61-80 of 259 Results

Article

Communities and Archaeology in Africa  

Thabo Manetsi

This article traces ongoing debates and discourse on the evolving and dynamic relation between communities and archaeology in Africa. As a departure point, the article traces the complex relationship between communities and archaeology from colonial times in Africa, and illustrates that the field of archaeology was instrumental in the making of history and heritage, enabling colonial laws and institutions that served the interests of the colonial powers. Furthermore, the imposition of the authoritarian nature of archaeology (exclusive expert-scientific field) and the state is accentuated through the glaring binary opposition of “White domination” and “Black subjugation,” as an integral part of the colonial project in Africa. The perpetuation of the legacy of outdated colonial and European heritage practices and laws are still common fixtures of the contemporary cultural landscape in postcolonial Africa. The popularity of the decolonization project in Africa has ushered in new dimensions to traditional archaeological practices such as “community archaeology” and “public archaeology,” which serve as progressive attempts to restore and increase public participation and access by ordinary members of society to archaeology and heritage management. Heritage futures illustrate ongoing configurations in heritage management, where “local community” claims, rights to access, and use of heritage are critical to environmental sustainability and the developmental agenda of most postcolonial African states. However, this is yet to be fully realized.

Article

Community-Based Participatory Research  

Michael Duke

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) refers to a methodological and epistemological approach to applied community projects in which researchers and community members collaborate as equals in the research process. Also known as participatory action research (PAR), CBPR has gained considerable acceptance both as a set of methods for identifying and addressing local issues of concern and as a vehicle for applying the principles of equity, cultural humility, mutual learning, and social justice to the relationships between researchers and communities. Although somewhat distinct from applied anthropology, CBPR shares with ethnography in particular an attentiveness to rapport building and community engagement and an overall validation of local knowledge. There is little consensus regarding the threshold of community participation necessary for a given research project to be considered CBPR. However, at a minimum the approach requires that community members define the problems to be assessed, provide consultation on the cultural and social dimensions of the study population, and serve in an advisory capacity over the entire project. The history of CBPR and its antecedents reflects its twin values as a pragmatic approach to researching and addressing local problems and as an emancipatory social justice project that seeks to diminish the hierarchical relationship between researchers and community members. Specifically, the pragmatic perspective was developed in the United States by social psychologist Kurt Lewin in the 1930s (and subsequently by the anthropologists Laura Thompson and Sol Tax), while the emancipatory approach derives from the work of educational theorist Paulo Freire in Brazil in the 1970s. Community Advisory Boards (CABs) play an outsized role in the success of CBPR projects, since they typically represent the community in these studies, and thus maintain oversight over all aspects of the research process, including the study design, sampling and recruitment protocols, and the dissemination of findings. Accordingly, nurturing and maintaining trust between researchers, the CAB, and the community constitutes a foundational practice for any CBPR study.

Article

Consumer Credit and Debt  

Hadrien Saiag

The global crisis that erupted in 2007–2008 clearly exposed that debt with financial institutions has become a key element of household social reproduction in most parts of the world. One way to analyze how this situation impacts on people’s lives is to investigate the very nature of debt (its “essence”), which is often conceived as intrinsically violent. However, most anthropologists consider how people manage their debt and take a situated approach to debt in context. Their focus on people’s financial practices takes a broad view of consumer credit as any number of monetary debts that households incur to make ends meet. Their examination of how debt is managed within the household points up that consumer credit is often used to sustain meaningful social relations, although this can trigger a debt spiral. This spotlight on how people’s financial practices relate to broader historical and social contexts shows that the rise of consumer credit is instrumental in reshaping class, racial, and gender relations in their material and moral dimensions, and that people can be found to resist debt in many ways. Although these trends in the anthropological literature make for a rich understanding of debt relations, much could still be done to understand why people in most settings complain about their debts, but do not openly rebel against them.

Article

Container Ships: Life Cycles, Chains of Value, and Labor in Maritime Logistics  

Elisabeth Schober, Camelia Dewan, and Johanna Markkula

Goods moved on board container ships constitute 70 percent of all world cargo by economic value, which makes container ships vital things in the broader agglomeration of contemporary global capitalism. These vessels are in themselves also containers of other forms of value: they on occasion store, move, and disperse noneconomic forms of social worth. Building on the insights of critical logistics studies and coupling them with anthropological insights on value, the article proposes an ethnographic “life-cycle” approach to the study of container ships that broadens maritime anthropology to encompass contemporary forms of seaborne capitalism. With the container vessel functioning as a connecting device between different “sited” fieldwork experiences in shipbuilding, shipping, and shipbreaking, such a collaborative effort can bring the larger system of maritime transportation into focus. Furthermore, when viewed through the value-within-life-cycle prism, the container ship may present itself not as an object that has a singular form but rather one that is made up of a multitude of ships that come in and out of being. By describing it as a gestalt—a dynamic material assemblage that is more than the sum of its parts—attention is paid here to how highly dependent the container ship is on geographical and social context, on ever-shifting layers of value attributed to it, and on the multifarious meaning-making among the workers laboring around it.

