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The Road from Frijoles Canyon

Anthropolitical Adventures on Four Continents

William Y. Adams

Publication Year: 2009

A respected anthropologist reflects on his lifelong passion for the American Southwest and his journey studying the varied cultures of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Introduction: The Beginning of the Road

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pp. 1-3

On an early summer day in 1936, a young widow and her two sons set out over the bumpy road from Santa Fe to visit the Puebloan ruins in Frijoles Canyon,

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1: Southern California Prelude, 1927–1935

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pp. 5-21

In a geographically literal sense I can claim to be a southwesterner by birth, for I was born in Los Angeles, and you can’t get much farther southwest than that. The date was August 6, 1927. But in a figurative sense California is not the Southwest, it’s simply California— a geographic subregion, a culture, and a state of mind unto itself ...

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2: The Early Southwestern Years, 1936–1941

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pp. 22-38

The town of Window Rock is located in northeastern Arizona, less than a hundred yards from the New Mexico state line. It is built within a semicircle of pink sandstone cliffs, dominated by the great, wonderfully symmetrical rock arch that has given the place is name. Within the enclosing cliffs and rising among ...

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3: The Nomad Years, 1940–1946

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pp. 39-63

During the interval between 1940 and 1946, I lived for a year with an uncle and aunt in California, a year in Washington, D.C., a half year back in California (but not with relatives), a half year with another aunt in Texas, a year at the Manzanar internment camp (while attending Stanford University), a year at Stanford ...

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4: The Berkeley Years, 1946–1953

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pp. 64-74

During my sophomore year at Stanford, I ran across the highly romanticized writings of Edgar Lee Hewitt, one of the protean figures of southwestern archaeology, and I became an instant convert. I made up my mind that after service in the armed forces I would enroll at the University of New Mexico, where Hewitt was, or ...

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5: The Later Southwestern Years, 1948–1959

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pp. 75-130

It was the Southwest that redeemed me during those last, dark years at Berkeley and that ultimately set me back on course toward my anthropology career. From 1948 to 1952 I returned each summer to the Navajo Reservation, or elsewhere in Arizona, and I came back to Berkeley each time with at least a partially restored sense of ...

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6: The Sudan Years, 1959–1966

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pp. 131-200

There have been many dramatic and unexpected turning points in my career, but surely none as dramatic or as unexpected as the one that occurred on July 18, 1959. On that date Nettie and I went on a long-planned excursion to climb Mount Humphreys, the highest of the San Francisco Peaks behind Flagstaff ...

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7: The Later Digs, 1969–1984

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pp. 201-228

When I left the Sudan to take a teaching position, I knew I wasn’t entirely out of the digging business, for I was already committed to one more dig, at the site of Kulubnarti. But if anyone had told me that some of my most important excavations lay still further in the future, I wouldn’t have believed it; I was going to ...

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8: The Academic Years, 1966–1992

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pp. 229-358

From the time when, in the sixth grade, I decided to become an anthropologist, I never doubted that that meant being a professor. While I was always attracted by the idea of teaching, it was also true there were no other career paths open to anthropologists, apart from a few dead-end museum positions. There were jobs outside ...

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9: Asian Adventures, 1982–1995

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pp. 259-299

In a sense, my enchantment with China began decades before I ever set foot there, or ever expected to. From earliest youth I was enthralled by maps; I loved to pore over them and especially to fantasize about remote and exotic places. And in my imagination there was no place quite so remote or exotic as that vast, seemingly empty ...

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10: European Connections

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pp. 300-322

European countries sent a large number of expeditions to participate in the High Dam campaign in Nubia, and their experience in time served as a launching platform for the new field of Nubian Studies, or Nubiology as it is occasionally called. Today there are university chairs and degree programs in Sweden, Norway, Poland ...

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11: Si monumentum requiris . . .

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pp. 323-348

Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, is buried under the vault of the magnificent edifice that he created. His epitaph reads simply, si monumentum requiris circumspice— if you seek his monument, look around you. Not many of us have a chance to create anything so monumental, but I think most ...

APPENDIX A: The Traditional Navajo System of Counting Change

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pp. 349

APPENDIX B: Courses Taught by the Author

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pp. 351-352

APPENDIX C: Author’s Publications, by Subject Matter

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pp. 353


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pp. 355-357


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pp. 359-363

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826347893
E-ISBN-10: 0826347894
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826347879
Print-ISBN-10: 0826347878

Page Count: 371
Illustrations: 21 halftones
Publication Year: 2009

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Anthropologists -- Southwest, New -- Biography.
  • Archaeologists -- Southwest, New -- Biography.
  • Anthropology teachers -- Southwest, New -- Biography.
  • Southwest, New -- Antiquities.
  • Sudan -- Antiquities.
  • Asia -- Antiquities.
  • Adams, William Yewdale, 1927-.
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