141-160 of 263 Results

Article

Infrastructure  

Jörg Niewöhner

The notion of infrastructure commonly refers to the networked technical support structures that facilitate the provision of services and the movement of goods, people, and ideas through space. In anthropology, the notion of infrastructure also designates an analytic. As such, infrastructure is sensitive to the constant interweaving of technical objects, social organization, knowledge practices, and moral orders. Three key perspectives have been formative for this analytic: historical materialism, the historical and social construction of technology, and the ethnography of infrastructure. The wealth of current infrastructure research revolves around the discussion of four current topics: technopolitics, poetics and promises, paradoxes, and thinking infrastructures. Infrastructure as a theoretical framework holds potential as a new Anthropocene anthropology through minor and terrestrial infrastructuring.

Article

The Internal African Slave Trade as History and Representation  

Marcos Leitão de Almeida

The internal African slave trade is a key topic to understand the political, cultural, and economic history of Africa. As a colonial category, the concept emerged throughout the 19th century as European imperial powers, spearheaded by European antislavery movements, constructed a discourse of abolition associated with the expansion of commerce, Christianity, and civilization. In the process, European imperial agents increasingly challenged the political sovereignty of African states and laid the ground for the discourse of racial inferiority of Africans. At the same time, the term also refers, then as now, to the expansion of the internal slave trade within the continent after 1850. Slavers in different parts of the continent continued to move people across the landscape to provide human labor, this time not for slave ships along the Atlantic coast but for the development of economic undertakings within the continent itself, such as clove plantations on Africa´s east coast, palm oil in West Africa, and the onset of coffee and sugar plantations in Angola. As a colonial and historical category, the internal slave trade is crucial to understanding 19th-century Africa. Moreover, with discoveries in archaeology and historical linguistics, the internal slave trade has been shown to have a much older history, connected with the making of polities in Northeast Africa such as Egypt and Meroë, the trade in slaves and gold in West Africa from the time of the Garamantes to the expansion of Mali, and the settlement of Bantu-speaking villages in Central Africa in the last millennium bce. In this way, the internal African slave trade was not one but many; internal slave trades were, rather, locally generated and emerged in different periods and places in response to distinct contexts and motivations. Therefore, the 19th-century internal African slave trade, with its spin-off stereotyped representation of a continent without history, needs to be supplemented by an understanding of the multiple slave trades in Africa’s early past, as evidenced by historical linguistics and archaeology.

Article

Isotopes and Diet in African Hominins and Hunter-Gatherers  

Emma Loftus

Stable isotope methods are firmly established as a key tool for investigating the diets of ancient humans, offering insights into broad dietary composition at the scale of an individual’s life. African archaeology and ecosystems have played an important role in the global development of stable isotope approaches, but archaeological applications have been constrained in many African settings by poor preservation conditions for organic remains and limited institutional capacity for large analytical sampling programs. Yet growing numbers of research and training laboratories around the world, declining relative analytical costs, and increasing familiarity among archaeologists and paleoecologists with both the prospects and limitations of stable isotope approaches, all indicate that such methods will continue to increase in importance for modern archaeological practice. Complex ecological patterning in carbon, nitrogen, and other isotopes within Africa offers a rich background for interpretation. Carbon isotopes largely reflect patterning in vegetation, with the major isotopic distinction between tropical grasses and most other plants aiding the reconstruction of broad food classes. Aquatic and terrestrial environments may also differ sharply in carbon isotope patterning, providing a tool for investigating marine food exploitation. Nitrogen isotope patterning, by comparison with carbon isotopes, is more complex and less well-characterized in many African environments but has been useful for identifying the consumption of marine resources. Other isotopes, including sulfur, strontium, oxygen, and metal isotopes, such as calcium and zinc, may offer complementary insights that can help to interpret ancient food systems. Analyses of enamel carbon isotopes from eastern and South African hominins have demonstrated the significance of diverse dietary resources for millions of years among several groups of hominins, including the gracile and robust australopithecines and early Homo. The puzzle of extensive consumption of 13C-enriched foods, especially among the eastern African robust australopithecines, has driven wide-ranging research into the dietary diversity of hominin species, targeting questions of ecological niche separation and dietary flexibility. In southern African coastal settings, stable isotope evidence for differential access to dietary resources among foraging groups has demonstrated the maintenance of more sedentary, territorial settlement systems during some periods in the Holocene. Research in these fields is ongoing, with new insights emerging from applications of alternative isotopic systems, increased sampling resolution, and sophisticated statistical modeling approaches.

