JOURNAL of
ANTHROPOLOGICAL
RESEARCH
Volume 54, Number 2, Abstracts





Home Page Index of Abstracts Manuscript Information Subscription Information


ONLY WOMEN KNOW TREES: MEDICINE WOMEN AND THE ROLE OF HERBAL HEALING IN TUAREG CULTURE

Susan J. Rasmussen
Department of Anthropology, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5882

In anthropology, there has been concern with mediating figures - African griots, hunters, and smiths/artisans - and other ritual specialists, who tread across natural and cultural boundaries and negotiate different social interests. There has also been concern with traditional healers and alternative medical systems - for example, herbalism and midwifery - and their cultural survival in confronting established medicine, official religion, and nation-state politics. This article examines the role of herbal medicine women among the Tuareg, a seminomadic, socially stratified, Islamic people in the Republic of Niger, West Africa. Contemporary descent and inheritance forms include pre-Islamic matrilineal influences alongside the patrilineal influences of Islam. Of particular interest here is the relationship between herbal medicine women and Islamic scholars, with whom they work closely in their healing specialties, as mediators and facilitators. I show how herbal medicine women, in their herbal and psychosocial healing of women's gynecologcial and marital problems, negotiate wider contradictions and conflicts in Tuareg society. I argue that, in order to avoid challenging male Islamic authorities, women herbalists/healers must keep a low profile and accept a specialized niche. They negotiate, but also transform and reinterpret, a series of dynamic, contested spheres in Tuareg culture and society. I examine how far these roles result in medicine women's own marginalization and also sometimes compromise the interests of Tuareg women in disputed issues of fertility, descent, relatedness, and ownership. I conclude by discussing the implications of medicine women's strategic preservation of their roles for the future of Tuareg herbal healing and its predominantly female clientele.


WIDOW INHERITANCE AMONG THE MARAGOLI OF WESTERN KENYA

Edwins Laban Moogi Gwako
Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130

I examine continuity and change in the practice of widow inheritance among the Maragoli of western Kenya. I argue that the practice benefits and serves different and sometimes conflicting interests for various groups of men and women. The lived experiences and perspectives of Maragoli widows with regard to this practice are not homogenous, and, therefore, they cannot be said to have a single and invariant preference. The results of this study show that although widow inheritance still obtains among the Maragoli, signs of an impending change are appearing as more economically secure and resource-owning widows become increasingly assertive of their right to make independent decisions about what to do with their lives.


HOW CABEZA DE VACA LIVED WITH, WORKED AMONG, AND FINALLY LEFT THE INDIANS OF TEXAS

Nancy P. Hickerson
Department of Anthropology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was one of c. 250 members of Panfilo de Narvaez's Florida campaign who, in November of 1528, were shipwrecked on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Over the following six years, he lived for protracted periods with four aboriginal bands, he spent a period of two or three years as an itinerant trader, and he gained some degree of proficiency in six native languages. Cabeza de Vaca's account of his own activities, observations of cultural detail, and statements of intent make it possible to infer the nature of the strategy that led him, together with his three companions, from central Texas to western Mexico, where they arrived in April 1536. This strategy rested primarily on hard-won knowledge of native economic patterns, social networks, and trade relations.


OF TRADE AND COGNITION: MARKETS AND THE LOSS OF FOLK KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE TAWAHKA INDIANS OF THE HONDURAN RAIN FOREST

Ricardo Godoy
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainseville, FL 32611-7305
Nicholas Brokaw
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Manomet, MA 02345
David Wilkie
Associates in Forest Research and Development, Waltham, MA 02154
Daniel Colon, Adam Palermo, Suzanne Lye, and Stanley Wei
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

A Ricardian trade model is used to generate hypotheses about the effect of markets on indigenous people's loss or retention of folk knowledge. The model suggets that people should specialize in extracting fewer forest goods as village economies open up to trade with the outside world. Eighty Tawahka Indians (Honduras) from two villages with different degrees of exposure to the market took tests to measure their knowledge of local rain forest plants and animals. Results of multivariate analysis suggest that markets are associated with different patterns of erosion/retention of indigenous knowledge. Integration into the market through the sale of agricultural crops or labor was associated with less knowledge of plants and animals, but integration into the market through the sale of timber and nontimber forest goods was associated with higher test scores in knowledge of plants and animals. People who specialize in the sale of timber and nontimber forest goods seemed to know more about plants and animals with commercial value.


BOOK REVIEWS

Human Paleopathology and Related Subjects: An International Bibliography. Rose A Tyson, ed. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Man, 1997, xx + 716 pp., 6 computer disks. $75.00, paper. Reviewed by Jane Buikstra, Kevin O'Briant and Paula Tomczak, University of New Mexico.

Journal of Caribbean Studies Special Issue: Health and Disease in the Caribbean, vol. 12, no. 1. R.A. Halberstein, ed. Lexington, Ky.: Association of Caribbean Studies, 1997, 157 pp., $19.95, paper. Reviewed by Joel D. Irish, University of New Mexico.

The Channeling Zone. Michael F. Brown. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997, 236 pp. $22.00, cloth. Reviewed by Philip K. Bock, University of New Mexico.

Drawn from African Dwellings. Jean-Paul Bourdier and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997, 334 pp., 225 black-and-white photos, 151 Illustrations. $59.95, cloth. Reviewed by Peter Nabokov, University of California, Los Angeles.

La Fiesta de los Toastoanes: Critical Encounters in Mexican Festival Performance. Olga Najera-Ramirez. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1997, viii + 187 pp., 3 maps, 1 figure, 14 halftones. $50.00, cloth. Reviewed by Sylvia Rodriguez, University of New Mexico.

