Ant 128A: Team Projects

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Anthropology 128A
Kinship and Social Organization (4 units)
Winter Quarter 2006
(11:00-11:50 MWF, & 1:10-2:00 F, 192 Young Hall; CRN #73430

Team Projects

Research Objectives
Presentation Check List


Bruce Winterhalder
Anthropology & Graduate Group in Ecology
218 Young Hall; [; phone 754-4770]


I. Assignment: back to top

Your assignment as a research team is the following:

(a) You are to research a topic or an ethnographic group, looking for 3-4 original sources (e.g., primary journal articles, ethnographies, etc.) to digest, summarize and present in an informative and memorable way to the class. Your materials should substantially elaborate on the assigned readings, by analyzing materials that are topically related but not covered in depth in the text assignments. In each case, I have provided you with the general topic and several "starter" sources, to give you some direction into the literature. However, I encourage you to search for relevant sources on your own. I expect that you will locate and use at least one source not on my list.

Use the Expanded Academic Index ASAP (Infotrac) or another of the on-line electronic databases available through the library to search for journal articles by keywords or author names, locating the most recent, primary literature on your topic. Primary literature means original research articles in scholarly journals or books. Experiment with different keywords and keyword combinations, and check if authors cited in your text have published articles subsequent to those mentioned by the assigned sources. If necessary, consult with a reference librarian. If you are lost, unsure of the topic or its boundaries, please talk with me. You are looking for (1) a few, key theoretical articles, and (2) for the most recent empirical work on the subject.

When you have found several relevant articles, read them and prepare an annotated bibliography. It should have complete citations and a one paragraph summary of the most important contribution(s) of each article. It must be typed in a neat and reasonably compact form, for distribution to your classmates. In the header to the handout give the topic, your names, and the date of your presentation.

Plan to meet with me during my regular office hours one week prior to your presentation. By the date of this meeting, you should have a draft of your annotated bibliography and any other handouts, and a preliminary, written outline of your plan for the class presentation. I encourage you to have a variety of ideas about how you might present the material, lead a discussion and field questions. Part of your grade will depend on arranging and attending this meeting.

(b) Based on your research, you are to prepare an oral presentation of approximately 40 minutes for the class. Please prepare an outline of your presentation (to lessen the need of classmates to take notes). Bring copies of your annotated bibliography of sources.

You may arrange your presentation however you wish. However, I would encourage you to center your presentation on empirical results, to the extent possible. What studies have been done on this topic? What are the methodologies and the conclusions? Is this evidence reliable? Are investigators in agreement on the topic? Finally, how is this relevant to us? You may use class activities or surveys (conducted in advance and only after conferring with me about privacy issues), brief video presentations if they exist, or any other appropriate means. Be creative. If you use PowerPoint, please minimize the special effects (you might want to look up a copy of Edward Tufte's essay, The Cognitive Style of Power Point).

You should also have prepared a set of at least five discussion questions to ask of your classmates. Avoid questions of fact and ask rather for synthesis, interpretation or opinion (For instance, How does this idea fit with this other idea? How reliable are the conclusions of this study? What are the implications of accepting this idea? Is this set of observations consistent with your experience?).

II. Research Objectives: back to top

Your goal is to present and critically summarize interesting and original research on the assigned topic (e.g., anthropological analyses of the incest taboo). Your research presentation should cover at least the following:

a) The topic or problem under investigation, theory and concepts, and the nature and quality of the sources that you have located (5-10 minutes). For instance, your problem might be, with what frequency and in what circumstances do people form polyandrous mating systems? You can assume that your classmates have done the assigned reading, so will not need to repeat materials found there. Your goal is to educate them beyond those materials.

b) The empirical observations that are the subject of investigation, and the interpretations (analyses, explanations) that are advanced by the authors you read. Please, if you feel it is warranted, approach the material (including the textual interpretations) critically. Keep in mind that clear, detailed presentation and concrete examples will make your presentation more vivid. You will be able to cover only a limited amount of material and do it in satisfying detail. Include a glossary, illustrations, graphs or tables in your handout, if they will help in your presentation (approx 25 minutes). If you use graphics, be sure to leave time to explain them, giving your audience a guided "tour" of the axes, legends, content and interpretation.

c) Leave approximately 5 minutes at the end for questions and discussion with the class. Come prepared with your own questions, should your classmates prove reticent.

