Two key aspects of social and Cultural anthropology are comparison and reflexivity. For a genuinely empirical anthropology, these must be mutually engaged. In exploring various kinds of comparison-- from formal intercommunal analyses to comparisons between nation-states, between anthropology and its cultural objects, and between anthropological and other kinds of writing-- the anthropologist's personal trajectory is critically influential on choices made and paths taken. In contemplating my earliest work in Greece, my decision to compare forms of identity in Greece and Italy, and a recent move to the geographically broader framework offered by including Thailand, I have also had to consider the role of the differently situated anthropologists (e.g., local as opposed to foreign), points in career trajectory and developing linguistic competences, and shifting epistemological contexts. As a result, over time, I have found the linkage between comparison and reflexivity increasingly central to the empirical understanding of social and cultural phenomena.
Susan J. Rasmussen
Among the Tuareg of Niger, West Africa, much local cultural imagery identifies aging with increasing devotion to prayer and greater participation in rites of passage. It contrasts these activities to evening musical festivals classified by many as "anti-Islamic" and which are identified with youth. These ritual and festival frames and their age tropes reveal struggles, as well as interdependencies, among older persons and their children in marriage and household concerns, as well as in wider upheavals in Tuareg society. The Tuareg data offer insights into cultural constructions of aging and disputes over them. They also suggest refinements of anthropological theories of performance, ritual, and festival processes in relation to life transitions.
Color and the visionary abilities of the shaman may be related. Interviews with a shaman-artist of the Huichol Indians of northwest Mexico reveal that color is conceptualized as a language which the gods and spirits of sacred sites use to communicate with the shaman. Colors are perceived by the shaman as part of a synaesthetic experience in which color may convert to both songs and language. This visionary color language is depicted in Huichol arts and even in art such as yarn paintings made for sale. These findings suggest further lines of inquiry into entopic phenomena and other theories of how shamans visualize. The interviews conducted as part of the author's ongoing research with the Huichol since 1988, also provide a new perspective on the well-known association of sacred colors and cardinal directions.
Neskutes Izagirre, Santos Alonso, and Concepcion de la Rua
The effort to decode the human genome has resulted in the development of both new markers and analytical techniques of great anthropogenetic interest. These have replaced the so-called classical markers (ABO, Rh, etc.) in reconstructing the evolutionary history of human populations. Here we review critically the era of classical markers and report on the main contributions to date of the new DNA polymorphisms in elucidating the evolutionary history of the Basque population.
"I Will Not Eat Stone": A Women's History of Colonial Asante. Jean
Allman and Victoria Tashjian. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2000,
312 pp. $24.95, paper.
Bonds and Boundaries in Northern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso. Sten
Hagberg and Alexis B. Tengan, eds. Uppsala Studies in Cultural
Anthropology 30. Uppsala, Sweden: Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2000,
197 pp. $37.50, cloth.
Kongo Political Culture: The Conceptual Challenge of the Particular.
Wyatt MacGaffey. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000,
272 pp., 7 black-and-white photos. $39.95, cloth.
The Animals Came Dancing: Native American Sacred Ecology and Animal
Kinship. Howard L. Harrod. Tucson: University of
Arizona Press, 2000, 220 pp. $17.95, paper; $35.00, cloth.
American Encounters: Greater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics
of Culture. Jose E. Limon. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998,
251 pp. $17.50, paper.
Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858-1906. Douglas Cole.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000, 368 pp., 80 illustrations.
A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures: An Investigation
Conducted by the Copenhagen Polis Center. Mogen Herman Hansen,
Copenhagen: Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, 2000, 636 pp.
600 Danish krone, cloth.
Environmental Archaeology: Principles and Practice. Dena
F. Dincauze. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 587
pp. $110.00, cloth; $39.95, paper.
Warrior, Shield and Star: Imagery and Ideology in Pueblo Warfare.
Schaafsma. Santa Fe: Western Edge Press, 2000, 232 pp., 16 color
photos, 16 maps and drawings. $24.95, paper.
Rekem: A Federmesser Camp on the Meuse River Bank. Marc
Die Bie and Jean-Paul Caspar. Leuven, Belgium: Instituut voor
het Archeologisch Patrimonium and Leuven University Press, 2000, vol. 1
(324 pp. + 179 tables, 123 figures); vol. 2 (265 pp. + 115 plates, 154
maps, 3 database appendices), 4950 Belgians francs/122.71 euros/$195.00,
La Grotte d'Altamira. L.G. Freeman and J. Gonzalez Echegaray.
Paris: Maison des Roches/Editions de Seuil, 2001, 150 pp. 185 Frenc francs/28.20
The Inevitable Domination by Man: An Evolutionary Detective Story.
Seymour W. Itzkoff. Ashfield, Mass.: Paideia Publishers, 2000,
386 pp. $30.00, cloth.