JOURNAL of 
ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH

JAR Distinguished Lecture: Michael Silverstein on the Poetics of Politics plus Puebloan Moieties, Life after Death, and Ishi

Volume 61, Number 1, Abstracts

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THE POETICS OF POLITICS: “THEIRS” AND “OURS”

 

Michael Silverstein

Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago,

1126 East 59th St., Chicago, IL 60637-1580

 

Events of political communication define issues and create spaces of action that

position people with respect to them. How? Political talk is not effective in these

ways just because it describes the world—as it is or as it might be. In various ways,

effective talk in political events forms a diagrammatic microcosm of its targeted

field of action, linking events of political process in which it thrives with varying

degrees of compelling effectiveness. Political talk of the “factional” politics of

Indo-Fijians draws on principles we can see—and discerning participants can

hear!—as well in our own agonistic electoral politics of recognition.

 


HISTORICAL CONTINGENCY AND THE PREHISTORIC FOUNDATIONS OF MOIETY ORGANIZATION AMONG THE EASTERN PUEBLOS

Severin M. Fowles

8 Walters Crescent, The Mumbles, Swansea, Wales, UK SA3 4BB

 

Past discussions of Eastern Pueblo moiety organization in the American Southwest

have been dominated by structural-functionalist positions and have proposed that

moieties emerged in this area in order to facilitate the social integration of large,

aggregated villages. This paper revisits the question of moiety origins from an

archaeological perspective, presenting new data from the ancestral Northern

Tiwa region that document the presence of a dual division as early as the late

thirteenth century at the large village of T’aitöna (Pot Creek Pueblo).

Consideration of the village’s position within the local historical trajectory

suggests that moieties were initially established there as a means of formalizing the

social relationships between a local population and a recently arrived group of

immigrants. The paper ends by arguing that these sorts of specific historical

phenomena must be granted greater causal significance in the explanation of

Eastern Pueblo moiety origins.

 


 

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN YOU DIE?

A CROSS CULTURAL TEST OF THE HYPOTHESIS

THAT INFRASTRUCTURE PREDICTS INDIVIDUAL ESCHATOLOGY

 

D. Bruce Dickson

Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843

 

Jeffrey Olsen

William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa,

Honolulu, HI 96822

 

P. Fred Dahm

Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843

 

Mitchell S. Wachtel

Department of Pathology, Texas Tech University Medical Center, Lubbock,TX 79430

 

Cultural materialism gives priority to infrastructure, that is, to productive and

reproductive processes, in explaining sociocultural systems. It predicts that social

structures and symbolic-ideational beliefs will be favored or eliminated depending

on whether they enhance or impede these processes. The symbolic-ideational

sphere of virtually every human sociocultural system contains an “individual

eschatology” or theory of the fate of the human personality at death. Eschatologies

are either “judgmental,” in which the deceased is judged for acts in life, or

“nonjudgmental,” in which no such claim is made. Presumably, each is

compatible with different infrastructures and structures. We hypothesized that

societies with low infrastructural productivity lack judgmental eschatologies,

whereas those with high productivity have them. The null hypothesis was tested

using a study population of 271 sociocultural systems drawn from the Human

Relations Area Files and rejected at the 0.0001 level. However, while strong, the

relationship between eschatology and infrastructure is not deterministic. We used

a logistic regression model for this non-deterministic relationship. This analysis

revealed statistically significant effects on the probability a sociocultural system

has a judgmental eschatology depending on geographic area (Africa, Circum-

Mediterranean, Insular Pacific, East-Eurasian, and America), general

evolutionary level (Pastoral, Plow Agriculture, or other), intensity of agriculture

(None, Intensive/Irrigation, or other), and percentage of total subsistence activity

accounted for by agriculture. We tentatively conclude that infrastructure predicts

the nature of belief regarding the fate of the personality at death, a result consistent

with the theory of cultural materialism.

 


REVIEW ARTICLE

WHO IS THIS REALLY ABOUT ANYWAY? ISHI, KROEBER, AND THE INTERTWINING OF CALIFORNIA INDIAN AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL HISTORIES

 

Les W. Field

Department of Anthropology, MSC 01-1040, University of New Mexico,

Albuquerque, NM 87131

 

Ishi in Three Centuries. Karl Kroeber and Clifton Kroeber, eds. Lincoln and

London: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. 416 pp. $49. 95 cloth.

Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last “Wild” Indian. Orin Starn. New

York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2004. 320 pp. $25. 95 cloth.

 


 

BOOK REVIEWS

 

Leslie A. White, Evolution and Revolution in Anthropology. William J. Peace

Reviewed by Aram A. Yengoyan.

 

Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists.  David H. Price.  Reviewed by Susan R. Trencher.

 

Blood and Voice: Navajo Women Ceremonial Practitioners.  Maureen Trudelle Schwarz.  Reviewed by Louise Lamphere.

 

Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of War and Sacrifice. Dennis Tedlock.  Reviewed by Michael D. Coe.

 

Mayo Ethnobotany: Land, History, and Traditional Knowledge in Northwest Mexico.  David Yetman and Thomas R. Van Devender.  Reviewed by Lisa W. Huckell.

 

Forgotten Tribes: Unrecognized Indians and the Federal Acknowledgment Process. Mark Edwin Miller.  Reviewed by Kirk Dombrowski.

 

Law & Empire in the Pacific: Fiji and Hawai’i.  Sally Engle Merry and Donald Brenneis, eds. Reviewed by Richard Scaglion.

 

Islam in Urban America: Sunni Muslims in Chicago. Garbi Schmidt.  Reviewed by Jonathan Benthall.

 

Mesoamerican Lithic Technology: Experimentation and Interpretation. Kenneth G. Hirth, ed. Reviewed by Robert S. Santley.

 

Wretched Kush: Ethnic Identities and Boundaries in Egypt’s Nubian Empire. Stuart Tyson Smith.  Reviewed by Lana Troy.

 

Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes: Current Issues.  Effie Athanassopoulos and LuAnn Wandsnider, eds.  Reviewed by Donald O. Henry.

 

Journey to the Ice Age: Discovering an Ancient World. Peter L. Storck.  Reviewed by Bruce B. Huckell.

 

The Settlement of the American Continents: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Human Biogeography. C. Michael Barton, Geoffrey A. Clark, David R. Yesner,

and Georges R. Pearson.  Reviewed by Brian Fagan.

 

Archaeology beyond Dialogue. Ian Hodder.  Reviewed by Trevor Watkins.

 

Our Collective Responsibility: The Ethics and Practice of Archaeological Collections Stewardship.  S. Terry Childs, ed.  Reviewed by Joe Watkins.

 

Fish into Wine: The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century. Peter E. Pope.  Reviewed by Brad Loewen.

 

The Juvenile Skeleton.  Louise Scheuer, Sue Black, Helen Liversidge, and Angela Christie.  Reviewed by Heather J. H. Edgar.




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