You are on page 1of 3

898 A merican A nthropologist [59, 19571

of wide concerns, will find much of interest in the other papers of this volume, in
chapters I have no space to mention. Of particular moment might be James L. Cate’s
“Humanism and the Social Sciences,” and Louis Gottschalk’s “The Historian’s Use of
Generalization.”

Dictionary of Anthropology. CHARLES


WINICK.New York: Philosophical Library, 1956.
vii, 579 pp. $10.00.
Reviewed by SOLTAX,University of Chicago
Why a dictionary of anthropology? For whom? These are questions difficult to
answer from an examination of this volume. Anthropologists could surely use reference
materials-we aren’t always familiar with newest technical terminology in all our fields
-and others reading our literature could use an anthropological supplement to Web-
ster’s. Why not then a frequently revised dictionary which goes beyond a general dic-
tionary, in number and specificity of anthropological words?
The dictionary here reviewed seems to want to fulfill these functions; its 10,000
words include:
1) Technical terms such as Abbenrillian, Acatl, agamang, babracot, bilocal not found
in Webster’s; and acculturation, Acheulean, Adytum, a$nes, agamy, aimak, Ainu,
animatism, animism, Australopithecus, avunculate, baton-de-commandement,Book of the
Dead, boreal, clan, cognate, damper, Devonian, diachronic, diffusion, Ehringsdorf jaw,
endogamy, eonism, which are also in Webster’s.
2) Ordinary words with special meanings in anthropology such as abyss, adaptation,
band, calabash, adhesion, abduction, abortion, city, class, cosmogony, covenant, cremation,
dance, death, diplomacy, divorce, earthquake, epilepsy.
3 ) Ordinary words such as abandonment, ablative, aboriginal, acre, adoption, bald-
ness, buttress, cannibalism, cassava, changeling, city-state, clay, com$ass, dagger, dart,
decimal, for which ordinary definitions are given.
Why are these last included? As a convenience, perhaps? I n some cases, possibly to
give inclusion of the words more justification, tidbits of anthropological information
are added to the usual definition. Examples are abduction, abortion, city, class, cos-
mogony, cowenant, cremation, dance, death, diplomacy, divorce, earthquake, epilepsy. The
difficulty here, of course, is the ad hoc character of the additions:
“abortion: Delivery of a fetus before it can become a viable human being. In certain
cultures abortion:may be deliberately induced for economic reasons, to avoid the pains
of childbirth, or to conceal illicit sexual relations. Deliberate abortion is found in almost
all cultures.”
“beldness: A lack of hair or natural covering on the head. It is probably a dominant
and sex-linked Mendelian characteristic. Women are seldom bald. Baldness is usually
found associated with substantial body hair and beards. It may be useful in differentiat-
ing racial groups. There is some evidence that baldness is an inherited Caucasoid muta-
tion that is rarely found among Mongoloids and Negroids and that the extent of bald-
ness among Caucasoids is increasing. See HAIR.”
“cosmogony: A group’s beliefs about the beginning and composition of the world or
universe. There are different stories of the creation. A god is usually the creator. He
may use a magic word to start the world (Hebrews), make the world by sacrifice (India),
or be a master artificer (Egypt), a potter (Egypt), or a weaver (Babylonia). The sexual
union of Earth and Heaven is widely found in early cosmogonies, as is the idea of a
cosmic egg (Polynesia). In early cosmogonies, i t was generally be!icved that before crea-
Book Reviews a99
tion, there was a vast collection of waters in darkness, rather than a creation from
nothing.”
“diplomacy: The method by which a large social group conducts its external affairs.
The earliest diplomatic communication probably consisted of sending messengers from
one group to another. North American Indians used both messengers (q.v.) and envoys.
Numelin has pointed out that although diplomacy is customarily dated from the Ori-
ental historical peoples, it can be shown that certain basic diplomatic usages have
developed among early human communities, and that i t was necessary for the leaders
of early societies to maintain mutual relations, originally by messengers and later by
envoys and other representatives.”
It is difficult to justify the inclusion of any particular selection of facts from the
whole range of possibilities.
The dictionary most frequently seems to look toward the layman. This is clearest
with much headings as Mu, group marriage, and so forth, which are debunked; and
lip, Negroid, “which would appear to be an advanced kind of lip and not in the least ape-
like or primitive, contrary to a popular belief.” But does it not leave the layman behind
when diffusionism is said to have been “vigorously fought by such functionalists as
Bronislaw Malinowski” and neither functionalist nor Malinowski are entries in the dic-
tionary? (By the way, biographical sketches of such men as Bastian, Codrington,
Galen, Galton, and Kant are included, but not those of Darwin, Rivers, or most of the
names most frequently met in anthropology.)
Language groups, archeological epochs, and even sites are included, but almost no
tribes or peoples. Included are innumerable items like “ekeru: Galla souls of the dead”
and “kra: I n the Gold Coast area, a ghost-like second self” but not Hopewell or
Kaminuljzlyu, or Navaho. Present is “Khasm beyt: A subsection of the Kababish tribe,”
but not the Kababish tribe. Minor cults, odd beliefs, native words, are legion and ap-
parently random; but a word like economy is not found, though law gets a good entry.
There are 17 subheads under theory. These include arboreal (Wood Jones and Elliot
Smith), area production (Vavilov), culture epoch (L. H. Morgan), plaster (“The theory
that the art of pottery was discovered by [covering] women’s bags . . . with a clay layer
and baking”), play (“The theory that fine art is produced independently of the struggle
for existence. . . ’l). The remainder refer to language alone: age and area (Bartoli),
family tree, functional and structural, gestural, mechanistic, nativistic (Max Muller), and
so forth. The limitation of age and area or nativistic theories to language is not complete,
since there are other entries for these terms, but it is almost ludicrous that this is the
only entry for junction or structure. (Incidentally, the cross-referencing is very bad.)
The quality of definition of critical terms is perhaps the best test of a technical dic-
tionary. The jacket blurb (for which the author is probably not responsible) says that
many terms “are here defined explicitly for the first time.” This would be a test-and a
contribution; but examples aren’t offered, and this reviewer looked in vain for one. It is
difficult to judge the overall quality of the definitions. Many of the important ones (for
example, culture) are certainly as good as can be expected given the space limitations;
but some are impossibly narrow, and many seem ridiculous. The eye lights with sur-
prise on such definitions as:
“nudity: Not wearing clothes. It is used symbolically to bring about, or stop, rain,
or to drive away demons.”
“horseshoe: A metal device usually iron, covering and protecting a horse’s hoof. Its
widespread magical use may be due to its being made of iron, which is traditionally
opposed to harmful spirits. The nature of the horseshoe’s position is important in
900 American Anthropologist [59,19571
effecting its potency. It has been used as a fertility symbol in Mexico and by the
Aztecs.”
“near-human: During the early to middle Pleistocene, the term sometimes used to
describe the population of the Old World.”
For all its faults, this dictionary is likely to be useful to laymen, and i t is no disgrace
to anthropology. It also serves to remind us how far behind we are in the development
of good reference materials such as atlases, cross-language dictionaries, field manuals,
encyclopedias, and dictionaries, to serve professionals and classrooms as well as lay-
men.