Article

Contract Archeology in South Africa  

Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu

The roots of contract archeology were laid even before the development of a legislative framework that prescribed the processes to be followed. Contract archeology was being seen by the museums and universities as the best avenue to the subsidizing of archeological research. The increased research funding of the 1960s and 1970s was on the decline in the 1980s. Universities, therefore, were at a disadvantage and needed to explore other avenues of funding. Legislative changes over the years, which made it mandatory for developers to fund impact assessments to mitigate potential damage of valuable heritage resources from their proposed activities, have led to a significant proliferation of private archeological companies. These have been established to provide developers with the expertise they need to satisfy these legal requirements. The approach used in South Africa is that the developer must pay to assess the nature of the likely impact of their proposed activity. Government entities are then tasked with the responsibility of reviewing studies undertaken by specialists subcontracted by developers. The subdiscipline of archeology has grown significantly in South Africa, specifically enabled by legislative changes over the years requiring that predevelopment assessments of heritage sites be undertaken prior to approvals being made. However, archeology has continued to be defined as racially unrepresentative of the South African demography. In addition, the management of heritage resources through the use of contract archeology has been characterized by a variety of administrative challenges.

Article

Copper and Copper Alloys at the Time of the Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali  

Laurence Garenne-Marot

Copper was a highly prized material in sub-Saharan Africa at the time of the Sahelian kingdoms of Ancient Ghana and Mali. In certain regions, especially those where gold was mined, it was exchanged for gold at rates that would be considered unfair by present-day standards. Together with salt, it was one of the main commodities of the trans-Saharan trade that contributed to the enrichment of these sub-Saharan kingdoms. Salt was the most highly prized product in sub-Saharan Africa. However, it did not leave any direct archaeological trace, whereas copper remains in the archaeological records. Copper may be combined with other metals to form alloys with diverse mechanical and aesthetic properties. Determining the absence or presence or the ubiquity of some of these alloys in time and space and mapping this data has been done for other contexts. Thanks to a significant set of meaningful compositional analyses of archaeological copper-based objects and remains, such undertaking may be done for West African sites dating between the 8th and the 14th centuries ce. The archaeometric data check must take into account additional data, such as the nature of the site (e.g., habitat or sealed context), the dating, the nature of the copper-based material, and the quality of the metal (analytical data), as well as precise references about the source documentation. When the cartographic material is combined with archaeological evidence relating to the places where the metal was processed and consumed, or with written sources referring to historical events or changes in the trade routes, a picture can be drawn of the use, transformation, and circulation of copper and copper alloys over the course of six centuries Studies of what happened with regard to copper and copper alloys contribute to the construction of a finer history of the West African Sahel at the time of the kingdoms of Ghana and Mali. This research considers fluctuation in the value of copper and copper alloys, the increased exploitation of local copper deposits, the importance of secondary production loci, such as the workshops of Tegdaoust where local processing (or dilution!) of brass imported from the north took place, the wealth of copper-based objects in certain sites testifying to a modification of the trans-Saharan routes, and the development of new trading ports.

Article

Côte d’Ivoire Shell Middens: Specificity and Evolution  

Siméon Kouassi, Léon Fabrice Loba, and Ettien N'Doua Etienne

The shell middens of Côte d’Ivoire span almost the entirety of the southern coastal zone of the country. Unearthed in the second half of the 1930s, they are sites of almost unparalleled preservation, providing a wealth of information about the lives of the area’s ancient inhabitants. While they are very often prey to pillaging, archaeological studies of these middens have enabled the exhumation of lithics, ceramics, metals, and burial remains that offer insight into the ideologies, social organizations, and health of the people that made them. Data recorded in geological reports, scientific publications, site explorations, ethnoarchaeological studies, surveys, and field excavations have highlighted the major characteristics of these shell middens. While invaluable as archaeological resources, their location and material value make them sensitive to encroaching urbanization and economic exploitation.

