Human History (human + history)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Humanities and Social Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Culturing Wilderness in Jasper National Park: Studies in Two Centuries of Human History in the Upper Athabasca River Watershed edited by I. S. MacLaren

No abstract is available for this article. [source]

From Hostage to Host: Confessions of a Spirit Medium in Niger

ETHOS, Issue 1-2 2002
Associate Professor Adeline Masquelier
Spirit possession ostensibly solves problems by freeing the object of possession from certain responsibilities, yet it also creates a whole nexus of unavoidable obligations as the human host learns to cope with the social, financial, and moral demands of her powerful alter ego. Rather than simplifying situations, possession complicates them by introducing new relations and enabling new forms of communication. In this article, I explore what bori possession as communication entailed for a young Mawri woman from Dogondoutchi (Niger) when her possessing spirit made dramatic revelations that forced her to make changes in her life. I show that possession opens up a space of self-awareness for mediums as they struggle to gain progressive control over the terms of their relationships with spirits. In this space of reflexivity they help create and in their role as interlocutors, accusers, or diviners, spirits play a crucial role in the refashioning of human histories and identities. [source]

The Death of "Till Death Us Do Part": The Transformation of Pair-Bonding in the 20th Century,

FAMILY PROCESS, Issue 2 2002
William M. Pinsof Ph.D.
During the last half of the 20th century within Western civilization, for the first time in human history, divorce replaced death as the most common endpoint of marriage. In this article I explore the history of this death-to-divorce transition, the forces associated with the transition, and what the transition may have revealed about the human capacity for monogamous, lifelong pair-bonding. The impact and consequences of the transition for the generations that came of age during it and immediately afterwards are examined, with particular attention to the emergence of new, alternative pair-bonding structures such as cohabitation and nonmarital co-parenting. The article highlights the inability of the dichotomous marriage-versus-being-single paradigm to encompass the new pair-bonding structures and the normalizing of divorce. Precepts for a new, more encompassing, veridical and humane pair-bonding paradigm are presented, and some of their implications for social policy, family law, social science, and couple and family therapy are elaborated. [source]

Nature-Society Interactions in the Pacific Islands

Patrick D. Nunn
ABSTRACT This paper focuses on nature,society interactions in the Pacific Islands before European contact about 200 years ago. It argues that the character of early interactions was decided by both the nature of a particular island environment and the intentions of the human settlers. Throughout the pre-European contact human history of the Pacific Islands, environmental changes of extraneous cause have been the main control of societal and cultural change. This environmental determinist view is defended using many examples. The contrary (and more popular) cultural determinist view of societal change in the Pacific Islands is shown to be based on largely spurious data and argument. A key example discussed is the ,AD 1300 Event', a time of rapid temperature and sea-level fall which had severe, abrupt and enduring effects on Pacific Island societies. It is important to acknowledge the role of environmental change in cultural transformation in this region. [source]


ABSTRACT Hayden White wants history to serve life by having it inspire an ethical consciousness, by which he means that in facing the existential questions of life, death, trauma, and suffering posed by human history, people are moved to formulate answers to them rather than to feel that they have no power to choose how they live. The ethical historian should craft narratives that inspire people to live meaningfully rather than try to provide explanations or reconstructions of past events that make them feel as if they cannot control their destiny. This Nietzschean-inspired vision of history is inadequate because it cannot gainsay that a genocidal vision of history is immoral. White may be right that cultural relativism results in cultural pluralism and toleration, but what if most people are not cultural relativists, and believe fervently in their right to specific lands at the expense of other peoples? White does not think historiography or perhaps any moral system can provide an answer. Is he right? This rejoinder argues that the communicative rationality implicit in the human sciences does provide norms about the moral use of history because it institutionalizes an intersubjectivity in which the use of the past is governed by norms of impartiality and fair-mindedness, and protocols of evidence based on honest research. Max Weber, equally influenced by Nietzsche, developed an alternative vision of teaching and research that is still relevant today. [source]

