Re: students on the list <long>

Lorna McDonald (lornamcd@HOME.GLASSCITY.NET)
Fri, 8 Mar 1996 00:55:58 -0500


As a dedicated and enthusiastic student of anthropology who has had the good
fortune to have worked with many wonderful professors and mentors, I hold a
much different opinion of those in positions of professionalism,

On 3/6/96 you wrote:
> I am a student at the University of North Texas and have only
>recently subscribed to this list. In the short period that I have read
>discussions and arguements some things have become quite clear. These
>aspects are also characteristics that I noticed at the last national meeting.
> First of all, many of you disgrace the discipline of
>anthropology by engaging in childish and pedant disccussions
>which hold no value for anthropology, such as personal preference
>regarding Windows 95 or someone's underwear.
> Further, it seems that many of you have nothing relevant to say,
>but none the less seek to have your egos stroked. This is clear on the
>list and was also clear in Washington.
> As a student of anthropology I am not only enthusiastic about my
>studies, but work very hard to provide for myself an educational
>foundation that will ensure that I give as much to anthropology as it has
>given to me. After the meeting in Washington, I realized that
>professionals in anthropology seem largely jaded and completely
>unconcerned about the educations of those who would seek to become
>anthropologists. I would think that as anthropologists, you would also
>be enthusiastic about your profession and have a vested interest in
>those who will eventually represent it. It is quite clear that I have
>been both naive and foolish in these assumptions.

Here I feel the need to defend the numerous professors and mentors that I
have worked with thus far in my pursuit of providing a sound foundation for
myself in the field of anthropolgy (not that they necessarily need my
defense). Many of the professionals that I have worked with have recognized
my enthusiasm for the study of anthropology, some of them hold positions
with various associations (including the one of which you speak) and attend
meetings, such as the one to which you refer, to pass along their knowledge
and also to learn from others in the field. Through their guidance and
enthusiasm for my enthusiasm, I have been provided with many opportunities
which have enriched my knowledge and solidified the foundation on which I
continue to build.

> The complaints that have been made recently on the list that
>bemoan the intellectual state of students as well as requests for
>information are also disturbing. I have had to eduacte myself in many
>respects, because a university education is handled as little more than a
>continuation of high school by professors who are either inept or apathetic.
>Very few of my professors have shown either integrity or ability in their
>teaching. As far as requests for information are concerned, I agree that
>you are not here to do someone else's work. However, requests for
>guidance and information by those of us who are seeking to learn more
>about anthropology or who seek to study difficult and obscure topics are
>only limited and angered by your elitist and arrogant attitudes. These
>attitudes would be much more acceptable if your discussions and
>arguements gave them any legitimacy. They don't.

I have encountered professors who have grown apathetic, some, in part, due
to the nature of the educational system. I have been fortunate, however, in
that there are no professors who I have worked with that I would consider inept.
Perhaps I am lucky. Perhaps it has also to do with the fact that I see my
professors as people who are living and working within the same system that
I am living and working within.
The guidance is certainly there, I know, I have sought it out and received
it. It's not always been easy. There are those who hold themselves in such
high esteem that they are unreachable. These people I sometimes attempt to
challenge, as you are doing here, other times I chose to direct my energy
toward seeking out those who are encouraging and interested. THERE ARE MANY.

> Finally, it is the aforementioned elitism and ego pandering that
>threaten this discipline far more than fragmentation or ideological

Is not referring to professionals in the field of anthropolgy as;
"childish", "elitist", "arrogant", "jaded", "completely unconcerned" and
"inept", putting oneself in to a harshly judgemental and rather egotistical

I remain, a dedicated and enthusiastic student of anthropology~

Lorna McDonald