Article

Critical Phenomenology  

Rasmus Dyring

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Please check back later for the full article. Since the turn of the millennium, critical phenomenology has developed in a parallel fashion in both philosophy and anthropology, with considerable cross-pollination between the two movements. Where philosophical phenomenology traditionally has focused on disclosing the transcendental structures of subjectivity that condition the possibility of concrete lived experience, critical phenomenology combines a phenomenological sensitivity toward lived experience with a critical view as to how subjectivity is fashioned also under quasi-transcendental—experientially accessible and ethico-politically mutable—sociocultural and economic conditions. In both philosophy and anthropology, critical phenomenology has been inspired and instigated by feminist thinking and queer theory, and it most often takes its point of departure in the lifeworlds of those living somehow on the margins of society: for example, people of color, queer people, drug users, homeless people, and people living with dementia or other mental illnesses. In anthropology, this combination of the phenomenological and the critical has been understood roughly in two different ways, according to where the critical impulse is located. One kind of critical phenomenology undertakes a third-person critique of societal structures, inspired by critical theory or poststructuralism, and combines it with a phenomenological analysis of the first-person experience of what it feels like to live under such conditions. Another approach to critical phenomenology finds the critical impulse in first-person experience itself. Here, the excessive limit experiences of breakdowns, perplexing particulars, and interruptions endured by people in their ordinary lives are explored phenomenologically as the loci of an indigenous critique of the prevailing societal orders and of the potentiality for things becoming otherwise. Critical phenomenology is closely related to the phenomenological and critical hermeneutical branches of the anthropology of ethics and, to some extent and critically so, to the ontological turn in anthropology.

Article

Cultural Heritage and Conflict in Africa  

Webber Ndoro

Throughout history the continent of Africa has witnessed major conflicts and wars. Most of these conflicts have wreaked havoc in people’s lives and their socio-economic well-being. The nature of conflict on the continent has both indigenous and exogenous origins. Past colonial wars of occupation and the subsequent occupations generated conflicts and wars of its own. These led to the creation of what the so-called modern states that exist in Africa. Most of these creations by colonial powers were designed to serve their own interest. However, the wars and movements of independence also generated conflicts of their own. The modern states created during the colonial days are also the root cause of some of the conflicts today in Africa. The world conflicts during the Cold War also generated Africa’s own conflicts. The rise of extreme religious movements like Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), and their affiliates have taken advantage of the fragile states of Africa to cause destruction in the continent. All these conflicts have had an impact on the heritage of Africa and in some instances generated its own places of commemoration and remembrance. With the creation of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage Convention in 1972 and its efforts to protect heritage places, Africa has registered some of the places of remembrance and commemoration to the prestigious World Heritage list. Some of the sites registered are a result of conflict. But what concerns UNESCO is the management of the sites on its World Heritage list. Thirteen of these sites from the continent are on the danger list, largely due to the conflicts ravaging Africa. Through the 1954 Hague Convention, UNESCO has tried to ensure that African state parties adhere to the norms of protecting heritage in the event of a war or conflict between nations. Unfortunately most conflicts in Africa are not between conventional armies but largely internal through guerrilla warfare, thus limiting the application of the 1954 Convention. Some of the conflicts in Africa that have had an impact on heritage have attracted attention from major powers in the world. For example, the conflict in Libya has had countries such as Italy, the United States, and France interested in protecting the heritage places there. In the same vain France has been attracted to the conflict in Mali, which threatens the famous sites of Timbuktu among others. In all these UNESCO has played a part in highlighting the need to protect heritage and in the case of Mali even successfully enlisted the International Court of Justice to prosecute the perpetrators of these attacks on heritage. In some cases, like in Nigeria with the Boko Haram attacks on the world heritage site of Sukur Cultural Landscape, there has been a deafening silence from either UNESCO or any other international organization or country.

