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Chapter 1: Anthropology, Latin America and the Caribbean
1. The study of the cultural anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean is
relevant for all of the following reasons except:
ANS: C PG: 1
2. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Hispanic/Latino-identifying individuals in
the United States reached approximately:
A) 102 million
B) 82 million
C) 36 million
D) 21 million
ANS: C PG: 1
3. According to the 2000 US Census Bureau, in the United States, approximately
what number of inhabitants speaks a language other than English on a regular basis,
and, of that number, what percentage is Spanish-speaking?
A) 47 million/60 percent
B) 63 million/45 percent
C) 11 million/85 percent
D) 6 million/90 percent
ANS: A PG: 1
4. The primary significance of Spanish-speaking media in the United States is to:
A) inform Hispanic/Latino viewers of the news in Mexico and adjacent countries
B) develop a sense of belonging and community among Hispanic/Latino viewers in
the United States
C) influence political decision-making in the United States when it affects
D) entertain Hispanic/Latino viewers
ANS: B PG: 2
5. Which of the following is not an example of cultural politics in the United States
involving Hispanic/Latino inhabitants?
A) teaching Spanish as a foreign language in public schools
B) portrayal of Hispanic/Latino peoples in Hollywood films
C) interpretation of historical events related to Hispanic/Latino heritage
D) ability to use Spanish in government offices
ANS: A PG: 2
6. According to The Statistical Abstract of Latin America, what percentage of U.S.
exports is destined for Latin America?
A) 70 percent
B) 55 percent
C) 20 percent
D) 10 percent
ANS: C PG: 3
7. Long-term, personal, face-to-face contact and living with the people they study is
what anthropologists call:
B) cultural relativism
D) participant observation
ANS: D PG: 6
8. Which of the following best describes Oscar Lewis’ “culture of poverty”?
A) cultural system altered by poverty, marginality, and oppression is transmitted
B) cultural system that endorses migration and work in sweatshops
C) cultural system that lacks any kind of development and is passed from
generation to generation
D) cultural system in which internal exploitation is common in traditional
ANS: A PG: 8
9. In what countries did Oscar Lewis do his fieldwork on the “culture of poverty”
A) the United States and Cuba
B) Mexico and Puerto Rico
C) Puerto Rico and the United States
D) Guatemala and Mexico
ANS: C PG: 8
10. Why was Oscar Lewis’ study on the “culture of poverty” so controversial?
A) it focused on Puerto Ricans in poverty in the United States
B) it advocated that cultures of poverty were relics of the past
C) it claimed that poverty resulted in stronger and more adaptable cultures
D) it argued that poverty does not exist within a culture
ANS: A PG: 9
11. One of the major conclusions of Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ study of poverty and
childhood is that:
A) poor children tend to develop a larger social network than those from more
B) children born into poverty have a lower education level than those from a more
C) children in poor families are ordinarily expected to die before reaching maturity
D) death is common to all social classes, regardless of poverty
ANS: C PG: 10
12. It is estimated that in the shantytown of Alto do Cruzeiro, approximately what
percentage of infants die before their 5th birthday?
A) 75 percent
B) 50 percent
C) 25 percent
D) 10 percent
ANS: B PG: 11
13. All of the following were primary objectives in Scheper-Hughes’ study of Alto do
A) explain how and why women contributed to the deaths of their infants
B) understand how shantytown mothers provided ideological justification for their
C) understand the political-economic and cultural milieu within which the women
D) suggest that infant and child mortality was not connected to poverty
ANS: D PG: 12
14. Which of the following is not a common cause of death among children in Alto do
B) parasitic infections
ANS: A PG: 13
15. What is the primary cause of contrasting or controversial ethnographic accounts?
B) use of different methods and theory
C) academic preparation of the author
D) use of participant observation
ANS: B PG: 15
16. The destinies of North American, Latin American, and Caribbean peoples have
become interwoven over the past 150 years.
