The forest foragers of the Congo Basin, known collectively as "Pygmies," are the largest and most diverse group of active hunter-gatherers remaining in the world. At least fifteen different ethno-linguistic groups exist in the Congo Basin with a total population of 250,000 to 350,000 individuals. Extensive knowledge about these groups has accumulated in the last forty years, but readers have been forced to piece together what is known from many sources. French, Japanese, American, and British researchers have conducted the majority of the research; each national research group has its own academic traditions, history, and publications. Here, leading academic authorities from diverse national traditions summarize recent research on forest hunter-gatherers.
The volume explores the diversity and uniformity of Congo Basin hunter-gatherer life by providing detailed but accessible overviews of recent research. It represents the first book in over twenty-five years to provide a comprehensive and holistic overview of African forest hunter-gatherers. Chapters discuss the cultural variation in characteristic features of Congo Basin hunter-gatherer life, such as their yodeled polyphonic music, pronounced egalitarianism, multiple-child caregiving, and complex relations with neighboring farming groups. Other contributors address theoretical issues, such as why Pygmies are short, how tropical forest hunter-gatherers live without the carbohydrates they receive from neighboring farmers, and how hunter-gatherer children learn to share so extensively.
List of Tables
List of Figures
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
Barry S. Hewlett
1. Cultural Diversity of African Pygmies
2. Population Genetics of Central African Pygmies and Non-Pygmies
3. On Late Holocene Population Interactions in the Northwestern Congo Basin: When, How, and Why Does the
Ethnographic Pattern Begin?
Karen Lupo, Alfred Jean-Paul Ndanga, and Christopher Kiahtipes
4. "Do Pygmies Have a History?" Revisited: The Autochthonous Tradition in the History of Equatorial Africa
Robert E. Moise
5. Human Biology and the Health of African Rainforest Inhabitants
6. The Foraging Lifestyle in the African Tropical Rainforest
7. Diversity in Pygmy Music: A Family Portrait
8. Egalitarian Social Organization: The Case of the Mbendjele BaYaka
9. Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods in the Congo Basin
Barry S. Hewlett
10. Multiangular Identities among Congo River Basin Forest Peoples
11. Interethnic Relationships between Pygmies and Farmers
12. Forest Conservation and Indigenous Peoples in The Congo Basin: New Trends toward Reconciliation
between Global Issues and Local Interest
List of Contributors