Article

The Cupisnique-Chavín Religious Tradition in the Andes  

Hugo C. Ikehara-Tsukayama

Between 1400 and 500 bce, communities of the central Andes gradually adopted a visual culture dominated by images of predation in nature. Fangs became pervasive in images and were incorporated into beings that naturally lacked them, such as humans and birds. Composite beings, articulating parts of different predators, became popular, being depicted in multiple media. This shared visual culture resulted from the expansion, adoption, and local adaptation of the Cupisnique-Chavín religious tradition, one of the earliest and most clear cases of religious integration in the Andes. The results of archaeological research in the 20th and 21st centuries have provided abundant information to approximate the ritual practices associated with this religious tradition. In the ceremonial centers—designed to accommodate large audiences—friezes and sculptures depict nonhuman beings with attributes of predators. During ceremonies, people feasted, played music, shared knowledge and experiences, and interacted with these images of supernatural characteristics. The middens surrounding these temples are filled with the remains of these activities, such as broken ceramics, food remains, ritual paraphernalia, and even friezes—discarded during work feasts dedicated to architectural renovation. Traditionally, these images depicted in sculptures and friezes have been considered representations of a pantheon of divinities. These interpretations were based on theoretical assumptions about the relationship between sacred and profane, nature and culture, human and nonhuman, and personhood. In theoretical frameworks that reevaluate the ontology of Indigenous people of the Ancient Americas—such as adaptations of Viveiros de Castro’s multinatural perspectivism and theory on Andean huacas—these stone sculptures, buildings, and landscape features can be considered powerful nonhuman persons and important members of the communities. These ancient Andean beings must have acquired power from their relationship with the community and local landscapes. This sets them apart from the view of omnipresent divinities in modern world religions. In a world where one’s knowledge is acquired through experiencing the world, a way to acquire new knowledge may have involved seeing the world through the eyes of other beings. In the Cupisnique-Chavín world, the most powerful and wise of these nonhuman entities may have been those stone beings with multispecies abilities housed in the temples. The institution of pilgrimage may have emerged because of the need to acquire new knowledge from these extraordinary beings believed to dwell throughout the central Andes. While scholarly research is thriving in the first decades of the 21st century, there are obstacles in the way of sharing these results with the nonscholarly public. Involuntarily, the reconstruction of the ceremonial temples has created solemn and sterile images of these ancient ceremonial temples, very far from the archaeological description of the findings in these places. This creates a continuing gap between what is known about these Cupisnique-Chavín ritual practices—and the role of the nonhuman in them—and the perception of the public as to this tradition.

Article

Design Anthropology  

Christine Miller

Design anthropology and the factors that converged to facilitate its emergence are examined. Design anthropology has been alternately described as a “fast-developing academic field” and “distinct style of knowing” (Otto and Smith), “an emerging transdisciplinary field” (Miller), and “as a distinct subfield of interdisciplinary research” (Clark). These descriptions have in common an agreement that design anthropology is a distinct form of knowledge production that integrates design and anthropological practice and theory that is supported by a growing network of proponents, both academic and practitioner. Design anthropology’s origins have been traced to several factors: the emergence of the participatory design movement in Scandinavia toward the end of the 1990s, the introduction of ethnography in design in the late 1970s, and the earlier influence of the work of designer and educator Victor Papanek in the early 1960s. In the United States, it is often categorized as a subdiscipline of business anthropology. Within Europe and Scandinavia, it is accepted as a field in its own right with a “distinct style and practice of knowledge production.” In spite of these differences and amidst the creative tension resulting from the convergence of anthropological and design methods, concepts, theory, and practice, design anthropology has emerged as a new form of naturalistic inquiry that is based on rigorous empirical research and critical inquiry, a transdisciplinary field that is intentionally interventionist, participatory, and transformative. Design anthropology reflects shifting attitudes and changing modes of engagement in its parent fields. Within anthropology, the concept of an interventionist, transformative, and future-oriented practice runs counter to deeply embedded attitudes around passive observation research and ethics. Likewise, in design where craft, “doing,” and “making” have dominated, there is a renewed surge of interest in more scholarly-based design research, emphasizing empirical research and a designerly version of theoretical reflection. Theory in design has traditionally been related to various aspects of form. Design theory is also “made through” design. Johan Redström refers to this form of theory as “transitional theory,” “a kind of design theory that is inherently unstable, fluid, and dynamic in nature.” This conceptualization of theory is similar to the grounded theory approach in the social sciences in which theory emerges from original data and is developed from the ground up. Beginning with a summary of the conditions and forces that engendered the emergence of design anthropology, the field is described as evolving in ways that are provoking change in traditional forms of design and anthropology. Beyond the influence on its parent disciplines, design anthropology represents an evolving trajectory of emerging fields that open to the possibility of imagining, designing, and co-creating sustainable futures based on social justice and virtuous cycles of growth.