ANS: T PG: 1
17. The study of Latin America and the Caribbean was more important 100 years ago
than it is today.
ANS: F PG: 1
18. Latin America is the United States’ most important trading partner.
ANS: T PG: 3
19. The Monroe Doctrine established the geo-political interests of the United States in
the Western Hemisphere.
ANS: T PG: 4
20. Anthropologists study cultural diversity and do not look for cultural similarities.
ANS: F PG: 6
21. All scholarly research is informed by similar theoretical perspectives.
ANS: F PG: 7
22. Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ study of shantytown life and child morbidity occurs in
ANS: F PG: 10
23. Death without Weeping overwhelmingly consists of family biographies.
ANS: F PG: 12
24. Scheper-Hughes argues that “motherhood” is not an instinctual and innate quality.
ANS: T PG: 12
25. Scheper-Hughes found that mothers in Alto do Cruzeiro chose not to breastfeed
their infants because it was not socially acceptable.
ANS: F PG: 13
26. Name five reasons why the study of the anthropology of Latin America and the
Caribbean is important today.
ANS: It is important for demographic, cultural, economic, geo-political, and
27. What is ethnography?
ANS: Ethnography is a description or portrait of the culture and everyday life of the
28. Name the four fields of Anthropology.
ANS: The four fields of Anthropology are Physical or Biological Anthropology,
Cultural or Socio-cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistic
29. What are the similarities between the studies of Oscar Lewis and Nancy ScheperHughes?
ANS: Both focus on poor and marginal groups, provide voices to those they study
and gripping accounts of their everyday lives, focus attention on the influence of
poverty on violence, and both are controversial and well-written.
30. According to the study, Death without Weeping, how do women contribute to the
deaths of their infants in Alto do Cruzeiro?
ANS: Primarily they contribute to their children’s deaths through neglect in terms
of nutrition and healthcare.
31. Describe what the author means by a “pan-Latino” identity in the United States.
ANS: “Pan-Latino” identity is a sense of community and belongingness among
Hispanic/Latino individuals within the United States, regardless of their countries
and cultures of origin. It is the formation of an alternate identity in response to
common pressures and associations.
32. Compare and contrast cultural relativism and critical cultural relativism.
ANS: Both concepts address the study of beliefs, behaviors, and practices in other
cultural contexts, but whereas cultural relativism argues for the suspension of
judgment from one’s own culture towards another, critical cultural relativism
recognizes internal cultural differences and the possibility that people within a
culture can be affected both positively and negatively by these beliefs, practices, and
33. Discuss the most significant contributions associated with Oscar Lewis’
ethnography, La Vida.
ANS: Among the most significant contributions are the focus on poor Puerto
Ricans in the United States, showing a socio-cultural and economic connection
between these countries, suggesting a correlation between culture and social class,
pioneering the use of tape recorders in ethnography, and the vast use of verbatim
transcripts (allowing people to “speak” throughout the ethnography).
Chapter 2: Introducing Latin America and the Caribbean
1. Why are Latin America and the Caribbean often studied together as conceptual
A) they all speak the same Latin-based languages
B) both areas are dependent on either the United States or Europe
C) they share close historical and economic connections
D) each was colonized by either Spain or Portugal
ANS: C PG: 19
2. The concept of “Latin America” was constructed primarily by:
A) Creole and Mestizo elites who struggled to create a separate geo-political identity
B) Creole and Mestizo elites who struggled to establish a homogenous identity in
the Western Hemisphere
C) Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere who wished to establish
D) Europeans who were not at all involved in the geographical area
ANS: A PG: 19
3. The five most populous countries of Latin America are:
A) Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile
B) Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua
C) Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica
D) Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina
ANS: D PG: 23
4. Societies that are largely young, with high fertility and mortality rates, and
predominantly rural are referred to by demographers as:
ANS: B PG: 24
5. Which of the following statements most accurately represents Latin America today?
A) Latin America has a growing population that is increasingly urban and a decline
in agriculture and agricultural incomes.
