The Anthropology of Anthropology


The Anthropology of Anthropology

The organization and culture of anthropology; the organizations and cultures of anthropology.

Members: 159
Latest Activity: Dec 2, 2016

Discussion Forum

The Franz Boas Papers

Some of you might be excited to hear/know about the The Franz Boas Papers Project! Our inaugural volume 1 is out from Nebraska press. We're just getting started with this seven year SSHRC funded…Continue

Started by Joshua Smith Sep 25, 2015.

Why has anthropology shifted from discovery and explanation to moralism and advocacy? 17 Replies

From its inception, from the 19th century efforts, from the modern founding works of Boas, Radcliffe-Brown, and Malinowski, anthropology strove to discover the human variety in the world, and to…Continue

Started by Philip Carl SALZMAN. Last reply by Rebekah Feb 24, 2013.

Why do anthropologists only write for each other? 26 Replies

I'm doing some research on anthropology's audiences. It seems to me that most writing with anthropological content is written by anyone but anthropologists (see discussion thread in PopAnth group…Continue

Started by Erin B. Taylor. Last reply by Erin B. Taylor Feb 4, 2013.

Producing academic scholarship: If universities are failing, where else do we go? 26 Replies

I recently commented on the Australian Anthropological Society mailing list that universities seem to be fast becoming the worst places to produce academic scholarship as the trend towards metrics…Continue

Started by Erin B. Taylor. Last reply by Anita Sandall Dec 28, 2012.

How is anthropology shaped by a competitive educational market? 2 Replies

HelloThis might be of interest to you.Just to let you know of a short-term project that is intended to provide quick debate over the next month and then a possible virtual workshop. Its on another…Continue

Started by Jonathan Newman. Last reply by Jonathan Newman Apr 20, 2010.

Does anthropology have a unified perspective? 7 Replies

BDwyer said, "anthropology is such a broad church with no really unified perspective - some see it as inherently political emanating out of cosmopolitan centres - like myself, whilst others see it as…Continue

Started by Philip Carl SALZMAN. Last reply by Valerie Feria Isacks Mar 26, 2010.

The ethnography of anthropologists 36 Replies

As an undergrad enthralled by these eccentrics who did this thing called ethnographic fieldwork, which usually sounded like one helluva an adventure, I thought that somebody should conduct an…Continue

Started by Piers Locke. Last reply by Ranjan Lekhy Dec 18, 2009.

Women anthropologists 15 Replies

Women are playing a growing role in anthropology, as both students and professors. How is this affecting the field in terms of topics and analytic approaches? [JMcC]

Started by Philip Carl SALZMAN. Last reply by John McCreery Nov 4, 2009.

Should anthropology merge with sociology, history, political science, and other social studies? 11 Replies

Now that the separate disciplines have had the opportunity to develop and mature, is it time to consider a merging into a unified social science or social studies, which would provide multiple…Continue

Started by Philip Carl SALZMAN. Last reply by Paul Wren Oct 22, 2009.

Is anthropology cumulative? If so, how? If not, why not? Should it be cumulative? 7 Replies

John McCreery said, "My biggest disappointment [in anthropology] is the lack of cumulative knowledge-building. Our history is littered with projects, from mapping the global distributions of cultural…Continue

Started by Philip Carl SALZMAN. Last reply by John McCreery Sep 9, 2009.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Larry Stout on December 10, 2012 at 7:55pm

Thank you, Keith!  Well, I've been understandably "excited" (intermittently) since high school days by the "lost cities" of the Maya.  In the early '90s I chose to honeymoon in Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize, visiting five Classic Maya sites. I've read quite a few books about the ancient Maya -- all of which are quite interesting!  Coe's "Breaking the Maya Code" fascinates not only in the decipherment per se, but equally in the unlikely confluence of disparte lives that has accomplished (and is still accomplishing) that decipherment.  Suffice to mention as example that Mark Twain's newspaper editor in rough-and-ready mining-camp Nevada (from Twain's "Roughing It" days) was a very astute avocational Mayanist who contributed significantly!

Comment by Keith Hart on December 10, 2012 at 7:44pm

Welcome, Larry. Mike Coe was once a colleague of mine. I have lots of stories about him. But tell us what excited you about that book.

Comment by Larry Stout on December 10, 2012 at 6:23pm

Greetings, all!  I'm a new member, a retired geologist/editor.  Your group immediately brings to mind the superb book "Breaking the Maya Code", by Michael Coe, wherein the sociology of that long and continuing inquiry is beautifully explicated!

Comment by John McCreery on August 10, 2012 at 5:39am

Just wanted to say "Welcome" to Daniel Lende and encourage him to post something here to stir up the group.

Comment by Piers Locke on September 25, 2009 at 9:56pm
A UK contrast to John's recollections of the exponential growth of AAA meetings: I attended the 2007 meeting of the AAA in Washington DC. I was overwhelmed - I love anthropologists, but 5000 was too many for me. It didn't feel like an intellectual forum, but rather a marketplace - everyone had something to 'sell', and everyone was so blatantly doing so for such instrumental self-interest. My experience of the Association of Asian Stuides in Chicago was not dissimilar - the panel I was presenting on was number 342 or something crazy like that.

Compare this to my experience of the annual meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists in Bristol earlier this year - held at a university rather than an international hotel, about 300 delegates, plenary sessions in between panel sessions, of which there only three per day (no getting scheduled at 8am on a Saturday morning!). There was a mere 44 panels (of which I co-convened one). And I had such a great time. Yes I was networking, yes I was advancing career goals, but I was also intellectually stimulated. Every night was out on the town with anthropologist buddies. I made new friends.

And these events even get organised by jobbing anthropologists. I am even crazy enough to be taking on the responsibility of helping convene the 2011 meeting at The University of Wales, Lampeter. Set in the rural hinterlands of West Wales with a river running through campus, we're fairly sure our colleagues will enjoy making the pilgrimage - we're part of a community that takes it in turn to host events for each other. I like the personal touch (but hey, I'm an ethnographer who embraces the claustrophobia of life in small communities, still fascinated by the way they create worlds in microcosmic proportions with which to better survey the confusing macrocosmos)
Comment by John McCreery on September 2, 2009 at 2:30am
It must have been sometime in 1966. I was a first-year graduate student at Cornell. Jack Roberts mentioned to me that he could remember when the entire membership of the American Anthropological Association could meet in a ranch house outside Tucson. The field was so small that everyone read everything that anyone else wrote. By the time I attended my first AAA, in 1969, as I recall. The annual meetings attracted several thousand people, already fragmented by cross-cutting topical interests and geographical specializations. A handful of classic authors and texts provided some connective tissue. The four fields were joined rickety 19th century ideas that made putting primatologists and linguists, archeologists and a grab bag of cultural anthropologists in the same business. But already connections were thin. Wandering from one session to another was like moving from one world to another or, perhaps a better analogy, moving from one booth to another on a midway. There was room for big cat acts and geeks, clowns, acrobats, tests of strength and games of chance. How they all came together in one place remained, except for the four fields, a mystery. And that was four decades ago.

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