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Yale University Publications in Anthropology

Nature volume 139, pages 320321 (20 February 1937) | Download Citation

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THE second issue of collected papers in anthropology, published by Yale University (London: Oxford University Press. 11s. 6d. net) under the editorship of Dr. E. Sapir and Dr. Leslie Spier, contains six papers, of which five deal with various aspects of the ethnography of North America. Students of primitive music will welcome an attempt to produce order in a subject to which no little attention has been given in the field, but to which comparative study has still to be applied systematically. This is a regional survey of the music and musical instruments of the indigenous inhabitants of North America by Helen H. Roberts. A contribution by Mr. William Morgan on “Human Wolves among the Navahos” will be found of considerable interest to students of European witchcraft and demonology. Not only do the Navaho beliefs relating to the werwolf bear a strong resemblance to certain of the European beliefs, but also the all-pervasive Navaho belief in witchcraft suggests something of the atmosphere in which the European witchcraft superstition and consequent persecutions became rife. Mr. George P. Murdock studies “Rank and Potlatch among the Haida”, providing something of a rational setting for a custom which, as usually described, is beyond the range of normal reasoning, and thereby affording a valuable object lesson for the student of social anthropology. In this connexion, however, Prof.:R. C. Thurnwald's account of the profane literature of Buin, Solomon Islands, is even a more valuable pointer towards a method of gauging social values, iwhile affording an index of change under contact with external influences. The songs which he collected, at first in 1908-9 and then in 1934, deal with topics of everyday life, and by their difference in manner and matter show unconsciously but infallibly how times have changed.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/139320c0

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