Article

Juggling Currencies in Transborder Contexts  

Magdalena Villarreal and Joshua Greene

Financial practices only partially entail money. People and institutions weave their economic lives intermixing pecuniary but also social, cultural, geographic, moral, and emotional elements. These elements are often knitted together in ways that appear erratic or that only conform to established models in a single dimension, which leaves the analyst ill-informed concerning the workings of finance in everyday life. Fortunately, conceptual tools to go beyond narrow economic perspectives and explore the interaction of the multiple dimensions involved are on the rise. In this effort, it is critical to explore such dimensions in motion. People act in certain social milieus, push distinct fundamentals, exclude others, do their best to meet specific goals, and prioritize or overlook certain issues. Such actions are framed in what we can call economic exchange “languages” wherein assessments of equivalence are interpreted according to conventional significations. This brings up the notion of currencies, not only those represented in dollars, pesos, or euros, but currencies portraying values in social, symbolic, and cultural terms that embody economic transactions. Currencies flow within specific circuits involving different means of equivalence that entail diverse normative and moral frameworks. Multiple currencies coexist and interplay in everyday life, and people and institutions are obliged to juggle in order to make do. The allusion to juggling of currencies implies that there are a number of different economic and livelihood circuits that people operate in simultaneously. Some of these circuits involve religion, gender, identity, family, and markets, which operate with distinct criteria. Others involve hard cash or perhaps social and symbolic assets. It is the act of keeping these multiple circuits in motion at the same time that is the juggling of currencies. Juggling currencies is a key to success, however success may be depicted. Placing the lens on borderlines and transborder crossings is revealing, particularly when the aim is to explore monetary practices and economic lives. It is here that discontinuities, conflicts, and dilemmas become evident. People who are obliged to operate in two or more officially sanctioned monetary currencies, for example, need to be deeply knowledgeable about different normative frameworks and schemes of value equivalences wherein diverse social categories, expectations, and moralities are mobilized. Juggling is the name of the game.

Article

Kant and Anthropology  

Naveeda Khan

Actual, possible, and potential relations between Kant and anthropology in early-21st-century scholarship are worth exploring. Within the realm of actual relations, classical figures within anthropology took up Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason to understand the nature of thinking and morality within so-called primitive societies. They sought to put society before mind within Kant’s architectonic of thought and to posit classification, or relational thinking, as equally important as cognition. Within possible relations, contemporary anthropologists engaged Kant’s anthropology or Kant as a possible anthropologist in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View or “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” or set apart their enterprise of studying ethics from his on morality. A very central question that Kant’s writings posed for them was whether the figure of the human was knowable, to which anthropology added its own nuance by asking whether we can assume it is the same human or reason across all contexts. Within potential relations, writings on the history and method of anthropology both critiqued and celebrated the inheritance of German romanticism, understood as an intellectual trend, a methodology, a sensibility, a mystical orientation, and a celebration of individual singularity and genius within anthropology. In contrast to this mode of inheriting romanticism, a more Kantian-inflected understanding of the romantic movement, mediated by different figures, suggested itself as a productive point of entry for anthropology to understand the philosophical underpinnings of its preferred methods (e.g., fieldwork), its engagement with philosophy beyond that of agonism and possible arrogation, and its re-engagement with the question of the human in relation to itself, other humans and nonhumans, and nature. The fragment, one of romanticism’s greatest creations and a complex response to Kant’s two world metaphysics, appears to anthropology through both trajectories and, in keeping with anthropology’s evolving relation to philosophy, anthropology provides its own spin on the importance of the fragment for inhabiting the world.

