Kinship and Marriage:
I mentioned previously that I had read The Red Lamp of Incest by Robin Fox and recommended it.  I have now read Kinship and Marriage, An Anthropological Perspective, Robin Fox, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1967 and can warmly recommend it as well.  It is a somewhat less challenging book than the “Lamp.”  Of Lamp it has been said, “It is widely admired and perhaps less widely understood.”  Sorry I don’t have the reference.  I believe I have read that “Kinship” is the most widely read anthropology text.

That is pleasant, since in the introduction he mentions that he doesn’t believe in textbooks.  As it turns out, the subject of kinship and marriage is about half of all anthropology, which is simply the study of the human side of humans.  The book Kinship moves patiently and systematically through a veritable sea of different kinds of relationships, drawing out common patterns and explaining things through numerous and uncluttered diagrams.  It also spends a good amount of time on terminology.  I imagine that was more needed fifty years ago since the book itself is so widely read.  

I am happy to report that the good professor has been back in touch and that more work is brewing.  I shall make every effort to keep you posted about the output of the courteous, brilliant and very key man. 

His work (along with Martin Ottenheimer) has inspired me to change my approach.  Previously, and of course still to an extent, it has pretty much been gloom and doom.  Alak and alas.  No more babies. 

But there is a much more pressing concern: that of the widely held prejudice against cousin marriages.  It’s just another prejudice.  And usually prejudice is something you can discuss in polite company but maybe not this one. 

Prejudices are bad at the receiving end and, obviously, bad at the sending end.  Imagine a football coach whose prejudice would not let him put Black men on his team (and the law would let him get away with it).  He’d lose a lot of games.  This particular prejudice is tearing us apart.  I only hope there is time to recover.

I notice that Professor Fox has a new posting on his blog at Physchology today you may look at.

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