|"[Ethnology] is understood as the science dealing with the mental phenomena of the life of the peoples of the world...." -- Franz Boas|
Emic/Etic -- Fall 1999
Click here to download this in Word format
Secretary/News Editor....Leisa deFelice
Treasurer/Student Representative....Sarah Abraham
Student Representative....Jeff Middleton
Letter from the Prez
I hope everybody had a wonderful and productive summer. In this and upcoming quarters students can look forward to our ever-stimulating events and activities -- visits to Museums, chats with professors, movie nights, etc. With the enthusiasm and energy of undergraduates in this university, the possibilities are endless. The club strives to maintain student interaction and communication. By simply knowing other people in the department, one enlarges his/her network of information and knowledge. I thus encourage students new to this academic environment to take advantage of our organization and become actively involved. They will not only have a great time, but also expand infinitely their intellectual horizons.
Anthropology in The News
Biologist Calls 30% of African Primates 'Living Dead'
Center For Conservation Biology. 09/29/99Despite huge losses of tropical forests worldwide, no primate species are known to have died out there since the year 1600. But they aren't all safe. Rather, it just takes a long time for them to die out, according to new research in the October issue of Conservation Biology.
We should not be lulled into a false sense of security when we see that many species have survived habitat loss in the short term," says Guy Cowlishaw of the Zoological Society of London. "Many are not actually viable in the long term. These might be considered 'living dead'."
Cowlishaw determined how many primate species are likely to go extinct in African forests. He based his prediction on two things: 1) the well-documented relationship between species number and habitat size, and 2) the extent of deforestation in African countries.
Cowlishaw's results suggest that the amount of deforestation so far has left Africa with a sizeable "extinction debt". For instance, even without losing any more forest, six countries (Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Nigeria) could lose a third to half of their forest primate species within decades. Actual extinction could be much higher because West Africa is expected to lose 70% and East Africa 95% of the remaining forest cover by 2040.
Habitat loss threatens about half of primate species worldwide. Determining where the extinction debts are the greatest will help conservationists decide where to restore habitat and establish corridors between fragments.
Genetics Tag Early Human Exodus to Asia
Larry O'Hanlon. Discovery News Brief. 10/01/99Scientists have discovered the first solid evidence of an early migration wave out of Africa that aimed straight for India, Asia and Australia. The clue to the 60,000-year-old migration is a natural "tag" in the mitochondria DNA of people in Ethiopia, India and eastern Asia, say scientists whose work appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Genetics.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, and carry their own DNA which changes at theoretically predictable rates and can be used to trace lineage of not only the mitochondria, but also the people who carry them. "What you have is a pattern (of lineage) emerging," says anthropologist Clark Howell from UC Berkeley, "more explicitly than was the case before."
Over the past several years many researchers have concentrated on the problem of when humans first left Africa and by what route. Fossil evidence suggests that the first modern human migration route out of Africa extended northward around the eastern Mediterranean and Greece more than 100,000 years ago.
But the mitochondria DNA study is the first evidence that Africans made their way far beyond Africa and on to the rest of Asia, Australia and Pacific Islands. The emigrants would have probably traveled from the present-day Ethiopia region over a land bridge at the southern end of the Red Sea and then up through Saui Arabia. From there, emigrants probably kept venturing east, staying south and away from the very cold northern regions--then already occupied by Neanderthals. Such a southern emigration route from Africa could explain how humans occupied Australia so early.
These mitochondria studies of modern humans are an independent line of evidence from paleoanthropological excavations which established that extinct ancestors of humans inhabited Africa 4 million years ago. Larger-brained tool-making human ancestors are believed to have left Africa and spread to Asia and Europe 1.8 million years ago.
Anthropology 155 - Women's Voices: Their Critique of Anthropology of Japan
Taught by Prof. TamanoiThis is an introductory-level socio-cultural course about integrating disenfranchised narratives into the discourse of a culture. Historically, women have had their voices suppressed. Men wrote the instructions for female conduct, sometimes masqueraded under female voices. Due to my standing interest in Japanese culture I thought I would gain a lot from this course. The materials covered the gamut from texts of 700AD to modern films. The reading selection was good and I enjoyed the supplementary video material. As someone who was already familiar with topics in Japanese culture, I felt that this class built upon my current knowledge instead of repeating introductory information.
