HRAF News Vol. 2018-7
From the President
Warm wishes for the winter season!

I wanted to reach out to let you know about some new developments at HRAF.

  • We are working on a new application which will be launched as an optional beta in late winter; one of the exciting new features is a Notebook where users can store their own material, create annotations, labels, search within their selections, and store material for teaching exercises. We are looking for volunteers to help test it in January or February before we launch it more widely.
  • In response to member requests, we currently offer perpetual memberships for unlimited institutional access to all future updates for both eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology. Contact us for more details. If you are a faculty member, you might want to tell your library about this possibility.
  • We have added a new topical summary on Religion to Explaining Human Culture, our open-access database which summarizes what we know from almost 1,000 cross-cultural studies. We are working on additional summaries on Sexuality and Gender Roles and Statuses.
  • As part of HRAF’s Advanced Research Center, we are wrapping up our NSF-supported grant exploring how natural hazards may have transformed culture. The aspects of culture we have explored with worldwide cross-cultural and cross-archaeological comparisons are wide-ranging, including customary sharing, land tenure systems, beliefs about god/spirit involvement in weather, type of political leadership, subsistence and diet diversity, and the strength of cultural norms. While we are still preparing our results for publication, you can find links to selected presentations and our publications to date here. And watch this space for more in the future!
My best wishes,

Carol Ember
"All societies have expectations about how people should behave. But some societies appear to have more rules than others, have more people who follow the rules, and have strong punishment for those who break the rules. What explains the variation?"

Research on countries points to stress. Countries with more natural and societal stressors have stronger rules and harsher punishment. But does this trend hold true for the small, non-state societies studied by anthropologists? Click here to read our post, which includes a link to our research presentations.
"Although all known societies have religious beliefs and practices, religions vary greatly from society to society. This module summarizes what cross-cultural research tells us about predictors and possible explanations of religious variation."

The religion module is available here, with links to PDF and ebook forms. To see the other topical summaries in our Explaining Human Culture series, including Adolescence, Games and Sports, and Altered States of Consciousness, click here instead .
"During the end-of-year 'holiday season' throughout much of the Western world, we are often reminded to be grateful for the things that we have, and even to go out of our way to be gracious and thankful to those around us...Do the same actions and activities show thanks around the world or are there significant cultural differences?"

If you use eHRAF World Cultures , consider helping us to test our new interface. To sign-up for beta testing, please contact our Membership Coordinator, Tahlisa, at . We plan to make the beta available to volunteers in January or February.

We look forward to hearing your feedback!
HRAF at Yale University|