Re: Reasons for leaving anthro-l (please read)

Tue, 24 Jan 1995 23:35:05 EST

Okay dammit, we get one of these "That's it, I can't take it anymore,
I'm leaving for good, and here's my kiss-off note" messages every few
months, any *every time* I read one, I end up thinking to myself:
Where the hell did these people go to school?

More after quoting and smart-ass between-the-lines commentary....

>search and to bounce around some hypotheses. However, what
>I stumbled into was a heated discussion which quickly
Yeah, I've never seen two anthropologists have a "heated discussion"

>turned into feminist bashing, name calling, and even
>swearing. I do not find it becoming to a professional
(Ooh. Swearing. What is the world coming to?)

>to sink to such a level on such a wide forum. I found
>the whole episode rather disappointing and intimidating.
Does anybody else see being imtimidated by an angry
anthropologist as a potentially career-inhibiting trait?

>I mean, if professionals who have been teaching for x-number
>of years resort to name calling over a fellow's comment
>(and a valid comment I might add)... well it just makes
>me shudder to think to such close-minded people are teaching
>the younger set of new anthropologists.

>Kharyssa Rhodes

Jeez. I tell ya, these kids today....

Now, this is what's been bothering me: Messages like Kharyssa's
always seem to imply that "heated discussion" and all that are
unusual in anthropology, to which I have to say: WHAT?

I've have professors who were as rough or rougher than most of the
members of this list. (Well, no real name calling.) I didn't run away.
I did three things:

1) Learned not to freak out if professors yelled.
2) Learned to support my arguments damn well and accept valid criticisms.
3) Realized I can be right without having the last word.

Yeah, okay, things do sometimes get out of line here, but they get out
of line in classes, at conferences, at department meetings, in journals
(remember the good old days of Binford and Bunn?), and none of the
grown-ups there decided to run away and send letters of surrender.

I'm not for name-calling or feminist-bashing, but I'm not for dropping
out, either. I'm am seriously concerned about a plague of cowards
in the anthropological field. Anthropology will always be dealing with
the most contentious subjects (_Bell_Curve_, anyone?), where debates get
loud, prolonged, and sometimes painful. People who want a conflict-
free life should not be in anthropology. Hell, they shouldn't even be
in a science department.

Now will all you professors out there teach your undergrads to have some
backbone? I don't want to be chasing them out of AAA conventions in
ten years....

(Yes, I know I'm overreacting. I reserve the right to do that once
in a while.)

Michael Bauser <mbauser@kentvm.bitnet or>
Dept. of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent OH 44242, USA