Building a New Biocultural Synthesis: Political-economic Perspectives on Human Biology

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Alan H. Goodman, Thomas L. Leatherman
University of Michigan Press, 1998 - Health & Fitness - 486 pages
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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 Synthesisconcerns 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 Synthesiswill 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.
  

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Contents

Traversing the Chasm between Biology and Culture An Introduction
3
The Evolution of Human Adaptability Paradigms Toward a Biology of Poverty
43
Political Economy and Social Fields
75
The Development of Critical Medical Anthropology Implications for Biological Anthropology
93
Case Studies and Examples Past Populations
125
Linking Political Economy and Human Biology Lessons from North American Archaeology
127
The Biological Consequences of Inequality in Antiquity
147
Owning the Sins of the Past Historical Trends Missed Opportunities and New Directions in the Study of Human Remains
171
The Political Ecology of Population Increase and Malnutrition in Southern Honduras
295
The Biocultural Impact of Tourism on Mayan Communities
317
Poverty and Nutrition in Eastern Kentucky The Political Economy of Childhood Growth
339
Steps toward a Critical Biological Anthropology
357
Race Racism and Anthropology
359
Beyond European Enlightenment Toward a Critical and Humanistic Human Biology
379
Latin American Social Medicine and the Politics of Theory
407
Nature Political Ecology and Social Practice Toward an Academic and Political Agenda
425

Nature Nurture and the Determinants of Infant Mortality A Case Study from Massachusetts 18301920
191
Unequal in Death as in Life A Sociopolitical Analysis of the 1813 Mexico City Typhus Epidemic
229
Case Studies and Examples Contemporary Populations
243
Illness Social Relations and Household Production and Reproduction in the Andes of Southern Peru
245
On the UnNatural History of the TupiMonde Indians Bioanthropology and Change in the Brazilian Amazon
269
What Could Be Biocultural Anthropology for the Next Generation
451
Contributors
475
Index
479
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