Anthropology

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes. Frazer offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial. The Golden Bough attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief to scientific thought, discussing fertility rites, human sacrifice, the dying god, the scapegoat and many other symbols and practices whose influence has extended into twentieth-century culture.[3] Its thesis is that old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship and periodic sacrifice of a sacred king. Frazer proposed that mankind progresses from magic through religious belief to scientific thought. This thesis was developed in relation to J. M. W. Turner's painting of The Golden Bough, a sacred grove where a certain tree grew day and night. It was a transfigured landscape in a dream-like vision of the woodland lake of Nemi, "Diana's Mirror", where religious ceremonies and the "fulfillment of vows" of priests and kings were held. The king was the incarnation of a dying and reviving god, a solar deity who underwent a mystic marriage to a goddess of the Earth. He died at the harvest and was reincarnated in the spring. Frazer claims that this legend of rebirth is central to almost all of the world's mythologies.
While the world has undoubtedly been shrinking, at the same time it has grown more complex. The likelihood of culture clashes leading to outright conflict is high, perhaps higher than ever. As Andrea L. Smith convincingly argues in her new introduction to this classic work, certain questions are as valid today as in 1949, when Mirror for Man was first published. Can anthropology break down prejudices that exist between peoples and nations? Can knowledge of past human behavior help solve the world’s modern problems? What effect will American attitudes likely have on the future of the world?

In Mirror for Man, Clyde Kluckhohn scrutinizes anthropology, showing how the discipline can contribute to the reconciliation of conflicting cultures. He questions age-old race theories, shows how people came to be as they are, and examines limitations in how human beings can be molded. Taking up one of the most vital questions in the post-World War II world, whether international order can be achieved by domination, Kluckhohn demonstrates that cultural clashes drive much of the world’s conflict, and shows how we can help resolve it if only we are willing to work for joint understanding.

By interpreting human behavior, Kluckhohn reveals that anthropology can make a practical contribution through its predictive power in the realm of politics, social attitudes, and group psychology. Andrea L. Smith’s new introduction provides convincing evidence for the continuing importance of one of the earliest “public intellectuals.”

Lively, forceful, and impassioned, Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle is a major intervention in debates about the configuration of the discipline of anthropology. In the essays brought together in this provocative collection, prominent anthropologists consider the effects of and alternatives to the standard definition of the discipline as a “holistic” study of humanity based on the integration of the four fields of archaeology, biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Editors Daniel A. Segal and Sylvia J. Yanagisako provide a powerful introduction to the volume. Unabashed in their criticism of the four-field structure, they argue that North American anthropology is tainted by its roots in nineteenth-century social evolutionary thought.

The essayists consider the complex state of anthropology, its relation to other disciplines and the public sphere beyond academia, the significance of the convergence of linguistic and cultural anthropology, and whether or not anthropology is the best home for archaeology. While the contributors are not in full agreement with one another, they all critique “official” definitions of anthropology as having a fixed, four-field core. The editors are keenly aware that anthropology is too protean to be remade along the lines of any master plan, and this volume does not offer one. It does open discussions of anthropology’s institutional structure to all possible outcomes, including the refashioning of the discipline as it now exists.

Contributors. James Clifford, Ian Hodder, Rena Lederman, Daniel A. Segal, Michael Silverstein, Sylvia J. Yanagisako

Clifford Geertz, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, here discusses some of the most urgent issues facing intellectuals today. In this collection of personal and revealing essays, he explores the nature of his anthropological work in relation to a broader public, serving as the foremost spokesperson of his generation of scholars, those who came of age after World War II. His reflections are written in a style that both entertains and disconcerts, as they engage us in topics ranging from moral relativism to the relationship between cultural and psychological differences, from the diversity and tension among activist faiths to "ethnic conflict" in today's politics.

Geertz, who once considered a career in philosophy, begins by explaining how he got swept into the revolutionary movement of symbolic anthropology. At that point, his work began to encompass not only the ethnography of groups in Southeast Asia and North Africa, but also the study of how meaning is made in all cultures--or, to use his phrase, to explore the "frames of meaning" in which people everywhere live out their lives. His philosophical orientation helped him to establish the role of anthropology within broader intellectual circles and led him to address the work of such leading thinkers as Charles Taylor, Thomas Kuhn, William James, and Jerome Bruner. In this volume, Geertz comments on their work as he explores questions in political philosophy, psychology, and religion that have intrigued him throughout his career but that now hold particular relevance in light of postmodernist thinking and multiculturalism. Available Light offers insightful discussions of concepts such as nation, identity, country, and self, with a reminder that like symbols in general, their meanings are not categorically fixed but grow and change through time and place.


This book treats the reader to an analysis of the American intellectual climate by someone who did much to shape it. One can read Available Light both for its revelation of public culture in its dynamic, evolving forms and for the story it tells about the remarkable adventures of an innovator during the "golden years" of American academia.

