Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.


Expand Messages
  • Prof. B.V. Toshev
    Just Recieved (Subscription): CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press) [Journal Cover] Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology is a
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 21, 2012
    • 0 Attachment

      Just Recieved (Subscription):

      CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press)

      Journal Cover

      Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

      Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

      Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

      Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


      ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 53, Number 5, October 2012


      D. Zeitlyn. Divinatory Logics: Diagnoses and Predictions Mediating Outcomes (p. 525)

      Notes: 36; References: 107

      This paper is about the logics of how practitioners and their clients use divination in their ongoing involvement with everyday life. It asks philosophical questions of the implications of praxis and suggests that the answers are not always what philosophers might expect. I distinguish two uses or aspects of divinatory usage: that concerned with the present or past, diagnosis, and that concerned with the future, prognosis or prediction. Divinatory practice often contains both aspects; however, the distinction helps our understanding of how divination is used. Examples are taken from Evans-Pritchard on Zande divination (oracles) and from my ongoing work on Mambila spider divination. Some parallels are drawn with ambiguities in financial measures and the ways in which they are used to justify decisions about the systems they "measure." Social predictions similarly move between styles of usage (exemplified by Merton's self-fulfilling prophecy). The idea of divinatory logics moves us from the sphere of philosophy to a less rigorously defined sphere of social interaction, where what counts as success may be that we have changed the world so that a statement of fact does not obtain. In a world of counterfactual conditionals, the diviner, not the philosopher, is king.

      B. Angelbeck, C. Grier. Anarchism and the Archaeology of Anarchic Societies: Resistance to Centralization in the Coast Salish Region of the Pacific Northwest Coast (p. 547)

      Notes: 16; References: 303

      Throughout human history, people have lived in societies without formalized government. We argue that the theory of anarchism presents a productive framework for analyzing decentralized societies. Anarchism encompasses a broad array of interrelated principles for organizing societies without the centralization of authority. Moreover, its theory of history emphasizes an ongoing and active resistance to concentrations of power. We present an anarchist analysis of the development of social power, authority, and status within the Coast Salish region of the Northwest Coast. Coast Salish peoples exhibited complex displays of chiefly authority and class stratification but without centralized political organization. Ethnographically, their sociopolitical formation is unique in allowing a majority of "high-class" people and a minority of commoners and slaves, or what Wayne Suttles described as an "inverted-pear" society. We present the development of this sociopolitical structure through an analysis of cranial deformation from burial data and assess it in relation to periods of warfare. We determine that many aspects of Coast Salish culture include practices that resist concentrations of power. Our central point is that anarchism is useful for understanding decentralized (or anarchic) networks—those that allow for complex intergroup relations while staving off the establishment of centralized political authority.

      E. Cohen. The Evolution of Tag-Based Cooperation in Humans: The Case for Accent (p. 588)

      Notes: 3; References: 211

      Recent game-theoretic simulation and analytical models have demonstrated that cooperative strategies mediated by indicators of cooperative potential, or "tags," can invade, spread, and resist invasion by noncooperators across a range of population-structure and cost-benefit scenarios. The plausibility of these models is potentially relevant for human evolutionary accounts insofar as humans possess some phenotypic trait that could serve as a reliable tag. Linguistic markers, such as accent and dialect, have frequently been either cursorily defended or promptly dismissed as satisfying the criteria of a reliable and evolutionarily viable tag. This paper integrates evidence from a range of disciplines to develop and assess the claim that speech accent mediated the evolution of tag-based cooperation in humans. Existing evidence warrants the preliminary conclusion that accent markers meet the demands of an evolutionarily viable tag and potentially afforded a cost-effective solution to the challenges of maintaining viable cooperative relationships in diffuse, regional social networks.

      J.R. Wagner. Water and the Commons Imaginary (p. 617)

      Notes: 14; References: 105

      The term "commons" has come to signify a much broader set of meanings than that assigned to it by academic scholars. In public discourse, water is often referred to as a commons in situations where it exists as public property under the control of the state or as private property in the form of state-issued water licenses. In recent studies of the "new commons," such as music, the Internet, and policing, the term is used to signify virtually any form of collective interest or public good. In this paper, I argue that the term has come to constitute a kind of social imaginary with powerful political and ethical implications, especially with regard to water management. This has important implications for social scientists who seek to inform public debate on water issues. On the basis of research conducted in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, I argue that the notion of commons-as-social-imaginary maps much more accurately onto observable events than do conventional definitions of commons. I conclude with a discussion of the concept of distributed, multilevel governance, pointing out its congruence with the concept of commons-as-social-imaginary, and I propose a public anthropology research agenda that is reliant on both concepts.

      T.M. Waring. Cooperation Dynamics in a Multiethnic Society: A Case Study from Tamil Nadu (p. 642)

      Notes: 1; References: 35

      The importance of ethnic diversity in determining social outcomes and reducing generalized cooperation is increasingly well documented. Theory suggests that cooperation in human groups may depend on reciprocal altruism and frequency of contact, yet these factors have not been linked with ethnic diversity. This study explores how fine-scale components of cooperation—social exclusivity and reciprocity—relate to broad-scale social conditions—ethnic diversity and ethnic stratification—in villages in Tamil Nadu's Palani hills. Both ethnic diversity and ethnic stratification are associated with declines in indirect reciprocity, although stratification has a larger effect. In addition, stratification is linked to increased social exclusivity. Moreover, measures of direct reciprocity in the form of agricultural labor exchanges are uncorrelated with both diversity and stratification. These results imply (1) that ethnic stratification is more detrimental to cooperation than is ethnic diversity, (2) that social exclusivity and ethnic stratification are mutually reinforcing, and (3) that direct reciprocity is more robust to cooperative failure across ethnic boundaries than is indirect reciprocity. These results confirm and extend current theory of human cooperative regimes and may be of value for community development in multiethnic settings.

      Book and Film Reviews (p. 664): 6 reviews (Prophet, Pariah, and Pioneer: Walter W. Taylor and Dissension in American Archaeology; The Primate Mind: Built to Connect with Other Minds; Black Feminist Archaeology; The Republic of Therapy: Triage and Sovereignty in West Africa's Time of AIDS; An Anthropology of Ethics; Smokin' Fish).


    • Prof. B.V. Toshev
      Just Recieved (Subscription): CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press) [Journal Cover] Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology is a
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 9, 2012
      • 0 Attachment

        Just Recieved (Subscription):

        CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press)

        Journal Cover

        Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

        Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

        Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

        Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


        ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 53, Number 6, December 2012


        M. Tomasello, A.P. Melis, C. Tennie, E. Wyman, E. Herrmann. Two Key Steps in the Evolution of Human Cooperation (p. 673)

        Notes: 9; References: 128

        Modern theories of the evolution of human cooperation focus mainly on altruism. In contrast, we propose that humans' species-unique forms of cooperation—as well as their species-unique forms of cognition, communication, and social life—all derive from mutualistic collaboration (with social selection against cheaters). In a first step, humans became obligate collaborative foragers such that individuals were interdependent with one another and so had a direct interest in the well-being of their partners. In this context, they evolved new skills and motivations for collaboration not possessed by other great apes (joint intentionality), and they helped their potential partners (and avoided cheaters). In a second step, these new collaborative skills and motivations were scaled up to group life in general, as modern humans faced competition from other groups. As part of this new group-mindedness, they created cultural conventions, norms, and institutions (all characterized by collective intentionality), with knowledge of a specific set of these marking individuals as members of a particular cultural group. Human cognition and sociality thus became ever more collaborative and altruistic as human individuals became ever more interdependent.

