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Almost Human is the personal story of a charismatic and visionary palaeontologist, a rich and readable narrative about science, exploration, and what it means to be human.
In 2013, Wits University reasearch professor Lee Berger caught wind of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave near Johannesburg. He put out a call around the world for collaborators – men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground. With this team of ‘underground astronauts’, Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known pre-hominids with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains. Berger's team had discovered an all new species: Homo naledi.
The cave proved to be the richest pre-hominid site ever discovered, full of implications that challenge how we define ourselves as human. Did these ancestors of ours bury their dead? If so, they must have had an awareness of death, a level of self-knowledge: the very characteristic we used to define ourselves as human. Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us?
Addressing these questions, Berger counters the arguments of those colleagues who have questioned his controversial interpretations and astounding finds.
During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the apartheidera border fence, searching for ways to make ends meet. Maxim Bolt explores the lives of Zimbabwean migrant labourers, of settled black farm workers and their dependants, and of white farmers and managers, as they intersect on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Focusing on one farm, this book investigates the role of a hub of wage labour in a place of crisis. A close ethnographic study, it addresses the complex, shifting labour and life conditions in northern South Africa's agricultural borderlands. Underlying these challenges are the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis of the 2000s and the intensifi ed pressures on commercial agriculture in South Africa following market liberalization and post-apartheid land reform. But, amidst uncertainty, farmers and farm workers strive for stability. The farms on South Africa's margins are centers of gravity, islands of residential labour in a sea of informal arrangements.
From 2003-2006, Patricia Henderson lived in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, where she recorded the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS. In this illumination study, she recounts the concerns of rural people and explores local repertoires through which illness was folded into everyday life. The book spans a period when antiretroviral medication was not available and moves on to a time when the treatment became accessible. Hope gradually became manifest in the recovery of a number of people through antiretroviral therapies and 'the return' of bodies they could recognise as their own. This research implies that protracted interaction with people over time, offers insights into the unfolding textures of everyday life, in particular in its focus on suffering, social and structural inequality, illness, violence, mourning, sensibility, care and intimacy.
In Fracture, award-winning journalist Gillian Tett examines the structural development of institutions such as UBS, Sony and the Bank of England. While the world is increasingly interlinked in some senses, it remains profoundly fragmented in others. As organizations become larger and more global than ever before, they are apt to be divided and sub-divided into numerous different departments to facilitate productivity. However, there is a trap to the inevitability of these silos. The tunnel vision and tribalism that silos can lead to makes groups less innovative and can lead to disastrous mistakes. Institutions worldwide are made up of silos operating in isolation from one another. Fracture is an eye-opening account that takes a radical anthropological approach in suggesting how we might draw them back together.
In the past twenty five years, South Africa has seen incredible amounts of reform and change culturally and politically. Sociology: A South African Perspective introduces you the reader to sociological concepts and theories and demonstrates how important these are to understanding South Africa and what is means to be South African. Leading experts from across South Africa have come together to contribute chapters on a wide range of sociological ideas that affect the country.
In The Alternative Introduction to Biological Anthropology, author
Jon Marks presents an innovative framework for thinking about the
major issues in the field with fourteen original essays designed to
correlate to the core chapters in standard textbooks. Each chapter
draws on and complements--but does not reconstitute (except for the
sake of clarity)--the major data and ideas presented in standard
texts. Marks explores such topics as how we make sense of data
about our origins, where our modern ideas comes from, our inability
to separate natural facts from cultural facts and values as we try
to understand ourselves, and the social and political aspects of
science as a culturally situated mental activity.
