at the November 1996 95th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Sabloff claims Archaeology will definitely survive into the twenty-first century. Based on the number of jobs, allocated funding to research, course enrollments and publications, archaeology is flourishing (869). However, this success as well as the increased professionalization of the field has resulted in the lack of adequate communication between archaeologists and the public (870). Due to this lack of communication, Sabloff questions whether the field will thrive in the millennium.

In the nineteenth century, archaeology played a significant academic and intellectual role in the United States (869). Archaeological research excited the public’s interest by providing knowledge of how the past could elucidate information on the development of the contemporary world (870). Archaeologists made their studies accessible to the public in the readable journal American Antiquity and in books such as Alfred Vincent Kidder’s An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology. These publications allowed for an open forum of communication between the professionals and the public.

The later professionalization of Archaeology indicated that the discipline was rigorous and scientifically based. It resulted in advances in the discipline’s method, theory, and cultural knowledge as well as increased competition for university jobs. The professionalization of the discipline also caused the devaluation of archaeologists’ use of popular writing to communicate with other scholars and the general public.

Sabloff argues that archaeologists have a responsibility to educate the public about their work. When archaeologists share scientific data with the public, they show them that they appreciate their support, which comes in the form of grants, contracts and jobs (873). In turn, the sharing of archaeological information allows the public to appreciate the work of the archaeologist. Sabloff warns that if archaeologists fail to inform the public of their studies, the public will get along without them, which will hinder archaeologists from accessing financial and legislative backing for their work (873).

Jeremy Sabloff challenges archaeologists to live up to their responsibilities to the public as well as encourages them to disseminate their scientific findings through popular writings. He also encourages archaeologists to practice “action anthropology”, where scholars within the discipline collaborate together on projects that make statements about the development of culture and how it relates to current pertinent issues (872). Sabloff concludes that archaeological research has great relevance for the public at large. The discipline has taken major strides to understand the past and it can only be comprehended and appreciated if it is brought to the public’s attention for both theirs and archaeologists’ sakes (874).

NEDRA LEE Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Sankar, Andrea, and Frances Trix. Women’s Voices and Experiences of the Hill-Thomas Hearings. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol.100(1)32-40.

This article describes a study of women’s reactions to the Hill-Thomas hearings. The main purpose of the article is to demonstrate that anthropological research methods applied to current events can be more effective at capturing the general public’s opinion than standard polls or media coverage. At the beginning of the article, the authors explain that their study was inspired by frustration with the media’s attempt to generalize the nation’s opinion about the hearings through polls. The polls did not give enough consideration to the individual perspectives of the people.

The authors interviewed one hundred women about their feelings concerning the highly publicized hearings. African American women were interviewed, and the women represented a wide range of ages. The authors capitalized on the freshness of women’s feelings and perceptions by conducting their interviews only a short time after the hearings had ended.

Based on their findings, the authors group the women interviewed into five categories based on whether they supported Anita Hill or Clarence Thomas in the hearings. These categories are: strong Hill; Hill with reservation; strong Thomas; Thomas with reservation; and Thomas by default. The authors attempt to make some standard generalizations about the opinions held by women in each category, but they are also careful not to treat their findings simply as opinion polls.

Individual opinions and opinions that deviated from those found in other polls are emphasized. Often, individual women are quoted within the body of the article commenting on their feelings about sexual harassment or about their disgust with the proceedings. The authors are also careful to point out results that do not conform to common assumptions. Emphasis is also placed on the negative feelings that all women had about the hearings, regardless of who they supported. The authors explain that they were able to obtain honest and open opinions about the hearings because the anthropological interview style they used encouraged more communication and a trusting relationship between the researcher and the subject. They emphasize that the traditional anthropological practice of attempting to form a real relationship with the research subject helped them obtain more relevant information than the impersonal information in opinion polls.

The straightforward manner in which this article was written makes it informative and easy to understand.

KATIE CURLER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Sax, William. The Hall of Mirrors: Orientalism, Anthropology, and the Other. American Anthropologist June 1998 Vol. 100(2):292-300.

