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CENTRAL AFRICAN HUNTER-GATHERER RESEARCH TRADITIONS - page 25 / 43

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anthropologists as the “People” and aspects of their cultures less directly related to environment.  In other words, the literature on Congo Basin foragers is dominated by ecologically-oriented studies. This ecological and evolutionary bias has a long history in the anthropology of forest foragers as exemplified in the German Kulturkreise (culture circles) school where “Pygmies” had a special evolutionary position as Naturvolk (people in close relationships with nature) (Schmidt 1939). Congo Basin foragers consistently identify with the rain forest milieu, are fundamentally shaped by it, and express a strong preference for forest life (Hewlett 1996), but research in the region has focused on the economic domains of forest life while neglecting other dimensions, such as marriage and the family, social-emotional relations and religion.

Ecological approaches have made significant contributions to our understanding of human-nature relations, but few studies exist that provide us with insights into how Congo Basin foragers think and feel about their lives. We know how many calories of meat they eat each day, how much time they spend hunting and how much time they spend with infants, but we know little about how forest foragers think and feel about what is important to them—the forest, family relationships, religion, etc.

Gender and nationality biases

Anglo and Japanese males dominate Congo Basin research described in this chapter. This is primarily a consequence of the time period covered in this review; men were more likely to conduct research from the 1950s through the 1980s so men had more time to accumulate publications. Since the 1990s, several women, including Hillary Fouts, Bonnie Hewlett (2005), Courtney Meehan, Veronique Joiris, Michelle Kisliuk, Ayako Hirisawa (2005) and Karen Lupo, have conducted long-term research on their own with forest foragers. Also, relatively few

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