World War I marks a well-known turning point in anthropology, and this volume is the first to examine the variety of forms it took in Europe. Distinct national traditions emerged and institutes were founded, partly due to collaborations with the military. Researchers in the cultural sciences used war zones to gain access to »informants«: prisoner-of-war and refugee camps, occupied territories, even the front lines. Anthropologists tailored their inquiries to aid the war effort, contributed to interpretations of the war as a »struggle« between »races«, and assessed the »warlike« nature of the Balkan region, whose crises were key to the outbreak of the Great War.
The evil eye—the power to inflict illness, damage to property, or even death simply by gazing at or praising someone—is among the most pervasive and powerful folk beliefs in the Indo-European and Semitic world. It is also one of the oldest, judging from its appearance in the Bible and in Sumerian texts five thousand years old. Remnants of the superstition persist today when we drink toasts, tip waiters, and bless sneezers. To avert the evil eye, Muslim women wear veils, baseball players avoid mentioning a no-hitter in progress, and traditional Jews say their business or health is "not bad" (rather than "good"). Though by no means universal, the evil eye continues to be a major factor in the behavior of millions of people living in the Mediterranean and Arab countries, as well as among immigrants to the Americas. This widespread superstition has attracted the attention of many scholars, and the twenty-one essays gathered in this book represent research from diverse perspectives: anthropology, classics, folklore studies, ophthalmology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, sociology, and religious studies. Some essays are fascinating reports of beliefs about the evil eye, from India and Iran to Scotland and Slovak-American communities; others analyze the origin, function, and cultural significance of this folk belief from ancient times to the present day. Editor Alan Dundes concludes the volume by proffering a comprehensive theoretical explanation of the evil eye. Anyone who has ever knocked on wood to ward off misfortune will enjoy this generous sampling of evil eye scholarship, and may never see the world through the same eyes again.
In the last three decades, the human body has gained increasing prominence in contemporary political debates, and it has become a central topic of modern social sciences and humanities. Modern technologies – such as organ transplants, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, cosmetic surgery and cryonics – have changed how we think about the body. In this collection of thirty original essays by leading figures in the field, these issues are explored across a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, including pragmatism, feminism, queer theory, post-modernism, post-humanism, cultural sociology, philosophy and anthropology. A wide range of case studies, which include cosmetics, diet, organ transplants, racial bodies, masculinity and sexuality, eating disorders, religion and the sacred body, and disability, are used to appraise these different perspectives. In addition, this Handbook explores various epistemological approaches to the basic question: what is a body? It also offers a strongly themed range of chapters on empirical topics that are organized around religion, medicine, gender, technology and consumption. It also contributes to the debate over the globalization of the body: how have military technology, modern medicine, sport and consumption led to this contemporary obsession with matters corporeal? The Handbook’s clear, direct style will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience in the social sciences, particularly for those studying medical sociology, gender studies, sports studies, disability studies, social gerontology, or the sociology of religion. It will serve to consolidate the new field of body studies.
Anthropological theory has been much discussed in recent years, yet the crucial questions still remain--how can it be defined, how is it developed, how is it to be applied, and how can one confirm it? The editors of Anthropological Theory answer these questions by presenting essays relating to various aspects of anthropological theory. Their selections from widely scattered and often difficult-to-obtain sources present a comprehensive set of writings that describe the current position and issues involved in theory. The development of field work in anthropology generated a tremendous emphasis on empirical data and research. The plethora of information awaiting collection and the enthusiasm with which the field embraced it so immersed anthropologists that they were unable to relate this new information to the field as a whole. Manners and Kaplan believe that this lack of generalization had a profoundly negative effect upon the discipline. Therefore, they look closely into the relationship between field work and theory in an opening essay and go on to present material that demonstrates the value and the necessity of theory in anthropology. Essays by anthropologists and other social scientists deal with "explanation," evolution, ecology, ideology, structuralism, and a number of other issues reflecting throughout the editors' conviction that anthropology is a science, the goal of which is to produce generalizations about sociocultural phenomena. The book provides necessary perspective for examining and evaluating the crucial intellectual concerns of modern anthropology and will therefore be important for the work of every anthropologist. Robert A. Manners (1913-1996) received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and carried on field work in the Caribbean, among American Indians in the Southwest, and in East Africa. He wrote numerous articles and reviews for anthropological journals as well as many books. He was professor of anthropology, Brandeis University where he started up the department. David Kaplan is professor emeritus of anthropology at Brandeis University. He has contributed articles and reviews to various journals. He has also done field work in Mexico and his areas of specialty include economic anthropology, method and theory, and peasant culture of Mesoamerica.
Feast! Throughout human history, and in all parts of the world, feasts have been at the heart of life. The great museums of the world are full of the remains of countless ghostly feasts – dishes that once bore rich meats, pitchers used to pour choice wines, tall jars that held beer sipped through long straws of gold and lapis, immense cauldrons from which hundreds of people could be served. Why were feasts so important, and is there more to feasting than abundance and enjoyment? The Never-Ending Feast is a pioneering work that draws on anthropology, archaeology and history to look at the dynamics of feasting among the great societies of antiquity renowned for their magnificence and might. Reflecting new directions in academic study, the focus shifts beyond the medieval and early modern periods in Western Europe, eastwards to Mesopotamia, Assyria and Achaemenid Persia, early Greece, the Mongol Empire, Shang China and Heian Japan. The past speaks through texts and artefacts. We see how feasts were the primary arena for displays of hierarchy, status and power; a stage upon which loyalties and alliances were negotiated; the occasion for the mobilization and distribution of resources, a means of pleasing the gods, and the place where identities were created, consolidated – and destroyed. The Never-Ending Feast transforms our understanding of feasting past and present, revitalising the fields of anthropology, archaeology, history, museum studies, material culture and food studies, for all of which it is essential reading.