B) Latin America has a rapidly growing population that is increasingly urban,
although there is also significant growth in all areas related to agriculture.
C) Latin America is largely rural and has a rapidly growing population.
D) Latin America is primarily urban, although there is a mass migration to rural
areas today, accompanied by rising agricultural rates.
ANS: A PG: 24
6. All of the following are examples of indigenous languages currently spoken in
Latin America except:
ANS: A PG: 26
7. What is a “landscape”?
A) a geo-political space that is enhanced by physical properties that have a
B) a natural area that creates a cultural environment
C) an area of the environment that has prominent geographical features of regional
D) an area of the environment that has been shaped by natural and cultural features
ANS: D PG: 28
8. Sizeable terrains exhibiting distinctive and circumscribed topographic,
climatological, altitudinal, soil, and vegetative features are called:
A) geographic provinces
C) physiographic regions
D) geopolitical regions
ANS: C PG: 32
9. The terra firme and várzea are both areas of the region:
A) Andean Mountains
ANS: C PG: 33
10. The gauchos of the 18th and 19th centuries flourished in the region:
ANS: B PG: 35
11. The highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere is:
A) Mount Aconcagua
B) Mount McKinley
C) Mount Everest
D) Mount Chimborazo
ANS: A PG: 38
12. Which of the following is not a physiographic region associated with Mexico?
A) Yucatán Peninsula
B) Southern Highlands
C) Coastal Plains
D) Central Plateau
ANS: C PG: 39-40
13. In what part of the Caribbean do we find the distinct physiographic regions of
coastal plains and interior mountains ranges?
B) Lesser Antilles
C) Greater Antilles
D) Neovolcanic Axis
ANS: D PG: 43
14. One of the primary weaknesses of the culture area concept is that it represents:
A) a disengagement of geographical boundaries
B) diasporas of cultural groups as historically significant
C) an intellectual arena as a form of classification
D) clear geographical boundaries between cultural areas
ANS: D PG: 46
15. Which of the following is an example of a “culture area” concept?
ANS: B PG: 46
16. During the colonial period, the Spanish colonies in the New World were
administratively referred to as the Indias Orientales.
ANS: F PG: 19
17. The land area of Latin America and the Caribbean totals 5 million square miles.
ANS: F PG: 22
18. An informal economy is supplementary production through activities such as craft
production, domestic employment, and petty commerce.
ANS: T PG: 24
19. The most linguistically complex region of Latin America is the Caribbean area.
ANS: F PG: 25
20. The llanos are vast stretches of grasslands.
ANS: T PG: 32
21. In South America the western coasts are much drier than the eastern ones.
ANS: T PG: 36
22. The great mines of Chuquicamata are known for silver and gold.
ANS: F PG: 37
23. On the Yucatán Peninsula the humidity decreases southward.
ANS: F PG: 42
24. The culture area concept is the belief that geography contributes to an understanding
of cultural differences and similarities.
ANS: F PG: 45
25. The use of “life zones” or ecological niches is a form of culture area assemblage.
ANS: T PG: 45
26. What is a “cultural construct”?
ANS: Cultural constructs are concepts that reflect a particular worldview or
27. Distinguish between the terms “space” and “place.”
ANS: Space is a construct with spatial (i.e., geographic) coordinates or boundaries
with which a landscape is set apart from others. Place is a “lived in” or occupied
28. Name the three major “structural zones” of Latin America and the Caribbean.
ANS: The major structural zones are (1) the Eastern Highlands; (2) the Central
Lowlands; and (3) the Western Alpine System, according to Clawson. Related to
these are the three major surface divisions referred to by Moran as (1) the Andean
mountain chain; (2) the Brazilian and Guiana shields; and (3) the river basin
29. Name the ten major South American physiographic regions.
ANS: The major physiographic regions are the Llanos, Amazonia, Sertão, Chaco,
Pampas, Patagonia, coastal plains, Atacama Desert, Andean Mountains, Altiplano.
