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Book reviews The coexistence of race and racism Can they become extinct together.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 134:295–298 (2007)
Book Reviews
EARLY MODERN HUMAN EVOLUTION IN CENTRAL EUROPE: THE
PEOPLE OF DOLNÍ VĔSTONICE AND PAVLOV. By Erik
Trinkaus and Jiřı́ Svoboda. New York: Oxford
University Press. 2006. 489 pp. ISBN 0-195-16699-X.
$264.50 (cloth).
This edited volume is the twelfth of the Dolnı́ Vĕstonice Studies series, but not the first that deals with the
skeletal remains from the sites of Dolnı́ Vĕstonice I and
II and Pavlov I (see Volume 5. The People of the Pavlovian: Skeletal Catalogue and Osteometrics of the Gravettian Fossil Hominids, edited by V. Sládek et al. [2000]).
In this regard, the first task of editors Trinkaus and Svoboda is to explain how this addition to the series is different from what has come before. Aside from the mostly
lost Prĕdmostı́ remains, the skeletal remains from the
Gravettian sites of the Pavlovian Hills in southern Moravia represent the largest and most complete sample from
the middle part of the Upper Paleolithic. Because of the
significance of the material, Trinkaus and Svoboda stress
the importance of analyses focused on reconstructing
past biology and behavior to assess whether the cultural
complexity of the Gravettian period is reflected in the
skeletal anatomy of the Pavlovian peoples. This perspective distinguishes the volume from others in the series.
As reviewer, I envisioned my tasks as follows: (1) to
evaluate whether the volume successfully lives up to the
editors’ call to action, i.e., to focus on paleobiology rather
than strictly phylogeny in studies of Paleolithic peoples;
and (2) to determine if the treatment of the skeletal material is presented in a manner that is useful to other
researchers interested in Upper Paleolithic lifeways.
Because many of us must glean data from monographs
when examination of the original material is not possible
or feasible, tomes like this one are exceptionally important
to the field and, quite frankly, are either detailed and useful (good) or too general to be of use (bad). By these criteria, I judge this volume on the Pavlovian peoples as
largely good; it is both different and more complete than
anything that has been published before, and it is useful.
The contributors to this volume—Franciscus, Holliday,
Hillson, Brůžek, Vlček, Novotný, and Lisoněk—and the
editors, Trinkaus and Svoboda, have a long history of
working with the skeletal material from the Pavlovian
sites and, in addition, have published many other studies focused on functional morphology that provide a window onto paleobiology. To that end, the volume provides
chapters on age-at-death estimations (Chapter 6), assessment of sex (Chapter 7), body proportions (Chapter 12),
body length and mass (Chapter 13), and skeletal and
dental paleopathology (Chapter 19) that are methodologically explicit, highly detailed, and provide a rich
comparative context. These analyses go well beyond
those present in the original volume (Sládek et al., 2000)
dedicated to the skeletal remains. Trinkaus and Svoboda
also provide the requisite chapters (2–4) describing the
archaeological context of the remains as well as further
analyses and comparisons of anatomical regions of the
Pavlovian Hills specimens, i.e., the cranial, axillary, and
C 2007
V
WILEY-LISS, INC.
appendicular skeletons, to other Pleistocene and recent
humans. I appreciated the separate treatment of the
mandibular remains (Chapter 10) and found this information very useful. In each chapter, basic regional osteometric measurements for each specimen are embedded
in the text as well as presented in summary tables and
bivariate plots. Although Sládek’s Volume 5 is heavily
referenced and is probably easier to use if one is interested in acquiring specific osteometric variables, it is
possible to get that information from the present volume
alone.
Most students of paleoanthropology are aware of the
remains from Pavlovian Hills sites because of the provocative triple burial of Dolnı́ Vĕstonice 13, 14, and 15.
