Causal explanations involve both narrative and laws. To explain some events as the effect of other events, we must at least demonstrate (1) that the cause and effect both took place, with the cause preceding the effect, and (2) that the effect belongs to a class of events that can be reliably expected to follow from a class of events to which the cause belongs. Demonstration (1) is a narrative; demonstration (2) is a law. Narrative and "contingency" are not satisfactory substitutes for laws in explaining evolutionary events. If any evolutionary events are explicable, there must be evolutionary laws, and the course of evolution must therefore be to some extent predictable. However, many evolutionary events will probably always elude causal explanation. In particular, as Hume pointed out, qualitatively unique events cannot be explained causally. If human beings possess qualitatively unique traits, their causes must remain a subject for speculation. The only evolutionary events we can explain, in our own lineage or any other, are those that conform to recurring regularities.
Barry L. Isaac
This article presents the first systematic analysis of the statements on prehispanic cannibalism in the 1577-1586 Relaciones Geográficas (RGs) for Nueva Galicia and Nueva España provinces of New Spain, an area occupied by the Aztecs and their closest neighbors. Forty of the 105 RGs analyzed, from widely scattered locales in the two provinces, allege cannibalism. In both their content and their inherent limitations as a database, these mainly rural reports are very similar to the well-known, intensive, largely urban studies of Aztec culture made in the sixteenth century (e.g., by Durán and Sahagún). While the Spanish/mestizo RG authors who offered damning assessments of Indian culture or character were more likely to allege cannibalism, those whose greater interest in indigenous culture in reflected in their lengthier reports on it also mention the practice. At the same time, the statements on cannibalism were directly attributed to Indian informants in 18 (45 percent) of the 40 RGs alleging cannibalism.
Sliman Khawalde and Dan Rabinowitz
Members of a low-status Arab group in Galilee, said to be of Bedoin origins and known by neighboring Palestinians as Ghawarna (sing. Ghorani), recently tend to play down this affiliation, some to the extent of denying that a group called Ghawarna ever existed. This phenomenon is evaluated against the better-known tendency in Arab cultures to embellish, glorify, and sometimes invent a unified past. A distinction is made between competition at the top of the social scale-- which tends to stress noble descent-- and struggle to escape the bottom, which may hinge on undoing pejorative associations. The article suggests that the ideology of blood ties and the social hierarchy that it engenders within and between groups and tribes in Arab culture are perhaps less uniform and constant than hitherto assumed. Finally, the case of the Ghawarna and their (denied) geneology is contextualized within the political predicament of Palestinian citizens of Israel, particularly those who were displaced in 1948.
PASTORAL NOMADS: SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS BASED ON RESEARCH IN IRAN
Philip Carl Salzman
A review of research on pastoral nomads in Iran leads to a number of general observations about pastoral nomadism. Nomadic movement is highly purposeful and is oriented toward achieving specific production or other goals. Commonly nomadic mobility is used to advance production goals in a number of diverse sectors. However, nomadism is not tied to one type of economic system; some nomads have generalized, consumption-oriented production, while others are specialized and market-oriented. Nor is nomadism limited to one type of land tenure; some nomads migrate within a territory that they control, while others have no political or legal claim over the land they use. Furthermore, some pastoral nomads live in isolated regions far from other populations, while others live close to peasant and urban populations. Pastoral nomads vary in political structure from state-controlled peasants, to centralized chiefdoms, to weak chiefdoms, to segmentary lineages systems.
Posing Questions for a Scientific Archaeology. Terry
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Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics,
and Power. Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden, eds.
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and Linda Manzanilla. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers,
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Classic Period Mixtequilla, Veracruz, Mexico: Diachronic Inferences
from Residential Investigations. Barbara L. Stark, ed.
Albany, N.Y.: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, SUNY Albany, 2001, 411
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Ritual Sacrifice in Ancient Peru. Elizabeth P. Benson and
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The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest
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Thames and Hudson, 2000, 352 pp., 190 illustrations. £28.00, cloth.
Ceramics and Community Organization among the Hohokam. David
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Prehistoric Painted Pottery of Southeastern Arizona. Robert
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The Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity. J.E. Rehder.
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Earliest Italy: An Overview of the Italian Paleolithic and Mesolithic.
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Pathways of Power: Building an Anthropoloy of the Modern World.
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The Shaping of American Ethnography: The Wilkes Exploring Expedition,
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of Nebraska Press, 2001, 187 pp., 30 figures, 2 maps. $40.00, cloth.
A New System for the Formal Analysis of Kinship. Sydney
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Creativity and Beyond: Cultures, Values, and Change. Robert
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Reproducing Jews: A cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel.
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African-American Pioneers in Anthropology. Ira E. Harrison
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The Performance of Gender: Anthropology of Everyday Life in a South
Indian Fishing Village. Cecilia Busby. New Brunswick,
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The Rise of Anthropological Theory, updated edition. Marvin
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