Article

Design Anthropology in Europe  

Wendy Gunn

Design anthropology is a dynamic interdisciplinary field of scholarship, research, and practice. Rather than a concern with highlighting divergences between design and anthropology, design anthropology is concerned with convergences and confluences in design and anthropology. One of the main aims of this emerging field is to link social and material practices of designing to the affects and effects that design processes and practices have on people who engage with different kinds of design outputs. Design anthropology in Europe has emerged in and through collaborations across universities and public and private sectors. The emerging field of design anthropology in Europe is expanding and has been influenced and continues to be influenced by developments in design anthropology internationally. Researchers in this field carry out research and collaborate with research partners both in Europe and globally. The field is characterized by conceptual reconfigurations, disciplinary dialogues, interdisciplinary research, multidisciplinary teams, and transdisciplinary practices involving collaborative methodologies and mixed methods, and engagement with public and private partners. Collaboration can occur offline, online, or a mixture of both, depending upon the research being carried out. Central issues are to identify anthropological methodologies and theoretical concepts that would support future-making practices in a diversity of design processes and practices; attune different kinds of design processes towards engagement with communities of practice; contribute to the design and critique of emerging technologies; enhance existing products, services, or experiences, strategies, and policies; and further develop aspects of visual and sensorial ethnography whereby designing is the process of collaborative research inquiry.

Article

Development and Anthropology  

Riall W. Nolan

International development is one of humanity’s most important global undertakings, but it is also a “wicked problem” characterized by uncertain and shifting priorities, disagreements, and unexpected outcomes. Created during and in the aftermath of World War II, the development industry of the early 21st century is large, complex, and highly influential. It is also relatively opaque to outsiders and largely independent of normal means of democratic control. Anthropology has been involved in development from colonial times, but particularly so since the 1950s, and anthropologist practitioners have made several important contributions to development planning and implementation. The discipline’s influence overall, however, has been overshadowed to a large degree by other disciplines, such as economics, which still remains dominant in the industry. Anthropological influence has waxed and waned over the years, both as a response to development policies and priorities, and as a response to changes within the discipline itself. Anthropological analyses of development, as well as detailed development ethnographies, have helped people inside and outside the industry understand why and how development efforts succeed and fail, and indeed, how to define success and failure in the first place. At the same time, anthropologists have enhanced our appreciation of the role of language, power, and agency in the development process. In the future, anthropology is likely to become more important and influential in development work, given the growth of disciplinary trends favoring practice and application and renewed focus within the development industry on poverty eradication.

Article

The Development of Archaeology in Africa  

Nonofho Mathibidi Ndobochani

Africa is the cradle of humankind, with the origin, evolution, and dispersal of hominids understood from this continent. It was not left out in the quest for knowledge on how human beings lived in the past, where they lived, what they used and ate, as well as changes that occurred through time. The development of archaeology in Africa, as elsewhere, had two aspects to it—the volume and inclination of work done as evidenced by extensive fieldwork and publications, and the change in approach that saw a shift toward philosophical and methodological concerns. Terminology broadened as there was a shift from merely establishing evidence of occupation and the presence of material culture, to studying the subtleties and processes underlying the material culture. The human mind is complex; it generated a dynamic material culture temporally and spatially, and notwithstanding the environmental impact on past cultures, humanity also colonized landscapes. Appreciation of an interchange between humanity and the environment became necessary to sync and contextualize the development of ideas, concepts, and worldviews, and whether they emerged from within societies or were externally influenced, they were shared across time and space—necessitating multidisciplinary approaches to studying the past. To an archaeological scholar in Africa, the problem is compounded. The study of the past has always been from an observer’s point of view, resulting in the call to “decolonize archaeology”—Africans were alienated in studying the past and the tendency was to have them not see this past as their heritage. Archaeology must be relevant to Africa’s issues of environmental management, food security, and socioeconomic challenges such as youth and women’s empowerment. What can the discipline offer? Is the archaeology of Africa accessible to its population, and do we see possibilities for an intergenerational beneficiation of Africa’s past? Most importantly, Africa still has a wealth of knowledge to offer in the study of the paleoenvironment, human evolution, food production and processing, historical ecology, multidisciplinary approaches, and computer technology. Their contribution to a better understanding of the rich, complex, and dynamic African past is of utmost importance.