A cultural history of the face in Western art, ranging from portraiture in painting and photography to film, theater, and mass mediaThis fascinating book presents the first cultural history and anthropology of the face across centuries, continents, and media. Ranging from funerary masks and masks in drama to the figural work of contemporary artists including Cindy Sherman and Nam June Paik, renowned art historian Hans Belting emphasizes that while the face plays a critical role in human communication, it defies attempts at visual representation.Belting divides his book into three parts: faces as masks of the self, portraiture as a constantly evolving mask in Western culture, and the fate of the face in the age of mass media. Referencing a vast array of sources, Belting's insights draw on art history, philosophy, theories of visual culture, and cognitive science. He demonstrates that Western efforts to portray the face have repeatedly failed, even with the developments of new media such as photography and film, which promise ever-greater degrees of verisimilitude. In spite of sitting at the heart of human expression, the face resists possession, and creative endeavors to capture it inevitably result in masks-hollow signifiers of the humanity they're meant to embody.From creations by Van Eyck and August Sander to works by Francis Bacon, Ingmar Bergman, and Chuck Close, Face and Mask takes a remarkable look at how, through the centuries, the physical visage has inspired and evaded artistic interpretation.
Explore the most fascinating, creative, dangerous, and complex species alive today: you and your neighbors in the global village. With compelling photos, engaging examples, and select studies by anthropologists in far-flung places, the authors of ANTHROPOLOGY: THE HUMAN CHALLENGE, 14E, International Edition provide a holistic view of anthropology to help you make sense of today's world. You'll discover the different ways humans face the challenge of existence; the connection between biology and culture in the shaping of human behavior; and the impact of globalization on peoples and cultures around the world.
How does anthropology help us understand who we are?What can it tell us about culture, from Melanesia to the City of London? Why does it matter?For well over one hundred years, social and cultural anthropologists have traversed the world from urban Zimbabwe to suburban England, Beijing to Barcelona, uncovering surprising facts, patterns, predilections and, sometimes, the inexplicable, in terms of how humans organize their lives and articulate their values. By weaving together theories and examples from around the world, Matthew Engelke brilliantly shows why anthropology matters: not only because it allows us to understand other points of view, but also because in the process, it reveals something about ourselves too.
Explore the most fascinating, creative, dangerous, and complex species alive today: you and your neighbors in the global village. With compelling photos, engaging examples, and select studies by anthropologists in far-flung places, the authors of "Anthropology: The Human Challenge, International Edition" provide a holistic view of anthropology to help you make sense of today's world. With this text you will discover the different ways humans face the challenge of existence, the connection between biology and culture in the shaping of human behavior, and the impact of globalization on peoples and cultures around the world.
A newer edition of this book is available for ordering at the following web address: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780759122031 In addition to the traditional use of participant observation, interviews, and surveys, qualitative researchers have developed a variety of other methods to obtain information in their studies. Visual data from film and still photographs are now supplemented with video and computer techniques and are used in many settings. Focused group interviews, once in the domain of market researchers, are now regularly used by qualitative researchers as well. Elicitation techniques, such as triads, pile sorts, and freelists, originally developed by cognitive anthropologists have been widely adopted to help understand the inner workings of the members of a group. In this brief volume, these three sets of methods are explained in simple, practical language. The authors describe when and how to use these sets of techniques for community research, market research, and formative evaluation and other health, social welfare, and educational settings both domestically and internationally.
"A wonderful gift to all Alaskans and to thinking people everywhere." --Alaska History Eskimo Essays introduces the reader to important aspects of the ideology and practice of the Yup'ik Eskimos of western Alaska, past and present.The essays point the way toward a fuller recognition of how Yup'ik Eskimos differ from the popular Western image of the Eskimo that was born largely without reference to Yup'ik reality. By describing the reality of Yup'ik life, "Eskimo Essays" extends our understanding of Eskimos in general and Yup'ik Eskimos in particular. Ann Fienup-Riordan argues that Western observers have simultaneously naturalized Eskimos as paragons of simplicity and virtue and historicized them as victims of Western imperialism. This process has often ignored Eskimo concepts of society, history, and personhood. An original assumption of similarity to Western society has profoundly affected the current Euro-American view of Eskimo history and action. Non-natives have taken an idealized Western individual, dressed that person up in polar garb, and then assumed they understood the garment's maker. The result is a presentation of Eskimo society that often tells us more about the meaning we seek in our own. Moreover, modern Eskimos have risen to the challenge and to some extent become what we have made them. Bridging the gap between informed scholarship and popular concepts, Fienup-Riordan provides a compelling and fresh presentation of Yup'ik life--cosmology, the missionary experience, attitudes toward conservation, Eskimo art, the legal system, warfare, and ceremonies. Ann Fienup-Riordan is an anthropologist who has published widely on the Eskimos of Alaska. She was named Historian of the Year by the Alaska Historical Society in 1991, and in 2000, in recognition of "Hunting Tradition in a Changing World."