Bulls, Bullfighting, and Spanish Identities. Carrie B. Douglass. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1997, xii + 245 pp., 16 black-and-white illustrations. $35.00, cloth. Reviewed by Timothy Mitchell, Texas A&M University.

Sea Hunters of Indonesia: Fishers and Weavers of Lamalera. R.H. Barnes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997, xxii + 467 pp., 49 plates, 28 figures, 4 maps. $98.00, cloth. Reviewed by Susan D. Russell, Northern Illinois University.

Wandering Peoples: Colonialism, Ethnic Spaces, and Ecological Frontiers in Northwestern Mexico, 1700-1850. Cynthia Radding. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997, 432 pp., illustrations, maps. $59.95, cloth; $19.95, paper. Reviewed by Janine Gasco, Institute of Archaeology, University of California-Los Angeles.

Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality. Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang, eds. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997, xii + 331 pp., 9 halftones, $44.95, cloth; $19.95, paper. Reviewed by Jay Miller, Simon-Fraser University.

The Feast of the Sorcerer: Practices of Consciousness and Power. Bruce Kapferer. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1997, xix + 367 pp. $71.50, cloth; $30.25, paper. Reviewed by Graham Dwyer, University of Oxford.

Naked Science: Anthropological Inquiry into Boundaries, Power, and Knowledge. Laura Nader, ed. New York: Routledge, 1996, xvi + 318 pp. $22.95, paper. Reviewed by Terre Satterfield, Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon.

Oediups Ubiquitous: The Family Complex in World Folk Literature. Allen W. Johnson and Douglas Price-Williams. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1996, xv + 342 pp. $49.50, cloth; $17.95, paper. Reviewed by Dan W. Forsyth, University of Southern Colorado.

Own or Other Culture. Judith Okely. London and New York: Routledge, 1996, x + 244 pp., 19 figures. $64.95, cloth; $17.95, paper. Reviewed by Fran Mascia-Lees, Simon's Rock College of Bard.

Playing on the Mother-Ground: Cultural Routines for Children's Development. David F. Lancy. New York: The Guilford Press, 1996, xii + 240 pp. $35.00, cloth; $17.95, paper. Reviewed by Simon Ottenberg, University of Washington.

Refugees in America in the 1990s: A Reference Handbook. David W. Haines, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996, x + 467 pp. $79.50,cloth; $24.00, paper. Reviewed by Steven R. Nachman, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

The Rise and Fall of Culture History R. Lee Lyman, Michael J. O'Brien, and Robert C. Dunnell. New York and London: Plenum Press, 1997, xiv + 271 pp., 4 tables, 26 figures. $45.00, cloth; $24.50, paper. Reviewed by James E. Snead, University of Arizona.

Archaeology of the Mid-Holocene Southeast. Kenneth E. Sassaman and David G. Anderson, eds. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996, xx + 387 pp., 89 figures, 15 tables. $60.00, cloth. Reviewed by Jay K. Johnson, University of Mississippi.

Presenting Archaeology to the Public: Digging for Truths. John H. Jameson, Jr., ed. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 1997, 288 pp. $49.00, cloth; $24.95, paper. Reviewed by Christopher Matthews, Columbia University.

The Archaeology of Ethnicity: Constructing Identities in the Past and Present. Sian Jones. London and New York: Routledge, 1997, xiv + 180 pp., 8 figures. $65.00, cloth; $18.95, paper. Reviewed by Bettina Arnold, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg. Richard Handler and Eric Gable. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997, x + 260 pp., black-and-white halftones. $49.95, cloth; $16.95, paper. Reviewed by James L. Garvin, New Hampshire Department of Cultural Affairs.

Wandering Villages: Pit Structures, Mobility and Agriculture in Southeastern Arizona. Patricia A. Gilman. Anthropological Research Papers no. 49. Tempe: Arizona State University, 1997, xii + 216 pp., 53 figures, 54 tables. $25.00, paper. Reviewed by Bruce B. Huckell and Lisa W. Huckell, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.

The Island Melanesians. Matthew Spriggs. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1997, xvi + 326 pp., 41 figures, 3 tables. $59.95, cloth. Reviewed by Patrick V. Kirch, University of California, Berkeley.

Continent of Hunter-Gatherers: New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory. Harry Lourandos. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997, xvii + 390 pp., maps, black-and-white photos. $69.95, cloth; $24.95, paper. Reviewed by Richard A. Gould, Brown University.

Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa: Archaeology, History, Languages, Cultures and Environments. Joseph O. Vogel., ed. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 1997, 605 pp., 70 figures, 24 tables. $125.00, cloth. Reviewed by Detlef Gronenborn, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The Archaeology of Iberia: The Dynamics of Change. M. Diaz-Andreu and S. Keay, eds. London: Routledge, 1997, xvi + 314 pp., $75.00, cloth. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

La Circulation des Matieres Premieres au Paleolithique. 2 vols. J. Feblot-Augustins. Liege: Etudes et Recherches Archaeologiques de l'Universite de Liege, 1997; vol 1, 275 pp of text; vol 2, 135 figures, 38 summary tables, and 74 inventory tables. 1,500 Belgian francs, paper. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

Beyond Art: Pleistocene Image and Symbol. M. Conkey, O. Soffer, D. Stratmann, and N. Jablonski, eds. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences, 1997, 378 pp. $55.00, cloth; $35.00, paper. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

Projectile Technology. Heidi Knecht, ed. New York: Plenum, 1997, xvii + 408 pp. $59.50, cloth. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.