Adding to collection of people

Mon, 25 Apr 1994 15:41:35 -0600

The last paragraph is, in my opinion, the important one here. The
others are simply an honest and very modernist attempt at an history
of my ideological influences.



Self representation

(note that the facts I chose to emphasize
may change at any moment and for no apparent reason).

I was born in 1965 in New Jersey. My mother, Pat, got her BAs in
English and philosophy in 1979 (?). My father, Angelo, was a PhD (1963)
who worked as an adjunct professor and as a full time Superintendant
of Schools in my home town for 32 years. He passed away in 1992.
Angelo's primary academic interest was history. Pat's is writing
and psychology. I was also partly raised by my sisters, Jessica and Jennifer.

I barely attended high school in New Jersey, happily moving on to
five years of restaurant work until, in 1986, I married, moved to
Maine, and enrolled in the University of Southern Maine's Geography-
Anthropology program to study archaeology. I was fortunate to have
been immediately hired by Nathan D. Hamilton of that department for
20-30 hrs/week of field work and lab work almost immediately after
my arrival. I was also fortunate to have had lots of exposure to
cultural and social anthropology with Judy de Tizon at USM. Also
influential were several courses in geography, philosophy, Latin
American history, English, geology and statistics. Hamilton must be
given further credit for encouraging my first five publications in
archaeology during this time.

I first became interested in Caribbean archaeology and ethnohistory when
USM hired a new dean, Dave D. Davis, about 1989. I took a course on
the subject with him and began making plans for my graduate work. To
abbreviate a long story, I entered the University of Texas' Department of
Anthropology graduate program in 1991 in order to work with Sam Wilson
and Karl Butzer. I now also consider Pauline Strong, Dick Schaedel and
Greg Urban as significant face-to-face influences. I became happily divorced
in 1993, and I now happily cohabit with an archaeologist who studies gender and
bioarchaeology. The two major projects I pursue here in Texas are Island Carib
ethnogenesis and historicity, and the geoarchaeology of the Sulphur Ghaut
midden (a site on Nevis).

I consider myself to be dangerously obsessed with cultural relativism,
utilitarianism and many other theoretical abstractions/ways of thinking.
I am often quite elusive about my textual influences (since I do not
agree completely with anything that I have read and since I often find
my interpretations of what I have read to be paradigmatically incom-
mensurable with other interpretations). I invite criticism and try to
ignore character assassination. I dislike writing about myself, but I
feel that it must be important for some reason. I react very emotionally
to authoritarian discourses and Platonic/hypertheorized and metaphysical
conceptualizations of reality and science. I privelidge relevence over
academic curiosity. I am horribly inconsistent
at times, but I do my best. Almost all of these statements vary in
accuracy with the passing of time and immediate contexts. Data, of a
social nature, only convinces me when I like the epistemology that
constructs it and epistemology only interests me when it is related to
data that can be somehow sensed (even mimetically). I will be happy
to entertain any questions from readers who have gotten this far, but
I can not guarantee my ability to answer them rationally.


Matt Tomaso
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin