ANTHROPOLOGY OF WAR

ANTHROPOLOGY 353

Fall 2014

First Created 12/05/05

Latest Revision 9/22/14

 

Class time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45, Room 807 Oldfather Hall

Email: rhames@unl.edu

Office Hours: M&F 8:00-9:15; Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:00; or by appointment
 

    This course is a survey of human warfare from an anthropological perspective. We will largely focus on small scale societies (bands and tribes) where we have spent nearly all of our evolutionary history.  As a consequence, we will barely cover war in nation states.  There are a number of courses in History and Political Science that already cover war in historic and current nation states.  The major exception to this will come in the form of an analysis of how traditional ethnic social structure affects the conduct of war in some contemporary situations (Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, & Somalia). Because this course takes a comparative, evolutionary, and historical perspective we will also review the primate literature (especially  chimpanzees) and the archaeological record.  Therefore, the scope is broad and includes the following topics: the behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology of aggression, dispute settlement, territoriality, demographic impact of war, warfare ideology, tactics and organization, game theoretic models of cooperation and aggression, the adaptive utility of aggression and warfare, and the effects of warfare on social organization, and xenophobia.    Students are expected to come prepared by having read the current week's readings (both text and web), engage in classroom discussion, and attend all class meetings.

 

Required Texts:

Raymond Kelly, Warless Societies and the Origin of War

Mervyn Meggitt, Blood is their Argument (No longer in press from the publisher.  Can be ordered from Amazon,  AbeBooks, Chegg, etc.)

Lawrence Keeley, War before Civilization

 

Required Readings:

All hyperlinked articles in the "Readings" column are required.  They are in a "pdf" format and can be read on-line or downloaded and printed.  

Sixty percent of your grade will be derived from the three mid-term exams (20% each) and 40% will be from a term paper due on 1 May.

Course Schedule

Week

Date

Topic

Readings

1

Aug 25

Introduction to course & discussion of coalitionary aggression, dominance and violence

In class film The New Chimpanzees
Monk's Review of Kelly and Keeley

2

Sept 1

Primate Aggression: coalitionary violence in chimpanzees.

No University Classes Monday, Labor Day

 

In class Film: Dead Birds I

Meggitt Chapter 1;

Wrangham Coalitionary Killing"

Quicktime video of chimpanzee killing (violent). Requires Quicktime Player (free download here)

3

Sept 8

Peaceful societies, hunter-gatherers, capital punishment, social substitutability, and the EEA

In class film Dead Birds II

Kelly (PNAS)
;

Kelly Introduction and Chapter 1; Meggitt Chapter 2;

4

Sept 15

Goals and kinds of Mae Enga warfare

In class film Dead Birds III

Read about Peter Bleed's research and field school on the Battle of Rush Creek

Keeley Chapters 1-2; 11; Meggitt Chapter 3;

Compassion

5

Sept 22

Exam 1:

New Findings on chipanzee warfare
Review for exam

6

Sept 29

Archaeological and Biological Evidence of Warfare

Keeley Chapter 3

Walker: "A bioarchaeological perspective on the history of violence?" 

In class video Less Violence Today (Steve Pinker)

7

Oct 6

The Psychology of warfare & collective action

McDonald, Navarrete, and Van Vugt
Keeley Chapters 4-5

8

Oct 13

Warless and Warlike Hunter Gatherers

Kelly Chapter 2; Meggitt Chapters 4-5;

Killer Instincts

9

Oct 20

Costs and Benefits of War and Collective Action

Fall Break: No Class Tuesday

Keeley Chapters 6-7; Meggitt Chapter 6
Warfare and Population Density Power Point

10

Oct 27

History of the Anthropological Study of Warfare

Exam 2:

Keeley Chapters 8, 9;

11

Nov 3

Population and competition for resources

Kelly Chapters 3-4 (end)

 

12

Nov 10

Female aggression


Anthropology and Counter-Insurgency Today: three short articles.

In class video "The Ax Fight"

13

Nov 17

Warfare debates Amazonia

Keeley Chapter 10.

14

Nov 24

Restorative Justice

Thanksgiving: No Class Thursday


 

15

Dec 1

Conciliation & Peacemaking 

Term paper rough drafts due 1 December midnight

Meggitt Chapter 7; In class video "The Feast"

The Anthropology of Tribal Engagement in Iraq

Mae Enga Power Point lecture in PDF format

Mae Enga war and peace reading

16

Dec 8

The Fourth World & Warfare and the Evolution of the State.  Term paper  due midnight, 8 December.

