Lambda Alpha Journal, v.28, 1998

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Lambda Alpha Journal , the official student joumal of the National Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honors Society, is published regularly at Wichita State University, Department of Anthropology, 130 McKinley Hall, Wichita, KS 67260-0052. Professional, avocational, and student manuscripts, and book reviews of recent publications are welcome. Lambda Alpha will consider manuscripts for publication in any field of Anthropology. All papers submitted to Lambda Alpha Journal become the property of Lambda Alpha.

Editor-in-Chief : Peer H. Moore-Jansen

Student Editor-at-Large : Melvin A. Johnson
Student Editor : Debra Kreutzer
Assistant Student Editor : Rachel Je Meinecke


This issue is dedicated to the memory of Chester Arthur Harrison.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 11
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    Lambda Alpha Journal, v.28 ( complete version )
    (Wichita State University. Dept. of Anthropology, 1998) Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology
    The current volume is dedicated to a dear friend and member of Lambda Alpha, Mr. Chester Arthur Harrison, who passed away in 1997 while serving as an officer in the Society. His efforts and contributions are recognized in a special dedication which opens the volume. The folIowing papers are varied in content and reflects the breadth and diversity of the discipline of anthropology. The introductory article by Plested represents a unique and entertaining piece on socio-linguistics. Her paper is folIowed by an elaborate presentation by Oakland on the collective memory and improvisation in Jazz. He presents a number of complex assessments of interest to the generalist as welI as the Jazz enthusiast. Additional papers include Nail's review of the Miocene fossil primate phenomenon Gigantopithecus, adding an interesting contribution from the field of paleoanthropology, and Gann's brief but rather unique behavioral study of a group of wild Howler monkeys in Costa Rica. Her study is of particular interest because of the relative sparsity of existing observational studies of these primates in the wild. A cultural anthropological contribution by LobenbIiick on the role the party cadre as a social institution in the changing society of China is accompanied by a diverse paper on aspects of the social dynamics of the Hadza and Kaguru of Africa. The concluding article represents a study by Phelps who reports on the effects of a unique field school project on the community that it is aimed at studying. A kind of anthropological study of the effects of anthropological interference. The main articles are folIowed by two book reviews presented by student contributors. As always, the Journal concludes with an updated list of the student award recipients and chapter addresses and advisors.
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    Letter from the Editor
    (Wichita State University. Dept. of Anthropology, 1998) Moore-Jansen, Peer H.
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    A joking matter: sociolinguistics at work within Southwest Airlines
    (Wichita State University. Dept. of Anthropology, 1998) Plested, Valerie A.
    The purpose of this project is to detennine how the clients of Southwest Airlines react to its use of language, how it functions to create an atmosphere ofcommunity or friendliness with the airline, and explore the implications of the ritual state engendered. For the purposes ofthis paper, a joke may be defined as by Random House (1993, p.1033) as "something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism, a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act" with the qualification that additional humor is implied through the irreverence atypical for the environment in which it occurs. The incongruity between the humor and the setting is important, because it is at this juncture that they meet where Southwest Airlines succeeds in generating a different operating environment.
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    Remembering in jazz: collective memory and collective improvisation
    (Wichita State University. Dept. of Anthropology, 1998) Oakland, Daniel T.
    Speaking ofjazz performances, the late composer Alec Wilder is reported to have once said " I wish to God that some neurologists would sit down and figure out how the improviser's brain works, how he selects, out of hundreds of thousands of possibilities, the notes he does at the speed he does - how in God's name his mind works so damned fast! And why when the notes come out right, they are right (Wilder as quoted in Suchor 1986: 134)" There are undoubtedly many people who, after listening to an improvised solo, have wondered either the same question or something akin to it. Recently, Paul Berliner published the results of his fifteen-year ethnomusicological study ofjazz improvisation, entitled Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art ofImprovisation (1994). Thinking in Jazz is a wonderful comprehensive "tome" detailing many aspects of the ever elusive art of improvisation. Berliner would probably not wish to consider himself a neurologist, yet despite this he may have found the solution - or at the very least, a good-sized portion of the solution - to Wilder's question. Quite simply stated, the solution is that behind each improvisational performance is an entire lifetime of experience which the performer utilizes to make "the notes come out right." Berliner's study essentially lays to rest the popular but misleading notion that improvisation is a completely spontaneous art form (i.e. something not given much thought). The purpose of this paper, as its title may reflect, is to expand on Berliner's work by drawing upon the concepts of memory and performance as utilized in recent anthropological research and applying these concepts to Berliner's heavily documentary research on the learning process in jazz as well as the metaphor of "storytelling" (see Berlin 1994:20 1-220) used by jazz musicians to describe improvisation. In order to accomplish this, I will first give a brief synopsis ofcommon musical form in Jazz. This will then be followed by a discussion ofsome conceptions ofjazz as proposed by various ethnomusicologists and anthropologists. Secondly, I wish to summarize Berliner's findings regarding the learning process in jazz. This summary will then lead into a discussion of some possible roles of memory in jazz improvisation via cross-cultural comparison. Finally, as this type of comparison becomes problematic if taken to the point of rigid adherence to certain shared characteristics, the insights gleaned from these comparisons will be applied and modified to jazz. Hopefully this exercise will shed light on aspects of collective memory and collective improvisation within the jazz medium.
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    The mysterious phylogeny of gigantopithecus
    (Wichita State University. Dept. of Anthropology, 1998) Nail, Kimberly
    Perhaps the most questionable attribute given to Gigantopithecus is its taxonomic and phylogenetic placement in the superfamily Hominoidea. In 1935 von Koenigswald made the first discovery ofa lower molar at an apothecary in Hong Kong. In a mess of "dragon teeth" von Koenigswald saw a tooth that looked remarkably primate-like and purchased it; this tooth would later be one of four looked at by a skeptical friend, Franz Weidenreich. It was this tooth that von Koenigswald originally used to name the species Gigantopithecus blacki. Researchers have only four mandibles and thousands of teeth which they use to reconstruct not only the existence of this primate, but its size and phylogeny as well. Many objections have been raised to the past phylogenetic relationship proposed by Weidenreich, Woo, and von Koenigswald that Gigantopithecus was a forerunner to the hominid line. Some suggest that researchers might be jumping the gun on the size attributed to Gigantopithecus (estimated between 10 and 12 feet tall); this size has perpetuated the idea that somehow Gigantopithecus is still roaming the Himalayas today as Bigfoot. Many researchers have shunned the Bigfoot theory and focused on the causes of the animals extinction. It is my intention to explain the theories of the past and why many researchers currently disagree with them. It will be necessary to explain how the researchers conducted their experiments and came to their conclusions as well.
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