The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 134

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

In the fourth period, a scant thousand years, new powers of
unprecedented efficiency are discovered and instruments of pre-
cision invented to master the outer world of nature. The meth-
ods of science liberate the mind of man from fear of the gods.
Men begin to dream of being emancipated from toil by the
machine, but class conflicts and wars cause destitution in the
midst of potential abundance. Man seems unable to establish a
rational control of social relations. Yet it may not be too much
to expect that human relations will be brought under control,
perhaps at some remote time when the multiplication of instru-
ments of power has come to an end. Thus Becker, who in the
1930o's had begun to doubt the idea of progress, seems to have
convinced himself that, given time, man will "move forward to
some good purpose, to some felicitous state."
East Texas State Teachers College
A Village That Chose Progress: Chan Kom Revisited. By Robert
Redfield. Chicago (The University of Chicago Press), 1950.
Pp. xiv+187. $2.75.
It is regrettable that we have so few books of this sort. Most
social anthropologists, after spending a season or two in the
field, think of their work as complete when they have produced
a book, a monograph, or at least a series of papers on the com-
munity or people they have studied. Even though many of these
anthropologists are especially interested in problems of cultural
change, they seldom go back in later years for a second study of
the same group. Redfield is one of the very few who has. He first
studied the progressive Maya Indian village of Chan Kom in
1931. In 1948, seventeen years later, he went back to find out
what happened to Chan Kom. His second study, the results of
which are lucidly summarized in non-technical language in this
small volume, has yielded a rich harvest of useful data on some
of the phenomena of cultural change. Other social anthropol-
ogists might do well to follow Redfield's example.
Chan Kom originated about 188o as an isolated frontier farm-
ing settlement in the forest of southeastern Yucatan. It was peo-
pled by families from Maya villages to the north and east who


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.