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Language Evolution by Rudolf BothaHow can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it? Rudolf Botha addresses this intriguing question in his fascinating new book. Inferences can be drawn about language evolution from a range of other phenomena, serving as windows into this prehistoric process. These include shell-beads, fossil skulls and ancestral brains, modern pidgin and creole languages, homesign systems and emergent sign languages, modern motherese, language use of modern hunter-gatherers, first language acquisition, similarities between language and music, and comparative animal behaviour. The first systematic analysis of the Windows Approach, it will be of interest to students and researchers in many disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, palaeontology and primatology, as well as anyone interested in how language evolved.
Call Number: P116 .B66 2016
Infectious Change by Katherine MasonIn February 2003, a Chinese physician crossed the border between mainland China and Hong Kong, spreading Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)--a novel flu-like virus--to over a dozen international hotel guests. SARS went on to kill about 800 people and sicken 8,000 worldwide. By July 2003 the disease had disappeared, but it left an indelible change on public health in China. The Chinese public health system, once famous for its grassroots, low-technology approach, was transformed into a globally-oriented, research-based, scientific endeavor. In Infectious Change, Katherine A. Mason investigates local Chinese public health institutions in Southeastern China, examining how the outbreak of SARS re-imagined public health as a professionalized, biomedicalized, and technological machine--one that frequently failed to serve the Chinese people. Mason recounts the rapid transformation as young, highly-trained biomedical scientists flooded into local public health institutions, replacing bureaucratic government inspectors who had dominated the field for decades. Infectious Change grapples with how public health in China was reinvented into a prestigious profession in which global impact and recognition were paramount--and service to vulnerable local communities was secondary.
Call Number: RA395.C6 M37 2016
Encyclopedia of Spirits and Ghosts in World Mythology by Theresa BaneOf all the anomalous phenomenon reported, ghost sightings are by far the most common. The words ghost and spirit are used interchangeably in American English but in other cultures the lingering souls of the departed are not to be confused with ancestral spirits, demonic spirits, numens or poltergeists. This encyclopedia lists hundreds of entities of the spirit realm--from aatxe to zuzeca--from world mythology and folklore.
Call Number: BF1444 .B36 2016
Boundaries, Borders and Frontiers in Archaeology by Bryan FeuerUntil fairly recently, archaeological research has been directed primarily toward the centers of societies rather than their perimeters. Yet frontiers and borders, precisely because they are peripheral, promote interaction between people of different polities and cultures, with a wide range of potential outcomes. Much work has begun to redress this disparity of focus. Drawing on contemporary and ethnographic accounts, historical data and archaeological evidence, this book covers more than 30 years of research on boundaries, borders and frontiers, beginning with The Northern Mycenaean Border in Thessaly in 1983. The author discusses various theoretical and methodological issues concerning peripheries as they apply to the archaeological record. Political, economic, social and cultural processes in border and frontier zones are described in detail. Three case study societies are examined--China, Rome and Mycenaean Greece.
Call Number: CC72.4 .F48 2016
New Books - August
Symbolic Patterns of Childbirth by Anja HänschThis study investigates long-lasting cultural constructions of childbirth. Four symbolic patterns of childbirth emerge from the analysis of a variety of texts ranging from myths, philosophy, literature and religion to ethics of modern medicine. On a symbolic level «The Supremacy of the Male» attributes the coming into existence of a child primarily to male «pro-creation.» «The Supremacy of the Female», contrarily, relates childbirth to conception, pregnancy and giving birth on part of the woman. «Theoretical, Spiritual and Political Natality versus Childbirth» pictures childbirth as lower in value as the realms of ideas, religion, the political or the arts. In contrast to this, «Harmony between Spiritual/Theoretical Natality and Childbirth» shows that spiritual birth and childbirth can also be intertwined. It is argued that different symbolic patterns of childbirth may imply different gender relations and different views on «life» in general. The theoretical part of the book is based on Hannah Arendt’s philosophy of natality and on Martin Heidegger whose ideas on death are used for a philosophical conception of the woman giving birth.
