The original impetus behind this special issue on Cultural Anthropology came from my predecessor as editor, Beebe Bahrami. As a cultural anthropologist herself, she encouraged the authors of the feature articles to submit manuscripts describing their research. From statistical analyses focused on Mongolian understandings of democracy to ethnographic observations on child-rearing practices in West Africa, from a combination of these approaches used to explore gender differences in reading at an American elementary school to an historically situated analysis of the significance and meaning attached to yoga as it spread from India around the world and back, the articles in this issue illustrate the breadth of work being undertaken by cultural anthropologists toddy. Overall, this issue explores different cultures, different aspects of culture, and the diversity and richness of modern cultural anthropological research.
As such, we would like to dedicate this issue to William Davenport, a Penn cultural anthropologist, who passed away on March 12, 2004. Since he was a prolific contributor to Expedition magazine over the years, we are honored to present his final article as our special feature in this special issue on Cultural Anthropology. He will be missed by his many friends.
Finally, as this issue was going to press, we learned of the death on October 6, 2004, of Frederica de Laguna, a longtime associate of the Museum and Honorary Curator of the American Section. In a future issue we hope to present a memorial Portrait of this pioneer in the anthropology and archaeology of Alaska’s Native peoples.
JAMES R. MATHIEU, PH.D.