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Preface: “Rice and Language Across Asia”

Preface: “Rice and Language Across Asia” Rice (2011) 4:75–77 DOI 10.1007/s12284-011-9081-z Magnus Fiskesjö & Yue-ie Caroline Hsing Published online: 30 December 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 This special issue of Rice presents a selection of papers from human genetics and plant genetics; in archaeology, includ- the international symposium “Rice and Language Across ing especially in the burgeoning subfield of archaeobotany; Asia: Crops, Movement, and Social Change,” held at Cornell in anthropology (see O’Connor this volume and O’Connor University, Ithaca, USA, on September 22–25, 2011. 1995), deploying a deep historical and regional approach of The goal of this meeting was to reexamine the relationship a certain kind that had become uncommon in anthropology), between the beginnings and spread of rice agriculture and as well as in other related fields, such as economic history, cultural, social, and linguistic developments of early Asian climate research, and others. societies. Rice farming is but one aspect of the development of For some time now, scholars in these disparate yet related early agriculture in Asia, which of course also involved animal disciplines have grappled with the pursuit of data and the domestication and the adoption of other crops such as millets, comparison with results from other disciplines: see for ex- tubers, and other vegetables, but the special focus on rice is ample the collected essays volumes by Sagart et al. (2005), justified because of the highly significant role of rice in the Sanchez-Mazas et al. (2008), Petraglia and Allchin (2007), agricultural transformations and expansions across Asia over Peregrine et al. (2009), Enfield and White (2011) and others. the last ten millennia. This included the growth and dispersal All face the problems of how to compare research results of early human populations, as well as the dramatic influences and how to achieve interdisciplinary communication and on social organization that accompanied the introduction, mutual reinforcement between scholars addressing the prob- development, and increased reliance on rice farming. lems of shared concern, across different disciplines. Recent years have seen rapid advances in the multiple All of the contributions to our September 2011 symposium, related fields of research that bear on these questions: in including those presented here, were contributed in the spirit linguistics and historical linguistics, in particular in the of extending these discussions and exchanging views between fields of language reconstruction and subgrouping; in both disciplines on the complex relationship between crops, lan- guage, and sociocultural developments in early Asia. Because of the interrelated lines of evidence emerging from linguistics, M. Fiskesjö (*) genetics, biology and environmental studies, archaeology, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, anthropology, and history, the complexity of the issues cannot McGraw Hall, Room 204, be avoided, and further interdisciplinary engagement will Ithaca, NY 14853, USA continue to be necessary. This includes a need for further e-mail: magnus.fiskesjo@cornell.edu effort to facilitate the communication between disciplines, Y.-i. C. Hsing and a need for reflection on the adequacy of indiscipline Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, terminology and ways of thinking that may be taken for 128, Section 2, Yien-chu-yuan Road, granted within disciplines, but the limits of which become Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan e-mail: bohsing@gate.sinica.edu.tw even more apparent in interdisciplinary encounters than 76 Rice (2011) 4:75–77 in theoretical debates unfolding inside each discipline national identities (“Chinese,”“Indian,”“Japanese,” etc.) (as is apparent with terms like “populations,”“cultures,” into discussions of a distant past for which these current “languages,” and the like). labels may not have much relevance. The pan-Asian perspective adopted in our symposium, Apart from the papers included in this special issue, the though demanding and difficult, will also clearly continue to symposium also included riveting presentations by Susan be necessary to explore the numerous large and as yet McCouch, Patricia Donegan, David Stampe, Osada Toshiki, unresolved issues of just how early people transmitted vari- Tao Sang, Brendan Buckley, and Pan Wuyun, none of which eties of plants to new regions, how and by which routes they regrettably could not be included here; in addition, there was disseminated the use of plants such as rice between the east, a formidable set of poster presentations with contributions south, and southeast parts of the continent; how this drove from Christina Warinner, Da Di, Erik Gilbert, Manjil Hazarika, human migrations and expansions across Asia; and what the Gwendolyn Hyslop, Eleanor Kingwell-Banham, Emma social consequences were. The need for a pan-Asian Harvey, Chen Xingcan, Li Liu, Pittayawat Pittayaporn, Paul perspective (coupled, of course, with an awareness of Sidwell, Alison Weisskopf, Ling Qin, Yuan-ching Tsai, Middle Eastern and western Eurasian and other regions, as Yi-fang Chen, Ming-hsing Lai, Ai-ling Hour, Yu-chi Chen, well as comparatively with other parts of the world where Yu-chien Tseng, and others (including also from several of the agriculture has been initiated, whether independently or scholars whose paper contributions are published here); plus secondarily) remains valid even though we are already able the commentary of several more discussants (more complete to agree with some degree of certainty on the original information can be found at http://conf.ling.cornell.edu/ regions of crop domestication, and even if we do now have