Department of Anthropology Papers

Penn Anthropology continues to pioneer innovations in anthropology and beyond. Our evolutionary anthropologists study population genetics and reproductive health, ancient hominids and modern primates, whether at laboratories on campus or at field sites in South America and the Middle East. Our archeological anthropologists study ancient Mesopotamia, the Maya, the Inca, colonial North America, and heritage culture around the world. Our sociocultural and linguistic anthropologists investigate contemporary media, politics, corporations, globalization, migration, race, and urban poverty. Faculty in all three sections contribute to programs in Culture Contact and Colonialism, Medical Anthropology and Global Health, and Native American Studies.



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Now showing 1 - 10 of 177
  • Publication
    Baluchistan: Geography, History, and Ethnography
    (1988) Spooner, Brian
    This article is divided into the following sections: 1. introductory review of problems in the history and ethnography of the Baluch, i.e., the present-day inhabitants of Baluchistan; 2. geography; 3. the origins of the Balōč, i.e., the people who brought the name into the area; 4. the early history of the area between Iran and India (Baluchistan); 5. the eastward migrations of the Balōč; 6. the establishment of the khanate in Kalat; 7. the autonomous khanate, 1666-1839; 8. the period of British dominance, 1839-1947; 9. the Baluch in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan since 1947; 10. the diaspora; 11. ethnography. [Note: place names in Pakistan have not been transliterated.]
  • Publication
    The MAB Approach: Problems, Clarifications and a Proposal
    (1984) Spooner, Brian
    Despite MAB's general success in promoting research on ecological problems from various points of view, the goal of integration still seems beyond reach. To the degree that integration has worked it has invariably involved the domination of one scientific discipline over others that could be persuaded to cooperate - especially of natural over social sciences - both in definition of research design and in formulation of questions. This problem derives partly from the relative scarcity of social scientists professionally interested in ecological problems, but also from the fact that social science comprehends a variety of approaches, based on different assumptions, all equally valid, leading to different but complementary results. A closer look at the variety and complementarity of a selection of different social science approaches suggests a promising model for the future development of the MAB Programme in the 1980s, which would take it closer to the goals it had previously sought through integration, and also towards the goal of improved communication and application of research findings. Not only the various social science approaches and different natural science approaches, but also the approaches of the other relevant actors-planners, politicians, extension workers, and, especially private (i.e. local) people -must be seen as complementary from the initial stage of the definition of the research problem through to the synthesis and application of the results. In this way, not only will the social sciences be effectively integrated into MAB but the more important goal of communication and application will also be assured.
  • Publication
    New Native American Studies Initiative at Penn
    (2013-12-01) Bruchac, Margaret
  • Publication
    Biological Citizenship: The Science and Politics of Chernobyl-Exposed Populations
    (2004-01-01) Petryna, Adriana
    In the transition out of socialism to market capitalism, bodies, populations, and categories of citizenship have been reordered. The rational-technical management of groups affected by the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine is a window into this contested process. Chernobyl exemplifies a moment when scientific knowability collapsed and new maps and categories of entitlement emerged. Older models of welfare rely on precise definitions situating citizens and their attributes on a cross-mesh of known categories upon which claims rights are based. Here one observes how ambiguities related to categorizing suffering created a political field in which a state, forms of citizenship, and informal economies were remade.
  • Publication
    Insiders and Outsiders in Baluchistan: Western and Indigenous Perspectives on Ecology and Development
    (1992) Spooner, Brian
    We have generally become used to the idea that ethnographers are a part of what they study. They live in the community they study and participate in the events and (ideally) in the social and cultural processes which they analyze and interpret. They cannot stand either theoretically or methodologically outside what they study - even though we do not perhaps all of us always manage to follow through with the implications of this condition. The evolutionary ecologist knows implicitly that his professional activity, like all other human activity, takes place within the evolutionary process. But this orientation towards his subject matter tends to be very different from that of the ethnographer. Other investigators, and particularly economists and development planners, study unequivocally from without - they translate the laboratory-objectivity tradition of Western scientific method into the field. The growing emphasis on popular participation in development planning and implementation draws attention to these differences of orientation. In this chapter a case from Baluchistan will illustrate the significance of the difference.
  • Publication
    Iranian Kinship and Marriage
    (1966) Spooner, Brian
    This paper is an attempt to distinguish and discuss the Iranian (as distinct from the Turkish, Arabic and Islamic) elements in the present pattern of kinship and marriage practice in Persia in their historical context. This will entail also a discussion of what can be known of the pre-Islamic Iranian system.
  • Publication
    Mackosi’kwe’s Baskets: Marking Relationships
    (2015-01-01) Bruchac, Margaret
    On August 1, 1938, before leaving the Maniwaki reserve in Quebec, Canada, anthropologist Frank G. Speck paid a visit to his old friends, Michel Buckshot and his wife Angelique, better known as Mackosi’kwe (also spelled Meshkosikwe, meaning “Beaver Meadow Woman”). Mackosi’kwe was skilled in pyroscapulimancy, a technique for divining future prospects in hunting and travel by scorching the shoulder blades of Indigenous deer, caribou, beaver, and other animals in a fire, and then reading the cracks and marks. In Speck’s case, she started with a deer scapula, followed by that of a hare, to predict an unexpected break in the return trip, but an otherwise safe journey home.
  • Publication
    Iñupiaq Smoking and Siberian Reindeer
    (2015-01-01) Bruchac, Margaret
    This semester, my students in Museum Anthropology conducted close examinations of objects from Arctic locales in the collections of the Penn Museum. During our object analysis of this walrus tusk ivory Iñupiaq pipe (item# 39-10-1) in the Collections Study Room, I was intrigued by the idea that it was used for smoking opium, given the absurdly small hole in the bowl. After further research, a very different story emerged. The pipe’s shape was, indeed, inspired by Chinese opium pipes, but a survey of Arctic scholarship revealed cultural exchanges from Siberia. Iñupiaq pipes like this—with a curved tusk shape, wide bowl, and very narrow bore—closely resemble the chukch pipe used by the Indigenous Sami of northern Asia.
  • Publication
    Nomadism in Baluchistan
    (1975) Spooner, Brian
    Baluchistan as the Baluch define it includes most of West Pakistan west of the Indus, the southwest corner of Afghanistan, and the southeastern province of Persia, and Baluch minorities are also to be found scattered far to the north of this area as far as Soviet Turkmenistan. However, this vast area has never constituted any sort of unit, except in a vague cultural and linguistic sense.
  • Publication
    Constructing Indigenous Associations for NAGPRA Compliance
    (2010-03-01) Bruchac, Margaret
    Imagine a world where one’s right to property (including possession of one’s own body parts) is predicated upon having politically powerful relatives. Those who lack such kin are routinely disinterred and scientifically dismembered after death. When their relatives seek to recover their bodies, they encounter bureaucratic reconstructions of their identities. Who would tolerate such injustices? Now, imagine this scenario within the context of the NAGPRA legislation. NAGPRA procedures were intended to remove Indigenous ancestral remains from museum control and facilitate their repatriation. Yet, thousands of deceased individuals remain separated from their relatives, held captive, in part, by modern notions of association.