“The Hall of Mirrors,” is William Sax’s response to Edward Said’s Orientalism. Said asserts that Western students create the oriental as an other. “It would be more accurate to say that they studied an object that they themselves constructed” (292). By studying the orient the scholar separates him or herself from the culture they study and recreate it as another world. Said also believes that Asians are confined by the Oriental label that has been constructed by the European scholar. It is natural for the human race to divide itself into “us” and “them.” It is this division that leads to hostility. The separation that arises due to scholarly study only strengthens this hostility.

Said puts forth the idea that in order to “other” one group, the second group, or “us” must lower the status of the other. Sax denies that this inferioritization process is a necessity in examining the other in anthropological writing. He deems human differences as natural, and preferable to a homogenized human culture.

Through examples from his fieldwork in Garhwal, Sax backs his arguments that it is natural for humans to focus on differences among themselves and that these differences are an important element of anthropology. These differences that mankind are so inclined to focus on are not as prevalent as they believe. The anthropologist, already an other in the society that he or she chooses to study, is well placed to discover and report the minimal amount of these differences. Sax claims that the process of discovering and studying these differences does not require the “inferiorization of the other” (294).

Clarity Rating:5
CHRISTINA BURRIS Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Sax, William S. The Hall of Mirrors: Orientalism, Anthropology, and the Other. American Anthropologist June, 1998. Vol.100(2):292-299.

This article begins as a wide discussion of anthropology’s unique quality as the study of difference, in which a debate over how the “exotic” should be represented is seen as positive and necessary. Sax first frames his argument in terms of a response to an “Orientalism” theory championed by Edward Said. In the original theory, Said suggests that allowing for a division of cultural contexts into self and other will undoubtedly result in a false representation of the observed culture that will impact both an outsider’s view of the culture and the culture’s own sense of collective self. According to Sax, Said correctly acknowledged the “danger that lurks in our suspicion of universals” but did not fully comprehend the depth of the “othering” process (293). After a summary of Said’s original theory, Sax then challenges Said’s assertion that such “us” and “them” labels are inherently detrimental to a truly representative inter-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Sax argues that it is indeed a natural tendency of all human beings to view and assess themselves and their situations in terms of a focus on human differences. For Sax this represents a strong argument for why such a mode of thinking should not be excluded from the anthropological palette of research. He goes on to argue that not only are processes of othering innately human, but that “difference making does not always or necessarily involve the inferiorization of the Other” (294). He then opens up for question the issue of just how much of the self is reflected in the other and uses the term “house of mirrors” to describe the “double movement” and progressive union of knowledge that he sees emerging from a conscientious and careful use of the Other framework (299, 294).

Sax then turns to his own field research among Hindu groups in Northern India to illustrate and support his argument for the necessity of the study of human difference and calling it such.

Sax’s data comes out of his personal experiences and observations, described in a well-written and sensible matter. Though one not well-versed in Said’s theory must rely mostly on Sax’s own interpretation of the anthropologist’s theory, he does include a few excerpts of Said’s theory in his own words.

Using another theory as a starting point for his own argument works well for Sax in this instance, because of how closely linked the two theories are. With a good balance of theoretical discussion and field research, Sax’s treatment of Said’s theory invites further discussion and debate of the issue, in spite of a tone that is at times rather commanding and definitive.

CHRISTOPHER AHERN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Scham, Sandra A. Mediating Nationalism and Archaeology: A Matter of Trust? American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100 (2):301-306.

Archaeology is not a completely objective field. In the past, it has been used to promote nationalism. This is difficult to avoid considering the present contract system. Archaeologists are employed by the state. In order to obtain funding, they are expected to produce results on a fairly expeditious basis. The demands to tailor their results to the views of their benefactors are becoming increasingly great. Once they sign a contract, archaeologists have no impartial obligations because they are only responsible to the signatories of the contract. In the author’s opinion, the trustee system should be adopted as an alternative because it involves a conscientious approach to defend the property rights of others. This would ideally promote duties of fairness in dealing with beneficiaries that are often neglected when the only two parties considered are the contractor and the signatories of a contract.

