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Stephen Beckerman

Stephen Beckerman

Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology


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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  1. B.A., George Washington University, 1966
  2. Ph.D., University of New Mexico, 1975

Biography

Areas of Specialization:

Human evolutionary ecology; conservation ecology; tropical forest subsistence systems; primitive war; human reproductive strategies, especially partible paternity; lowland South American peoples.

Research Activities and Interests:

Dr Beckerman’s interests include most fields of ecological anthropology, as illustrated by his studies of peoples of lowland South America.  He has conducted research on neotropical forest subsistence practices, warfare on and among tribal peoples, and human reproductive strategies.  Most of his fieldwork has been with the Barí people of the Maracaibo Basin (Colombia-Venezuela) and the Waorani people of the Napo Basin (Ecuador.)  One of his recent investigations explored partible paternity, the widespread belief that a child can have more than one biological father, and its consequences for child survivorship.  Another modeled the conditions under which tribal peoples conserve their wild resources.  His major current research is directed at the evolutionary ecology of tribal warfare.

Fieldwork:

About 45 months of fieldwork with the Barí, first in Colombia and then in Venezuela.  About 22 months of fieldwork with the Waorani in Ecuador. Briefer visits to other tribal and peasant peoples in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecudor.

Courses Taught:

ANTH 045 Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 083S Freshman Seminar
ANTH 440 South American Tribal Societies
ANTH 444 Primitive Warfare
ANTH 450W Comparative Social Organization
ANTH 497 Slash and Burn Agriculture
ANTH 497 Mating in Tribal Societies
ANTH 541 Cultural Journal Club
ANTH 559 Behavior Anthropology

Recent Publications:

  • Beckerman, S. (2000) “Mating and marriage, husbands and lovers.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23(4): 590-591.

  • Beckerman, S. (2000) “Game.” In The Cambridge World History of Food, eds. K. Kiple and K. Conee Ornelas.  Vol. 1.  Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 524-528.

  • Beckerman, S. and P. Valentine, eds. (2002) Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The theory and practice of partible paternity in South America. Gainesville, University of Florida Press.

  • Beckerman, S. and P, Valentine (2002) “Introduction: The concept of partible paternity among native South Americans.” In Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The theory and practice of partible paternity in South America, eds. S. Beckerman and P. Valentine.  Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 1-13.

  • Beckerman, S., R. Lizarralde, M. Lizarralde, J. Bie, C. Ballew, S. Schroeder, D. Dajani, L. Walkup, M. Hsiung, N. Rawlins, and M. Palermo (2002) “The Barí partible paternity project: Phase 1." In Cultures of Multiple Fathers: The theory and practice of partible paternity in South America, eds. S. Beckerman and P Valentine.  Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 27-41.

  • Beckerman, S. (2002) “Families and kin groups. In Encyclopedia of Evolution, ed. M.Gallagher. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 517-521.

  • Beckerman, S. and R Lizarralde (2003) “Paternidad compartida entre los Barí.” In Caminos Cruzados: Ensayos de antropología social, etnoecología y etnoeducación, eds. C. Alès and J. Chiappino.  Mérida, Venezuela: Universidad de Los Andes, GRIAL, pp. 255-271.

  • Beckerman, S., P. Valentine and E. Eller (2003) “Conservation and native Amazonians: Why some do and some don’t.” Antropológica 96: 31-51

Selected Older Publications:

  • Beckerman, S. (1979)  "The abundance of protein in Amazonia:  a reply to Gross."  American Anthropologist 81(3): 533-560.

  • Beckerman, S. (1983)  "Barí swidden gardens:  Crop segregation patterns."  Human Ecology 11(1): 85-101.

  • Beckerman, S. (1983)  "Does the swidden ape the jungle?"  Human Ecology 11(1): 1-12.

  • Beckerman, S. (1983)  "Carpe diem:  An optimal foraging approach to Bari fishing and hunting."  In:  Adaptive Strategies of Native Amazonians, eds. R. Hames and W. Vickers.  Academic Press: New York, pp. 269-299.

  • Kurland, J. A. and S. Beckerman. (1985)  "Optimal foraging and hominid evolution:  Labor and reciprocity."  American Anthropologist 87(1): 73-93.

  • Beckerman, S. (1987)  "Swidden in Amazonia and the Amazon rim."  In:  Comparative Farming Systems, eds. B. L. Turner II and S. B. Brush, Guilford Press:  New York, pp. 55-94.

  • Lizarralde, R. and S. Beckerman. (1987)  "The contemporary history of the Bari."  In:  Indigenous survival among the Bari and Arhuaco:  strategies and perspectives, eds. R. Lizarralde, S. Beckerman and P. Elssas.  1st edition, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs:  Copenhagen, pp. 3-39.

  • Beckerman, S. (1991)  "The equations of war."  Current Anthropology 32(5): 636-640.

  • Beckerman, S. (1991) "Barí spear fishing: Advantages to group formation?" Human Ecology 19(4): 529-554.

  • Beckerman, S. (1993) "Major patterns in indigenous Amazonian subsistence." In: Tropical Forests, People and Food: Biocultural interactions and applications to development, eds. C. M. Hladik, A. Hladik, O. F. Linares, H. Pagezy, A. Semple and M. Hadley. Man and the Biosphere Series, vol. 13, UNESCO and Carnforth: The Parthenon Publishing Group: Paris, pp. 411-424.

  • McKey, D. and S. Beckerman (1993) "Chemical ecology, plant evolution and traditional manioc cultivation systems."  In: Tropical Forests, People and Food: Biocultural interactions and applications to development, eds. C. M. Hladik, A. Hladik, O. F. Linares, H. Pagezy, A. Semple and M. Hadley.  Man and the Biosphere Series, vol. 13, UNESCO and Carnforth: The Parthenon Publishing Group: Paris, pp. 83-112.

  • Beckerman, S. and R. Lizarralde (1995)  "State-tribal warfare and male biased casualties among the Barí." Current Anthropology36(3): 497-500.

  • Beckerman, S. and P. Valentine (1996) "On native American conservation and the tragedy of the commons."  Current Anthropology37(4): 659-661.

  • Beckerman, S., R. Lizarralde, C. Ballew, S. Schroeder, C. Fingelton, A. Garrison and H. Smith (1998) "The Barí partible paternity project: Preliminary results."  Current Anthropology 39(1): 164-167.