riceandlanguage/). We hope all this scholarship can continue a partial understanding within each of the many concerned to grow and find further venues for collaboration and disciplines of certain specific problem areas. This includes for publication as we go into the future. our developing understanding of the map of language fam- In this issue, 12 articles and 1 of the symposium ilies and their changing geographical spread in the past; the discussants’ commentaries have been included. The first fragmented and highly complex but partially observable four (by Fuller, Bellwood, d’Alpoim-Guèdes, and Castillo) record of past human migrations and expansions that remain review and expand the archaeological knowledge about early within the genetic codes both of living people, and as found agriculture in Asia and its wider region. Fuller, who served as in the recoverable remains of ancient people; the intriguing a keynote speaker at the symposium, pays special attention to but as yet unexplained map of genetic family trees of known the pan-Asian context, as well as to South Asian devel- varieties of rice, and other relevant food plants, weeds, and opments. The next four articles (by Sagart, Bradley, so on; the partially recoverable record of climate change (as Southworth, and Whitman) treat the same scope of issues from the perspective mainly of historical linguistics. discussed at the symposium by Brendan Buckley making use of dendrochronology and other possible tools for The contribution by Sanchez-Mazas and her colleagues tracing environmental and cyclical climate changes in offers an updated perspective from human genetics, and deep history); in the partially recovered archaeological the two following papers (the first by Takashige and his record of past farming history and agricultural economy; and colleagues and the second by Hsieh, Hsing, and their other aspects. colleagues), from plant genetics, also reconnecting to the As one example of the many unknowns that still remain, multidisciplinary aspirations of the symposium. In addition, we may note the issue of the as yet unknown ethnolinguistic we publish a paper on inter-Asian rice exchanges in later identity of the peoples who many millennia ago first culti- historical periods by veteran agricultural economist Randolph vated rice in the Yangtze river valley, in what today is Barker, as well as the revised remarks by Richard O’Connor, China. This exemplifies the limits of what we know about one of several symposium discussants. the relationship between language, culture, food production As co-editors, we are very grateful towards the journal technologies as ways of life, and how these are borrowed or for giving us this opportunity to publish this rich selection of transmitted across cultural boundaries which are themselves papers so soon after the symposium. We are also thankful at the same time social constructions. As Richard O’Connor for the generous support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation suggests, we may gain comparative insight from history and for Anthropological Research and from Cornell University’s anthropology on how to frame and interpret data produced College of Arts and Science, Mario Einaudi Center for with methodologies from the disciplines that allow us to International Studies, East Asia Program, Institute for the reach farther into the human past. But even as we learn to Social Sciences, Department of Linguistics, and Southeast trace some ethnolinguistic continuities into the past, we will Asia Program; as well as from the Lehman Fund for Scholarly still need to refrain from projecting modern-day ethno- Exchange with China and the Departments of Anthropology, Rice (2011) 4:75–77 77 Asian Studies, and Classics at Cornell, and from its South References Asia Program. This support helped us bring together an ex- ceptional gathering of scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, Enfield N, White JC, editors. Dynamics of human diversity: the and North America for a highly productive few days of dis- case of mainland Southeast Asia. Canberra: Pacific Linguis- cussion. Once again, we express the gratitude of participants tics; 2011. O’Connor R. Agricultural change and ethnic succession in Southeast to all these supporters and funding agencies, as well as also to Asian states: a case for regional anthropology. J Asian Studies. all the many attendees and the participants, for their dedicated 1995;54(4):968–96. contributions; and also, once again, we thank the symposium Peregrine P, Peiros I, Feldman M, editors. Ancient human migrations: a organizers who included Professors Abigail Cohn and John multidisciplinary approach. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press; 2009. Whitman, both of the Dept. of Linguistics; John Phan of the Petraglia MD, Allchin B, editors. The evolution and history of human Dept. of Asian Studies; Susan McCouch, Dept. of Plant populations in South Asia: inter-disciplinary studies in archaeology, Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University; and Laurent biological anthropology, linguistics and genetics. Dordrecht: Sagart, of the Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Springer; 2007. Sagart L, Blench R, Sanchez-Mazas A, editors. The peopling of East Orientale, in Paris, France. Asia: putting together archaeology, linguistics and genetics. London: We hope that this special issue will provoke further re- Routledge-Curzon; 2005. search and debate on the exciting and deeply interrelated Sanchez-Mazas A, Blench R, Ross MD, Peiros I, Lin M, editors. Past questions regarding early people and their rice, so many of human migrations in East Asia: matching archaeology, linguistics and genetics. London: Routledge; 2008. which remain unanswered! http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Rice Springer Journals