The Ties That Bind: Infanticide, Gender, and Society

Brigitte H. Bechtold
Infanticide is seen to be a horrific act, and yet this article finds that a growing body of literature on the topic is proving that infanticide is tied to human history. It provides a synthesis of the literature and identifies new directions in the scholarship since William L. Langer. These new directions move beyond the infanticidal act itself to an understanding of the circumstances that prompt it. They make clear that women's bodies tie them to their sexuality and the need to nurture children. Moreover, women must carry out these responsibilities while tied to hostile environments, cultural proscriptions, patriarchal law, and the violence of war. Infanticide scholarship, then, uncovers the numerous ties that bind women together as victims who are driven to infanticide and also as women who have exhibited agency in an attempt to move beyond victimhood and assert control over their own destiny. [source]

A fuzzy logic approach to experience-based reasoning

Zhaohao Sun
Experience-based reasoning (EBR) is a reasoning paradigm that has been used in almost every human activity such as business, military missions, and teaching activities since early human history. However, EBR has not been seriously studied from either a logical or mathematical viewpoint, although case-based reasoning (CBR) researchers have paid attention to EBR to some extent. This article will attempt to fill this gap by providing a unified fuzzy logic-based treatment of EBR. More specifically, this article first reviews the logical approach to EBR, in which eight different rules of inference for EBR are discussed. Then the article proposes fuzzy logic-based models to these eight different rules of inference that constitute the fundamentals for all EBR paradigms from a fuzzy logic viewpoint, and therefore will form a theoretical foundation for EBR. The proposed approach will facilitate research and development of EBR, fuzzy systems, intelligent systems, knowledge management, and experience management. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Int Syst 22: 867,889, 2007. [source]

Fear of the Dead as a Factor in Social Self-Organization

The image of dead person returning to life was the most ancient source of irrational fear (i.e. fear not caused by objective menace) appeared in culture. This conclusion is argued with empirical data from archeology and ethnography. Fear has been expressed in funeral rites, the tying of extremities, burning and dismemberment of dead bodies, and ritual cannibalism (compensatory necrophilia) etc. At the same time, it was attended by effective care for helpless cripples, which seems to descend to the Lower Paleolithic as well. Dread of posthumous revenge played a decisive regulative role at the earliest stage of anthropogenesis, as the disparity between artificial weapons (the tools) and natural aggression-retention mechanisms (the instincts) became self-destructive. In the new conditions, individuals with normal animal mind were doomed to catastrophe. Those hominid groups proved viable, in which mystical fear, a product of unnaturally developed imagination, bounded lethal conflicts among kinsmen. The phobias corresponded to the psycho-nervous system's "strategic pathology"; that was a condition for early hominids' self-preservation. As a result, a causal connection between instrumental potential, cultural regulation quality and social sustainability (the techno-humanitarian balance law) was formed, which has been a mechanism of social selection for all of human history and prehistory. [source]

Power and Wisdom: Toward a History of Social Behavior

Akop P. Nazaretyan
Cross-disciplinary studies carried out lately by Russian scholars discovered a causal relationship between the three variables: technological potential, cultural regulation quality, and social sustainability. The patterns called techno-humanitarian balance law, states that the higher production and war technologies' power, the more refined the behaviorregulation means (consolidated values and norms, etc.) that are required for self-preservation of the society. The article shows that the law has controlled social selection for all of human history and prehistory, discarding unbalanced social organisms, as far as they could not cope with ecological and (or) geopolitical crises, which had been caused by their own activities. It also shows how successive growth of instrumental opportunities in long-term retrospection has dramatically led to the consecutive perfection of cultural and psychological regulation mechanisms. Relevant calculations, comparative-anthropological evidence, and historical illustrations are provided. Regularities in mental processes are described that precede and accompany crisis-causing behavior, to certain extent regardless of population's historical and cultural peculiarities. [source]

Phylogeography of the introduced species Rattus rattus in the western Indian Ocean, with special emphasis on the colonization history of Madagascar