The one criticism I would raise is that the professor adhered too closely to the reading materials. There were occasions when she discussed her personal experiences as a woman in Japan and those were very interesting. We should have had more of that. However, the main bulk of time was spent closely covering the points of the reading. While this is often a boon, in this case it was overwrought. We did not need to spend entire classes outlining the points of an author which we would not be required to know in such detail. Given the post-modernist approach used, there was much more room to discuss issues of agency and structure, and the arguments and counter-arguments of different perspectives. The premise behind the class is fascinating, but I thought much more could have been done. Keep in mind, it might have improved since I had this experience.
Summer Research 1999
Sarah AbrahamMy research project brought me to Peru where I worked and traveled for three months. The summer started with an excavation in a site outside of Trujillo on the North Coast. From there it was to Puno in the south central Andes, where my research was conducted. My goals to achieve in the field were to create a ceramic typology of and enlarge existing collections of two Inca administrative centers - Paucarcolla and Juli. Studying and comparing these two assemblages will help me test my hypothesis of Inca imperial control over peripheral areas, the northern Lake Titicaca basin in particular.
I spent many weeks working with the existing collection in the UCLA/UCSB field house. There, in one of the labs, I counted, sorted, and illustrated countless sherds. The typologies grew larger and more detailed and the illustrations (which at first seemed impossible to do) became easier with time. The exciting next step was for my professor, Charles Stanish and I to actually visit the sites and surface collect. I was amazed by the amount of ceramics that were just lying right on the surface. In Paucarcolla, one structure had been built right on top of an Inca foundation. There was a part of the Inca road was still intact in Juli. Once back at the field house, all the sherds we collected were washed and studied.
Research aside, life in Puno was a great experience. Not only did I study an ancient culture, I was able to participate in the culture that is there today. Interacting with the people of Puno was always interesting and entertaining. It was also very challenging considering my limited Spanish. Thank goodness for non-verbal communication! Learning local customs and attending traditional events was lots of fun as well. With all the parades, potatoes, and pottery, this summer was a blast!
Howard TsaiSince I am interested in what happens to stone tool production during periods of major sociopolitical change, I work with lithic data from a Maya settlement zone in Belize called Chaa Creek. This summer I flew down to Belize and examined comparative cultural materials from the site of Dos Barbaras, approximately 50 km north of Chaa Creek. My experience in the field made me appreciate the nature of preservation there and how that would affect archaeological interpretations.
I stayed at a camp with some 20+ students. The camp included a dormitory, compartmentalized rooms and bunk beds, some gravity showers, latrines, a kitchen, lab, library, and even a bench with sets of concrete weights in the style of Fred Flintstone. We woke up at around five every morning (except Saturdays and Sundays as we recover from bad hangovers) and left for the field at around seven. Excavation was very exciting since everyday we expect something new. As a matter of fact, in one of the larger mounds a burial was found. The skull was placed in the lab for display. I just loved to stare at it and think to myself, "What kind of person was this?" Other than that, I spent my days going through dirt and mud recovering pieces of ceramics and stone debitage. But the important thing is that I was doing science.
I miss Belize. The sight I loved best was when it rained. It began with tiny drops of water tapping gently on the leaves; it would then turn into a terrible shower as the foliages trembled under the gray thunderous clouds. Looking out, all one could see was the jungle drowned in a misty veil full of melancholy and mystic, as if the impenetrable precipitation combined with the maze of trees were the guardians of a century-old secret. Then, all of a sudden, the tempest would leave as soon as its arrival. The rain would subside, followed by beams of sunlight shooting through the dense tropical canopy, combining hues of gold and green so the forest glittered and illuminated like a cave of emerald. And the multitude of creatures and critters, once under cover, would emerge to sing their song of rejuvenation.
|Problems? Suggestions? Questions? Want to Join or Correspond? Outdated Links? | Please Email the Webmaster|