Building a New Biocultural Synthesis

Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology

Subjects: Anthropology, Health & Medicine
Ebook : 9780472022700, 512 pages, 22 tables, 20 figures, 5 maps, March 2010
Paperback : 9780472066063, 512 pages, 22 tables, 20 figures, 5 maps, 6 x 9, October 1998
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Shows the potential for a reintegrated, critical, and politically relevant biocultural anthropology

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Contents Foreword          xiRichard Levins and Richard Lewontin Acknowledgments          xvii Series Introduction          xixEmilio F. Moran Part 1. Historical Overview and Theoretical Developments 1. Traversing the Chasm between Biology and Culture: An Introduction          3Alan H. Goodman and Thomas L. Leatherman 2. The Evolution of Human Adaptability Paradigms: Toward a Biology of Poverty          43R. Brooke Thomas 3. Political Economy and Social Fields          75William Roseberry 4. The Development of Critical Medial Anthropology: Implications for Biological Anthropology          93Merrill Singer Part 2. Case Studies and Examples: Past Populations 5. Linking Political Economy and Human Biology: Lessons from North American Archaeology          127Dean J. Saitta 6. The Biological Consequences of Inequality in Antiquity          147Alan H. Goodman 7. Owning the Sins of the Past: Historical Trends, Missed Opportunities, and New Directions in the Study of Human Remains          171Debra L. Martin 8. Nature, Nurture, and the Determinants of Infant Mortality: A Case Study from Massachusetts, 1830-1920          191Alan C. Swedlund and Helen Ball 9. Unequal Death as in Life: A Sociopolitical Analysis of the 1813 Mexico City Typhus Epidemic          229Lourdes Marquez-Morfin Part 3. Case Studies and Examples: Contemporary Populations 10. Illness, Social Relations, and Household Production and Reproduction in the Andes of Southern Peru          245Thomas L. Leatherman 11. On the (Un)Natural History of the Tupi-Monde Indians: Bioanthropology and Change in the Brazilian Amazon          269Ricardo V. Santos and Carlos E. A. Coimbra, Jr. 12. The Political Ecology of Population Increase and Malnutrition in Southern Honduras          295Billie R. DeWalt 13. The Biocultural Impact of Tourism on Mayan Communities          317Magali Daltabuit and Thomas L. Leatherman 14. Poverty and Nutrition in Eastern Kentucky: The Political Economy of Childhood Growth          339Deborah L. Crooks Part 4. Steps toward a Critical Biological Anthropology 15. Race, Racism, and Anthropology          359George J. Armelagos and Alan H. Goodman 16. Beyond European Enlightenment: Toward a Critical and Humanistic Human Biology          379Michael L. Blakey 17. Latin American Social Medicine and the Politics of Theory          407Lynn M. Morgan 18. Nature, Political Ecology, and Social Practice: Toward an Academic and Political Agenda          425Soren Hvalkof and Arturo Escobar 19. What Could Be: Biocultural Anthropology for the Next Generation          451Gavin A. Smith and R. Brooke Thomas Contributors          475Index           479


Anthropology, with its dual emphasis on biology and culture, is--or should be--the discipline most suited to the study of the complex interactions between these aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, since the early decades of this century, biological and cultural anthropology have grown distinct, and a holistic vision of anthropology has suffered.
This book brings culture and biology back together in new and refreshing ways. Directly addressing earlier criticisms of biological anthropology, Building a New Biocultural Synthesis concerns how culture and political economy affect human biology--e.g., people's nutritional status, the spread of disease, exposure to pollution--and how biological consequences might then have further effects on cultural, social, and economic systems.
Contributors to the volume offer case studies on health, nutrition, and violence among prehistoric and historical peoples in the Americas; theoretical chapters on nonracial approaches to human variation and the development of critical, humanistic and political ecological approaches in biocultural anthropology; and explorations of biological conditions in contemporary societies in relationship to global changes.
Building a New Biocultural Synthesis will sharpen and enrich the relevance of anthropology for understanding a wide variety of struggles to cope with and combat persistent human suffering. It should appeal to all anthropologists and be of interest to sister disciplines such as nutrition and sociology.
Alan H. Goodman is Professor of Anthropology, Hampshire College. Thomas L. Leatherman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of South Carolina.

Alan H. Goodman is Professor of Anthropology, Hampshire College.
Thomas L. Leatherman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of South Carolina.