Charlotte Tollenaere
Abstract Aim, To describe the phylogeographic patterns of the black rat, Rattus rattus, from islands in the western Indian Ocean where the species has been introduced (Madagascar and the neighbouring islands of Réunion, Mayotte and Grande Comore), in comparison with the postulated source area (India). Location, Western Indian Ocean: India, Arabian Peninsula, East Africa and the islands of Madagascar, Réunion, Grande Comore and Mayotte. Methods, Mitochondrial DNA (cytochrome b, tRNA and D-loop, 1762 bp) was sequenced for 71 individuals from 11 countries in the western Indian Ocean. A partial D-loop (419 bp) was also sequenced for eight populations from Madagascar (97 individuals), which were analysed in addition to six previously published populations from southern Madagascar. Results, Haplotypes from India and the Arabian Peninsula occupied a basal position in the phylogenetic tree, whereas those from islands were distributed in different monophyletic clusters: Madagascar grouped with Mayotte, while Réunion and Grand Comore were present in two other separate groups. The only exception was one individual from Madagascar (out of 190) carrying a haplotype that clustered with those from Réunion and South Africa. ,Isolation with migration' simulations favoured a model with no recurrent migration between Oman and Madagascar. Mismatch distribution analyses dated the expansion of Malagasy populations on a time-scale compatible with human colonization history. Higher haplotype diversity and older expansion times were found on the east coast of Madagascar compared with the central highlands. Main conclusions, Phylogeographic patterns supported the hypothesis of human-mediated colonization of R. rattus from source populations in either the native area (India) or anciently colonized regions (the Arabian Peninsula) to islands of the western Indian Ocean. Despite their proximity, each island has a distinct colonization history. Independent colonization events may have occurred simultaneously in Madagascar and Grande Comore, whereas Mayotte would have been colonized from Madagascar. Réunion was colonized independently, presumably from Europe. Malagasy populations may have originated from a single successful colonization event, followed by rapid expansion, first in coastal zones and then in the central highlands. The congruence of the observed phylogeographic pattern with human colonization events and pathways supports the potential relevance of the black rat in tracing human history. [source]

6.,No More Hiroshimas and Sharp Weapons

Keping Wang
When it comes to rethinking the Hiroshima A-bombing and its historical impact, there arise a number of approaches to be exercised from different perspectives related to the human condition and the current situation today. This essay presents two of them: a poetical reflection and a philosophical pondering that are characterized by either factual inquiry or empirical wisdom. The former is deplorably sentimental and unforgettable with regard to the deadliest mode of warfare that has ever occurred in human history. The philosophical pondering from a Taoist viewpoint is thought-provoking and instructive with ongoing relevance to the problematic globe. Hence when the poet calls out "No More Hiroshimas," we shall go ahead and appeal for "No More Wars,""No More Sharp Weapons," or "No More Excessive Forces." However, what haunts the world all the time is constant warfare at varied scales here and there; and what worries us right now is the hard fact that some nations are presumably taking the risk of developing nuclear weapons on a starvation budget, for they think that they are under the threat and pressure of other countries armed with plenty of such mass-destructive devices. They all seem to have neglected or obliterated the historical memory of Hiroshima as a symbol of the worst violence ever known to humankind. [source]

Is There a Stabilizing Selection Around Average Fertility in Modern Human Populations?

Ulrich Mueller
Possibly the greatest challenge for an evolutionary explanation of demographic transition is the fact that fertility levels universally start to fall first among the well-to-do, well-educated, healthy classes, which can be explained only by some voluntary or at least adaptive action. The problem of how restraints on fertility could have evolved by natural selection has been tackled with group selection models as well as with stabilizing selection models. The latter model, which is critically discussed in this article, posits that some intermediate (rather than maximal) level of fertility is optimal for long-term reproductive success. Tests of stabilizing selection in human populations are rare, their results inconclusive. Here four sets of data are analyzed: they are samples drawn from the 'class of 1950 of the US Military Academy at West Point (cohorts 1923,29), retired US noncommissioned officers (cohorts 1913,37), and western German and eastern German physicians (cohorts 1930,35), all containing fertility data over two generations, and from European royalty (cohorts 1790,1939) containing fertility data over four generations. Deterministic as well as stochastic fitness measures are used. It is found that maximal, not average, fertility in the first generation leads to maximal long-term reproductive success. Also against prediction, no decreasing marginal fitness gains by increasing fertility can be observed. The findings leave little space for considering stabilizing selection as a plausible mechanism explaining the course of demographic transition but indicate instead that biological evolution today is as fast and vigorous as ever in human history. Even in large populations, all people living today may be the descendants of just some few percents,a much smaller proportion than generally believed, of the people living some generations ago. [source]