Finally, you are encouraged to develop at least a part of your presentation around topics or themes of your own choosing, so long as they are related generally to the materials assigned to the class for your session.

III. Grading: back to top

You will be graded on:

(1) The thoroughness of your research (including discover of unique sources);

(2) The originality and effectiveness with which you organize your materials to speak to issues raised by the topic or ethnography; and,

(3) The quality of your in-class presentation and handout.

IV. Schedule and Starter Citations: back to top

Social Structure and Behavior: Sex

11. M 30 Mar

Group 1

T: Who is available? (incest);

Wolf, A.P. 1993 Westermarck Redivivus.Annual Review of Anthropology 22: 157-175.

Durham, W.H. 1991 Coevolution: Genes, Culture and Human Diversity. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, ch. 6.

12. W 1 Feb

Group 2


T: Who is desirable? (mate choice);

Cashdan, E.A. 1996 Women's mating strategies.Evolutionary Anthropology 5: 134-143.

Buss, D.M. 1994 The strategies of human mating.American Scientist 82: 238-249.

Gil-Burmann, C., Peláez, F. and Sánchez, S. 
2002 Mate choice differences according to sex and age: An analysis of personal advertisements in Spanish newspapers.Human Nature 13: 493-508.

Buston, P.M. and Emlen, S.T. 2003 Cognitive processes underlying human mate choice: The relationship between self-perception and mate preference in Western society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA100: 8805-8810.


Social Structure and Behavior: Marriage back to top

13. F 3 Feb

Group 3

T: How many wives? (polygyny);

Strassmann, B.I. 2000 Polygyny, family structure, and child mortality: A prospective study among the Dogon of Mali. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective edited by L. Cronk et al. , pp. 49-67. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

Borgerhoff Mulder, M. 1990 Kipsigis women's preferences for wealthy men: Evidence for female choice in mammals? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 27: 255-264.

15. W
8 Feb

Group 4

T: How many husbands? (polyandry);

Smith, E.A. 1998 Is Tibetan polyandry adaptive? Methodological and metatheoretical analyses.Human Nature 9: 225-261.

Levine, N.E. and Silk, J.B. 1997 Why polyandry fails: Sources of instability in polyandrous marriages. Current Anthropology 38: 375-398.

16. F
10 Feb

Group 5

T: Marriage & its discontents (divorce);

Blurton Jones, N.G., Marlowe, F.W., Hawkes, K. and O'Connell, J.F. 2000 Paternal investment and hunter-gatherer divorce rates. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective edited by L. Cronk et al. , pp. 69-90. Aldine de Gruyter, Hawthorne, NY.

Social Structure and Behavior: Family back to top

17. M 
13 Feb

Group 6

T: How many children? (demog transitions);

Mace, R. 2000 An adaptive model of human reproductive rate where wealth is inherited: Why people have small families. InAdaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective edited by L. Cronk et al. , pp. 261-281. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

Low, B.S. 2000 Sex, wealth, and fertility: Old rules, new environments. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective edited by L. Cronk et al. , pp. 323-344. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

18. W
15 Feb

Group 7

T: Boys or girls?;

Sieff, D.F. 1990 Explaining biased sex ratios in human populations. Current Anthropology 31: 25-48.

Zaldivar, M.E., Lizarralde, R. and Beckerman, S. 1991 Unbiased sex ratios among the Bari: An evolutionary interpretation. Human Ecology 19: 469-498.

Cronk, L. 1993 Parental favoritism toward daughters. American Scientist 81: 272-279.

Smith, E.A. and Smith, S.A. 1994 Inuit sex-ratio variation: Population control, ethnographic error or parental manipulation? Current Anthropology 35: 595-624.