Preface: “Rice and Language Across Asia”

Rice , Volume 4 (4) – Dec 30, 2011

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References (6)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Life Sciences; Plant Sciences; Plant Genetics & Genomics; Plant Breeding/Biotechnology; Agriculture; Plant Ecology
ISSN
1939-8425
eISSN
1939-8433
DOI
10.1007/s12284-011-9081-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Rice (2011) 4:75–77 DOI 10.1007/s12284-011-9081-z Magnus Fiskesjö & Yue-ie Caroline Hsing Published online: 30 December 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 This special issue of Rice presents a selection of papers from human genetics and plant genetics; in archaeology, includ- the international symposium “Rice and Language Across ing especially in the burgeoning subfield of archaeobotany; Asia: Crops, Movement, and Social Change,” held at Cornell in anthropology (see O’Connor this volume and O’Connor University, Ithaca, USA, on September 22–25, 2011. 1995), deploying a deep historical and regional approach of The goal of this meeting was to reexamine the relationship a certain kind that had become uncommon in anthropology), between the beginnings and spread of rice agriculture and as well as in other related fields, such as economic history, cultural, social, and linguistic developments of early Asian climate research, and others. societies. Rice farming is but one aspect of the development of For some time now, scholars in these disparate yet related early agriculture in Asia, which of course also involved animal disciplines have grappled with the pursuit of data and the domestication and the adoption of other crops such as millets, comparison with results from other disciplines: see for ex- tubers, and other vegetables, but the special focus on rice is ample the collected essays volumes by Sagart et al. (2005), justified because of the highly significant role of rice in the Sanchez-Mazas et al. (2008), Petraglia and Allchin (2007), agricultural transformations and expansions across Asia over Peregrine et al. (2009), Enfield and White (2011) and others. the last ten millennia. This included the growth and dispersal All face the problems of how to compare research results of early human populations, as well as the dramatic influences and how to achieve interdisciplinary communication and on social organization that accompanied the introduction, mutual reinforcement between scholars addressing the prob- development, and increased reliance on rice farming. lems of shared concern, across different disciplines. Recent years have seen rapid advances in the multiple All of the contributions to our September 2011 symposium, related fields of research that bear on these questions: in including those presented here, were contributed in the spirit linguistics and historical linguistics, in particular in the of extending these discussions and exchanging views between fields of language reconstruction and subgrouping; in both disciplines on the complex relationship between crops, lan- guage, and sociocultural developments in early Asia. Because of the interrelated lines of evidence emerging from linguistics, M. Fiskesjö (*) genetics, biology and environmental studies, archaeology, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, anthropology, and history, the complexity of the issues cannot McGraw Hall, Room 204, be avoided, and further interdisciplinary engagement will Ithaca, NY 14853, USA continue to be necessary. This includes a need for further e-mail: magnus.fiskesjo@cornell.edu effort to facilitate the communication between disciplines, Y.-i. C. Hsing and a need for reflection on the adequacy of indiscipline Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, terminology and ways of thinking that may be taken for 128, Section 2, Yien-chu-yuan Road, granted within disciplines, but the limits of which become Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan e-mail: bohsing@gate.sinica.edu.tw even more apparent in interdisciplinary encounters than 76 Rice (2011) 4:75–77 in theoretical debates unfolding inside each discipline national identities (“Chinese,”“Indian,”“Japanese,” etc.) (as is apparent with terms like “populations,”“cultures,” into discussions of a distant past for which these current “languages,” and the like). labels may not have much relevance. The pan-Asian perspective adopted in our symposium, Apart from the papers included in this special issue, the though demanding and difficult, will also clearly continue to symposium also included riveting presentations by Susan be necessary to explore the numerous large and as yet McCouch, Patricia Donegan, David Stampe, Osada Toshiki, unresolved issues of just how early people transmitted vari- Tao Sang, Brendan Buckley, and Pan Wuyun, none of which eties of plants to new regions, how and by which routes they regrettably could not be included here; in addition, there was disseminated the use of plants such as rice between the east, a formidable set of poster presentations with contributions south, and southeast parts of the continent; how this drove from Christina Warinner, Da Di, Erik Gilbert, Manjil Hazarika, human migrations and expansions across Asia; and what the Gwendolyn Hyslop, Eleanor Kingwell-Banham, Emma social consequences were. The need for a pan-Asian Harvey, Chen Xingcan, Li Liu, Pittayawat Pittayaporn, Paul perspective (coupled, of course, with an awareness of Sidwell, Alison Weisskopf, Ling Qin, Yuan-ching Tsai, Middle Eastern and western Eurasian and other regions, as Yi-fang Chen, Ming-hsing Lai, Ai-ling Hour, Yu-chi Chen, well as comparatively with other parts of the world where Yu-chien Tseng, and others (including also from several of the agriculture has been initiated, whether independently or scholars whose paper contributions are published here); plus secondarily) remains valid even though we are already able the commentary of several more discussants (more complete to agree with some degree of certainty on the original