For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them--slavery, conscription, taxes, corvee labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an anarchist history, is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states. In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of internal colonialism. This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scott's work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen.
One of the most widely used ethnographies published in the last twenty
years, this Margaret Mead Award winner has been used as required reading
at more than 600 colleges and universities. This personal account by a
biocultural anthropologist illuminates not-soon-forgotten messages
involving the sobering aspects of fieldwork among malnourished children
in West Africa. With nutritional anthropology at its core, Dancing
Skeletons presents informal, engaging, and oftentimes dramatic stories
that relate the author’s experiences conducting research on infant
feeding and health in Mali. Through fascinating vignettes and honest,
vivid descriptions, Dettwyler explores such diverse topics as
ethnocentrism, culture shock, population control, breastfeeding, child
care, the meaning of disability and child death in different cultures,
female circumcision, women’s roles in patrilineal societies, the dangers
of fieldwork, and facing emotionally draining realities. Readers will
laugh and cry as they meet the author’s friends and informants, follow
her through a series of encounters with both peri-urban and rural
Bambara culture, and struggle with her as she attempts to reconcile her
very different roles as objective ethnographer, subjective friend, and
mother in the field. The 20th Anniversary Edition includes a 13-page
“Q&A with the Author” in which Dettwyler responds to typical
questions she has received individually from students who have been
assigned Dancing Skeletons as well as audience questions at lectures on
various campuses. The new 23-page “Update on Mali, 2013” chapter is a
factual update about economic and health conditions in Mali as well as a
brief summary of the recent political unrest.
Suppose, Clifford Geertz suggests, having entangled yourself every now and again over four decades or so in the goings-on in two provincial towns, one a Southeast Asian bend in the road, one a North African outpost and passage point, you wished to say something about how those goings-on had changed. A narrative presents itself, a tour of indices and trends, perhaps a memoir? None, however, will suffice, because in forty years more has changed than those two towns--the anthropologist, for instance, anthropology itself, even the intellectual and moral world in which the discipline exists. And so, in looking back on four decades of anthropology in the field, Geertz has created a work that is characteristically unclassifiable, a personal history that is also a retrospective reflection on developments in the human sciences amid political, social, and cultural changes in the world. An elegant summation of one of the most remarkable careers in anthropology, it is at the same time an eloquent statement of the purposes and possibilities of anthropology's interpretive powers. To view his two towns in time, Pare in Indonesia and Sefrou in Morocco, Geertz adopts various perspectives on anthropological research and analysis during the post-colonial period, the Cold War, and the emergence of the new states of Asia and Africa. Throughout, he clarifies his own position on a broad series of issues at once empirical, methodological, theoretical, and personal. The result is a truly original book, one that displays a particular way of practicing the human sciences and thus a particular--and particularly efficacious--view of what these sciences are, have been, and should become.
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

In the spring of 1994, Rwanda was the scene of the first acts since World War II to be legally defined as genocide. Two years later, Clea Koff, a twenty-three-year-old forensic anthropologist analyzing prehistoric skeletons in the safe confines of Berkeley, California, was one of sixteen scientists chosen by the UN International Criminal Tribunal to go to Rwanda to unearth the physical evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity. The Bone Woman is Koff’s riveting, deeply personal account of that mission and the six subsequent missions she undertook—to Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo—on behalf of the UN.

In order to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, the UN needs to know the answer to one question: Are the bodies those of noncombatants? To answer this, one must learn who the victims were, and how they were killed. Only one group of specialists in the world can make both those determinations: forensic anthropologists, trained to identify otherwise unidentifiable human remains by analyzing their skeletons. Forensic anthropologists unlock the stories of people’s lives, as well as of their last moments.

Koff’s unflinching account of her years with the UN—what she saw, how it affected her, who was prosecuted based on evidence she found, what she learned about the world—is alternately gripping, frightening, and miraculously hopeful. Readers join Koff as she comes face-to-face with the realities of genocide: nearly five hundred bodies exhumed from a single grave in Kibuye, Rwanda; the wire-bound wrists of Srebrenica massacre victims uncovered in Bosnia; the disinterment of the body of a young man in southwestern Kosovo as his grandfather looks on in silence.

Yet even as she recounts the hellish working conditions, the tangled bureaucracy of the UN, and the heartbreak of survivors, Koff imbues her story with purpose, humanity, and an unfailing sense of justice. This is a book only Clea Koff could have written, charting her journey from wide-eyed innocent to soul-weary veteran across geography synonymous with some of the worst crimes of the twentieth century. A tale of science in the service of human rights, The Bone Woman is, even more profoundly, a story of hope and enduring moral principles.
The ongoing battle for hearts and minds in Iraq and Afghanistan is a military strategy inspired originally by efforts at domestic social control and counterinsurgency in the United States. Weaponizing Anthropology documents how anthropological knowledge and ethnographic methods are harnessed by military and intelligence agencies in post-9/11 America to placate hostile foreign populations. David H. Price outlines the ethical implications of appropriating this traditional academic discourse for use by embedded, militarized research teams.

Price's inquiry into past relationships between anthropologists and the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon provides the historical base for this expose of the current abuses of anthropology by military and intelligence agencies. Weaponizing Anthropology explores the ways that recent shifts in funding sources for university students threaten academic freedom, as new secretive CIA-linked fellowship programs rapidly infiltrate American university campuses. Price examines the specific uses of anthropological knowledge in military doctrine that have appeared in a new generation of counterinsurgency manuals and paramilitary social science units like the Human Terrain Teams.

David H. Price is the author of Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI's Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists and Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War. He is a member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists and teaches at St. Martin's College in Lacey, Washington.

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