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anthro101lec18.0303.y08 - ANTHROPOLOGY 101 Winter 2008 The...

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ANTHROPOLOGY 101 LECTURE 18 Winter 2008 The Origin & Spread of Food Production Kottak 7 I. The big deal about domesticating plants? A. Quaker oats for breakfast --> nearly all domesticated plants we rely on today are the same range domesticated by neolithic humans beginning 10,000 years ago B. The importance of domestication: 1. Technique: --> Compare to the watershed of Acheulean technology 2. Agriculture as foundation for everything subsequent --> social complexity --> from ecological subordinate to ecological dominant : fundamentally new relationship with the environment --> decline in variety : !Kung reliant on over 100 species : contemporary agriculturalists about 20 --> moral economies of transformation : time & scheduling : specialization & exploitation --> coevolution of plants & societies II. The big puzzles: Why do it? A. The sweetness of foraging life 1. Not lack of knowledge : evidence of foraging intimacy with environment; knowledge of plants --> Shoshoni gatherers & berry seeds --> burning grasslands to attract game: Lakota, Tamang --> Northern Australia, aboriginal people & runoff channels 2. Not for less work : has anybody baled hay? : Kalahari !Kung and their 2 hours & 9 minutes of work a day for each primary hearth group --> versus: the much higher inputs & rigorous scheduling of plant growers : the universal pity of foragers for planters : or the contempt of herders 3. Not because the food is tastier : domesticated plants in Mexico & SW Asia clearly 3rd choice plants : beer? 4. Not necessarily because subsistence more secure : reduction in diversity increases potential for instability 1
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ANTHROPOLOGY 101 LECTURE 18 Winter 2008 The Origin & Spread of Food Production Kottak 7 B. A Pastoral Interlude: The Anthropologist & the Nuer 1. Nuer as a classic pastoralist group in the anthropological literature--an African people residing in the southern Sudan (and currently in the throes of tremendous political oppression by their nation-state) (From E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer , 1940, pp. 12-13) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I: Who are you? Cuol: A man. I: What is your name? Cuol: Do you want to know my name ? I: Yes. Cuol: You want to know my name? I: Yes, you have come to visit me in my tent and I would like to know who you are. Cuol: All right. I am Cuol. What is your name? I: My name is Pritchard.
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