information can be found at http://conf.ling.cornell.edu/ regions of crop domestication, and even if we do now have riceandlanguage/). We hope all this scholarship can continue a partial understanding within each of the many concerned to grow and find further venues for collaboration and disciplines of certain specific problem areas. This includes for publication as we go into the future. our developing understanding of the map of language fam- In this issue, 12 articles and 1 of the symposium ilies and their changing geographical spread in the past; the discussants’ commentaries have been included. The first fragmented and highly complex but partially observable four (by Fuller, Bellwood, d’Alpoim-Guèdes, and Castillo) record of past human migrations and expansions that remain review and expand the archaeological knowledge about early within the genetic codes both of living people, and as found agriculture in Asia and its wider region. Fuller, who served as in the recoverable remains of ancient people; the intriguing a keynote speaker at the symposium, pays special attention to but as yet unexplained map of genetic family trees of known the pan-Asian context, as well as to South Asian devel- varieties of rice, and other relevant food plants, weeds, and opments. The next four articles (by Sagart, Bradley, so on; the partially recoverable record of climate change (as Southworth, and Whitman) treat the same scope of issues from the perspective mainly of historical linguistics. discussed at the symposium by Brendan Buckley making use of dendrochronology and other possible tools for The contribution by Sanchez-Mazas and her colleagues tracing environmental and cyclical climate changes in offers an updated perspective from human genetics, and deep history); in the partially recovered archaeological the two following papers (the first by Takashige and his record of past farming history and agricultural economy; and colleagues and the second by Hsieh, Hsing, and their other aspects. colleagues), from plant genetics, also reconnecting to the As one example of the many unknowns that still remain, multidisciplinary aspirations of the symposium. In addition, we may note the issue of the as yet unknown ethnolinguistic we publish a paper on inter-Asian rice exchanges in later identity of the peoples who many millennia ago first culti- historical periods by veteran agricultural economist Randolph vated rice in the Yangtze river valley, in what today is Barker, as well as the revised remarks by Richard O’Connor, China. This exemplifies the limits of what we know about one of several symposium discussants. the relationship between language, culture, food production As co-editors, we are very grateful towards the journal technologies as ways of life, and how these are borrowed or for giving us this opportunity to publish this rich selection of transmitted across cultural boundaries which are themselves papers so soon after the symposium. We are also thankful at the same time social constructions. As Richard O’Connor for the generous support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation suggests, we may gain comparative insight from history and for Anthropological Research and from Cornell University’s anthropology on how to frame and interpret data produced College of Arts and Science, Mario Einaudi Center for with methodologies from the disciplines that allow us to International Studies, East Asia Program, Institute for the reach farther into the human past. But even as we learn to Social Sciences, Department of Linguistics, and Southeast trace some ethnolinguistic continuities into the past, we will Asia Program; as well as from the Lehman Fund for Scholarly still need to refrain from projecting modern-day ethno- Exchange with China and the Departments of Anthropology, Rice (2011) 4:75–77 77 Asian Studies, and Classics at Cornell, and from its South References Asia Program. This support helped us bring together an ex- ceptional gathering of scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, Enfield N, White JC, editors. Dynamics of human diversity: the and North America for a highly productive few days of dis- case of mainland Southeast Asia. Canberra: Pacific Linguis- cussion. Once again, we express the gratitude of participants tics; 2011. O’Connor R. Agricultural change and ethnic succession in Southeast to all these supporters and funding agencies, as well as also to Asian states: a case for regional anthropology. J Asian Studies. all the many attendees and the participants, for their dedicated 1995;54(4):968–96. contributions; and also, once again, we thank the symposium Peregrine P, Peiros I, Feldman M, editors. Ancient human migrations: a organizers who included Professors Abigail Cohn and John multidisciplinary approach. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press; 2009. Whitman, both of the Dept. of Linguistics; John Phan of the Petraglia MD, Allchin B, editors. The evolution and history of human Dept. of Asian Studies; Susan McCouch, Dept. of Plant populations in South Asia: inter-disciplinary studies in archaeology, Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University; and Laurent biological anthropology, linguistics and genetics. Dordrecht: Sagart, of the Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Springer; 2007. Sagart L, Blench R, Sanchez-Mazas A, editors. The peopling of East Orientale, in Paris, France. Asia: putting together archaeology, linguistics and genetics. London: We hope that this special issue will provoke further re- Routledge-Curzon; 2005. search and debate on the exciting and deeply interrelated Sanchez-Mazas A, Blench R, Ross MD, Peiros I, Lin M, editors. Past questions regarding early people and their rice, so many of human migrations in East Asia: matching archaeology, linguistics and genetics. London: Routledge; 2008. which remain unanswered!

Journal

RiceSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 30, 2011

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