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Title: Ju/'hoan Women's Tracking Knowledge and Its Contribution to Their Husbands' Hunting Success
Authors: BIESELE, Megan
Keywords: Africa
Indigenous knowledge
Issue Date: Mar-2001
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African study monographs. Supplementary issue.
Volume: 26
Start page: 67
End page: 84
Abstract: 1995 fieldwork in the Nyae Nyae area of northeastern Namibia indentified substantial contribution to their husbands' hunting success by Ju/'hoan women. This contribution came from a more acitve use of tracking knowledge than previously reported in anthropological literature on San and other hunter-gatherers. A mixed-gender team composed of an experienced hunter/tracker (Barclay) and an anthropologist/Ju/'hoan translator (Biesele) recorded in detail 1) the events of several collaborative hunting trips with Ju/'hoan husband-wife teams and 2) interview information about the kind and frequency of such collaboration. This team also recorded linguistic and technical details of hunting paraphernalia and techniques hitherto unelaborated in the literature, focusing on snares used by both men and women (to be presented elsewhere). The current paper presents the 1995 findings in the context of relevant information on gender and hunting from other societies. It invites colleagues to share ideas and information on this topic. In particular, it poses the question: does the current observed frequency of spousal cooperation in hunting Nyae Nyae 1)reflect very recent circumstances, or 2)does it, as some Ju/'hoan statements suggest, have substantial time-depth? The conclusion reached is that 1) and 2) are not necessarily opposing propositions, and that further investigation is needed.
DOI: 10.14989/68407
Appears in Collections:26 (African Hunter-Gatherers : Persisting Cultures and Contemporary Problems)

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