Tuesday, October 9, 2012

[EmergingEthnoNetwork] Fw: CHAGS13 - issues in Amazonian H&G research

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Nemer E. Narchi <nenarchi@gmail.com>
To: manitascolorfiel@yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 9:06 PM
Subject: CHAGS13 - issues in Amazonian H&G research

> Dear colleagues,
> With apologies for cross-posting, please distribute this to your networks,
> Best wishes,
> Jerome
> From: Laura Rival [mailto:laura.rival@anthro.ox.ac.uk]
> Sent: 02 October 2012 13:30
> To: Lewis, Jerome
> Subject: CHAGS13
> Session title: Contemporary issues in Amazonian hunter-gatherer research
> Organizer: Laura Rival (University of Oxford, UK)
> Recent interdisciplinary research on the 'Neolithic revolution' has
> confirmed that 10,000 years ago food production based on the domestication
> of a few wild plant and animal species began to arise independently in
> various places around the world. On the basis of correlations between
> population growth, the migration of early farming populations, the expansion
> of language families, and the spread of new material cultures and
> food-producing economies, various authors have argued that new patterns of
> plant domestication and agricultural expansion caused the decline of
> hunting-gathering societies and their gradual replacement by expansionary
> farming ones (e.g. Diamond and Bellwood 2003, Bellwood and Renfrew 2005, and
> Bellwood 2005). The profound impacts of farming on human demography, social
> organisation and technology, the story goes, was disadvantageous to hunters
> and gatherers.
> This account of the Neolithic Revolution, however, is not easily
> reconcilable with what we know of the past in Amazonia. Part of the problem
> lies with the paradigmatic shifts that have marked Amazonianist
> archaeological and anthropological research (for recent accounts, see
> Heckenberger and Neves 2010 and Arroyo 2010). If researchers are today able
> to offer more coherent interpretations of the complex distribution patterns
> of archaeological and linguistic data found in the region (Love 2011: 1),
> the new cultural history they propose has very little to say about the
> resilience of foraging in Amazonia, or the specificities of
> hunter-gatherers' cultural and biological adaptations. For instance,
> Heckenberger and Neves (2010) propose an evolutionist sequencing [(1) early
> forager occupations; (2) mid-Holocene settled foragers and
> horticulturalists; (3) late Holocene emergence of settled, agricultural
> societies; (4) small- to medium-sized polities occupying the Amazon River
> bottoms in late prehistoric times; and (5) collapse of late regional
> polities in the aftermath of European contact] which perpetuates the false
> archaism thesis and denies the contemporaneity of hunting-and-gathering in
> Amazonia (Rival 2002, 2006, 2007).
> Yet, we know that foraging and horticulture have coexisted in Amazonia for
> thousands of years, and that both have contributed to the formation of
> distinctive biocultural landscapes in complementary ways (Clement, Rival and
> Cole 2009). Throughout history, lowland South American indigenous groups
> have chosen to increase significantly hunting and gathering to ensure their
> survival, or even to return to a full foraging way of life. There is still
> much to learn about the distinct food-procuring activities, residential and
> logistical mobility, social forms and cosmological orientations of foragers.
> How have Amazonian hunter-gatherers adapted to pressures and maintained
> their resilience? What patterns of mobility are found among Amazonian
> foragers, and what particular interplay of social, historical and ecological
> factors best explain these? Is there anything distinctive about the
> ecological and ethnobiological knowledge of Amazonian foragers? How do they
> talk about and represent past human activity? In what ways do their
> intellectual and spiritual worlds differ from those of horticulturalists?
> Does the study of interpersonal relations, ethos, social philosophy,
> cosmology, myth, ritual, or other symbolic expressions reveal a distinctive
> foraging orientation? To what extent can it be said that Amazonian foragers
> have arrived at similar organizational and ideational solutions? What
> collective sense of themselves do foragers develop, especially in situations
> of inter-ethnic contact? How common are the symbiotic and hierarchical
> relationships that have been observed between some foraging and farming
> groups, notably in the Vaup├Ęs region? What gender asymmetries are found
> among foragers and horticulturalists? What can we learn from the foraging
> life of lowland South American groups who live in voluntary isolation? What
> threats do these groups face?
> This panel is open to the discussion of all these and more questions
> regarding the past, present and future of South American foragers. It aims
> to bring together researchers from different disciplines and theoretical
> perspectives.
> Dear Jerome, Xs for circulating this to your network, Laura
> --
> ****************************************
> Takanori OISHI
> takanori@jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp
> takanori.oishi@gmail.com


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