Article

Development of Contract Archaeology in Southern Africa  

Phenyo Churchill Thebe

Contract archaeology (CA) is a relatively new concept in world archaeology. It first became prominent in the United States five decades ago and in southern Africa four decades ago. Many archaeologists in the region are employed as contract archaeologists. CA has contributed significantly to the development of archaeological methods and techniques and, to a lesser extent, theory. The development of CA in southern Africa experienced an important transition five decades ago. Despite the progression of CA in the region, the quality and standards of reports are major problems. CA structures have to be developed in order to protect cultural heritage from destructive projects. The elaboration of a relevant and active CA program that engages stakeholders is also vital. The future of CA depends on several factors, including strong legislative frameworks and policies that make pre-development studies mandatory, funding of projects, public consultations, and protection of cultural resources. In addition to implementing several cultural heritage structures, the “polluter pays” principle should be reinforced to safeguard southern African cultural heritage. It is important to develop CA statutes that move beyond archaeological studies, pay attention to heritage, and stress intangible heritage.

Article

The Development of Early Historic Urbanism in South Asia  

Reshma Sawant

Two phases of urbanism are identified in the South Asian context: the first one is the Mature Harappan phase (c. 2500–1900 bce) and the second one is the Early Historic phase (c. 600 bce–300 ce). The latter phase of urbanism has its roots in the preceding Protohistoric cultural phases. The gradual developments in various facets of the society, such as polity, social setup, subsistence strategies, settlement size and hierarchy, crafts and industries, and trade and exchange, during the Neolithic-Chalcolithic (non-Harappan) and Iron Age phases appear to have subsequently culminated into Early Historic urbanism in South Asia. Scholarship on the subject has proposed various theories to explain the genesis of the second urbanism, which include technologically deterministic explanations citing the introduction of iron in South Asia and its repercussions that resulted in drastic changes between 1200 and 600 bce. These multivariate explanations identify technological advancements, technology-based diversification of activities, and growing complexity of socioeconomic organizations as the causal factors behind the Early Historic urbanism. As is evident in the archaeological context, the transformation of wider spatial urban morphology, characterized by differential velocity and magnitude, occurred during different time periods in different parts of South Asia. However, by the beginning of the current era, in around c. 100–200 ce, it can be said that most of the South Asia had experienced growth of urbanism. The process of Early Historic urbanism in South Asia from between the 6th century bce and the 3rd century ce can be divided into three phases: Phase 1: The period around the 6th century bce witnessed the emergence of the first urban polities in South Asia known as the Janapada, organized under a ruling class of Janapadins. These Janapadas were ruled by twofold constitutions: Rajya (monarchical) and Gana or Sanghas (non-monarchical). Among these polities, the four monarchies of Kosala, Vatsa, Magadha, and Avanti emerged as notable rivals contending for internal supremacy. By the 4th century bce, Magadha arose supreme. The period 600–300 bce is characterized by an early phase of fortification in South Asia involving mud and stone ramparts, and ditch or moat building at a few sites like Charsada, Kausambi, Rajghat, Rajagriha, Champa, Adam, and Ujjain. There is substantial evidence of civic planning in these settlements, such as for the construction of streets, lanes, brick and ring wells, and drainage systems. There is also extensive evidence of burnt-brick structures, early coinage (bent bars, punch-marked coins [PMCs], and uninscribed cast copper coins) and script, apart from the widespread distribution of the identifying ceramic style: the Northern Black Polished Ware. It can be argued that these changes in socioeconomic conditions and urbanism may have in fact contributed to the formation and rise of institutional religious sects like Buddhism and Jainism. Phase 2: This period of urbanism in early South Asia can be dated to between 300 and 100 bce, marked by rise of the Mauryas. This stage was characterized by the steady expansion of trade with the western world, evidenced in the proliferation of Mauryan PMCs that are found all over South Asia, indicating the presence of vibrant political and economic interactions across the larger geographical region. The presence of Mauryan courtly culture and art can be seen reflected in the technological sophistication of the polished surfaces of Asokan pillars and the various distinct animal capitals that may indicate Persian, Greek, and Achaemenid influence. The patronage that Buddhism gained among royalty, trading communities, and masses is more than evident in the various donator inscriptions that can be seen at monuments like Sanchi. The rules regarding social status and the concept of wealth seem to have been liberal, with Buddhism providing much-needed impetus in facilitating long-distance trade through their encouragement of traders to undertake long journeys. The earliest script of South Asia is the Brahmi script and the earliest acceptable evidence of Brahmi can be found in the Asokan inscriptions. However, in the past few years, new data have emerged from Peninsular India and Sri Lanka (from the sites of Porunthal, Vallam, Alagnkulam, Uraiyur, Karur, Kodumanal, and Anuradhapuram) that indicate evidence of Brahmi script that can now be dated from as early as the 6th century bce to the 4th century bce. Phase 3: The rise of the Kushanas, Sakas, Kshtrapas, Satavahanas, Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas, and their active presence in South Asia from c. 100 bce to 300 ce, brought significant changes to the urban aspects of life. This period is characterized by extensive construction activity, complex burnt-brick buildings, well laid-out streets and drains, and fortification walls; further characterized by the adoption of new techniques of tiled flooring and roofing, extensive coinage, remarkable developments in the fields of art and architecture, knowledge production, and organized religions. Under the rule of the Kushanas and the Satavahanas, hinterland as well as the maritime trade networks grew manifold. Maritime trade with Mediterranean and Southeast Asia is quite extensively evident within archaeological findings. Another commonality between the Kushanas and Satavahanas is their patronization of Buddhism that resulted in the impressive development of art and architecture. The Gandhara and the Mathura schools of art, the rock-cut Buddhist viharas in the western Deccan, and the construction of various stupas in Sanchi, Bharhut, Nagarjunakonda, Amaravati, and Kanaganahalli, are all excellent examples of flourishing Buddhism under the Kushanas and Satavahanas. These impressive social and political complexities arose from the financial demands of maritime and overland trade, and were not necessarily the consequence of mere territorial expansion. To summarize, Early Historic urbanism in South Asia is manifested through complex polities that took the form of cities and states characterized by architectural advancement in both secular and non-secular structures, the use of baked bricks, and ring wells. Early Historic urbanism was also characterized by technological advancements in the form of various craft industries and the extensive use of metal (iron and copper), along with the development of a complex system of recording, measurement, accounting, and other sciences due to an advancement in scripts, coinage, astronomy, and mathematics. Long-distance trade led to the introduction and intensification of new religious movements (Buddhism and Jainism) that in turn contributed to the development of philosophy, art, and architecture, and. ultimately, to the rise of a ruling class.