Article

Landscapes and Memory  

Ben Bridges and Sarah Osterhoudt

Broadly, landscapes can be considered terrains of connectivity. Landscapes encompass wild, cultivated, urban, feral, and fallow spaces, as well as the human and nonhuman entities who inhabit and shape them. Memory refers to the past as it exists in the present, bridging temporally discrete moments through the intentional or unintentional act of remembering. Memory studies, from the view of anthropology, include explorations of individual forms of remembrance, as well as the collective, heterogenous ways of marking, interpreting, and erasing the past. Taken together, landscapes and memory co-constitute one another: landscapes store, depict, and evoke memories while memories recall, revise, and shape landscapes. Knowledge and power are inevitably wrapped up in the relationship, and anthropologists have investigated the manifest ways such forces emerge through human acts of cultivation, commemoration, nostalgia, and forgetting. Because landscapes and memory appear in both physical and immaterial forms, the social constructs, cultural expressions, and human and nonhuman relationships on which they are based generate rich material for anthropological study. While landscape and memory are surely topics independently worthy of study, undertaking the two in tandem elucidates the intertwining threads that bind together space and time; such studies interrogate realms of personal meaning and political power while simultaneously highlighting dynamic processes of adaptation, improvisation, and erasure.

Article

Language and Colonial Rule  

David Tavárez

The study, classification, and standardization of languages by scholars, missionaries, and administrators played a vital and often protean role in the implementation and enforcement of colonial domination. Ongoing scholarship surveys the merging of linguistic investigations and linguistic knowledge with colonial hegemony in the Americas and East Asia between the late 15th century and the end of World War II, with a sustained focus on Mesoamerica and the Andes. European colonial expansion from the 15th century onward resulted in the emergence of multiple philological and lexicographic projects that were intimately tied to a hegemonic refashioning of the social order through the establishment of extractive economic regimes, colonial administrative systems, and religious institutions that sought to Christianize and discipline colonial subjects. The conversion, education, and surveillance of these subjects were intricately tied to colonial governance objectives, priests, missionaries, and colonial officials who worked in tandem with Indigenous scholars and assistants who described and documented Indigenous languages. As a result of colonial policies, new vernaculars emerged, and regional languages underwent severe language shift or extinction. Even after the demise of colonial regimes, the linguistic policies embraced by nation-states relied on highly racialized, neocolonial approaches to linguistic and ethnic difference.

Article

Language and Culture in Workplace Ethnography  

Lauren A. Hayes

Scholars studying the anthropology of work have traditionally been interested in questions of power, class, inequality, moral economy, and the transformations brought about by global capitalism. To address these larger questions, workplace ethnography gives attention to both interactional and systemic level analysis, making linguistic methods a powerful tool for studying both talk at work and institutional discourse. Language has many social functions within the workplace, from the organization of tasks and goals to the ways people navigate relationships and perform identity. Linguistic theoretical and methodological perspectives are applied to the study of power and gatekeeping practices in institutional settings, performance of identity and gender at work, and inequalities related to race, ethnicity, and perceptions of accent. Linguistic practices in the neoliberal global economy are also an economic resource to be managed, regulated, scripted, and marketed, as part of the reflexive project of worker self-improvement. Language is also a form of labor itself in global customer service interactions, accent-reduction training, and contexts of tourism. Thus, workplace ethnography and language study complement each other, and linguistic methods and theory may be applied to major questions in the field of anthropology of work.

Article

Language and Health  

Steven P. Black

Defined broadly, the anthropological study of language and health is as old as the field itself. In early writings, medicine and language were often treated as core aspects of cultural traditions. Since these early influences, four anthropological approaches to this topic have developed. The first approach, rooted in cognitive and psychological anthropology, examines cultural models of illness, explanations of illness, and narratives about illness. While this research provides significant insights into the relationship between language and understandings of experiences with illness, much of this work assumes monolingualism or, in some cases, includes multilingual speakers but does not explicitly address multilingualism as a facet of analysis. However, some scholarship examines the linguistic and experiential dynamics that occur when an explanatory model is shifted wholesale from one linguistic and cultural context to another. The second approach, based in medical anthropology, theorizes how medical discourses (in the sense of the limits of what persons might say or could say in specific medical contexts) shape the development of culturally specific subjectivities. In this research, many scholars expand on the idea that medical systems are cultural systems, especially in their analysis of the disjuncture between the authoritative stance of scientific medicine—with claims to be outside of or beyond culture—and the reality that scientific medicine is itself cultural and is embedded in distinct cultural contexts. Here, the bio– prefix (as in biopolitics, biopower, and biosociality) points toward the profound power of scientific medicine to reshape human bodies and thus human relationships, which become mediated by scientific medical discourses. The third approach, connected to linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and conversation analysis, analyzes how health discourses (in the sense of documented linguistic and conversational patterns spoken in recorded health encounters) construct inequities and constitute cultural understandings of health and illness. Anthropological scholarship builds on the examination of the conversational construction of medical encounters in numerous ways, among them a discussion of what happens when individuals from marginalized cultural and linguistic backgrounds enter health care spaces. Finally, a novel framework links elements of the previous three approaches in interdisciplinary configurations to argue that language and health are co-constituted. This includes work on the pragmatics and ideologies of recovery and care, the discursive constitution of public and global health, medical translation, and health/communicative inequities.

Article

Language and (Trans)nationalism  

Kinga Kozminska

Language has always been entangled in vernacular-cosmopolitan visions. Transnational modes of transformation in the 21st century cannot, therefore, be understood without a close examination of changing ideals of linguistic legitimacy, their entanglement in politics of listening and embodied knowledges of the “listener.” A close examination of these developments enables us to see how language has been historically linked to modernity, rationality, technology, and society, and how an ideal of standard language ideology emerged in relation to particular politics of modernity and history of colonial legacy. This in turn has shaped the global order and contributes to social inequalities worldwide. To search for strategies for “understanding how time and space feel” and get transformed through interactions between the material and the social in the 21st century, research focuses on scale-making practices among transnational individuals and groups, their embodied enactments and entanglement in network cultures and specific rearrangements of materials. By doing so, it highlights sociolinguistic research’s capacity to counter unequal expectations in transnational space. Collected evidence promotes a holistic study of discourse, where recognition of changing research possibilities, positionalities, ecologies of media, and aesthetics may enable a better understanding of the continual processes of political linguistic figuration, see all communication as care, and study how its multiple readings are embedded in theory, politics, and technology.

Article

Language and Violence  

Robin Conley Riner

Theorizations of language and violence have a long history of coarticulation. Those theorizing violence have looked to language to make sense of it, and scholars of language have recognized a violence inherent in its structure and use. Anthropologists have used ethnography to explore differing experiences of violence, with a focus on everyday violence. Such work has uncovered the ways in which language can facilitate, justify, construct, normalize, and resist experiences of violence. Linguistic anthropologists, in particular, have articulated the discursive nature of structural violence, speech acts as forms of violence, and language policies and forms of language classification as violent practices.