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
Explore cultural anthropology and its relevance in today's world with Gary Ferraro and Susan Andreatta's CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: AN APPLIED PERSPECTIVE, Tenth Edition. This contemporary book provides interesting real-world examples and applications of the principles and practices of anthropology, helping readers appreciate other cultures as well as their own--and apply what they learn to situations in their personal and professional life.
"Lucy / your secret book / that you leaned over and wrote just in the dirt-- / Not having to have an ending / Not having to last. . . ."
And so begins Jean Valentine's provocative new work, "Lucy," a poem that pays homage to the three million-year-old skeleton of the earliest known hominid. With a deep sense of gratitude and profound longing, this poem celebrates the creative power of the female by introducing us to one of our oldest human ancestors. In a dreamlike and often fractured syntax that is vintage Valentine, Lucy, the "wildgood mother" of our species, can once again be heard.
One of the "New York Time""s Book Review""'s "Ten Best Books of the
Bone is the tissue most frequently recovered archaeologically and is the material most commonly studied by biological anthropologists, who are interested in how skeletons change shape during growth and across evolutionary time. This volume brings together a range of contemporary studies of bone growth and development to highlight how cross-disciplinary research and new methods can enhance our anthropological understanding of skeletal variation. The novel use of imaging techniques from developmental biology, advanced sequencing methods from genetics, and perspectives from evolutionary developmental biology improve our ability to understand the bases of modern human and primate variation. Animal models can also be used to provide a broad biological perspective to the systematic study of humans. This volume is a testament to the drive of anthropologists to understand biological and evolutionary processes that underlie changes in bone morphology and illustrates the continued value of incorporating multiple perspectives within anthropological inquiry.
Too Clever for Our Own Good closely studies the phenomenon of 'evolution through culture.' Unlike the 'evolution through genetics, ' typical in other creatures, this uniquely human process hinges upon making and using myriad cultural extensions of our own creation, devices both material and nonmaterial. These concrete and abstract cultural extensions, such as clothing, shelter, tools, language, ethics, and social organizations, have enormously enhanced our capacity for controlling nature, other people, and ourselves. The author draws upon his own background in the natural and social sciences to examine a wide array of human experiences, ranging from the use of concrete technological inventions to that of more symbolic extensions like logic, metaphor, and self-image. In this exploration, attention is called not only to the constructive power of these 'tools, ' but also, and more significantly, to their often overlooked, negative consequences. The critical analysis of the role of cultural extensions in human evolution is relevant for both general readers and students or specialists in human sciences and educatio
Too Clever for Our Own Good closely studies the phenomenon of "evolution through culture." Unlike the "evolution through genetics," typical in other creatures, this uniquely human process hinges upon making and using myriad cultural extensions of our own creation, devices both material and nonmaterial. These concrete and abstract cultural extensions, such as clothing, shelter, tools, language, ethics, and social organizations, have enormously enhanced our capacity for controlling nature, other people, and ourselves. The author draws upon his own background in the natural and social sciences to examine a wide array of human experiences, ranging from the use of concrete technological inventions to that of more symbolic extensions like logic, metaphor, and self-image. In this exploration, attention is called not only to the constructive power of these "tools," but also, and more significantly, to their often overlooked, negative consequences. The critical analysis of the role of cultural extensions in human evolution is relevant for both general readers and students or specialists in human sciences and education.
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