Aside from the archaeological evidence of ritual behavior,
the burial is interesting because it has been suggested
that the three individuals were related. Also, the pathological condition of Dolnı́ Vĕstonice 15 has been the subject of much speculation. The contributors to this volume
address the morphological evidence that supports potential relatedness of these individuals and also review
the pathologies present on Dolnı́ Vĕstonice 15 and how
these bear on the specimen’s sex identification. Finally, a
differential diagnosis of the pathologies is described in
Chapter 19. These issues are treated thoroughly, using
multiple lines of evidence. I find the various authors’
conclusions about this burial convincing. Overall, this
volume thoughtfully addresses past interpretations of
the archaeology and chronology of the sites, the burials,
and other aspects of the skeletal remains by introducing
and summarizing more contemporary evidence that
clarifies the validity of those notions. Svoboda’s chapters
on the archaeological context of the remains are particularly useful in this regard.
In the introductory chapter, the editors explain that
although paleobiology is the focus, the chapters will also
address the phylogenetic position of the Pavlovian sample by comparing them to a Neandertal and early modern human sample in addition to a penecontemporary
sample of Upper Paleolithic modern humans and recent
modern humans. One of my few frustrations with this
book is that most of the chapters more explicitly address
the ‘‘Neandertal question’’ (did Neandertals make genetic
contributions to subsequent generations of modern
humans in Europe?) than issues of the paleobiology of
the Pavlovian peoples specifically, and Gravettian populations in general. A cursory reading of the individual
chapters might lead one to conclude that Neandertals
did not meaningfully contribute to subsequent generations of Central Europeans and would leave the reader
with little information about how Pavlovian skeletal
anatomy reflects a unique Gravettian adaptation. It is
not until Chapter 20, ‘‘The Paleobiology of the Pavlovian
People,’’ that a general assessment of health and the
degree to which anatomy supports the archaeological
evidence from these Gravettian sites is explained. While
I understand that Chapter 20 serves as a summary and
gestalt interpretation of the overall health status of the
Pavlovian remains, more explicit commentary on these
issues within the context of the independent chapters
would have been nice. Also, the general phylogenetic
conclusion, however logical, that some morphological
aspects of the Pavlovian remains support a modest contribution from the Neandertals in prior generations is
296
BOOK REVIEWS
not necessarily the evolutionary take-home message
from the independent chapters.
On the whole, the editors accomplished their primary
goal of summarizing the health status of the Pavlovian
sample by providing methodologically robust investigations of sex, age at death, functional morphology, and
paleopathology. After reading this volume, I came away
with a deeper understanding of the Gravettian adaptation as it is reflected in the skeleton as well as a clear
sense of how this adaptation differs from what came
before and after. Finally, I would recommend this text to
HUMAN BIOLOGY OF AFRO-CARIBBEAN POPULATIONS. By
Lorena Madrigal. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. 2006. 251 pp. ISBN 0-521-81931-8. $125.00
(hardcover).
This book attempts to provide a concise overview of
Afro-Caribbean health, demography, and population
genetics. Toward that end, it begins with a chapter
describing the historical roots of Afro-Caribbean human
biology that sets the stage for the rest of the book. This
introductory chapter highlights the role of slavery in
transforming the demographic structure of the Caribbean, as well as general diets, activity patterns, diseases,
and demographic characteristics of Caribbean slaves.
Chapter 2 focuses on quantitative comparisons of the
obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes among AfroAmerican, Afro-Caribbean, and African populations.
Shifting to infectious diseases, Chapter 3 covers the important role that malaria, dengue fever, and a host of
other ailments have played in settlement patterns and
mortality. Chapter 4 lays out important genetic polymorphisms in Afro-Caribbean blood groups stemming from
selective pressures wrought by malaria. The notable demographic characteristics of Afro-Caribbean populations,
including the generally low contemporary mortality and
fertility rates, are the focus of Chapter 5. The final chapter concludes with a case study of the population genetics, health, and demography of the predominantly AfroCaribbean residents of the Atlantic coastal community of
Limon, Costa Rica.