Article

Language and White Supremacy  

Jennifer Roth-Gordon

White supremacy is a racial order that relies on a presumed “natural” superiority of whiteness and assigns to all groups racialized as non-white biological or cultural characteristics of inferiority. Despite decades of scientific studies refuting these claims, beliefs in racial difference continue to rely on ideas of innate or genetic differences between groups. Scholars now widely agree that race is a social, cultural, and political distinction that was and continues to be forged through relations of transatlantic slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. A focus on white supremacy does not limit scholars to the study of white supremacists, that is, those individuals and groups that outwardly espouse a racial order that privileges whiteness and white people and frequently endorse physical violence to maintain this order. Under white supremacy, societies privilege whiteness even in the absence of explicit laws and sometimes while promoting ideologies of racial inclusion and equality. Contexts of white supremacy feature the consolidation of white power and wealth at the expense of people of color—an arrangement that is maintained through racial capitalism, settler colonialism, anti-blackness, imperial conquest, Islamophobia or anti-Muslim racism, and xenophobic or anti-immigrant sentiment. Widespread awareness of linguistic difference can be mobilized to support these pillars of white supremacy through a range of official language policies and overt acts of linguistic suppression, as well as more covert or subtle language practices and ideologies. While the term “white supremacy” has gained broader circulation in the 21st century, these topics have been studied by linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists for decades under the more familiar headings of “race and language,” “racism and language,” and “raciolinguistics.” This scholarship examines how racial domination is consolidated, maintained, and justified through attention paid to language, but also the ways that marginalized speakers take up a broad range of linguistic practices to challenge assumptions about the superiority of whiteness and emphasize non-white racial pride, community ties, and cultural and linguistic heritage and traditions. Racial and linguistic hierarchies work together to falsely connect whiteness and the use of “standard” (officially sanctioned) language with rationality, intelligence, education, wealth, and higher status. Under these racial logics, speakers of languages associated with non-whiteness are readily linked to danger, criminality, a lack of intelligence or ability, primitivism, and foreignness. Together these ideologies naturalize connections between languages or specific linguistic practices and types of people, producing the conditions under which racialized speakers experience discrimination, marginalization, exclusion, oppression, and violence. At the same time, speakers challenge these power dynamics through linguistic practices that range from codeswitching, bilingualism and multilingualism, and language revitalization efforts, to verbal traditions both old and new, including social media genres. Though racial hierarchy continues to be bolstered by a linguistic hierarchy that assigns higher value to English as well as other European or colonial languages, linguistic variation persists, as speakers proudly embrace linguistic practices that defy the push to assimilate or submit to language loss. Beliefs in the superiority of whiteness have global resonance, but local specificities are important, and a majority of research has thus far been conducted within the context of the United States. Scholars who study language, racial inequality, and oppression continue to weigh in on public policies and debates in an attempt to raise awareness on these issues and advocate for racial and social justice.

Article

Language as Social Action  

Jillian R. Cavanaugh

Linguistic anthropology is the study of language as social action. Linguistic anthropologists study how people use language, and how, in using language, people are also defining and displaying who they are, enacting their membership in particular groups, and bringing various types of truths into being. Language, then, is a set of practices that people engage in every day in numerous forms, which helps to define their positions in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and even nation-states. How one speaks is not only who one is—it is what one does. This is possible because language is multifunctional, that is, it works in many different ways to connect people, convey meanings and feelings, move people to action, and define who they are. The major functions of language are the referential function, the emotive function, the conative function, the poetic function, the phatic function, the metalinguistic function, and the indexical function, which often overlap when people use language and are shaped by language ideologies, that is, the beliefs and attitudes that shape speakers’ relationships to their own and others’ languages, mediating between the social practice of language and the socioeconomic, historical, and political structures within which it occurs. Language use is part of what makes humans human, and as anthropologists, focused on how humans live and make sense of each other and the world, language should always be part of what anthropologists attend to and investigate.

Article

Language Contact  

Sandhya Narayanan

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Please check back later for the full article. Language contact highlights the social dynamics that are crucial to any understanding of language change and the emergence of linguistic variation and complexity over time. As an analytic approach and field of anthropological and linguistic inquiry, it reminds us that the study of language cannot be separated from an in-depth understanding of the speakers and communities that these varieties come from, highlighting the need to center the analysis of human social practices, interactional dynamics, and broader ideological frameworks in any inquiry into linguistic and social change. Observing and analyzing language change as an outcome of contact between two or more linguistic varieties can occur across different grammatical domains. Closer attention to the kinds of structural changes that occur because of contact can challenge current theoretical models of language change. As such, contact-induced structural changes speak to the ways that different linguistic systems can influence each other, producing small-scale changes such as borrowing of grammatical elements, to larger and more structurally encompassing transformations such as the emergence of mixed linguistic varieties, pidgins, and creoles. However, change should not always be expected from language contact situations, opening the possibility to also consider the significance of no change occurring, or for linguistic forms to become further differentiated from each other. At the same time, linguistic change, in any form, cannot be abstracted away from social practices and social changes. Yet understanding these social processes requires us to think less about individual linguistic forms, and more about the range of linguistic practices that emerge in zones of language contact. Because language and communication are another form of social action, attention to the social dynamics of contact—which include the cultural contingencies of contact between speakers of different linguistic varieties, the interactions that emerge and constitute a zone of contact, and the ideological frameworks that shape these interactions—is equally important in shaping language change and linguistic complexity over time. Understanding these social processes and grounding language contact within the broader ethnographic context of the encounter provides a different vantage point to address questions concerning the nature of language as a product of social practices and moments of interactive, intersubjective creativity and innovation.