19. F
17 Feb

Group 8

T: How many mothers? (alloparenting);

Blaffer Hrdy, S. 1999 Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. Pantheon Books, New York, especially chs. 11, 15, 22, & 23;

Blaffer Hrdy, S. 1992 Fitness tradeoffs in the history and evolution of delegated mothering with special reference to wet-nursing, abandonment, and infanticide. Ethology and Sociobiology 13: 409-442.


20. W
22 Feb

Group 9

T: How many fathers? (multiple paternity);

Beckerman, S. and Valentine, P. 2002 Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The Theory and Practice of Partible Paternity in Lowland South America. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Blaffer Hrdy, S. 2003 The optimal number of fathers: Evolution, demography, and history in the shaping of female mate preferences. InEvolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches edited by S.J. Scher and F. Rauscher, pp. 111-133. Klewer Academic Publishers, Norwell, MA.

Social Evolution back to top

21. F 24 Feb

Group 10

T: Case: The !Kung San

Draper, P. and Hames, R.B. 2000 Birth order, sibling investment, and fertility among Ju/'Hoansi (!kung). Human Nature 11: 117-156.

Draper, P. and Kranichfeld. 1990 Coming in from the Bush: Settled life by the !Kung and their accommodation to Bantu Neighbors. Human Ecology 18: 363-385; Lee, R.B. 1979 The !Kung San: Men, Women, and Work in a Foraging Society. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

22. M
27 Feb

Group 11

T: Topic: HG Egalitarianism


Draper, P. 1975 !Kung women: Contrasts in sexual egalitarianism in foraging and sedentary contexts. In Toward an Anthropology of Women edited by R.R. Reiter, pp. 77-109. Monthly Review Press, New York.

Cashdan, E.A. 1980 Egalitarianism Among Hunters and Gatherers. American Anthropologist 82: 116-120. Leacock, E. 1978 Women's status in egalitarian society: Implications for social evolution. Current Anthropology 19: 247-275.

Lee, R.B. 1982 Politics, sexual and non-sexual, in an egalitarian society. In Politics and History in Band Societies edited by E. Leacock and R.B. Le, pp. 37-59. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

23. W
1 Mar

Group 12

T: Case: The Tsembaga Maring

Rappaport, R.A. 1971 The Flow of Energy in an Agricultural Society. Scientific American225: 116-132.

Rappaport, R. A. 1968. Pigs for the Ancestors. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Rappaport, R.A. 1967 Ritual regulation of environmental relations among a New Guinea people. Ethnology VI: 17-30.

24. F
3 Mar

Group 13

T: Topic: Warfare

Beckerman, S. and Lizarralde, R. 1995 State-tribal warfare and male-biased casualties among the Bari. Current Anthropology 36: 497-500.

Ember, M. and Ember, C.R. 1994 Prescriptions for peace: Policy implications of cross-cultural research on war and interpersonal violence. Cross-Cultural Research 28: 343-350.

Shankman, P. 1991 Culture contact, cultural ecology and Dani warfare. Man 26: 299-321.

25. M
6 Mar

Group 14

T: Case: The Inka

Sources in Johnson & Earle

26. W
8 Mar

Group 15

T: Topic: Evolution of religion & ideology

Conrad, Geoffrey, and Arthur A. Demarest. 1984. Religion and Empire: The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca Expansionism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

27. F
10 Mar

Group 16

T: Case: Taitou

Yang, M. 1945. A Chinese Village: Taitou, Shantung Province. New York: Columbia U. Press

28. M
13 Mar

Group 17

T: Topic: Intensive agriculture households

Cleveland, D.A. 1998 Balancing on a planet: Toward an agricultural anthropology for the twenty- first century. Human Ecology 26: 323-339+.

Wilk, R.R. and Stone, M.P. 1998 Introduction to a very human ecology: Celebrating the work of Robert McC. Netting. Human Ecology26: 175-188.

Netting, R.M. 1993 Smallholders, Householders: Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

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