30. Name the two broad physiographic regions of Central America.
ANS: The two regions are the Central American Volcanic Axis and the Coastal
31. Why is it difficult to define “Latin America” and the “Caribbean”?
ANS: It is difficult to define Latin America because it is composed of so much
social, cultural, economic, and historical diversity. In addition, the terms “Latin
America” and the “Caribbean” are concepts, or cultural constructs that vary with the
perspective or worldview employed.
PG: 17, 19
32. Discuss the current state of indigenous languages in Latin America. Address both
the primary threats to these languages and the ways that they are being preserved.
ANS: Indigenous languages suffer primarily from demographic dynamics
(extermination, migration) and the official status often granted to European
languages. However, today with the rise of indianist/indigenous movements, ethnic
pride and consciousness, and more extended media opportunities (radio, TV, print
media) there is increasing use of some indigenous languages.
33. Describe the “Pristine Myth” and the role that it played in the colonization of Latin
ANS: The “Pristine Myth” is the belief propagated by early scholar that Latin
America was an Edenic land prior to the arrival of Europeans, a “sparsely populated
wilderness.” This myth served the settlers because it postulated that the land was
theirs for the taking, unused and unsettled.
Chapter 3: Society and Culture Before the Europeans
1. Which of the following is associated with band societies?
A) coercive power
B) monumental architecture
ANS: D PG: 51
2. Which of the following is not an example of a tribal society?
ANS: B PG: 51
3. All of the following characteristics are associated with state societies except:
A) irrigated fields
C) political inequality
D) raised platform agriculture
ANS: B PG: 52
4. Which of the following was not a common transformation that occurred during the
A) a reliance on a narrow resource base
B) a rise in population
C) the emergence of pottery
D) incipient agriculture
ANS: A PG: 55
5. Which of the following is an accurate statement?
A) There is now considerable evidence that early plant domestication occurred in
lowland areas in Latin America.
B) Because of constant flooding, early plant domestication could not have occurred
in lowland areas of South America.
C) Low-lying tropical environments have not generated any early plant
domesticated in Latin America.
D) All early plant domestication began in the mountainous areas of Mexico and
ANS: A PG: 57
6. All of the following are typical arguments in the “geographical bias” against the
lowland tropics as centers of agriculture except:
A) ancient organic materials are difficult to preserve
B) researchers have discovered anthropogenic soils
C) edible plants and animals are scattered over the landscape
D) soils are weathered and leached
ANS: B PG: 58
7. “Sedentary lifestyles indicated by permanent settlements, the rise of large population
settlements, intensive forms of agricultural production, and the presence of large
and powerful chiefdom societies” describes what phase in the prehistory of Latin
America and the Caribbean?
ANS: A PG: 61
8. The Caribbean area was settled by migratory waves from what primary region?
A) Amazonian region
B) Mexican region
C) Orinoco region
D) Patagonian region
ANS: C PG: 61
9. All of the following are examples of Formative period development except:
ANS: A PG: 62
10. What is the single most significant development associated with the Horizon phase
A) introduction of agriculture
B) rise of large-scale, regional states
C) European conquest
D) emergence of pottery
ANS: B PG: 64
11. Recent research on the Maya now suggests that:
A) all Maya kingdoms suddenly collapsed throughout the area
B) soils associated with the Maya agricultural areas show no evidence of
C) Maya population was not as high as originally projected
D) there was not a general collapse of all Maya kingdoms
ANS: D PG: 64
12. Which of the following represent core social units within Andean and
ANS: C PG: 66
13. What is the most significant source of our contemporary knowledge about the
social, cultural, and political worlds of the Andes and Mesoamerica prior to the
A) ethnographic analogy
B) ethnohistorical documents
C) matrilineal descent
D) participant observation
ANS: B PG: 66