AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: GOOSEFOOT, WATERMELON, AND TEA: PASTORAL PLANT USE IN EURASIA
Author: LAURA POPOVA   
Date/Time: Thu., 11:00 AM
Co-Author(s): LAURA POPOVA 
Abstract: The circulation of plant items among pastoral groups happens at a variety of scales, such as the long-distance trade of luxury items (e.g. dried watermelon), the regional trade of medical teas, or the inclusion of porridge made from goosefoot at a local feast. Unfortunately, in most traditional studies of pastoralism, researchers rarely focus on the ways in which plants are integrated into the social, economic, and political lives of pastoralists. There are three linked reasons why this continues to be the case. First, scholars often implicitly support the social-evolutionary idea that pastoralism is a mode of subsistence that is between foraging and agriculture and is ultimately antithetical to those pursuits. Second, there is the belief that mobile pastoralists live outside the margins of agriculture and thus must live in botanically deficient environments. Finally, there is the idea that pastoralists view the environment solely in terms of fodder for their livestock, since animals and animal products provide the bulk of their dietary needs. Pastoralists are envisioned in a world devoid of plants save grass. In this paper, however, it will be argued that we cannot understand key aspects of pastoral lifeways (such as political power, hospitality, health, trade, and craft production) without a nuanced understanding of plant collection, circulation, and consumption. This will be demonstrated by looking at archaeological, historical and ethnographic data through time (the Bronze Age, the Middle Ages, and the present) and space (Russia and Mongolia).

Program Number: 2-0215
Session Title: MOVING BODIES, BEING SUBJECTS: ETHNOGRAPHIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL APPROACHES TO MOBILITY
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Archaeology Division and Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago), MICHELLE LELIEVRE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): MAUREEN MARSHALL (University of Chicago)  
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