The effect of sex on risk of mortality during the Black Death in London, A.D. 1349,1350

Sharon N. DeWitte
Abstract The Black Death of 1347,1351 was one of the most devastating epidemics in human history, and though it is frequently assumed that the epidemic killed indiscriminately, recent research suggests that the disease was selective, at least with respect to frailty. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Black Death was similarly selective with respect to biological sex,that is, did either sex face an elevated risk during the epidemic or were men and women at equal risk of dying? A sample of 298 victims of the Black Death, from the East Smithfield cemetery in London, is compared to a pre-Black Death normal mortality sample of 194 individuals from two Danish urban cemeteries, St Mikkel Church (Viborg) and St Albani Church (Odense). To assess the effect of sex on risk of death, sex is modeled as a covariate affecting the Gompertz,Makeham model of adult mortality. The results suggest that sex did not strongly affect risk of death in either the normal mortality or Black Death samples. These results are important for improving our understanding of Black Death mortality patterns. This is essential for understanding the effects the Black Death had on European populations, and the methods used here can potentially be informatively applied to investigations of other episodes of epidemic diseases in past populations. Am J Phys Anthropol 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Ancient DNA analysis of human remains from the upper capital city of Kublai Khan

Yuqin Fu
Abstract Analysis of DNA from human archaeological remains is a powerful tool for reconstructing ancient events in human history. To help understand the origin of the inhabitants of Kublai Khan's Upper Capital in Inner Mongolia, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms in 21 ancient individuals buried in the Zhenzishan cemetery of the Upper Capital. MtDNA coding and noncoding region polymorphisms identified in the ancient individuals were characteristic of the Asian mtDNA haplogroups A, B, N9a, C, D, Z, M7b, and M. Phylogenetic analysis of the ancient mtDNA sequences, and comparison with extant reference populations, revealed that the maternal lineages of the population buried in the Zhenzishan cemetery are of Asian origin and typical of present-day Han Chinese, despite the presence of typical European morphological features in several of the skeletons. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Does the invisible hand have a green thumb?

Incentives, linkages, the creation of wealth out of industrial waste in Victorian England
,Loop closing', that is, the creation of waste recycling linkages between different industries, has been hailed as a means of simultaneously achieving improved economic and environmental performance. As a result of the widespread assumption that traditional market incentives and institutions are not conducive to such an outcome, however, there remains a fair amount of scepticism as to what the capacity of business self-interest to promote this behaviour actually is. This article challenges the dominant negative perspective by discussing by-product development in one of the most market-oriented societies in human history, Victorian England. Building on nineteenth and early twentieth century writings on the topic, as well as a more detailed analysis of the development of valuable by-products from highly problematic iron and coal gas production residuals, a case is made that the search for increased profitability within the context of private property rights often simultaneously promoted economic and environmental progress in the long run, as well as on different geographical scales. [source]

The last imaginary place: a human history of the Arctic world , Robert McGhee

John P Ziker

Mitochondrial and Y Chromosome Diversity in the English-Speaking Caribbean

J. Benn Torres
Summary The transatlantic slave trade lasted over three centuries and represents one of the largest forced migrations in human history. The biological repercussions are not well understood especially in African-Caribbean populations. This paper explores the effects of the forced migration, isolation, and admixture on genetic diversity using mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers for 501 individuals from Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, and Trinidad. Genetic diversity and population genetic structure analyses of mitochondrial data and Y chromosome data indicate that there was no post-migration loss in genetic diversity in the African derived lineages. Genetic structure was observed between the islands for both genetic systems. This may be due to isolation, differences in the number and source of Africans imported, depopulation of indigenous populations, and/or differences in colonization history. Nearly 10% of the individuals belonged to a non-African mitochondrial haplogroup. In contrast, Y chromosome admixture estimates showed that there was nearly 30% European contribution to these Caribbean populations. This study sheds light on the history of Africans in the Americas as well as contributing to our understanding of the nature and extent of diversity within the African Diaspora. [source]