Volume 68, Number 2, Abstracts

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Distinguished Lectures


The Domestication of Animals
by Melinda A. Zeder

Repatriation and Constructs of Identity
by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Jami Powell

Ethnicity, God Concepts, and the Indigenization of A Guatemalan Popular Saint
by Timothy Knowlton

Ethnography of Kinship Constructions Among International Returnees In Nigeria: Proverbs as the Horses of Words
by Olayinka Akanle and A. O. Olutayo

Book Reviews

The Domestication of Animals

Melinda A. Zeder
Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

KEY WORDS: Domestication, Animals, Behavior, Genetics, Animal sciences, Archaeology

ABSTRACT: Over the past 11,000 years humans have brought a wide variety of animals under domestication. Domestic animals belong to all Linnaean animal classes— mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and even, arguably, bacteria. Raised for food, secondary products, labor, and companionship, domestic animals have become intricately woven into human economy, society, and religion. Animal domestication is an on-going process, as humans, with increasingly sophisticated technology for breeding and rearing animals in captivity, continue to bring more and more species under their control. Understanding the process of animal domestication and its reciprocal impacts on humans and animal domesticates requires a multidisciplinary approach. This paper brings together recent research in archaeology, genetics, and animal sciences in a discussion of the process of domestication, its impact on animal domesticates, and the various pathways humans and their animal partners have followed into domestication.

Repatriation and Constructs of Identity

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh
Department of Anthropology, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Jami Powell
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

KEY WORDS: NAGPRA, Cultural affiliation, Law, Museum anthropology, Susquehannock, Haudenosaunee, Iroquois, Northeastern United States

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the methodology by which cultural affiliation is determined through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990. Using a case study of cultural affiliation between the contemporary Haudenosaunee nations and the historic Susquehannock, we explore the applied frameworks and theoretical implications of how identities are constructed in the repatriation process. In particular, first, we provide an analytical approach to consider the legal logic by which anthropology museums can determine cultural affiliation under NAGPRA. Second, we consider why legal constructions of social groups legitimized through NAGPRA broaden anthropological concepts of identity but still are not embraced by scholars and museums. The paper’s goals are thus to provide a foundation to reconsider Susquehannock collections in museums across the United States, make more transparent the means by which cultural affiliation is determined, and advance our understanding of how NAGPRA shapes constructs of identity.

Ethnicity, God Concepts, And The Indigenization of A Guatemalan Popular Saint

Timothy Knowlton
Department of Anthropology, Berry College

KEY WORDS: Ethnicity, Religion, God concepts, Alterity, Indigenization, Guatemala

ABSTRACT: How do we understand debates regarding the ethnicity of supernatural agents in societies that have recently given rise to ethnic social movements? This article addresses this question through ethnographic research among indigenous and non-indigenous devotees of the popular saint San Simón in Guatemala’s central highlands. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of the religious field and Taussig’s history of mimesis and alterity, I note the ethnicity of saints is the juncture of two forms of alterity, the ontological alterity of supernatural agents and the sociological alterity of ethnic groups. I argue that indigenous devotees decolonize Maya spirituality through the indigenization of San Simón, while his indigenization among spiritist ladino devotees reproduces colonial concepts of the magically powerful Other. These devotees’ positions illustrate how such “god concepts” can serve as interpretations of changes in asymmetric ethnic relations, with implications for our general understanding of the intersection of religion and ethnicity in multicultural states.

Ethnography of Kinship Constructions Among International Returnees In Nigeria: Proverbs as the Horses of Words

Olayinka Akanle and A. O. Olutayo
Department of Sociology, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

KEY WORDS: Ethnography, Kinship, Proverbs, Nigeria, Social constructionism, International returnees

ABSTRACT: It is impossible to understand African lifeways without recourse to oral traditions because behaviors, orientations, and attitudes are succinctly codified, contextualized, and only fully explainable with reference to oral traditions, especially through the use of proverbs. Unfortunately, recent studies have not sufficiently utilized proverbs as analytical frameworks to explain African kinship. Thus, in this article we explore dynamics of kinship among international migrants of Nigerian origin through qualitative, primary and secondary data. We demonstrate that in the worldview of the international migrants,(1) kinship is mutable, (2) kinship constructions are based on practical usefulness and rational signification rather than simply biological relatedness, and (3) kinship’s etherealness can be best understood through traditional proverbs. We conclude that kinship is complex, dynamic, and liable to continuous construction, reconstruction, appropriation, and rejection depending on its instrumentalities.

Book Reviews

Erin Debenport: We Are Our Language: An Ethnography of Language Revitalization in a Northern Athabaskan Community, by Barbra A. Meek

Steven Pax Leonard: Topic and Discourse Structure in West Greenlandic Agreement Constructions, by Anna Berge

Nancy López: The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference, by Ann Morning

Brian M. Kemp: Biomolecular Archaeology: An Introduction, by Terry Brown and Keri Brown

Matthew L. Sisk: Landscape of the Mind: Human Evolution and the Archaeology of Thought, by John F. Hoffecker

Jon M. Erlandson: Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement, Nuno F. Bicho, Jonathan A. Haws, and Loren G. Davis, eds.

Lawrence G. Straus: La Cueva de El Sidrón (Borines, Piloña, Asturias): Investigación Interdisciplinar de un Grupo Neandertal, Marco de la Rasilla, Antonio Rosas, Juan Carlos Cañaveras, and Carles Lalueza-Fox, eds.

Lawrence G. Straus: Pourquoi l’Art Préhistorique? by Jean Clottes.

David S. Whitley: The Archaeology of Art in the American Southwest, by Marit K. Munson

Catherine M. Cameron: Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration, Graciela S. Cabana and Jeffery J. Clark, eds.

Todd J. Braje: California’s Ancient Past: From the Pacific to the Range of Light, by Jeanne E. Arnold and Michael R. Walsh

Kenneth G. Kelly: Protecting Heritage in the Caribbean, by Peter E. Siegel and Elizabeth Righter

Peter E. Siegel: Out of Many, One People: The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Jamaica, James A. Delle, Mark W. Hauser, and Douglas V. Armstrong, eds.

David Webster: Roots of Conflict: Soils, Agriculture, and Sociopolitical Complexity in Ancient Hawai’i, Patrick Kirch, ed.

Sarah R. Graff: The Comparative Archaeology of Complex Societies, Michael E. Smith, ed.

Payson Sheets: The Technology of Maya Civilization: Political Economy and Beyond in Lithic Studies, Zachary X. Hruby, Geoffrey E. Braswell and Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, eds.

Rebecca H. Schwendler: The Anthropology Graduate’s Guide from Student to Career, by Carol J. Ellick and Joe E. Watkins

Shaka McGlotten: Tales from Facebook, by Daniel Miller

Lawrence G. Straus: Exhuming Loss: Memory, Materiality, and Mass Graves of the Spanish Civil War, by Layla Renshaw

Jeffrey H. Cohen: The Struggle for Maize: Campesinos, Workers, and Transgenic Corn in the Mexican Countryside, by Elizabeth Fitting

J. Anthony Paredes: Hidden Seminoles: Julian Dimock’s Historic Florida Photographs, by Jerald T. Milanich and Nina J. Root

John Bodinger de Uriarte: Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture and History, Colleen E. Boyd and Coll Thrush, eds.

Department of Anthropology