This volume provides a service by cataloguing a set of
Afro-Caribbean human biology topics under a single
book cover. It integrates concepts and data from historical sources, a limited body of archaeological evidence,
published epidemiological and demographic data, and
the author’s own field research in Costa Rica. Anthropologists, demographers, and clinicians working in the
region, or working elsewhere but seeking comparative
data from Afro-Caribbean populations, will likely appreciate this service. Readers of various backgrounds will
find some of the topics addressed in the book of interest;
prime examples include the author’s critique of the
‘‘slavery hypothesis,’’ which posits that conditions during
slave transportation selected for abilities to withstand
low salt and water availability, giving rise to hypertension; the unusual demographic structure of slave populations; the epidemiology of metabolic diseases, plaguing
first the elite then lower socioeconomic strata; and the
challenges that genetic admixture present to concepts of
race in comparative epidemiological data.
anyone searching for osteometric data on the individuals
from Dolnı́ Vĕstonice I and II and Pavlov I.
MICHELLE M. GLANTZ
Department of Anthropology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20629
Published online 25 May 2007 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com).
The chapters are, however, variably satisfying. The
data-rich chapter on patterns of hypertension, diabetes,
and obesity enables the reader to draw some strong conclusions about the factors accounting for variation in
these traits, both within and outside of Afro-Caribbean
countries. The challenges these data present to simple
concepts of heritable race-associated metabolic complications (like hypertension) are readily apparent. Few other
chapters provide the same sense of rich, quantitative
data yielding robust conclusions. Indeed, descriptions of
the diets and health of slaves, not to mention the etiology of sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/
AIDS, are most notable for their vagueness. Some of this
overly general description reflects the lack of relevant
data; in other cases, a reader craves greater attention to
particularly illuminating case studies or other lines of
argument to reach stronger conclusions.
Several omissions should be noted too. The discussion
of chronic diseases ignores reproductive cancers, even
though the highest incidence of prostate cancer observed
anywhere in the world has been among men from
Jamaica and Tobago. Mark Flinn’s model study of children’s stress and immune responses to family life in Dominica is not considered. Also lacking is greater attention
to the burning questions concerning the human biology
of Afro-Caribbean populations (e.g., What are the physiological effects on children of living in variable household
environments?). Without specifying in more dynamic
ways the rationales for presenting the topical material
in this book, the reader sometimes feels left with a flat
sequence of information. This last consideration may
impact how successfully the book could be included in
relevant advanced undergraduate and graduate courses.
Less advanced students may not readily identify the importance of discussing some of the material given in this
volume, whereas advanced students and professionals
are more likely to see the benefits of reading this concise, if incomplete, book.
PETER B. GRAY
Department of Anthropology
and Ethnic Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20630
Published online 25 May 2007 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com).
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
BOOK REVIEWS
THE COEXISTENCE OF RACE AND RACISM: CAN THEY BECOME
EXTINCT TOGETHER? By Janis Faye Hutchinson. Lanham,
MD: University Press of America. 2005. 204 pp. ISBN
0-7618-3213-0. $30.00 (paper).
This book makes one think about the identity of an
author and how an author’s views and experiences can
shape a text. As a European-American female who grew
up in the Northeast, I could not have written this book.
Janis Faye Hutchinson’s insights as an African-American female who grew up in the South during the civil
rights era and her personal experiences with racism,
segregation, and colorism frame the context of this book
on race and racism. Hutchinson is a biological anthropologist and, for those of us who work in this predominantly white-dominated subdiscipline, it is readily
apparent what an opportunity it is to have a book that
presents her personal insights coupled with her
research on racial identity, racism and health, and the
impact of scientific knowledge on racial and ethnic identities.
