Re: Defending Anthropology's Irrelevance

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 20:52:42 -0500

I like the title very much, Bob and shall get hold of it. At this time,
I'm working on the biography of a woman the title of whose autobiography
is "In Praise of Imperfection." I sense a connection there with your
book. Ruby Rohrlich

On Mon, 12 Feb 1996, SS51000 wrote:

> How do those of us who teach anthropology make it "relevant"? I
> carefully avoid trying to persuade students that anthropology has
> practical value (even though it sometimes does, of course). The harder
> we try to convince students of the uses of knowledge, the more we
> convince them--implicitly--that the only reason to value knowledge is
> for its (apparent) usefulness. This, at least at a liberal-arts
> institution, is perfectly self-defeating! We hope to instill a love of
> knowledge for its own sake, increasing the number of life-long learners
> out there. Ultimately, I believe that valuing knowledge for its own
> sake is a value with long-term survival value for our species. I
> elaborate this line of thinking in a little book, *Valuing Useless
> Knowledge* (Thomas Jefferson University Press, Kirksville, Missouri,
> 1995). --Bob Graber