        J. Gowlett, C. Gamble, R. Dunbar. Human Evolution and the Archaeology of the Social Brain (p. 693)

        Notes: 1; References: 312

        The picture of human evolution has been transformed by new evidence in recent years, but contributing disciplines seem to have difficulty in sharing knowledge on a common basis. The disciplines producing primary data in paleoanthropology scarcely reach out to a broader picture and are often bypassed by writers in other disciplines. Archaeology is encouraged by its material evidence to project a view that "what you see is what there was": by definition, there can be only a late flowering of human abilities. Yet there is a vital alternative paleontological record of the early hominins that gives us important information about their brains and suggests that brains become large and complex far earlier than that late material complexity might imply. How, then, to account for the large brains acting far back in time? Evolutionary psychology, in the form of the social brain hypothesis, claims that these large brains were concerned with managing a far-reaching social life. In becoming human, those brains did not merely become larger, but of necessity they took on new socialized perspectives, a domestication of emotional capacities allowing greater insights and collaboration. We argue that there is at least a 2-million-year social record that must be made part of mainstream interpretation.

        C.A. Kidron. Alterity and the Particular Limits of Universalism: Comparing Jewish-Israeli Holocaust and Canadian-Cambodian Genocide Legacies (p. 723)

        Notes: 29; References: 156

        This study compares the genocidal legacies of Cambodian-Canadian and Jewish-Israeli trauma descendants. Despite important contextual sociopolitical and historical differences, both case studies similarly deviate from the reductionist descendant profile of the pathological, publicly enlisted witness in search of redemptive testimonial voice. Findings thereby allow for a grounded deconstruction of the Euro-Western universalized semiotics of suffering. Set against the above similarities, key differences between Khmer and Jewish self-perceived sense of vulnerability/empowerment, lived experiences of memory and forgetting, and genocide-related moral modes of being not only challenge key axioms in the scholarship and in humanitarian practice but raise epistemological concerns regarding the constitutive role of cultural worldviews often marginalized in sociopolitical analyses.

        C. Wendland. Animating Biomedicine's Moral Order: The Crisis of Practice in Malawian Medical Training (p. 755)

        Notes: 20; References: 146

        The experiences of African students learning to be doctors in an underfunded Malawi hospital challenge the equation of biomedicine with values of reductionism, individualism, and detachment. Research on medical training in the North typically demonstrates that students become depoliticized, emotionally detached, cynical, and focused on the individual body and on opportunities for technological intervention. These changes often intensify as students transition from textbooks to the bedside. Malawi's students at the same juncture show a very different response. When they "turn theory into practice" on the crowded hospital wards, many are deeply troubled by the compromises that workload necessitates, their experiences of personal risk, and the poverty of their patients and of the health sector. Some seek escape. In a response that reflects regional concepts of healing, many reevaluate the purpose of medicine to incorporate a sense of connection with patients, a heightened political consciousness, and an analysis of clinical problems that attends to their social and public health roots. I use these data to argue that medical values (acquired in training or exported as medicine globalizes) form no durable or hegemonic moral order but rather a flexible moral economy that responds to conditions of practice.

        L.E. C. de Oliveira, T. Barreto, A. Begossi. Prototypes and Folk Taxonomy: Artisanal Fishers and Snappers on the Brazilian Coast (p. 789)

        Notes: 1; References: 40

        This study seeks to investigate the occurrence of prototypes in folk biology (specifically fisher folk taxonomy) and to understand the variables linked to their determination. A prototype is the most representative item within a group, category, or set of items. Given a group of fisher communities where snappers are fished, can we find prototypes in one locality and not in others? What are the variables that may be related to prototype determination in fisher folk knowledge? To answer these questions, we studied the folk taxonomy of snappers in five localities along the Brazilian coast by interviewing 88 fishermen and by collecting 239 specimens of 10 different species of Lutjanidae (snappers). We identified prototypes in two localities. Interestingly, the prototypes had the same basic folk names, but they correspond to different scientific species. On the basis of our data on fish landings, we observed that prototype species were relatively abundant in the area. Although size and color may play a role in prototype determination, they seemed less associated with prototypes than did relative abundance. These findings point in the direction of ecological salience as an indicator, in addition to morphological diagnostic characters, to explain the occurrence of prototypes in folk taxonomy.

        I. Barber. Gardens of Rongo: Applying Cross-Field Anthropology to Explain Contact Violence in New Zealand (p. 799)

        References: 46

        The scholarship of early-contact violence involving European voyagers and the first peoples of the Americas and Oceania is notable for divergent interpretations and debates around the methods and ethics of historical ethnography, as in the celebrated controversy over Captain James Cook's 1779 Hawaiian death. Scholars agree that this divergence is exacerbated by reliance on fragmentary or tendentious documentary sources. New research on the "first contact" in 1642 between a Dutch expedition and South Island New Zealand Mâori suggests the potential value of a cross-field anthropology to elucidate encounter violence. Archaeological, ethnobotanical, and anthropology of religion research results are reported so as to inform a cultural-landscape interpretation for the contact events of December 18 and 19, 1642. This provides for a new reading of the encounter around local perceptions of Dutch interests in kûmara (sweet potato) fields under tapu (a restricted, spiritually dangerous state) and the ritual care of the deity Rongo. Cross-field anthropology may yet encourage new collaborations in contact studies and prove useful in generating testable explanations of violent historical encounters where traditional accounts are sparse.

        Film & Book Reviews (p. 809): 5 reviews



      • Prof. B.V. Toshev
        Just Recieved (Subscription): CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press) [Journal Cover] Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology is a
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 24, 2013
        • 0 Attachment

          Just Recieved (Subscription):

          CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press)

          Journal Cover

          Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

          Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

          Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

          Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


          ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 53, Number 6S, December 2012


          L. C. Aiello, S.C. AntonHuman Biology and the Origins of Homo: An Introduction to Supplement 6 (p. S269)

          Notes: 70

          New fossil discoveries relevant to the origin of Homo have overturned conventional wisdom about the nature of the australopiths and early Homo, and particularly Homo erectus (including Homo ergaster). They have eroded prior assumptions about the differences between these genera and complicated interpretations for the origin and evolution of Homo. This special issue surveys what is now known about the fossil evidence and the environmental context of early Homo. It also moves beyond the hard evidence and sets the stage for integrated, multidisciplinary studies to provide a framework for interpretation of the hard evidence. The underlying premise is that to understand the adaptive shifts at the origin of Homo, it is essential to have a solid understanding of how and why modern humans and other animals vary. Contributors to this issue include paleoanthropologists, human biologists, behavorialists, and modelers. We tasked each with bringing her or his special expertise to bear on the question of the origins and early evolution of Homo. The papers in this collection are a product of a week-long Wenner-Gren symposium held in March 2011, and this introduction integrates this work and its significance for Homo.

          S.C. Anton. Early Homo: Who, When, and Where (p. S278)

          Notes: 5; References: 149

          The origin of Homo is argued to entail niche differentiation resulting from increasing terrestriality and dietary breadth relative to the better known species of Australopithecus (A. afarensis, A. anamensis, A. africanus). I review the fossil evidence from ∼2.5 to 1.5 Ma in light of new finds and analyses that challenge previous inferences. Minimally, three cranial morphs of early Homo (including Homo erectus) exist in eastern Africa (1.9–1.4 Ma), with at least two in southern Africa. Because of taphonomic damage to the type specimen of Homo habilis, in East Africa two species with different masticatory adaptations are better identified by their main specimen (i.e., the 1813 group and the 1470 group) rather than a species name. Until recently, the 1470 group comprised a single specimen. South African early Homo are likely distinct from these groups. Together, contemporary early H. erectus and early Homo are bigger than Australopithecus (∼30%). Early H. erectus (including recently discovered small specimens) is larger than non-erectus Homo (∼15%–25%), but their size ranges overlap. All early Homo are likely to exhibit substantial sexual dimorphism. Early H. erectus is less "modern" and its regional variation in size more substantial than previously allowed. These findings form the baseline for understanding the origin of the genus.