The main theme Hutchinson’s book poses is that race
and racism are social constructs with a mutually dependent and dynamic relationship that changes over
time. Racism persists because it operates to maintain
the status quo in regard to power and access to resources. The social context of racism changes as technology
expands, allowing scientific discoveries about who we
are, and as social environments fluctuate. Racism cannot exist without race, and Hutchinson explores the
historical underpinnings of science, society, politics,
and economics that have operated to legitimize and stabilize the concept of race and the ranking strategies inherent in this concept. Contemporary events, such as
racial profiling and race-based pharmaceuticals, are
also discussed. These topics are related to core concepts
rooted in biological determinism, sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology. The first chapter of the book is a
primer on race and racism. The reader is presented
with a list of modern scientific definitions of race that
readily illustrates the fact that race is not easy to
define. These definitions also demonstrate the lack of
agreement among scientists over the existence of race
by delineating classifiers, who use a wide variety of
characteristics to identify race, and clinalists, who propose that human races do not exist. This chapter also
offers a compendium of the various forms of racism:
individual racism, unaware or subtle racism, symbolic
racism, collective racism, cultural racism, internalized
racism, and institutional racism. Hutchinson uses personal experiences to illustrate how each type of racism
can be played out. Some of these examples come from
the realm of higher education and it was particularly
entertaining to read about the experiences that the
author had with professors in graduate school and how
some of the author’s colleagues unwittingly dance to
the beat of racism. The next two chapters discuss the
history of prejudice and the legacy of racism in the
United States. The transition of racism from religious
and ancestral prejudices to a form of discrimination
predominantly based on skin color is explained. Considerable world history is covered providing the reader
297
with a global context. The unique history of race and
racism in the United States, based on slavery and immigration, is investigated along three lines: 1) how
slavery functioned as a device to maintain social order;
2) how slaveholding whites and non-slaveholding
whites constructed racial identities and racial hierarchies; and 3) how race and racism have been used in
the United States as political tools to legitimize inequality and discrimination. This investigation provides greater understanding of our unique American
experience with race. At this point Hutchinson demonstrates, through discussions that she has had with her
own students, how this understanding can facilitate
constructive discussions about issues such as reparation.
Two chapters that focus on race, racism, and science
provide a historical look (late 1800s to the present) at
how science has been and continues to be used to legitimize and provide explanatory rationales for race and
racism. The intricate relationship between folk beliefs
and scientific racism is explored, and difficult questions
about how knowledge is gained, how particular paradigms may be more or less acceptable to the scientific
community, and how knowledge is legitimized are covered. While the phylogeny of race biologists may be a bit
tedious for some, the discussion about the ever persistent attempts of scientists to measure and record racial
differences is, as always, sobering.
Hutchinson provides an accessible discussion about
the role of race and racism in health issues in the
United States, and here her professional background in
public health is apparent. As I was preparing this
review, I read a front-page article in a local newspaper
about a genetic link between race and premature
births. A large comparative study of birth records for
black and white women revealed that black women
were more likely to have premature deliveries. Written
for the general public, this article was a checklist of the
unsubstantiated assumptions that Hutchinson identifies on page 103: race is not a valid biological entity;
race is an unrealistic predictor of genetic susceptibility
to disease; and the health of a population is not solely
determined by its biology.
This book provides a comprehensive albeit relatively
brief overview of the history of race as it has developed
in the United States and of how racism functions in
our society. It is most appropriate for an undergraduate audience; Hutchinson’s familiar yet professional
tone and personal experiences make a complex and
convoluted topic understandable to a general audience.
She appropriately and effectively drives the point
home that race is a social construct and not a biological reality. We are, as Americans, predisposed to racial
categorization, and this paradox is dissected throughout the text. My main disappointment lies with the
author’s answer to the question posed in the subtitle of
the book—Can race and racism become extinct together? Hutchinson answers both yes and no and
makes relatively standard suggestions about how to
combat racism, e.g., attending and constructing longterm diversity workshops as opposed to brief interventions, fostering the interaction of diverse peoples outside of work and school, and using media sources to
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
298
BOOK REVIEWS
promote a ‘‘war on racism’’ (p. 162). However, the question basically remains unanswered and may be unanswerable. We have an ugly history of race in this country and a yet unbroken cycle of misunderstanding
about human variation. ‘‘Unlearning racism’’ (p. 161) is
going to require learning about the realities of human
variation and doing so from a well informed position.
This book represents a good start.
PAMELA C. ASHMORE
Department of Anthropology
University of Missouri-St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20631
Published online 25 May 2007 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com).
American Journal of Physical Anthropology—DOI 10.1002/ajpa
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