Aspects of Culture. HARRY L. SHAPIRO.New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers Uni-


versity Press, 1956. 147 pp. $2.75.
Reviewed by WALTERW. TAYLOR,
Instituto Nacional de Antropologla e Historia, Mexico
This small volume is composed of the 1956 Brown and Haley Lectures delivered at
the College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington. The stated purpose of this lecture
series is “ . . . to present original analyses of some intellectual problems confronting
the present age.” While Shapiro’s material is hardly original, it would certainly be in-
teresting and stimulating to an audience whose anthropological understandings were
not highly developed. The volume can be recommended as giving elementary insights
into several “aspects of culture” in a readable and entertaining manner. Especially
felicitous are the examples by which Shapiro illustrates his points.
The first section deals with “The Discovery of [the concept of] Culture” and dis-
cusses such topics as “culture and colonialism,” “culture as environment,” “culture in
a changing world.” The second section treats of Culture and History, pointing out
some advantages of a cultural approach to history and historical interpretation; two
rather lengthy and interesting examples are given, one concerning the conquest of
Ireland by Elizabethan England and the other a cultural viewpoint on United States
history. The third section discusses how archeology as a cultural study and other cul-
turally influenced methods of historical research have elucidated the origin, cyclical
nature, continuity, patterns, and changes undergone, throughout the ages, by what
Shapiro calls “civilization”-a term which he defines as urbanized culture.
On the debit side, it seems to me that the specific relationships between example
and the idea-to-be-explained are not pointed up enough for an unindoctrinated reader.
I feel a similar diffuseness and lack of clarity in topicd sequence and, particularly
when he defines or describes the concept of culture, in logical consistency. These short-
comings are not serious, but they do tend to reduce the effectiveness of what otherwise
is an interesting and authoritative addition to our all-too-meager anthropological
literature for the layman.

Race and Culture Contacts in the Modern Wo~ld.E. FRANKLIN FRAZIEB.


New York:
Alfred A. Rnopf, 1957. ix, 338, $4.50 text, $6.00 trade.
Reviewed by RUTHLANDES,
Pomona, Calqornia
This is a splendid resource and text-book in a new field, prepared by a noted
scholar and teacher. Frazier, who is chairman of the Department of Sociology at
Howard University, systematically discusses world race-and-culture phenomena of the
last two centuries but some of the impact of his argument is lost through summariza-
tion and too-equal emphasis; the throbbing life under examination is reduced to mere

Related Interests