Keeley Chapter 12; Meggitt Chapters 8-10;

17

Dec 15 Finals Week

Exam 3

 

 

First Segment Review Questions
Second Segment Review Questions

 

Honesty, Term Papers. and Exams

Honesty: I do not wish to impugn anyone's integrity by raising this issue.  I will not tolerate cheating on exams or term papers.   So,  DON'T DO IT! If  you cheat and I discover it, then standard University procedures will be executed to deal with the matter. In the event these procedures find a student guilty of cheating, then in addition to whatever penalties the University exacts, the student will receive a failing grade in the course.

Exams: There will be three exam of 40 multiple-choice questions each.  Each exam is counts 20% of your final grade.  Make-up exams will only be given to students who have a medical excuse documented by a note from a doctor or a serious family emergency (e.g., funeral) or some other unavoidable extenuating circumstance (e.g., court date).  Click here for current scores and grading scale.


Term Paper: For your research paper, plagiarism will be dealt with in the same manner as cheating on an exam. Plagiarism is "the submission of another's work as one's own, without adequate attribution." In scholarly work, it is common practice to exetnsively describe other people's research. So long as you properly cite their work - in other words, so long as you make it clear that it is their work and not yours - this is not plagiarism. It is also a common practice to quote other people's writings directly. So long as you enclose their words in quotation marks and properly cite their work - in other words, so long as you make it clear it is their words and not yours - this, too, is not plagiarism. Note, however, that such quotes should normally run to no more than three lines.  So, please do not fill your work with long block quotes.

The term paper is worth 80 points or 40% of your final grade.


Term papers should be at least 10 pages in length (at about 300 words per page), double-spaced, and with one inch margins all around.   Each paper should have a minimum of seven references from the scholarly literature on the topic.  Scholarly references are those found in scholarly books and professional journals and are not blogs or Wikipedia entries (see below "A Note On Sources").  If you have questions about references, please ask.

All term paper topics must be cleared with me well in advanced of the due date.  I suggest that this be done as soon as possible, or no later than 15 November.  You ought to select a topic in which you have a genuine interest.  If you so desire you, can submit a complete rough draft by 1 December of your paper.  This is an option and not a requrement.  I will give you a preliminary grade and detailed comments on what you can do to improve it.  I will return your manuscript and my comments to you by 26 April.  The final version of the paper is due 8 December. Guidance for writing a term paper can be found in the following link: term paper link  When you arrive at the link, click on "literature review" or "research paper" to learn how to structure your research and writing. The directions in both are very useful and general and will serve you well in other courses where research writing is required.  

A Note on Sources: Academic or professional sources have gatekeepers known as editorial boards who review research to ensure it meets accepted standards of accuracy, logic, originality, and recognition of previous scholarship.  Many web sites commonly lack such safeguards unless, of course, they are on-line mirrors of hard-copy publications or scholarly organizations.  Anyone with web site can set himself or herself up as an authoritative source and "blog-on".  If you are unsure about a source, check with me.  Google Scholar is an excellent starting place for research.  Queries in Google Scholar normally yield primary scholarly research.  Frequently, query results point to journals requiring subscription to access.  When confronted with this problem use our library's electronic journal finder (or TDNet under E-Resources) at http://iris.unl.edu/ to determine whether we electronically subscribe to the journal.  If so, you can download the article you need.  Alternatively, if we don't have an electronic subscription check to see if we have a hard copy in the library by using "Catalog".  In addition, we have other on-line resources such as "E-Resources" or "Electronic Database Trials" that may prove helpful.  For Anthropology, go to http://www.unl.edu/libr/resources/and click on "Anthropology and Archaeology".  The best single source is "Anthropological Literature".  As far as I know, it is the most comprehensive compendium of anthropological sources in the world.  Its search tools are very refined.  Finally, Wikipedia is a wonderful source of information.  In fact, I donate to it yearly to keep it going.  However, only use it as a starting point to uncover authorative sources.

 

 

Possible Paper Topics

Primate Aggression

Bride capture and warfare

Women and warfare

Feud and vendetta

Hominin violence

Economics, resources, & environment in warfare

Warfare, conquest and the evolution of states

Popular culture and images of warfare

Peace Making and Compensation

Colonial intervention and warfare

History of anthropological theories of warfare

Oral history/personal experience in conflict and warfare

Restorative Justice

Particular episodes and case studies of conflict/war from an anthropological perspective

Particular episodes of conflict/war from an anthropological perspective

Prehistoric warfare

Warfare technology

Modern ethnic conflicts and wars

The social organization of warfare

The psychology of warfare: ethnocentrism & xenophobia 

in-groups & out-group social psychology, & motivation

Religion and warfare

Warfare technology



Keeping Up to Date

War in the News: use this link to check out recent research and news on war

 

Local Events

 

Web Sites and Articles Related to Warfare and Aggression