Article

Digital Garbology  

Gideon Singer

What is electronic waste? E-waste is both a by-product of manufacturing processes and the disposal of end-point devices in our digital infrastructure—the mountains of televisions, microwaves, video game consoles and handhelds, Christmas lights, and so on which are often visualized in news reports and popular media. However, digital garbology reveals an alarming assemblage of additional externalities resulting from the hyper consumption of electronic devices and even digital services requiring significant amounts of physical and social resources to operate (such as Facebook, Netflix, and bitcoin). Consequently, digital worlds are neither more nor less material than the worlds that preceded them. And yet, digital media is often perceived as immaterial because of a growing disconnect between people and the wires, power sources, and data centers that enable them to access digital worlds. Anthropologists practicing digital garbology have a critical role to play in helping to counteract the socioecological consequences of the world’s fastest growing waste stream empathetically and strategically. Waste is a quintessential anthropological topic because it crosscuts the subfields of archaeology, linguistic anthropology, biological or physical anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. The digital is also becoming an essential topic for 21st-century anthropologists looking to interpret and design the interactions people have with social media, surveillance technology, geographic information systems (GIS), and Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART). Anthropological archaeologists have increasingly integrated archaeological and ethnographic methods to make contributions to policy, public perceptions, and behavioral interventions concerning consumption, discard, recycling, and reuse. However, it is only in the last decade, from 2010 on, that anthropology and closely related disciplines have begun paying attention to electronic waste. Digital garbology, a synthesis of digital anthropology and garbology, is a novel and essential framework for practicing anthropology in the 21st century. Digital garbology helps to identify and recommend strategies for confronting uneven, and often unjust, distributions of e-waste onto marginalized communities. Furthermore, digital garbology encourages anthropologists to support community-based actions such as organizing repair cafés, participating in local government, banding with activists to challenge multinational corporations, and drawing attention to the blind spots in environmental, economic, and social discourse concerning waste produced by digital technologies.

