Re: anthro on tv a lot
Mon, 24 Apr 95 22:29:05 -0500

NE>From: (Keith Dever)

NE>Why has Anthropology enjoyed such a surge in coverage on TV lately? Example
NE>are _The Human Quest_ and _Vanishing Worlds_. What have anthropologists don
NE>to arouse interest among the mass media? Whatever it is, perhaps if we are
NE>aware of it we can continue to do it and raise the collective conscience of
NE>viewers (or is that too lofty a goal?). What do you think?

Never ask an old woman what she thinks <g> unless, of course, you are
prepared to listen for a bit!

If there is renewed popular interest in paleoanthropology, it is
probably not because of anything particular which anthropologists have
lately done, as not much spectacular or creative has come from that
field since Elaine Morgan's work was condemned to a watery grave. Of
course, the Leakeys and Johanson are still poking at bones and stones in
Africa, but that research simply refines and realigns the
classifications of the species intervening between apes' ancestors and
humans' ancestors. It does keep the Creationists most amusingly stirred
up though! <g>

The new research which has created interest has been in the fields of
genetics and microbiology, where the human genome is being mapped, where
the distances in genetic similarities are being measured between chimps
and us, and "other races" and us, and where chain of descent is being
traced matrilinealy through mitochondrial DNA. That research, even
though few understand it, has captured popular interest because, I
think, it twits our egos. (You gotta give those Berkeley nuts credit--
they know what sells!)

The fields of psychology, sociology, and politics have, most greatly in
the U.S. at any rate, provoked great popular interest in the early
history and origin of humans because of important social and political
questions which women are asking:

Is there a biological predisposition for males to be leaders and females
to be followers?

Is there a natural, biological factor, inherited from our prehistoric
ancestors, which limits the social and political equality of the sexes?

Is the recognized psychological deference to the male, by both genders,
a biological or a cultural imperative, or a combination of both?

If we cause this ancient and deeply imbedded sociosexual structure to
evolve, will we endanger the survival of our species?

These are seriously critical questions, upon the answers to which
serious every day decisions must be made, and to which anthropologists
may contribute some insight. We are very interested in the history and
culture of ancient womankind. <g>


€ OLX 2.1 TD € Northern California? What planet is that on?