Re: Intro: Anthropology

thomas kavanagh (
Fri, 09 Aug 1996 09:03:19 -0500

Sabrina M. Thomas wrote:
> Thomas,
> Haviland's text happens to be much better than some published in the
> name of anthropology. It sounds to me like there is some sort of personal
> problem.

No. It's a textbook publication problem. When I taught Intro Anthro at GW and
Georgetown, I initially used Haviland, but I had too many problems with it. Often I had
to spend lectures trying to clarify misleading statements. And just what was there that
he needed at least seven editions to fix/add/clarify?

The problem with Haviland are in the details. (I don't have my copy here so I can't give
page numbers and exact quotes). For instance, the discussion of Rappaport's "Pig for the
Ancestors" talks about establishing a "balance." However, to call the Tsembaga Maring
pig/sweet potato/war cycle "balanced" is to seriously misrepresent its dynamics. The
discussion of the Comanches is incorrect. Often times the relevance of illustrations to
accompanying captions is minimal at best. (He uses one of the engravings of the Mohawk
"Indian Kings" who visitied Queen Anne in 1705 in two different and contradictory ways.)

True, Haviland is better than many that are out there, but that is not saying much.
I really wanted to use chapters from Linton's 1936 "The Study of Man" but no one knew
who had the copyright. Then I tried Swartz and Jordan but that was out of print.
Similarly, Garrick Bailey's book went out of print quickly. Even such classic compendia
of basic articles such as Bohannan and Glazer's "High Points in Anthro," Mort Fried's
"Readings," or Cohen's "Man in Adaptation" are out of print. I ended up doing a
selection of readings on my own and having Georgetown duplicating bind it.