Haviland Anthropology (13th Edition)

Haviland Anthropology 13th Edition

These sections relate the 13th Edition of Haviland Anthropology to the Living Anthropologically sections on Biological Anthropology – Human Nature, Race, Evolution.

Haviland Anthropology is a conceptual favorite for its overall take on questions of human nature, race, and evolution. It is almost always possible to find a fact or reference, as the authors cover an impressive stretch of anthropology. The problem is that Haviland Anthropology becomes more like an encyclopedia than a textbook. It has four co-authors, more than any of the other textbooks, and is up to 100 pages longer than the comprehensive four field texts. It is difficult to imagine how a professor could include much additional reading, and it’s hard to find Haviland Anthropology for less than $100.

Very unfortunately, even the condensed version of Haviland, The Essence of Anthropology clocks in as expensive too. At this price, it defeats the purpose of assigning additional readings and materials to complement the textbook.

With this encyclopedic quality, more proofreading was necessary. There were mismatches between index page numbers and material, as well as problems in reference dates and styles, and some typos. It also seemed like it was more an encyclopedia of 1990s anthropology–the references for many sections stopped at around 2000.

I also worry Haviland Anthropology may come off as “typical liberal anthropologists” in an Introduction to Anthropology course. It’s an impression I get paging through the text. One particularly acerbic Amazon reviewer complained of it being too “preachy” and similar negative reviews showed up for the 2nd edition of Essence of Anthropology. I take such comments with lots of salt, but I do worry there is something about the Haviland textbooks which makes them seem like they are liberals masquerading as objective, when it could be better to simply announce positioning from the start (for another example see Social Construction of Race = Conservative Goldmine). Other textbooks do not get the same kinds of vitriol, at least on Amazon comments.

1.1 Anthropology and Human Nature

Corresponds to Chapter 1, “The Essence of Anthropology” which talks about how anthropologists often challenge “generally accepted opinions derived from Western studies” (7), with a nice reference to Geertz’s Anti-anti-relativism lecture (1984). Haviland Anthropology emphasizes holism and that “humans have one leg in culture and the other in nature” (25). The authors stress a biocultural approach, including many boxed features with “Biocultural Connections” and consider this a “signature feature” of the textbook (p. xxviii). Extensive discussion of genes, but do not really address issues of genetic determinism.

Haviland Anthropology discusses infant development mostly in relationship to co-sleeping and SIDS (6, 312), later stating “stimulation plays a key role in the hardwiring of the brain; it is necessary for development of the neural circuitry” (398), with hints that this neural circuitry could develop differently under different environmental conditions. It is unclear why they use the phrase “hardwiring of the brain,” as “hardwired” gets unconvincingly used two other times (90, 278). There are hints of how fetal environment influences growth, such as the photo caption p.288 and the PCB discussion on p.669, but this could be more developed in the text. Haviland Anthropology generally argues against biological and genetic determinisms, but sometimes put this more in the boxes than the headlines; they include two selections from Jonathan Marks, “Ninety-Eight Percent Alike” (40-41) and A Feckless Quest for the Basketball Gene (286-287).

1.2 Evolution and Natural Selection, Anthropologically!

Discuss the “nondirectedness of macroevolution” (127-128) and highlight The Flamingo’s Smile by Gould to stress importance of chance and accidents. However, do not discuss later evolutionary ideas such as niche construction.

1.3 Biological Anthropology and Racism

For Chapter 12 on “Race and Racism,” Haviland Anthropology speaks mostly of European scholarly race classifications, with a colonial context assuming a somewhat secondary role (278-280). This is not directly brought into the present until much later in a short section on racial segregation, with mention made of income and wealth disparities in the United States (537-538). This could be given greater emphasis and better linked to the earlier discussion.

1.4 Human Skulls: Boas Head Shape Studies Revalidated

Although Haviland Anthropology has extensive discussions of skulls and the cranium in relationship to human evolution, do not have references to present skull shape or craniometrics. Talk about Boas as fighting against racism, but present the Boas immigrant studies in terms of increased height in the United States (9, 302)–recall that Boas actually found Sicilian immigrants to be stunted in their new environment!

1.5 Attacking Anthropology and the Race Revival

The authors talk about The Bell Curve but it is an undated discussion, not in the context of race revival (286). No mention of race revivals like A Family Tree in Every Gene (Leroi 2005), genetic ancestry testing, or race-based medicine.

1.6 Race Reconciled Re-Debunks Race

Chapter 12 “Modern Human Diversity: Race and Racism” is Haviland Anthropology debunking traditional race typologies. The authors basically use the logic of clines and Lewontin. Their references (297) are almost all from the 1990s, with one 2001 exception of The Emperor’s New Clothes. In earlier discussion of forensic anthropology, state that “while forensics relies upon differing frequencies of certain skeletal characteristics to establish population affiliation, it is nevertheless false to say that all people from a given population have a particular type of skeleton” (10). However, they never elaborate or explain this point. They do not discuss craniometrics.

1.7 Race Becomes Biology, Inequality Embodied

Haviland Anthropology discusses how cultural factors like diet as well as environment affects biology (290-1). Curiously, however, they do not specifically close the loop and show how race as a cultural category becomes biology. Haviland Anthropology mainly concentrates on The Bell Curve and debunking IQ tests as measuring intelligence, cultural bias, and socioeconomic bias; they do here talk about how environment can shape physical aspects like height (287).

1.8 So Many Primates for Primatology

Corresponds to chapter 3 on “Living Primates” and chapter 4 on “Primate Behavior.” Haviland Anthropology stresses diversity and flexibility of primate behavior, and although they do not mention “ethnoprimatology,” they are attuned to interactions between humans and non-human primates. They point out the relation of chimps and bonobos as equally distant to the most-recent common ancestor, and helpfully suggest that gorillas might also be equally related (60). However, the authors could do more to directly dispel the notion that human behavior is anchored in non-human primate behavior. Although they cite the territorial violence at Gombe, they also refer to Gombe Revisited: Are chimpanzees violent and hierarchical in the “free” state? (Power 1995) to say “another interpretation is that the violence that Goodall witnessed was a response to crowding as a consequence of human activity” (80). Kudos to Haviland Anthropology for bringing in Power’s critique. Haviland Anthropology emphasizes learned behavior in non-human primates, and affirm that they have culture (95).

1.9 Bipedalism is Also Called Walking

Chapter 7 is “The First Bipeds.” Emphasizes how “bipedalism appeared in human evolutionary history several million years before brain size expanded” (145). However, the discussion here is extremely anatomical and almost becomes a parody of science-like terms to describe walking: “the bipedal gait in some regards is really ‘serial monopedalism’” (148). No reference to bipedalism as learned behavior or as styles of walking.

1.10 Stone Tools for 2+ Million Years

While mentioning similarities to non-human primates, Haviland Anthropology is careful to note “this is not to say that we are ‘just’ another ape” (96). When they introduce stone tools, describe “a feedback loop between biological characteristics and cultural innovations began to play a major role in our evolutionary history” (170). They describe “natural selection for increases in learning ability” over the last 2-2.5million years, linked to tool use and the importance of cultural adaptations (180). Haviland Anthropology may more tightly link tool use to brain size expansion than some anthropologists would.

1.11 Denisovans, Neandertals, Archaics as Human Races

Haviland Anthropology takes a “lumping approach” throughout (159). Very good on noting the difficulties of even sorting fossils: “Defining fossils as either Neandertals or ‘moderns’ illustrates the difficulty with defining a distinct biological species, given the presence of variation found in humans” (209). The authors argue for a lot of contact, variation, and gene flow: “Not only is such gene flow consistent with the remarkable tendency humans have to ‘swap genes’ between populations, even in the face of cultural barriers, but it is also consistent with the tendency of other primates to produce hybrids when two subspecies (and sometimes even species) come into contact” (212).

The authors say “average brain size actually peaked in Neandertals at 10 percent larger than the contemporary human average” (205), although they note in a photo caption of an anatomically modern skull, “it is not clear whether the higher skull and forehead indicate superior cultural abilities” (207). Haviland Anthropology will also discuss how “in some respects, however, Neandertals outdid their anatomically modern contemporaries, as in the use of red ochre” (211). In a nice segue, they then relate this to contemporary race issues, as “it raises fundamental issues about the relationship between biological and cultural variation. Can a series of biological features indicate particular cultural abilities?” (212). Their answer: “The fossil and archaeological evidence from the Middle Paleolithic does not indicate a simple one-to-one correspondence between cultural innovations and a biological change preserved in the shape of the skull” (213). They nicely then revisit this in the section on “Race and Human Evolution” which again stresses the strengths of the multiregional hypothesis (294-296).

1.12 More Mothers than Mitochondrial Eve

Although the authors admit “the recent African origins hypothesis is the majority position among Western paleoanthropologists” (207), their presentation makes it clear they favor the multiregional hypothesis. They present multiregionalism first and fairly, describing gene flow and referencing The Origins of modern humans: A world survey of the fossil evidence (Wolpoff et al. 1984). They question the genetic evidence for recent African origins, including a reference to The “Eve” Hypotheses: A Genetic Critique and Reanalysis (Templeton 1993) as well as Absence of regional affinities of Neandertal DNA with living humans does not reject multiregional evolution (Relethford 2001). Unfortunately there are no references beyond 2003 in these sections, although it would seem relatively easy to follow up on Relethford and Templeton.

Haviland Anthropology has a good discussion of how contemporary peoples are actually very different genetically from known early modern descendants, and summarize: “In short, it is definitely premature to use genetic evidence to remove from modern human ancestry all populations of archaic H. sapiens save those of Africa. Not even the Neandertals can be excluded” (209). The 2010 finds turn that phrasing into prophetic understatement, but there is no reference to the recent Neandertal or Denisovan sequencing, even though text is ©2011. Haviland Anthropology uses neutral language to discuss migrations out of Africa (contrast with Nicholas Wade’s biased language of “escape” from Africa). They describe positive aspects of Upper Paleolithic technologies and human expansion, without using language of colonization or conquest.

1.13 Biocultural Naturenurtural Human Biologies

Although much of the text would indicate Haviland Anthropology takes a position emphasizing how human biology encourages learning and sociality, the authors do not seem to explicitly argue the point. For example, although there are various places where height is related to environment and nutrition, the term plasticity does not appear in the text.


To cite: Antrosio, Jason. 2011. “Haviland Anthropology 13th Edition and Living Anthropologically.” Living Anthropologically website, https://www.livinganthropologically.com/haviland-anthropology/. First posted 29 March 2011. Revised 21 September 2017.


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