          R. Potts. Environmental and Behavioral Evidence Pertaining to the Evolution of Early Homo (p. S299)

          References: 120

          East African paleoenvironmental data increasingly inform an understanding of environmental dynamics. This understanding focuses less on habitat reconstructions at specific sites than on the regional trends, tempo, and amplitudes of climate and habitat change. Sole reliance on any one indicator, such as windblown dust or lake sediments, gives a bias toward strong aridity or high moisture as the driving force behind early human evolution. A synthesis of geological data instead offers a new paleoenvironmental framework in which alternating intervals of high and low climate variability provided the dynamic context in which East African Homo evolved. The Oldowan behavioral record presents further clues about how early Homo and Homo erectus responded to East African environmental change. Shifting conditions of natural selection, which were triggered by climatic variability, helped shape the adaptability of Oldowan hominins. Together, the behavioral and environmental evidence indicates the initial adaptive foundation for the dispersal of H. erectus and the persistence of Homo. In particular, overall dietary expansion made possible by the making and transport of stone tools compensated for increased locomotor and foraging costs and provided effective behavioral-ecological responses to resource instability during the early evolution of Homo.

          P.S. Ungar. Dental Evidence for the Reconstruction of Diet in African Early Homo (p. S318)

          Notes: 1; References: 121

          The reconstruction of diet is important for understanding the paleoecology and evolution of early hominins. This paper reviews and colligates the fossil evidence for diets of early Homo (Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus), particularly that related to tooth size, shape, structure, and wear. Technological innovations and new finds have led to improved understandings of feeding adaptations and food preferences in the earliest members of our genus. Differences in dental topography between these species and the australopiths, for example, have been documented, as have differences in microwear textures between H. habilis and H. erectus. These and other lines of evidence suggest a probable shift in diet in early Homo, and especially H. erectus, compared with their australopith forebears, with a broadened subsistence base to include foods with a wider range of fracture properties. Studies to date also make clear that while much remains to be done, early hominin teeth hold the potential to provide more detail about diet and confidence in our reconstructions as samples increase, our understanding of functional morphology improves, and other methods of analysis are applied to the fossils we have.

          T. W. HollidayBody Size, Body Shape, and the Circumscription of the Genus Homo (p. S330)

          Notes: 2; References: 148

          Since the 1984 discovery of the Nariokotome Homo erectus/Homo ergaster skeleton, it has been almost axiomatic that the emergence of Homo (sensu stricto) was characterized by an increase in body size to the modern human condition and an autapomorphic shift in body proportions to those found today. This was linked to a behavioral shift toward more intensive carnivory and wider ranging in the genus Homo. Recent fossil discoveries and reanalysis of the Nariokotome skeleton suggest a more complex evolutionary pattern. While early Homo tend to be larger than Australopithecus/Paranthropus, they were shorter on average than people today. Reanalysis of the Nariokotome pelvis along with the discovery of additional early and middle Pleistocene pelves indicate that a narrow bi-iliac (pelvic) breadth is an autapomorphy specific to Homo sapiens. Likewise, it appears that at least some early Homo (even those referred to H. ergaster/H. erectus) were characterized by higher humero-femoral indices than the H. sapiens average. All these data suggest a pattern of mosaic postcranial evolution in Homo with implications for the increased ranging/carnivory model of the origin of Homo as well as for which species are included within the Homo hypodigm.

          H. Pontzer. Ecological Energetics in Early Homo (p. S346)

          References: 100

          Models for the origin of the genus Homo propose that increased quality of diet led to changes in ranging ecology and selection for greater locomotor economy, speed, and endurance. Here, I examine the fossil evidence for postcranial change in early Homo and draw on comparative data from living mammals to assess whether increased diet quality has led to selection for improved locomotor performance in other lineages. Body mass estimates indicate early Homo, both males and females, were approximately 33% larger than australopiths, consistent with archeological evidence indicating an ecological change with the origins of our genus. However, many of the postcranial features thought to be derived in Homo, including longer hind limbs, are present in Australopithecus, challenging the hypothesis that early Homo is marked by significant change in walking and running performance. Analysis of energy budgets across mammals suggests that the larger body mass and increased diet quality in early Homo may reflect an increase in the hominin energy budget. Expanding the energy budget would enable greater investment in reproduction without decreasing energy available for larger brains or increased activity. Food sharing and increased adiposity, which decrease variance in food energy availability, may have been integral to this metabolic strategy.

          A.B.  Migliano, M. Guillon. The Effects of Mortality, Subsistence, and Ecology on Human Adult Height and Implications for Homo Evolution (p. S359)

          Notes: 1; References: 124

          The increase in body size observed with the appearance and evolution of Homo is most often attributed to thermoregulatory and locomotor adaptations to environment; increased reliance on animal protein and fat; or increased behavioral flexibility, provisioning, and cooperation leading to decreased mortality rates and slow life histories. It is not easy to test these hypotheses in the fossil record. Therefore, understanding selective pressures shaping height variability in living humans might help to construct models for the interpretation of body size variation in the hominins. Among human populations, average male height varies extensively (145 cm–183 cm); a similar range of variation is found in Homo erectus (including African and Georgian samples). Previous research shows that height in human populations covaries with life history traits and variations in mortality rates and that different environments affect adult height through adaptations related to thermoregulation and nutrition. We investigate the interactions between life history traits, mortality rates, environmental setting, and subsistence for 89 small-scale societies. We show that mortality rates are the primary factor shaping adult height variation and that people in savanna are consistently taller than people in forests. We focus on relevant results for interpreting the evolution of Homo body size variability.

          C.W. Kuzawa, J.M. BraggPlasticity in Human Life History Strategy: Implications for Contemporary Human Variation and the Evolution of Genus Homo (p. S369)

          References: 138

          The life history of Homo sapiens is characterized by a lengthy period of juvenile dependence that requires extensive allocare, short interbirth intervals with concomitantly high fertility rates, and a life span much longer than that of other extant great apes. Although recognized as species-defining, the traits that make up human life history are also notable for their extensive within- and between-population variation, which appears to trace largely to phenotypic and developmental plasticity. In this review, we first discuss the adaptive origins of plasticity in life history strategy and its influence on traits such as growth rate, maturational tempo, reproductive scheduling, and life span in modern human populations. Second, we consider the likely contributions of this plasticity to evolutionary diversification and speciation within genus Homo. Contrary to traditional assumptions that plasticity slows the pace of genetic adaptation, current empirical work and theory point to the potential for plasticity-induced phenotypes to "lead the way" and accelerate subsequent genetic adaptation. Building from this work, we propose a "phenotype-first" model of the evolution of human life history in which novel phenotypes were first generated by behaviorally or environmentally driven plasticity and were later gradually stabilized into species-defining traits through genetic accommodation.

          S. PfeifferConditions for Evolution of Small Adult Body Size in Southern Africa (p. S383)

          References: 122

          Discoveries from diverse locales indicate that early Homo was sometimes petite. Small body size among fossil forms is difficult to explain because its existence in modern human populations is not fully understood. The history, ethnography, genetics, and bioarchaeology of KhoeSan peoples of southern Africa are reviewed in the context of their small adult body size. Since the Middle Stone Age, at least some southern African foragers were petite. Throughout the Later Stone Age (LSA; the Holocene), most groups followed a mobile, coastally oriented foraging strategy that relied on small package size foodstuffs. Distinctive skeletal shape and allometry of LSA adult skeletons provide clues about selective factors. Neither dietary insufficiency nor heat dissipation models of selection apply in the LSA context. Energetics and avoidance of serious accidents may be relevant factors. An aspect of life history—the timing of cessation of growth—has been assessed by comparing dental and skeletal development within juvenile skeletons. After a slow start, LSA child growth shows a tempo like that of modern children and no evidence of early maturation. Among fossil or recent forms, small body size should be assessed not only as possible evidence of selection for smallness but also as evidence of the absence of selection for large body size.

          G.T. Schwartz. Growth, Development, and Life History throughout the Evolution of Homo (p. S395)

          References: 142

          For over a century, paleoanthropologists have listed the presence of prolonged periods of gestation, growth, and maturation, extremely short interbirth intervals, and early weaning among the key features that distinguish modern humans from our extant ape cousins. Exactly when and how this particular scheduling of important developmental milestones—termed a "life history profile"—came to characterize Homo sapiens is not entirely clear. Researchers have suggested that the modern human life history profile appeared either at the base of the hominin radiation (ca. 6 Ma), with the origins of the genus Homo (ca. 2.5 Ma), or much later in time, perhaps only with H. sapiens (ca. 200–100 Ka). In this short review, evidence of the pace of growth and maturation in fossil australopiths and early members of Homo is detailed to evaluate the merits of each of these scenarios. New data on the relationship between dental development and life history in extant apes are synthesized within the context of life history theory and developmental variation across modern human groups. Future directions, including new analytical tools for extracting more refined life history parameters as well as integrative biomechanical and developmental models of facial growth are also discussed.

          J. M. Plavcan. Body Size, Size Variation, and Sexual Size Dimorphism in Early Homo (p. S409)

          References: 119

          Size variation provides important clues about the taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and life history of extinct species. Body size variation in living species is commonly attributed to Bergmann's rule, resource availability, nutrition, local selection pressures, and sexual size dimorphism. While our understanding of the mechanisms producing size variation in living species has grown more sophisticated in recent years, our ability to apply this knowledge to the fossil record is limited by the quality of the available fossil and extant comparative samples. New discoveries of fossil Homo have expanded the known range of size variation and provide hints of geographic and temporal variation in size within and between named taxa and possible strong sexual size dimorphism. Even so, the range of size variation in Homo habilis/rudolfensis and Homo erectus matches or even is less than that seen in geographically restricted samples of living anthropoid primates. These observations dictate caution in interpreting the meaning of variation in early Homo but also underscore the critical necessity of improving comparisons of size among fossils and establishing an adequate comparative database of living species that allows us to discriminate between the effects of epigenetic and selective factors on the expression of variation.

          R. G. Bribiescas, P. T. Ellison, P. B. Gray. Male Life History, Reproductive Effort, and the Evolution of the Genus Homo: New Directions and Perspectives (p. S424)

          References: 111

          The evolution of male life history traits was central to the emergence of the genus Homo. Compared with earlier hominins, changes in the behavioral and physiological mechanics of growth, survivorship, reproductive effort, and senescence all likely contributed to shifts in how males contributed to the evolution of our genus. For example, the range of paternal investment in modern Homo sapiens is unusual compared with most mammals and primates, all but certainly contributing to the evolution of the suite of life history traits that define Homo, including high fertility, large bodies, altricial offspring, large brains, and long lives. Moreover, the extensive range of phenotypic and behavioral variation in somatic and behavioral reflections of male reproductive effort across modern H. sapiens is especially noteworthy. We propose that selection for a broad range of variation in traits reflective of male reproductive effort was important to the evolution of Homo. We examine factors that contribute to this variation, proposing that selection for paternal and somatic investment plasticity across the entire male life span was important for the evolution of Homo. Potential research strategies and directions for new research for exploring these issues in the fossil record are also discussed.

          J.E. Smith, E. M. Swanson, D. Reed, K.E. Holekamp. Evolution of Cooperation among Mammalian Carnivores and Its Relevance to Hominin Evolution (p. S436)

          References: 169

          Anthropological theory suggests direct links between the origins of cooperation in hominins and a shift toward an energy-rich diet. Although the degree to which early hominins ate meat remains controversial, here we reevaluate the notion, originally suggested by Schaller and Lowther in 1969, that mammalian carnivores can shed light on human origins. Precisely when cooperation evolved in hominins or carnivores is unknown, but species from both groups cooperatively hunt large game, defend resources, guard against predators, and rear young. We present a large-scale comparative analysis of extant carnivore species, quantifying anatomical, ecological, and behavioral correlates of cooperation to determine whether metabolic rate, body and relative brain size, life history traits, and social cohesion coevolved with cooperation. We focus heavily on spotted hyenas, which live in more complex societies than other carnivores. Hyenas regularly join forces with kin and nonkin to hunt large antelope and to defend resources during intergroup conflicts and disputes with lions. Our synthesis highlights reduced sexual dimorphism, increased reproductive investment, high population density, fission-fusion dynamics, endurance hunting of big game in open habitats, and large brains as important correlates of cooperation among carnivores. We discuss the relevance of our findings to understanding the origins of cooperation in hominins.

          K. Isler, C. P. van Schaik. How Our Ancestors Broke through the Gray Ceiling: Comparative Evidence for Cooperative Breeding in Early Homo (p. S453)

          References: 88

          The "expensive brain" framework proposes that the costs of an increase in brain size can be met by any combination of increasing the total energy turnover or reducing energy allocation to other expensive functions, such as maintenance (digestion), locomotion, or production (growth and reproduction). Here, we explore its implications for human evolution. Using both comparative data on extant mammals and life-table simulations from wild extant apes, we show that primates with a hominoid lifestyle face a gray ceiling that limits their brain size, with larger values leading to demographic nonviability. We argue that cooperative care provides the most plausible exaptation for the increase in brain size in the Homo lineage.

          J. C. K. WellsThe Capital Economy in Hominin Evolution: How Adipose Tissue and Social Relationships Confer Phenotypic Flexibility and Resilience in Stochastic Environments (p. S466)

          References: 175

          The global distribution of our species indicates a biology capable of adapting to an extraordinary range of ecosystems, generating interest in how such a biology evolved. Whereas much attention has been directed to genetic adaptation and developmental plasticity as adaptive strategies, ecological stochasticity within the life course may be addressed by additional strategies such as bet hedging and phenotypic flexibility. Both social relationships and adipose tissue may be considered as "energy capital" conferring reversible phenotypic flexibility across the life course. Evidence from primates and contemporary humans demonstrates the value of such energy capital in accommodating ecological uncertainty. The fact that Homo sapiens is characterized by high levels of both cooperative sociality and adiposity compared with extant apes suggests that ecological stochasticity may have been a key ecological stress in the evolution of our genus. The benefits of phenotypic flexibility for ecological risk management may have preceded and enabled the emergence of traits such as carnivory, encephalization, colonizing, and the maintenance of a single breeding species across diverse environments.

          S. C. Anton, J.J.Snodgrass. Origins and Evolution of Genus Homo: New Perspectives (p. S479)

          Notes: 2; References: 130

          Recent fossil and archaeological finds have complicated our interpretation of the origin and early evolution of genus Homo. Using an integrated data set from the fossil record and contemporary human and nonhuman primate biology, we provide a fresh perspective on three important shifts in human evolutionary history: (1) the emergence of Homo, (2) the transition between non-erectus early Homo and Homo erectus, and (3) the appearance of regional variation in H. erectus. The shift from Australopithecus to Homo was marked by body and brain size increases, a dietary shift, and an increase in total daily energy expenditure. These shifts became more pronounced in H. erectus, but the transformation was not as radical as previously envisioned. Many aspects of the human life history package, including reduced dimorphism, likely occured later in evolution. The extant data suggest that the origin and evolution of Homo was characterized by a positive feedback loop that drove life history evolution. Critical to this process were probably cooperative breeding and changes in diet, body composition, and extrinsic mortality risk. Multisystem evaluations of the behavior, physiology, and anatomy of extant groups explicitly designed to be closely proxied in the fossil record provide explicit hypotheses to be tested on future fossil finds.


          Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 24 March 2013

        • Prof. B.V. Toshev
          Just Recieved (Subscription): CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press) [Journal Cover] Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology is a
          Message 4 of 14 , Jul 10, 2013
          • 0 Attachment

            Just Recieved (Subscription):

            CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press)

            Journal Cover

            Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

            Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

            Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

            Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


            ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 1, February 2013


            L. Samimian-Darash. Governing Future Potential Biothreats: Toward an Anthropology of Uncertainty (p. 1)

            Notes: 25; References: 98

            Through analysis of preparedness for pandemic influenza in Israel, I explore how future uncertainty is conceptualized and the various practices put into action to deal with it. In particular, I discuss the emergence of a new type of uncertainty—potential uncertainty—and three technologies employed to cope with it: risk technology, preparedness technology, and event technology. Event technology emerges in the preparations for a potential uncertainty event—such as pandemic influenza. In contrast with the other two technologies, it acknowledges the problem of potential uncertainty and retains uncertainty through its action. Thus, uncertainty is not solely linked to the appearance of new risks in the world, which is the basis of the risk society approach (e.g., Beck 1992; Giddens 2000), nor is it related to the impossibility of calculating these risks, as the preparedness paradigm (e.g., Lakoff 2008) and science and technology studies argue. Rather, uncertainty underpins a technology through which the future, although not reducible to calculable forms, can still be governed. Employing the concept of potential uncertainty and considering the various technologies applied to management of the future allow for a more thorough discussion of problems of future uncertainty with which current societies are preoccupied.

            A. Testart. Reconstructing Social and Cultural Evolution: The Case of Dowry in the Indo-European Area (p. 23)

            Notes: 16; References: 144

            This article presents a systematic critique of phylogenetic linguistic methodology as applied to social or cultural data. The example that occasions this criticism is a 2006 article by Fortunato, Holden, and Mace on marriage transfers (dowry) in the Indo-European areas. The present article advances certain general proposals for methods of reconstructing the evolution of a custom or an institution. The concepts needed to properly consider the question of marriage transfers include the notion of combination and of differentiated social practice. After having reviewed the data from comparative anthropology and historical sources, the author concludes that the most plausible evolutionary scheme for the Indo-European area is the replacement of an ancient bridewealth, or a combination of bridewealth and dowry, by dowry.

            P. ShankmanThe "Fateful Hoaxing" of Margaret Mead: A Cautionary Tale (p. 51)

            Notes: 20; References: 81

            In the Mead-Freeman controversy, Derek Freeman's historical reconstruction of the alleged hoaxing of Margaret Mead in 1926 relied on three interviews with Fa'apua'a Fa'amū, Mead's "principal informant," who stated that she and another Samoan woman had innocently joked with Mead about their private lives. In turn, Freeman argued that Mead believed these jokes as the truth and that they were the basis for her interpretation of adolescent sex in Coming of Age in Samoa. The unpublished interviews with Fa'apua'a became the centerpiece of Freeman's second book on the controversy, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead (1999). Yet an analysis of Mead's relationship with Fa'apua'a demonstrates that she was not an informant for Mead on adolescent sex, and an examination of the three interviews used by Freeman does not support his interpretation of them. In fact, responding to direct questioning during the interviews, Fa'apua'a stated that Mead did not ask her questions about her own sexual conduct or about adolescent sexual conduct. Nor did she provide Mead with information on this subject. Crucial passages from these interviews were omitted by Freeman in his publications on the alleged hoaxing. Based on the interviews themselves, there is no compelling evidence that Mead was hoaxed.

            M. Mead (1901-1978)

            J. d'Alpoim Guedes, T. C. Bestor, D. Carrasco, R. Flad, E. Fosse, M. Herzfeld, C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, C.M. Lewis, M. Liebmann, R. Meadow, N. Patterson, M. Price, M. Reiches, S. Richardson, H. Shattuck-Heidorn, J. Ur, G. Urton, C. Warinner. Is Poverty in Our Genes? (p. 71)

            Notes: 4; References: 75

            We present a critique of a paper written by two economists, Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor, which is forthcoming in the American Economic Review and which was uncritically highlighted in Science magazine. Their paper claims there is a causal effect of genetic diversity on economic success, positing that too much or too little genetic diversity constrains development. In particular, they argue that "the high degree of diversity among African populations and the low degree of diversity among Native American populations have been a detrimental force in the development of these regions." We demonstrate that their argument is seriously flawed on both factual and methodological grounds. As economists and other social scientists begin exploring newly available genetic data, it is crucial to remember that nonexperts broadcasting bold claims on the basis of weak data and methods can have profoundly detrimental social and political effects.

            Discussions (p. 80): 3 contributions

            Reports (p. 85): 2 reports

            Book & Film Reviews (p. 104): 5 reviews.


            Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 10 July 2013

          • Prof. B.V. Toshev
            Just Recieved (Subscription): CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press) [Journal Cover] Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology is a
            Message 5 of 14 , Jul 11, 2013
            • 0 Attachment

              Just Recieved (Subscription):

              CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (Chicago University Press)

              Journal Cover

              Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

              Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

              Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

              Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


              ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 2, April 2013


              P. Leslie,  J. T. McCabe. Response Diversity and Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems (p. 114)

              Notes: 2; References: 102

              Recent work in ecology suggests that the diversity of responses to environmental change among species contributing to the same ecosystem function can strongly influence ecosystem resilience. To render this important realization more useful for understanding coupled human-natural systems, we broaden the concept of response diversity to include heterogeneity in human decisions and action. Simply put, not all actors respond the same way to challenges, opportunities, and risks. The range, prevalence, and spatial and temporal distributions of different responses may be crucial to the resilience or the transformation of a social-ecological system and thus have a bearing on human vulnerability and well-being in the face of environmental, socioeconomic, and political change. Response diversity can be seen at multiple scales (e.g., household, village, region), and response diversity at one scale may act synergistically with or contrary to the effects of diversity at another scale. Although considerable research on the sources of response diversity has been done, our argument is that the consequences of response diversity warrant closer attention. We illustrate this argument with examples drawn from our studies of two East African pastoral populations and discuss the relationship of response diversity to characteristics of social-ecological systems that can promote or diminish resilience.

              D. GerkeyCooperation in Context: Public Goods Games and Post-Soviet Collectives in Kamchatka, Russia (p. 144)

              Notes: 7; References: 143

              Economic game experiments have become a prominent method among social scientists developing and testing theories of cooperation. These games provide a valuable opportunity to generate measures of cooperation that can be compared from one place to the next, yet challenges remain in how to interpret cross-cultural differences in these experiments and connect them to cooperation in naturally occurring contexts. I address these challenges by examining framing effects in public goods games (PGGs) with salmon fishers and reindeer herders in Kamchatka, Russia. Combining standard versions of the game with versions that refer to post-Soviet institutions coordinating fishing and herding, I show that (1) average contributions in the PGG in Kamchatka are substantially higher than reported elsewhere and (2) framing the PGG alters the relationship between contributions and expectations, shifting strategies away from unconditional generosity and toward conditional cooperation. My analysis, by synthesizing quantitative analysis of PGG data with long-term qualitative ethnography, including extensive postgame interviews with participants, supports the notion that cooperation in economic games increases along with cultural norms, values, and institutions that emerge from economic interdependence. Framing effects suggest that researchers should devote more attention to investigating the relationship between contributions and expectations.

              A. AlviConcealment and Revealment: The Muslim Veil in Context (p. 177)

              Notes: 35; References: 100

              Analyzing ethnographic data of the Pakistani Punjab, the essay argues that the meaning of the concept of veiling is inseparable from its multiple and apparently unrelated expressions of shame and honor beyond the normally identified contexts of dress and female concerns. Muslim veiling is described as a fundamental value, as concealment counterpoised to the relative value of revealment, forming a permanent ontological statement of one's being in the world, that is, an ethical relation of the self with the other, while recognizing its nonethical aspects—the non-values. Thus it cautions against interpretations of the veil as a symbol representing something else, entailing implicit dualities like semiotic–practice, subject–object, category/rule–action, instrumental–religious. At the same time, the essay questions the imposition of the self, posits the other, and rethinks differences between cultures, integrations of minorities, ethics, freedom, tolerance, and recognition.

              D. Theodossopoulos. Infuriated with the Infuriated?: Blaming Tactics and Discontent about the Greek Financial Crisis (p. 200)

              Notes: 22; References: 113

              The austerity measures introduced as a response to the recent financial crisis in Greece have inspired a wave of discontent among local Greek actors. The latter declared themselves as "indignant" or "infuriated" with the austerity measures. Their indignation, as I demonstrate in this article, has been expressed in terms of diverse arguments that have either encouraged public protest or served as a critique of the protest in culturally intimate contexts. Here, I argue that the critical local discourse about the austerity measures does not merely represent an attempt to evade responsibility but a serious concern with accountability and the unsettling of moral community, which leads local actors to pursue their own interpretative trajectories. The resulting interpretations, in all their diversity, and despite the fact that they do not directly affect political decisions, provide local actors with a sense of discursive empowerment against their perceived peripheralization.

              R. W. Yerkes, R. Barkai. Tree-Felling, Woodworking, and Changing Perceptions of the Landscape during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods in the Southern Levant (p. 222)

              Notes: 5; References: 35

              Examination of 206 Neolithic and Chalcolithic bifaces from the southern Levant revealed that changes in form during the emergence of agropastoralism correlated with evolving land use practices, but new biface types also expressed altered social identities and perceptions of the environment. Nonfunctional groundstone pre-pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) bifaces seem to have served as social and status symbols, while flaked flint PPNA tranchet axes and chisels were used for carpentry rather than tree-felling. This pattern continued during the following early pre-pottery Neolithic B (EPPNB) period, but a new sharpening method, polishing, was used on a unique flint tranchet ax to strengthen its edge. By the MPPNB and LPPNB, heavier polished flint axes were used to clear forests for fields, grazing lands, wood fuel, and lumber. Sustainable forest management continued until the cumulative effects of tree-felling may have led to landscape degradation at the end of the PPNC. Adzes replace axes as heavy woodworking tools during the pottery Neolithic A (PNA) period, but by the PNB period, once again there are more carpentry tools than tree-felling bifaces. The trend is reversed again during the Chalcolithic, when the demand for fire wood, lumber, and cleared land seems to have increased during a time of emerging socioeconomic complexity.

              J. Stieglitz, M. Gurven, H. Kaplan, P.L. HooperHousehold Task Delegation among High-Fertility Forager-Horticulturalists of Lowland Bolivia (p. 232)

              Notes: 3; References: 40

              Human kin cooperation is universal, leading researchers to label humans as "cooperative breeders." Despite widespread interest in human cooperation, there has been no systematic study of how household economic decision making occurs. We document age and sex profiles of task delegation by parents to children ages 4–18 among Bolivian forager-horticulturalists. We test for sex differences in the probability of delegation and examine whether tasks are more likely delegated as household labor demand increases. We also test whether food acquisition tasks are more likely delegated to higher producers. We find mixed support for the prediction that girls are more likely delegated domestic and alloparenting tasks than boys ( children). Both sexes are more likely delegated tasks during rice harvest months; number of coresident young children is also associated with greater probability of delegated allocare, although the effect retains significance for girls only. For both sexes, father absence is associated with greater probability of delegation, particularly for food acquisition tasks. Children delegated rice harvesting achieve 45% higher mean daily caloric returns from harvesting than children not delegated harvesting. Our results therefore suggest that delegation increases household economic efficiency. We find mixed support for the hypothesis that delegation prepares children for sex-specific adult roles.

              Book & Film Reviews (p. 242): 5 reviews


              Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 11 July 2013

            • bvtoshev
              Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology  is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 6, 2013
              • 0 Attachment

                Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

                Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

                Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

                Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


                ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 4, August 2013


                C. Golden,A.K. SchererTerritory, Trust, Growth, and Collapse in Classic Period Maya Kingdoms (p. 397)

                Notes: 5; References: 311

                Drawing on theoretical understandings of the relationship between civil society and the state, the authors argue that the collapse of the kingdoms of Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan in the ninth century AD resulted from the same political processes that permitted the expansion of dynastic power in preceding centuries. Populations initially clustered around the dynastic capitals of these kingdoms, where daily spheres of interaction facilitated trust building among its residents. The image and performance of the polity was focused on the monarch, and participation in communal efforts, such as construction, warfare, and feasting, nurtured generalized trust within society as a whole, strengthening the polity. As populations expanded over the course of the Classic period and polities grew in territorial extent, spheres of interaction were more diffuse and trust-building efforts were increasingly focused on activities and individuals outside of the king and his court. The result was a breakdown of uniform trust across the kingdom and the failure of dynastic polities. Beyond a study of historical particularities in two kingdoms, this article is intended to suggest ways to more broadly frame interpretations of political processes in Maya polities within the broader context of ancient and modern complex societies worldwide. The model may also be applicable in other cultural contexts where emergent states contended with the challenges of maintaining coherency across an expanding territory.



                D. V. BurleyFijian Polygenesis and the Melanesian/Polynesian Divide (p. 436)

                Notes: 7; References: 160

                Cultural, linguistic, and phenotypic differences between Fijian and West Polynesian peoples demarcate the historically defined Melanesian/Polynesian divide. As both regions are claimed to have a common Lapita ancestry, the question of how Fijians became Fijian and not Polynesian is addressed. A 3,000-year-long process of polygenesis is argued, beginning initially with a founder event and interaction sphere discrete from West Polynesia. Polygenesis subsequently amplifies through engagement with and outright immigration by groups from both the west and east.

                S. PalmieMixed Blessings and Sorrowful Mysteries: Second Thoughts about “Hybridity” (p. 463)

                Notes: 31; References: 144

                In recent decades, approaches championing conceptions of hybridity and the hybrid have proliferated in our discipline. This has been hailed as, and may well represent, a salutary reaction against earlier tendencies toward reificatory holism in the construction of units of ethnographic description and analysis. Yet both current anthropological deployments (and critiques) of hybridity have not superseded a fundamentally questionable logic that mistakes the output of the operation of rules of discernment and discrimination inherent to human classificatory activity (including those variously in play in our own discipline) for more or less adequate descriptions of the world and its furniture. If, in this sense, anthropological analysis has long aimed to reveal the fundamentally arbitrary nature of socially operative categories of identity and difference through what Bowker and Star call strategic “inversions of classificatory infrastructures,” it stands to argue that we have neglected to submit our own practices of knowledge production to such metacategorical reflexivity. In failing to do so, we have tended to proceed from what Bakhtin calls “intentional hybridity” (i.e., deliberate translational commensuration across heterogeneous universes of discourse) to increasing degrees of operationally normalized “organic hybridity” that have come to inform our very conceptions of “the cultural.”


                L. MeskellUNESCO’s World Heritage Convention at 40: Challenging the Economic and Political Order of International Heritage Conservation (p. 483)

                Notes: 10; References: 55

                The year 2012 marked the fortieth anniversary of UNESCO’s 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. It remains the major international instrument for safeguarding the world’s heritage. The Convention’s most significant feature is its integration of the concepts of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties in a single treaty. Recognizing the increasing threats to natural and cultural sites, coupled with traditional conservation challenges, it was established as a new provision for the collective protection of heritage with outstanding universal value. This paper identifies three critical challenges that the World Heritage Convention faces today. Each of these has implications for how the international community chooses to identify, reify, protect, and promote something called “World Heritage” as a privileged category. These are the mounting challenges to expert opinions and decision making, the increasing and overt politicization of the World Heritage Committee, and UNESCO’s fiscal crisis exacerbated by the recent US financial withdrawal.

                B. Hayden. Hunting on Heaven and Earth: A Comment on Knight (p. 495)

                References: 11

                K. GagneGone with the Trees: Deciphering the Thar Desert’s Recurring Droughts (p. 497)

                Notes: 23; References: 76

                In the 10-year period between 1999 and 2009, the district of Barmer, located in the Marwar region of Rajasthan, India, experienced 7 years of rainfall deficits, as well as instances of excessive rainfall. This increased variability in rainfall patterns in an area largely covered by the Thar Desert ‘has exacerbated the region’s already precarious environmental and land conditions. This article is based on ethnographic research conducted in this part of India, which is impacted by the numerous social, economic, and environmental outcomes of successive extreme weather events. It discusses the transformation of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert by drawing the outlines of the recent environmental history and by exposing local farmers’ articulation of these changes. The meanings and subjectivities with which rural Rajasthan is endowed and which constitute farmers’ identity are also addressed through the examination of the cultural construction of place. The analysis reveals that people’s understanding of environmental change is intertwined with their broader worldview and their relationship with the elements that compose their immediate landscape. The author argues that a comprehensive understanding of the impact of climate change can only be reached by according more attention to the cultural dimensions of places.


                P. M. GardnerUnderstanding Anomalous Distribution of Hunter-Gatherers: The Indian Case (p. 510)

                References: 40

                Given the region’s long history of civilization, a claim that India is home to 25% of the world’s present-day and recent hunter-gatherers seems both unlikely and counterintuitive. Research on seven South Indian foraging cultures reveals, however, that three accommodating aspects of Hindu culture may have served to protect them from assimilation pressure until the twentieth century. First, because they are a source of valued forest trade goods, they can be viewed as yet another occupational specialist group within the larger system. Second, unlike true aliens, they are considered to be kindred peoples who need merely to give lip service to Hindu notions of propriety. Third, due to several of their practices, they are seen as being pure by analogy with simple, forest-dwelling Hindu ascetics. Accepted and valued by Hindus for what they are, there has been minimal pressure to draw the hunter-gatherers into the larger society as any other kind of specialist.

                Book Reviews (p. 514): 5 reviews


                Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 6 Oct 2013

              • Borislav Toshev
                Editor: Mark Aldenerfer Current Anthropology  is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 20, 2013
                • 0 Attachment

                  Editor: Mark Aldenerfer

                  Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. Communicating across the sub-fields, the journal features papers in a wide variety of areas, including social, cultural, and physical anthropology as well as ethnology and ethnohistory, archaeology and prehistory, folklore, and linguistics.

                  Impact Factor: IF(2010)=2.449

                  Availability: I have an access to the whole massive of papers published from 1959 (Volume 1) to today.


                  ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 5, October 2013


                  T.J. Csordas. Morality as a Cultural System? (p. 523)

                  Notes: 21; References: 176

                  In the past decade the anthropological study of morality has begun to coalesce in a more or less programmatic form. I outline this development and raise several issues that must be addressed if it is to be intellectually successful. Foremost among these is the necessity to take into account the problem of evil as constitutive of an anthropological approach to morality, since if it were not for evil morality would be moot. In order best to take advantage of preexisting resources in the field, I examine anthropological literature on witchcraft as the area most likely to yield insights on evil. Based on this discussion I conclude with a proposal for how we might construe evil as an analytic category within the anthropological study of morality and a reflection on whether it is useful to consider morality as a cultural system.

                  M. Blaser. Ontological Conflicts and the Stories of Peoples in Spite of Europe: Toward a Conversation on Political Ontology (p. 547)

                  Notes: 33; References: 111

                  Ontological conflicts (conflicts involving different assumptions about “what exists”) are gaining unprecedented visibility because the hegemony of modern ontological assumptions is undergoing a crisis. Such crisis provides the context and rationale for political ontology, a “project” that, emerging from the convergence of indigenous studies, science and technology studies (STS), posthumanism, and political ecology, tackles ontological conflicts as a politicoconceptual (one word) problem. Why? First, because in order to even consider ontological conflicts as a possibility, one must question some of the most profoundly established assumptions in the social sciences, for instance, the assumptions that we are all modern and that the differences that exist are between cultural perspectives on one single reality “out there.” This rules out the possibility of multiple ontologies and what is properly an ontological conflict (i.e., a conflict between different realities). Second, because ontological conflicts pose the challenge of how to account for them without reiterating (and reenacting) the ontological assumption of a reality “out there” being described. To tackle this politicoconceptual problem, I discuss the notion of an all-encompassing modernity and its effects, present the political ontology project, and offer a story of the present moment where the project makes sense.

                  T.W. Killion. Nonagricultural Cultivation and Social Complexity: The Olmec, Their Ancestors, and Mexico’s Southern Gulf Coast Lowlands (p. 569)

                  Notes: 19; References: 239

                  Early civilization has been envisioned as a child of agriculture, a product of the Neolithic revolution proposed by V. Gordon Childe. However, archaeological and ethnographic records worldwide are replete with complex hunter-gatherers who rely on both wild and domesticated resources. Researchers now recognize that mixed or largely nonagricultural subsistence practices frequently supported sedentary groups and larger complex societies before agriculture dominated subsistence around the world. This article builds on a mixed/nonagricultural model proposed by several authors for one of Mesoamerica’s earliest complex societies, the Early Formative Olmec (1200–400 BC) of Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast lowlands. Presentation of the nonagricultural model seeks to expand the lexicon of early subsistence in the tropical lowlands and introduces mixed subsistence hunter-fisher-gardeners for the early Gulf Coast lowlands in the millennia before the Olmec proper. Paleobotanical evidence of maize and Early Formative artifact assemblages are examined for goodness of fit with the mixed model at the Formative Olmec centers of San Lorenzo Tenochtilan and La Venta and related sites in Veracruz and Tabasco, Mexico. Available data strongly recommend further testing of the nonagricultural model in the southern Gulf Coast lowlands and beyond.



                  J. McCorriston. Pastoralism and Pilgrimage: Ibn Khaldūn’s Bayt-State Model and the Rise of Arabian Kingdoms (p. 607)

                  Notes: 1; References: 281

                  Some 600 years ago, Arab historian Ibn Khaldūn wrote a theory of history in which he suggested a cyclical model of state formation and dissolution linked to ‘aṣabīyah, translated as “group feeling.” ‘Aṣabīyah is born out of shared desert hardship among the mobile bedouin, kinship relations, and catalyzed by charismatic leadership. Ibn Khaldūn’s theory emphasizes social relations over a material economic base rooted in environmental conditions and has been largely ignored by anthropology. This theory provides an appropriate model for the emergence of Arabian complex societies in the first millennium BC, an outcome little influenced by the social dynamics of state formation in surrounding regions like Egypt and Mesopotamia. Traditional materialist models of the development of highly complex societies rely on material sources of power and authority. These models anticipate an amplification of elites’ network alliances through wealth exchanges (supported by surplus production) or competitive appropriation and redistribution of surplus. In the southern Arabian highlands, archaeological data provide little support for these models but instead suggest that the emergence of Arabian kingdoms is best explained as the appropriation of local institutions of social constitution by charismatic leaders to federalize social identities while transforming kinship relations into patron-client classes.

                  K. Hirth, J. Pillsbury. Redistribution and Markets in Andean South America (p. 642)

                  Notes: 2; References: 67

                  Discussions of Andean economy have traditionally emphasized the role of redistribution and other noncommercial forms of interaction in Inka society. The discussion presented here suggests that the model of centralized, noncommercial distribution does not accurately reflect the variation of economic structures present across the Inka empire or the diversity of economic practices in pre-Inka periods. Forms of reciprocal commercial exchange and even marketplaces were likely found throughout the Andes at different points in time.

                  Book and Film Reviews (p. 648): 4 reviews (Dueling Banjos in the Evolutionary Study of Human Social Behavior; Exposing Gendercide in India and China; A “Black Hole” of Imperial Amnesia; A Fresh Look at Old Meat)


                  Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 20 Oct 2013

                • Borislav Toshev
                  JUST RECEIVED ... ================= ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 6, December 2013 ================= J. Robb . Material Culture, Landscapes of
                  Message 8 of 14 , Feb 24, 2014
                  • 0 Attachment

                    JUST RECEIVED ...

                    Current Anthropology

                    ToC:   Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 6, December 2013
                    J. Robb. Material Culture, Landscapes of Action, and Emergent Causation: A New Model for the Origins of the European Neolithic (p. 657)
                    Notes: 4; References: 150
                    After a century of research, there is still no widely accepted explanation for the spread of farming in Europe. Top-down explanations stress climate change, population increase, or geographic diffusion, but they distort human action reductionistically. Bottom-up explanations stress the local, meaningful choices involved in becoming a farmer, but they do not account for why the Neolithic transition in Europe was so widespread and generally unidirectional. The real problem is theoretical; we need to consider the transformative effects of human–material culture relationships and to relate humans, things, and environments at multiple scales. This article views the Neolithic as a set of new human-material relationships which were experimented with variably but which had unintended consequences resulting in an increasingly coherent, structured, and narrowly based social world. This interplay of local human action and emergent causation made the Neolithic transition difficult to reverse locally; the Neolithic was easy to get into but hard to get out of. On the continental scale, one consequence of this was its slow, patchy, but steady and ultimately almost complete expansion across Europe. As a metamodel, this accommodates current models of the local origin of farming while linking these to emergent large-scale historical patterns.

                    P. M. Rice. Texts and the Cities: Modeling Maya Political Organization (p. 684)

                    Notes: 28; References: 193

                    Classic lowland Maya political organization and practice are poorly understood. The scaffold for elucidating these phenomena has been built through epigraphic decipherments, but Classic texts provide only terse records of dynasts, their achievements, and event histories, rather than exegeses of pragmatic state functioning. Nonetheless, Mayanists continue to privilege these texts over other kinds of evidence. Here I critique this logocentric position, arguing (1) that to understand Classic political order and practice, it is necessary to build and explore (i.e., test) models of organization incorporating multiple kinds of data, archaeological as well as epigraphic. I focus on modeling broad principles of geopolitical organization, arguing (2) that the basis of Maya rulers’ power was “control” of time, with cities rotating in and out of power according to calendrical intervals of varying length. Moving in retrograde chronology, from recent times back into the Classic period, I argue (3) that support for a calendrically based model of geopolitical order can be recovered from varied sources, including ethnohistoric data, indigenous texts from the Colonial period, and patterning in various kinds of material culture such as architectural and iconographic programs, dated stelae, periods of site florescence, and site-size hierarchies, along with toponym distributions.

                    E. Wilf. Toward an Anthropology of Computer-Mediated, Algorithmic Forms of Sociality (p. 716)

                    Notes: 21; References: 97

                    This article argues that contemporary, computer-mediated, algorithmic forms of sociality problematize a long and major tradition in cultural anthropology, which has appropriated the notion of artistic style to theorize culture as a relatively distinct, coherent, and durable configuration of behavioral dispositions. The article’s ethnographic site is a lab in a major institute of technology in the United States, in which computer scientists develop computerized algorithms that are able to simulate the improvisation styles of past jazz masters and mix them with one another to create new styles of improvisation. The article argues that the technology that allows the scientists to simulate and mix styles is playing an increasingly important role in mediating contemporary forms of sociality over the Internet and that the anthropological tradition that has theorized culture as artistic style has to be reconfigured to account for the dynamic nature of these contemporary forms of sociality not as styles but as styles of styling styles.

                    G.J. Kunnath. Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemmas: Reflections from the Maoist Fields of India (p. 740)

                    Notes: 19; References: 71

                    Anthropology has a long tradition of engagement, and every form of engagement poses dilemmas. This article discusses anthropological engagement with marginalized communities living in the midst of armed violence and examines the dilemmas posed by such engagement. Drawing on my long-term ethnographic research in the context of the ongoing Maoist insurgency and counterinsurgency in India, here I discuss anthropological positionings, ethics, and fieldwork practices in “fields under fire.” I reflect on the ethics of taking sides in a situation where my research participants were involved in a struggle for dignity and justice. Engagement in this context posed further ethical dilemmas since many of my research participants were members of an organization banned by the Indian state, and their struggle often took violent forms. While exploring the significance of undertaking a morally and politically engaged anthropology among vulnerable communities, I discuss the potential problems of identifying with and writing from the vantage point of a particular community and political practice.

                    D. Hicks. Four-Field Anthropology: Charter Myths and Time Warps from St. Louis to Oxford (p. 753)

                    Notes: 23; References: 80

                    he four-field model of anthropology is conventionally understood to have begun with a paper read by Franz Boas in St. Louis in 1904. Publishing for the first time a drawing made by Augustus Pitt-Rivers in England in 1882, this paper rethinks this proposition by making two arguments. First, the paper explores the role of the classificatory anthropology of the 1870s and 1880s on both sides of the Atlantic in the emergence of the idea of organizing anthropological knowledge. It suggests that this emergence was bound up with the problem of classifying anthropological knowledge in material form in European and North American museums. Second, the paper considers how our knowledge of the discipline's past can develop from the study of objects and documents (rather than only through rereading anthropologists' published texts), in a manner akin to documentary archaeology. In this respect, the anthropological problem of organizing knowledge in material form is still with us, but with a new challenge: How adequate are our current forms of disciplinary historiography for the use of material evidence? Rather than proposing a new set of “charter myths,” the paper explores writing the history of four-field anthropology as a form of material culture studies or historical archaeology (in other words, as a subfield of anthropology), working with the “time warps” created by museums and archives in which disciplinary history is not always already written.

                    N.C. Kawa, C. McCarty, C.R. Clement. Manioc Varietal Diversity, Social Networks, and Distribution Constraints in Rural Amazonia (p. 764)

                    References: 34

                    Social exchange networks play a critical role in the maintenance and distribution of crop diversity in smallholder farming communities throughout the world. The structure of such networks, however, can both support and constrain crop diversity and its distribution. This report examines varietal distribution of the staple crop manioc among rural households in three neighboring caboclocommunities in Brazilian Amazonia. The results show that the centrality of households in exchange networks had no significant correlation with the number of manioc varieties maintained by households. However, household centrality did show a significant correlation with households’ perceived knowledge of manioc cultivation as well as the total area of manioc they cultivated. Although households with the most knowledgeable and active producers played a central role in the distribution of planting materials and manioc varieties, they did not maintain higher varietal diversity than more peripheral households in this study. This case study represents an important example of how social networks can constrain varietal distribution and contribute to low crop diversity in agricultural communities.

                    Book & Film Reviews (p. 771): 5 reviews


                    Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 24 Feb 2014

                  • Borislav Toshev
                    JUST RECEIVED ... ====================== ToC: Current Anthropology , Volume 55, Number 1, February 2014 =======================
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 29, 2014
                    • 0 Attachment

                      JUST RECEIVED ...


                      ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 55, Number 1, February 2014



                      If you are interested in some of the articles listed, do not hesitate to contact me.

                      Some of the illustrations from the present issue:

                      from: Maria Nieves Zedeño, Jesse A. M. Ballenger, and John R. Murray


                      Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 29 March 2014

                      Professor B.V. Toshev,

                      University of Sofia,
                      1 James Bourchier Blvd.
                      1164 Sofia, BULGARIA
                    • Borislav Toshev
                      CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY ISSN 0011-3204 (UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS) ==================== ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 55, Number 6, December 2014
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 10
                      • 0 Attachment



                        ToC: Current Anthropology, Volume 55, Number 6, December 2014


                        H. Whitehouse, J.A. Lanman. The Ties That Bind Us: Ritual, Fusion, and Identification (pp. 674-695)

                        References: 176

                        T.W. Holliday, J.R. Gauthey, L. Friedl. Right for the Wrong Reasons: Reflections on Modern Human Origins in the Post-Neanderthal Genome Era (pp. 696-724)

                        Notes: 3; References: 241

                        M. Lovschal. Emerging Boundaries: Social Embedment of Landscape and Settlement Divisions in Northwestern Europe during the First Millennium BC (pp. 725-750)

                        Notes: 3; References: 171

                        B. Chapais. Complex Kinship Patterns as Evolutionary Constructions, and the Origins of Sociocultural Universals (pp. 751-783)

                        Notes: 1; References: 242

                        D. Rosenberg, D. Nadel. The Sounds of Pounding: Boulder Mortars and Their Significance to Natufian Burial Customs (pp. 784-812)

                        References: 156

                        P. Ibbotson. Little Dictators: A Developmental Meta-analysis of Prosocial Behavior (pp. 814-821)

                        Notes: 1; References: 58

                        C. Llano, A. Ugan. Alternative Interpretations of Intermediate and Positive d13C Isotope Signals in Prehistoric Human Remains from Southern Mendoza, Argentina: The Role of CAM Species Consumption (pp. 822-831)

                        References: 58

                        BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS: Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary (2013); Religious Objects in Museums: Private Lives and Public Duties (2013); A Pueblo Social History: Kinship, Sodality, and Community in the Northern Southwest (2014); Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism (2014); The “community of the house”: Religion, marriage strategies, and transnational identity of Turkish Alawi/Nusairi migrants in Germany (2010).


                        Reviewed by B.V. Toshev

                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.