Call Number: BL325.B435 H345 2016
From Notes to Narrative by Kristen GhodseeEthnography centers on the culture of everyday life. So it is ironic that most scholars who do research on the intimate experiences of ordinary people write their books in a style that those people cannot understand. In recent years, the ethnographic method has spread from its original home in cultural anthropology to fields such as sociology, marketing, media studies, law, criminology, education, cultural studies, history, geography, and political science. Yet, while more and more students and practitioners are learning how to write ethnographies, there is little or no training on how to write ethnographies well. From Notes to Narrative picks up where methodological training leaves off. Kristen Ghodsee, an award-winning ethnographer, addresses common issues that arise in ethnographic writing. Ghodsee works through sentence-level details, such as word choice and structure. She also tackles bigger-picture elements, such as how to incorporate theory and ethnographic details, how to effectively deploy dialogue, and how to avoid distracting elements such as long block quotations and in-text citations. She includes excerpts and examples from model ethnographies. The book concludes with a bibliography of other useful writing guides and nearly one hundred examples of eminently readable ethnographic books.
Call Number: GN307.7 .G464 2016
Language, Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen by Sabrina BillingsThrough micro-analysis of language use, this book chronicles young women's pathways to becoming a Tanzanian beauty queen, offering an original perspective on the intersection of language with globalization, nationalism, and inequality in urban East Africa. This compelling linguistic ethnography considers the real-life effects, both on- and off-stage, of language policy, education, and gender dynamics for the women competing in the pageants. While highlighting many contestants' struggles for escape from poverty and patriarchy, the book also emphasizes their creative strategies - linguistic and otherwise - for bettering their lives and shows how people living in a global economic periphery take part in, and sometimes feel left out of, the wider world.
Call Number: PE3432.T36 B55 2013
New Books - August
Archaeological Paleography by Joshua D. EnglehardtThis research explores the development of the Maya writing system in Middle-Late Formative and Early Classic period (700 BC-AD 450) Mesoamerica. It seeks to correlate script development with interregional interaction and diachronic changes in material culture, and proposes a new methodological template for examining script development via material remains. In doing so, it contributes to anthropological debate regarding the role and effects of interregional interaction in processes of development and change of material and symbolic culture. This investigation posits that Maya writing developed in late Middle Formative through Early Classic period Mesoamerica as a correlate of interregional sociopolitical and economic interaction. Scholars working in many areas of the world have long claimed that interaction is central to cultural innovation, especially in relation to the development of writing. If the emergence of the Mayan script is a correlate of systemic interaction, then its developmental process should be traceable archaeologically through artifactual evidence. This hypothesis is tested by exploring archaeological indicators of interaction against a backdrop of previously-documented transformations in the emerging Mayan script. The methodological model proposed here builds on current models of the development of Mesoamerican writing systems and models of interregional interaction and cultural development to associate archaeological remains with the development of the Mayan script.
Call Number: F1435.3.W75 E54 2015
In the Event by Lotte Meinert (Editor); Bruce Kapferer (Editor)Events are "generative moments" in at least three senses: events are created by and condense larger-scale social structures; as moments, they spark and give rise to new social processes; in themselves, events may also serve to analyze social situations and relationships. Based on ethnographic studies from around the world-varying from rituals and meetings over protests and conflicts to natural disasters and management-this volume analyzes generative moments through events that hold the key to understanding larger social situations. These events-including the Ashura ritual in Bahrain, social cleavages in South Africa, a Buddhist cave in Nepal, drought in Burkina Faso, an earthquake in Pakistan, the cartoon crisis in Denmark, corporate management at Bang & Olufsen, protest meetings in Europe, and flooding and urban citizenship in Mozambique-are not simply destructive disasters, crises, and conflicts, but also generative and constitutive of the social.
Call Number: GN345 .I4 2014
Upside-Down Gods by Peter Harries-JonesScience's conventional understanding of environment as an inert material resource underlies our unwillingness to acknowledge the military-industrial role in ongoing ecological catastrophes. In a crucial challenge to modern science's exclusive attachment to materialist premises, Bateson reframed culture, psychology, biology, and evolution in terms of feedback and communication, fundamentally altering how we percieve our relationship with nature. This intellectual biography covers the whole trajectory of Bateson's career, from his first anthropological work alongside Margaret Mead through the afterlife of his work in the development of biosemiotics. Harries-Jones shows how the sum of Bateson's thinking across numerous fields turns our notions of causality upside down, providing a moral divide between sustainable creativity and our perpetration of biocide.