Sandra Scham begins her article with an example of the excavation of an archaeological tunnel underneath the Muslim Dome of the Rock that is traditionally regarded as the site of ancient Jewish temples. The action of the archaeologist caused controversy. The ramifications of his actions would be acknowledged if the trust system were implemented. It is difficult to determine who the beneficiaries of archaeological property are. The author devotes a section of her argument to the notion of the past as disputed property. She encourages self-examination by members of the archaeological community in order to be open to alternative conceptions of the past. Interpretations should embrace the concept of inclusion rather than merely reflecting the culture of power. In order to encourage this, it is necessary to establish a set of guidelines that is impartial and widely implemented among researchers in the field. These should be detailed in writing. Typically, the language used to define trusteeship includes words such as conscience, loyalty, and responsibility. The trust as a binding agreement is based on equity rather that ethics. Equity is a legal term that refers to principles that were developed under English law to correct injustices cause by the rigidity and formalism of the common law. The high standard of conduct required of a trustee does not exist in theory but in application. The author concludes her argument with suggestions regarding the practical approach to the adoption of the trust by the field of archaeology.

JUDITH SCHUTTER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Scham, Sandra. Mediating Nationalism and Archaeology: A Matter of Trust? American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol. 100(2):301-308.

Sandra Scham argues that archaeology is subject to its funding. Archaeologists must research what they are able to find funding for. The origin of this funding is any institution that has enough money to invest in uncovering the past through archaeology. Whether archaeologists intend their work to be used in the name of politics or nationalism is of no consequence. Their data and extrapolations may be used to support schools of thought, government, or religious beliefs. In Scham’s words “although archaeologists have traditionally presented themselves as ‘trustees’ of the past, in a strict legal (as well as practical) sense what they have become are contractors” (302). Scham envisions the idea of trusteeship as a means to making archaeology more accessible to the masses.

As it currently stands, the past as constructed by archaeology reflects the institutions that have funded the research. Scham goes into great detail about the history of the trust, what it means to have trusteeship, and how trusteeship can be applied to the archaeologist. “There are duties of prudence in dealing with the property, which require that the trustee act with vigilance, sagacity, and diligence to secure and preserve property” (304). These are the duties that she would have placed upon the archaeologist’s head along with the loyalty to the beneficiary and the inability to maintain conflicting interest with the beneficiary, better known as the public in this case. By giving the archaeologist a legal definition and responsibilities it is Scham’s hope that archaeology will be more user-friendly to the public than it has been in the ivory towers of academia. She acknowledges that this allows the public to meddle in the work of the archaeologist, but she believes that the scholarship being done by archaeologists is already being altered by a select few that fund the research. By allowing the public better access to the work, the discovery and creation of our past will be shaped by all instead of a select few.

Clarity Rating: 5
CHRISTINA BURRIS Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Shanklin, Eugenia. The Profession of the Color Blind: Sociocultural Anthropology and Racism in the 21st Century. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100 (3): 669-679.

In this article, Shanklin gives a brief history of anthropology and the discipline’s “color blindness,” and expounds upon the need for the discipline of anthropology to enter into contemporary discourses on related topics of race and racism. Beginning with a discussion of Boas and his students, Shanklin argues that they were not color blind, merely that they were trained to renounce the contemporary scientific concepts of race. Despite their work disproving the scientific basis of race, the students of Boas failed to enter into public discourse as intellectuals, instead being content to occupy more “expert” niches.

By the time of Boas’ death, sociocultural anthropology in America was well on its way to being a “color blind” discipline, indifferent to the theories of racial differences that were the foundations for various folk models of race classification.

Shanklin surveys some introductory anthropology texts for their content with regard to race. Racism is only dealt with explicitly in the minority of texts. In addition, Shanklin stresses the need during introductory anthropology courses to specifically articulate and enter into contemporary discourses on topics of race and racism. The OJ Simpson trial, according to the author, would be an excellent opportunity to discuss media portrayals of difference and other topics of race. One major consequence of anthropology’s color blindness is that students may “absorb” the discipline’s liberal proclivities without completely understanding the arguments, both prop and con, and their subsequent political implications.

Shanklin also includes a discussion on Foucault’s idea of race as a social construction. Anthropologists, in their role as cultural critics, need to move beyond the binary oppositionality when considering issues in which black and white are the operative terms. The functionality provided by the false dichotomy of the race debate in both contemporary and academic discourses should be revealed and studied by anthropologists as a social construct, which enables thoughts about race to be formulated. In conclusion, Shanklin offers some suggestions for moving beyond colorblindness of anthropology and offering a more inclusive, accurate portrayal of race and the way in which professional anthropologists can enter into the popular discourse.

MICHAEL BOBICK Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Shanklin, Eugenia. The Profession of the Color Blind: Sociocultural Antrhopology and Racism in the 21st Century. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol. 100 (3): 669-679.

The author of this article provides the reader with a general overview of the profession of Anthropology and its tendencies to appear “color blind” in reference to racial issues. The concept of ‘race’ as an existing phenomenon or a fictitious theory is questioned throughout the article. The author discusses at length the incorporation of ‘race’ and its accompanying controversies in anthropological discourse in an attempt to display how past beliefs concerning race and racial tensions have subconsciously affected modern anthropological thought and teachings. Various allusions are made to early anthropologists who helped form the structure of the profession of anthropology. Frequently mentioned in the article is Franz Boas, a key figure in the “anti-race” movement, who promoted the belief that ‘race,’ as a scientific factor, does not exist.

Continuing with the idea that Boas’ theories were correct, Shanklin discusses the methods in which race and racism are dealt with in present anthropological teachings, including classroom discussion and textbooks. Shanklin lists a number of definitions of ‘race’ that anthropologists have published in introductory textbooks, claiming only a few of them as being valid. The major issue discussed in this section of the article devoted to the future of anthropological teachings is the consequence of anthropology students in absorbing “the discipline’s liberal proclivities without understanding either the arguments, pro or con, or the political implications of a particular stance” (672).

According to the author, the history of anthropology is full of racial controversies often overlooked by more modern, liberal anthropologist; Shanklin theorizes that anthropology will be able to solve the problem of race/racism when these “hidden” historical stances are brought out into the public and accepted as part of the formation of the profession.

The topic of binary oppositions is brought into her discussion of the problem of “color blindness.” Shanklin believes that such views only promote close-mindedness and must be stricken from the public mindset in order to achieve full restoration of color vision. This eye-opening process is slow, but from the optimistic perspective of the author, achievable.

This article is clearly written and understandable to the common reader providing information on a topic concerning the social welfare of the general public.

CORI PLOTKIN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Smedley, Audrey. “Race” and the Construction of Human Identity. American Anthropologist. September, 1998. Vol. 100(3):690-702.

Audrey Smedley argues the point that race and ethnicity are distinct constructs from ethnicity. She gives examples of current conceptions of race (as represented in society and portrayed by the media) as a modern phenomenon that creates grounds for conflict. She sees race and ethnicity as defined in two ways. The first is based on how members of different groups get along with each other in an effort to avoid potential conflict and the second is based on the individual’s need to concentrate on the identity of the self.

Historically, identity was based on genealogy, and occupation and was viewed as a flexible entity that could be changed due to the externality of cultural characteristics and the fact that behavior could be acquired. Cultural adaptations resulting from interaction with outsider groups were not viewed as a loss of identity but seen as unavoidable and even promoted through intermarriage. Proselytizing religions such as Islam and Christianity brought about a new basis for identity founded on religious alliances and disagreements between sects. Smedley differentiates between historical definitions of race and ethnicity by stating that modern classification (unlike the historical ones) was based on biophysical traits. She argues that this non-inclusion of physical characteristics such as skin color and hair texture in classification in the past is baffling for westerners who search for racial meanings in literature without taking into consideration that they are utilizing a 19th –20th century concept. She also argues that modern definitions of race are based on the colonial conception whereby it served as a tool for the classification of groups based on physical differences and colonial fears of rebellion from poor whites and slaves.

This form of classification was handed down to today’s modern American society that in turn uses these biophysical traits to marginalize certain groups defined as low –status races. This led to the creation of trends in American society such as in the case of African Americans and Native Americans, taking up these imposed racial identities and turning them into positive experiences for themselves in an effort achieve equal status with other races. She also talks about the feeling that mixed race people have of not belonging to American society and the identification of urban black youth with all that is viewed as opposite to being white.

She sums up her discussion with the argument that the present biophysical definition of race is nothing but a social construct and that “race” today has been weakened by evolutionary changes, genetic mixing of peoples and global diffusion of cultures.

AKOSUA NYAKO Middlebury College (David Napier)

Tannen, Deborah. Poems. American Anthropologist June, 1998 Vol.100(2):274.

Deborah Tannen’s poem “Promiscuous Traveler” reflects on people’s constant obsession with traveling to new and exotic places in order to come into contact with new sensations. Tannen’s poem focuses on a wayward traveler in continuous search for unique secrets, even at the risk ignoring her homeland. The traveler is similar to a lover driven by a desire to sample as many of the world’s riches as possible. The traveler believes that her home is old and unexciting, failing to recognize that it is really an untapped treasure only waiting to be explored in a similar fashion as the foreign cities and lands already visited. And like a true lover, the city where the traveler resides will wait patiently for the traveler to return with the key to open the city’s heart. One of Tannen’s main points in this poem is to stress the idea of cherishing and appreciating those things close by, for they will prove to be more valuable than all of the little pleasures one can find away from home.

ERIN JENSEN Middlebury College (David Napier)

Tannen, Deborah. Promiscuous Traveler, A Scholar Struggles to Start a Paper, Body Writing. American Anthropologists. 1998. Vol 100, No 2: 274-275.

The work by Deborah Tannen is a series of three short poems. The Promiscuous Traveler. She speaks of city’s visited, one after another, the smell, sounds. Regret expressed at not allowing enough time to capture fully the essence of what each city truly holds. Why has she not allowed enough time? Or maybe no time is ever enough to really understanding the core of each city? Each culture?

A Scholar Struggles to Start a Paper. A few lines and simple words, image of a sea, an arm reaching up, a wave, drowning, calling out, pull back to a speck in the sea. lost. Body Writing, she’s at her desk writing, with thoughts and ideas eluding her as they dance about the room, but suddenly one drifts down and with it she slips away.

These three poems imply only speculation. The many places she has visited and never really known, the struggles she encountered while searching for those critical first few words of a paper and the tension lifted when ideas finally do come to her.

JOSHUA WILLIAM CLARK San Diego Mesa College (Denise Couch)

Templeton, Alan R. Human Races: A Genetic and Evolutionary Perspective. American Anthropologist September, 1998 Vol.100(3):632-647.

In this article, Alan Templeton examines the concept of human ‘races’ or ‘subspecies’ through an evolutionary genetic lens. He begins by offering two separate definitions of race and then systematically shows molecular genetic data that rejects both definitions. In doing so, the author strongly argues that there is actually only one evolutionary lineage of humans and therefore the concept of ‘race’ is completely invalid.

Templeton initially defines ‘subspecies’ in the ‘traditional’ sense as, “a geographically circumscribed, genetically differentiated population” (632). He then offers extensive genetic data, concisely summarized by charts and graphs, that suggest humans have very low levels of differentiation among populations in comparisons with other warm-blooded mammals. What’s more, he explains that this level of differentiation is well below standards normally used to define subspecies in nonhuman organisms. This leads to the conclusion that human populations soundly reject the traditional definition of race.

Upon this conclusion, Templeton offers a ‘lineage’ concept of subspecies that would be proven by sufficient genetic differentiation present to define separate lineages. To explain this concept, Templeton offers diagrams and explanations of two separate models of recent human evolution: the candelabra model and the trellis model. In turn, each of these models is shown to be invalid based on extensive haplotype analyses of geographical associations that reject the existence of evolutionary sublineages of humans. This genetic evidence is meant to show that there never was a split or separation of the ‘races’ and that this concept therefore has no biological basis.

By refuting the traditional as well as the more modern definition of ‘subspecies’, Templeton shows that the concept of ‘race’ really has no genetic backing. The author’s argument is strengthened by his explanations of genetic interchange due to population movements, and recurrent gene flow, both of which help to show there is only one evolutionary lineage of humans.

This article is relatively biologically technical, and will only be fully understood if the reader has a solid understanding of evolutionary genetics.

ZACH CENTER Middlebury College (David Napier)

Visweswaran, Kamala. Race and the Culture of Anthropology. American Anthropologist March, 1998 Vol.100 (1):70-83.

Kamala Visweswaran argues in this article, that multiculturalism and cultural studies have emerged as countered disciplinary formations. These formations have brought about studies in race and racial identity because the modern anthropological notion of culture cannot do so. Visweswaran suggests that Franz Boas and his students attempted to expunge race from social science, by assigning it to biology. This attempt helped legitimate the study of race and fueled “the machine of scientific racism.”

