Re: AMERICA BC by Barry Fell

David T. Hughes (dthughes@CS.TWSU.EDU)
Thu, 8 Feb 1996 08:27:28 -0600

On Wed, 7 Feb 1996, Mr. E wrote:

> Has anyone read this book (AMERICA BC by Barry Fell)? If so what is your

> opinion? If you haven't read it, but know of Barry Fell (jacket cover

Netiquette constrains my response, but I do find his conclusions, umm,
interesting if not enlightening and challenging although of dubious
accuracy. I actually use it some in my Intro to Arch class -- primarily
as examples of misleading logic and inappropriate use of carefully
selected data without full discussion of alternative interpretations.

The concern I have encountered is that in two states various educators
of the public schools have made attempts to adopt _America B.C._ as THE
final answer on many American Indian questions. My problem with that,
other than the at times gross inaccuracies and inadequacies of basic
text, is that by being hyper-diffusionist (of the grand sort just short
of van Danikenism) it denies the inherent creativity of the people and
implies that there is some sort of incapacity to the Indians who were
being contacted -- potentially reviving (albeit subtly) many of the old
racist debates.

> refers to him as a Professor at Harvard) what is your opinion?

I have no opinion of him as a Professor at Harvard. I suspect that he is
not in the Dept. of Anthropology at Harvard.


David T. Hughes, Ph.D.
Dept. of Anthropology
Wichita State University