Article

Disaster Anthropology  

Adam Koons and Jennifer Trivedi

Disaster Anthropology uses theoretical and methodological tools from across anthropological subfields to understand the effects of disasters. Anthropologists based in academia and practice, often working collaboratively or across disciplines, seek to understand the relationships among historical, social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and climatic factors in every type of disaster and humanitarian crisis across the globe. Practitioners often work within disaster response agencies in such functions as policy reform, program design, and disaster response management. Academics work in anthropology and interdisciplinary centers and departments, studying and teaching about disaster and anthropological issues. Disaster anthropologists link closely with broader interdisciplinary disaster studies and practices. They contribute an anthropological, holistic, and long-term perspective, including the use of ethnography and participant observation, theories, and analyses. In the early 21st century there has been considerable, and constantly increasing, recognition of disaster anthropology. This area of work includes recognition of what disaster anthropology has to contribute and its place as an appropriate field of engagement for anthropologists. This recognition has been demonstrated by the publication of numerous books, chapters, articles, special journal issues, and hundreds of conference presentations. Disaster anthropology has gained the support of the major anthropology associations such as the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), resulting in the formation of specialized formalized bodies such as the Risk and Disaster Topical Interest Group (RDTIG) within the SfAA, and the Culture and Disaster Network (CADAN). Accordingly, there are also an increasing number of targeted university anthropology courses on disasters. Disaster anthropologists contribute to the overall understanding of how and why disasters have the impacts that they do and what the consequences of disasters can be. By examining disaster contexts, disaster anthropologists improve understanding of pre-existing circumstances that contribute to those disasters, including people’s perspectives on hazards, risks, uncertainty, inequality, and inequity. Disaster anthropologists have shown that disasters are the visible, explicit result of deeper and more complex processes. Anthropologists share this work in governmental, nongovernmental, academic, and public arenas. Disaster anthropology brings together critical lines of inquiry from the larger fields of anthropology and disaster studies, offering valuable perspectives not only on understanding but also on improving disaster conditions.

Article

Dollarization and Crisis in Argentina  

Mariano D. Perelman

Since the early 21st century the US dollar has been a public issue in Argentina, where the dollarization of sectors of the economy has been an ongoing process for some time. Indeed, circulation of the dollar has grown to the point that it is considered the best way to build savings and has a significant influence on daily economic life. Since 1980, the process of dollarization and outbreak of economic crises have been intertwined. This period can be divided into different crises: 1989 was a crisis of hyperinflation, 2001 was a major debt crisis, and the 2011–2015 crisis grew out of a struggle between the middle classes and the government in response to a ban on buying and accumulating dollars in large quantities. This latest round of crisis continues. Money is a universal measurement of value, encompassing values beyond the purely economic. In Argentina, the US dollar both activates crisis and is activated by crisis. Quotidian rituals have developed and standardized in conjunction with the popularization of the dollar, making it a central object of everyday life in Argentina. Indeed, the dollar provides an excellent starting place for a decently thorough history of contemporary Argentina. By focusing on the relationships and practices that have developed around the dollar, one can begin to understand how flesh and blood people have worked to build dignified lives and ways of living in relationship to one another. The dollar, both as a form of currency and in its demonetarized form, articulates a series of imaginaries about what a life worth living is. The dollar has catalyzed national models and projects. The dollar is a part of the daily experience of large portions of the population. And, when uncertainty grows, the dollar stabilizes.

Article

Faunal Exploitation Strategies During the Later Pleistocene in Southern Africa  

Gerrit L. Dusseldorp and Jerome P. Reynard

Analysis of Late Pleistocene fauna exploitation (~130,000–12,000 years ago) in southern Africa is of global academic relevance. Faunal analyses from southern African sites have led to the development of influential hypotheses on the evolution of modern human hunting methods and subsistence economies. In the 1970s and 1980s, analysis of faunal remains from the Middle Stone Age site Klasies River informed the hypothesis that Middle Stone Age humans were less effective hunters than ethnographically documented hunter-gatherers. This was based on the underrepresentation of dangerous prey species in the bone assemblages. The development of detailed taphonomic research in the 1990s and 2000s demonstrated that the accumulation of faunal assemblages was the result of complex processes involving both human and nonhuman agents. These studies helped establish that Middle Stone Age hunters were as capable as those in ethnographically documented societies. Since then, important progress has been made in the identification of the weapons systems that were used to hunt animals. Analyses of lithic implements indicate bow-and-arrow use in southern Africa going back to at least 65,000 years ago. Animal exploitation strategies do change over time. Hunting strategies probably focused on large antelope during the Middle Pleistocene, and the importance of smaller animals increased This change was likely caused by a shift in prey populations that stemmed from a combination of environmental change and perhaps human population pressure. Late Pleistocene archaeological sites show increasing evidence for intensification; that is, an increase in the amount of food extracted from the environment by more thorough processing of prey, exploitation of new prey types, and development of new exploitation strategies. This pattern is usually linked to animal overexploitation and may be a result of human population expansion or environmental change if decreasing productivity limits the supply of animal prey. Notable examples of this are shellfish middens at coastal sites, the abundance of tortoises, and the presence of large numbers of small mammals that were likely snared instead of pursued.