The author highlights two contradictory positions on race that emerged from Boas’ studies. One position was that the negative notions of race could not be separated and therefore assimilation could make it disappear. The other position was that race could be separated from negative notions through the use of science. Boas’s distinction between race and culture has led to problems for the development of the modern notion of culture. We must return to and reframe cultural elements of race. The author questions how culture has stood in for race by highlighting points by DuBois, and more recently by Omi and Winant. In conclusion, Visweswaran suggests that the social scientist has an inability to recognize how biology and culture are, in themselves, culturally constructed categories. This, in his opinion, race no longer has a biological definition outside the social assignation of race to biology.

For those interested in the study of race and how it developed through Boas’s initial studies, this is a well-developed summary of the important early work of these authors work as a clear analysis of emerging disciplines involving race.

CATHERINE SAMSON Middlebury College (David Napier)

Visweswaran, Kamala. Race and the Culture of Anthropology. American Anthropologist March, 1998. Vol. 100(1):70-83.

In this essay, Visweswaran argues that early attempts by anthropology to separate race from culture crippled the ability of modern day cultural anthropology to develop a productive understanding of race. This void is tied to the emergence of multiculturalism and cultural studies, which place race in the foreground. The author construct the argument by examining the race theories of prominent American anthropologists from the first part of the 20th century. The ideas of Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Ashley Montagu regarding the place of race in cultural anthropology are treated as foundations of modern theories.

Boas and his students insisted that race be assigned to biology and excluded from ideas about culture. Visweswaran claims that the division cause the discipline to be defined as opposite to one another: culture was everything that race was not, and race was what culture was not. Thus if culture is dynamic, race is not. Ruth Benedict wanted to separate race from racism and discrimation, explaining that thus deterring future anthropologits from studying the social and historical roles of race. By trying to separate race and racism, argueing that discrimination is not against race but against particular groups, Benedict make it difficult for anthropology to understand the changing nature of race as defined by society. Ashley Montagu concluded that the concept of race was biologically invalid, as according to population genetics, but did not separate race and racism. Ttthe author also states that tthnic group came to been seen as interchangeable with culture, and both were later used for race.

Because Boasian anthropology did not understand the sociopolitical nature of biology, it assumed that race wwas strictly biological and did not develop theories about race as socially constructed. The author argues that cultural anthropologists must now realize that race is a social concept and incorporate that understanding into their scholarship.

REBECCA DEEB Oberlin College (Jack Glazier)

Wright, L. E. and Chew, F. Porotic Hyperostosis and Paleoepidemiology: A Forensic Perspective on Anemia Among the Maya. American Anthropologist December, 1998 Vol.100 (4): 924-939.

In this article, the authors examine anemia among the ancient Maya using skeletal evidence. Childhood anemia causes porotic lesions on the crania and these lesions are commonly found on ancient Maya specimens. These porotic lesions have been cited as evidence for poor nutrition during the Classic Period. The question, ‘were Classic Period children less healthy than modern children?’ is posed and three reasons for a discrepancy are offered: diet, infection, mortality, or a combination of these items. The authors then address each of these possibilities. The authors reconsider this characterization of the Classic Period because of the results gained from using ethnographic analogy. These findings came in two forms 1) the epidemiology of modern Maya populations in Guatemala whose health status has been researched intensively, and 2) the prevalence of porotic hyperostosis in the remains of modern population. The modern skeletal remains are a catastrophic mortality sample instead of a natural sample such as the ancient Mayan crania that are used for this study. The modern series comes from the Plan de Sanchez massacre in 1982 in which military killed rural villagers who had attended the Sunday market as well as abducting and murdering other villagers from their homes. The authors believe that this skeletal series is broadly representative of the rural population because it includes both healthy and ill, young and old specimens who attended the market as well as those who remained home. The authors think that it is likely that higher mortality leads to fewer anemic lesions in modern adult skulls. The authors’ hypothesis is that in the past more anemic children survived to adulthood than they do today. The argument that child health was better in the past is supported by data on stature reduction.

ASHLEY PRICE Middlebury College (David Napier)