Article

Language Ideologies  

Catherine R. Rhodes

Language ideologies are a mediating device that helps people make sense of the relationship between linguistic and other communicative patterns and socially salient categories. Language ideologies are used to evaluate socially perceivable behavior as meaningful with respect to issues of power, authority, and difference. They can be understood as a framework for linking certain uses of language (or other communicative forms) with certain social positionalities. The study of language ideologies involves examining the social work language users do through their behaviors, activities, and social relations. As a concept grounded in indexical processes, analyzing the social work of language ideologies requires a semiotic framework that can make clear how people evaluate context, which can also evidence their understanding of social distribution. This article defines key terms in language ideologies research, provides a brief history of the development of the concept, discusses methodological considerations when studying language ideologies, explores scholarship on the making of social difference through linguistic ideological work, and discusses key areas of research interest.

Article

Language Revitalization and Multimodality  

Georgia Ennis

Linguistic and cultural shift are some of the most pressing issues facing minoritized speakers around the world. Language revitalization initiatives seek to increase the number of speakers through various pedagogical and social interventions. Language, however, is not simply a code transmitted between individuals, but comprised of a wealth of associated practices, norms, and forms of interaction in which that code has meaning. Multimodality is both an approach to the various communicative modes or semiotic fields of language, as well as a form of ethnographic practice related to media. Multimodality matters for the pedagogical methods, communicative modes, and media technologies involved in language revitalization. A multimodal approach to language revitalization includes modalities beyond a single communicative channel or form of media in recognition of the multifunctional and multidimensional nature of language.

Article

Language Socialization  

Shannon M. Ward

Language socialization is a theoretical and methodological paradigm that originated in the discipline of anthropology, with the goal of addressing the relationship between culture and language learning. Scholars of language socialization use methods from ethnography, field linguistics, and sociolinguistics to document and analyze patterns of language use in communities. In the 1980s, anthropologists developed the paradigm of language socialization in response to a lack of attention to the diversity of languages and cultures represented within the study of first-language acquisition. To center inquiries into language learning around cultural and linguistic diversity, language socialization attends to everyday practices of language and communication as well as to the enduring language attitudes and cultural belief systems that co-constitute language structures. Language socialization emphasizes that humans build social identities, cultural practices, and senses of belonging as they learn and use languages. While language socialization originated in the study of young children’s first-language acquisition, it has since expanded to examine broader contexts of language learning. Guided by the understanding that the structures of real-time interactions and social institutions mutually create one another, language socialization scholars have examined how our social roles in families, schools, and professions shape our language use across the lifespan. Since the 1990s, language socialization research has taken particular interest in the relationship between language and power, drawing from theories of language ideologies—or taken-for-granted beliefs about languages and their speakers—to address topics related to multilingualism, including code-mixing, second-language learning, heritage-language learning, and language shift and revitalization. In 2023, key debates in the field focus on defining learners’ identities and highlighting communicative diversity beyond spoken languages.

