aerial view of the Amazon river

The Biology of Culture

Fall 2016 | Volume XVI, Number 1

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

Best of ReVista Photo Contest

First Take

From Chocolate to Potatoes

Cacao Biology

Cacao Biology

Cacao, a tree whose seeds people use to make chocolate, has long been a way for people to understand the world. For pre- Columbian Mesoamericans, cacao linked people to each other, the plants, animals and places around them, and to the divine, the environment seen…

Fungi and Forests

Fungi and Forests

Where we live, where we come from and the organisms that surround us shape our culture. What we eat or do not eat often hints at our deepest ancestral roots. The peoples of the…

Agrobiodiversity as Jazz Improvisation

Agrobiodiversity as Jazz Improvisation

Yellow and purple maize, a multitude of assorted beans, sculptural manioc and a plethora of potatoes are a vivid illustration of the biodiversity of foods in the open-air markets of Latin America. Even in the supermarket…

Healing, Sacredness and Beyond

Indigo in Guatemala

Indigo in Guatemala

English + Español
The king of dyes and the dye of kings, indigo—that amazing blue dye—is native to Guatemala. Although it is a common belief that the Spanish brought indigo (añil) to the…

The Coolness of Cleansing

The Coolness of Cleansing

Cleanliness has long served as a form of religious devotion—to be cleansed, purified and sanctified grants one access to sacred spaces and certain ritual experiences. At times…

The Biology of Consciousness

The Biology of Consciousness

Substitute the word biology for psychology, and you’d have my consideration of consciousness—my own curiosity in writing about that subject parallels that of James about…

Building Bridges

Book Talk

A Ditadura Acabada

A Ditadura Acabada

The timing of the publication of the fifth and final volume of Elio Gaspari’s monumental history of the Brazilian military regime could not be more relevant. It is ironic that his new…

Volunteering for a Cause

Volunteering for a Cause

What happens when researchers look quite simply for “other ways of telling
the story?” Silvia Marina Arrom asks this question at the beginning of her deeply researched history of the male…

La danza hostil

La danza hostil

La danza hostil revisits an age-old question in political science: how is political power constructed (and re-constructed)? Alberto Vergara tackles this question by examining…