Article

Leadership and Organizational Development  

Derek Newberry and Eric Gruebel

Since at least the 1930s, anthropologists have been conducting research on the dynamics and features of leadership and organizational development. After a period of dormancy lasting from the middle of the century to the end of the 1970s, work in the field has taken off. Drawing on two of anthropology’s defining features—the ethnographic method and the culture concept—scholars working within the field have provided an alternative and productive approach to a subject studied across a range of disciplines. As is the case throughout anthropology, no one definition of culture serves as the universal touchstone for the anthropological study of organizations. Still, anthropologists working within the field commonly reject any notion of culture as static, uniform, or fully bounded within an organization. Unlike in the traditional management scholarship, there are few explanatory frameworks on effective leadership or organizational functioning in the anthropological literature. This different emphasis is a byproduct of the larger trend toward reflexivity over the last two decades, in which anthropologists have increasingly challenged both the concept of “culture” itself and attempts to develop broad theoretical frameworks. For anthropologists of organizations, this shift has created a division between more academically oriented scholars who produce small-scale ethnographies that resist generalization and applied anthropologists who have created more practical, method-focused guides to the field. At the same time, academics and practitioners in fields like design-thinking and industrial-organizational psychology have developed their own, anthropologically informed approaches and theories for understanding leadership and cultural change in organizations. Entering the third decade of the 20th century, it remains to be seen whether the field will continue down this divided path or instead reconnect with its roots in broad cultural theory, leading to greater efforts to synthesize practical, academic, and interdisciplinary approaches to develop new theoretical frameworks.

Article

The Legal Frameworks of Protecting Archaeology in Africa  

Ancila Katsamudanga

Archaeological heritage is fragile and nonrenewable. In Africa, it is vulnerable to developmental projects in construction, mining, and agriculture as well as intentional and unintentional vandalism through everyday use and tourism. Looting, illegal trade of antiquities, and terrorism have also emerged as other significant threats to archaeological heritage in Africa. Looting and vandalism of sites and objects result from lax monitoring mechanisms and a general lack of awareness of archaeological matters among the public. Although most African countries have the legal protection of archaeological heritage, the effectiveness of these has been under question. African heritage legislations have been criticized for the lack of predevelopment assessments that would ensure the protection of recorded and unrecorded archaeological heritage. They have also been censured for protecting just the physical aspects of archaeological heritage, leaving out the intangible aspects that actually give the heritage value, especially among African communities. Another challenge was the exclusion of local communities and customary management systems in the protection of archaeological heritage. Provisions for counteracting looting and illegal trade in antiquities, coming especially from archaeological sites, were also considered weak and requiring improvements. The response to the debate on the effectiveness of the legal protection of heritage has been varied across the continent. Some African countries have responded by writing new laws, amending old ones, or providing other supporting legal provisions such as national cultural policies or regulations. Countries that have instituted new legal provisions include Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Mali, Egypt, Mauritania, and the Republic of the Congo. Those who reworked their protective mechanisms have attempted to address many of the issues raised. Countries such as Namibia, Botswana, and Mali have included clearly defined provisions for predevelopment assessments. Others such as Liberia included archaeological heritage in their environmental protection laws. Although fewer countries have had legislation to protect intangible aspects, supporting legal provisions such as national cultural policies have helped in this regard. However, very little has been done on the inclusion of customary laws and systems of archaeological protection. Going forward, African nations have to quickly consider emerging issues such as digital manipulation, heritage-based product development, increased need for intervention conservation, and sustainable economic utilization of heritage for the development of individuals, communities, and nations. The legislative process in Africa has to be expedited to quickly and efficiently deal with these issues before they cause harm to the archaeological heritage.

Article

Levallois  

Michael Chazan

Levallois refers to a way of making stone tools that is a significant component of the technological adaptations of both Neanderthals and early modern humans. Although distinctive Levallois artifacts were identified already in the 19th century, a consensus on the definition of the Levallois and clear criteria for distinguishing Levallois from non-Levallois artifacts remain elusive. At a general level, Levallois is one variant on prepared core technology. In a prepared core approach to stone tool manufacture, the worked material (the core) is configured and maintained to allow for the production of detached pieces (flakes) whose morphology is constrained by the production process. The difficulty for archaeologists is that Levallois refers to a particular process of manufacture rather than a discrete finality. The study of Levallois exposes limitations of typological approaches to artifact analysis and forces a consideration of the challenges in creating a solid empirical basis for characterizing technological processes.