Hugh's outstanding contributions

Gil Hardwick (
Sun, 04 Dec 1994 01:58:53 GMT

On Friday, 25 Jun 1993, Hugh Jarvis posted in part the following to

I believe it is time that the membership of Anthro-l began to
discuss the topic of academic suppression and what can be done to
help our colleagues in other parts of the world who are suffering
abuse due to the personal convictions of their superiors or
government. There have been far too many cases in Latin America
of anthropologists being harrassed, arrested, or even killed for
political reasons. Similar incidents can be cited from other
parts of the world, of course, and even in countries where
academic life is, let's say, quieter, there still occur cases in
which individuals are suppressed merely for what could be
objectively called the personal pleasure of those who have power
over their career (i.e. for reasons of racism, sexism, etc, or
for no clear reason at all).

A recent, almost unbelievable, example of such suppression is the
harrassment and subsequent denial of tenure to David Rindos at
the University of Western Australia. Many of you are probably
familiar with Dr. Rindos' contributions to our field since he was
the founder of the Anthro-Gopher database, and further, the author
of "The Origins of Agriculture: An Evolutionary Perspective", as
well as many published papers on topics such as Darwinism and
anthropology, and the origins of cultural capacity.

Now, everybody knows already that you had me kicked of ANTHRO-L for
exactly the same reasons, as you state here as Dr Rindos and other
anthropologists are "harrassed, arrested, or even killed"; as I had
myself merely persisted in spite of the grumblings from a few of the
North American contingent to query on ANTHRO-L the foundations of
Evolutionary Theory within anthropology.

If your singular actions in that case alone do not constitute academic
suppression, what does?

Further, I have at hand here now a copy of the reply to you, posted
to ANTHRO-L on the same date by Dr. John Gordon, Head of the
Anthropology Department at UWA, to wit:

As an anthropologist and Head of the Department of Anthropology
at the University of Western Australia, I read with grave concern
the posting concerning D. Rindos. This posting represents a
one-sided depiction of the events concerning D. Rindos and the
termination of his appointment at U.W.A. It is my understanding of
these events that the Vice-Chancellor has dealt with all matters
concerning Rindos and his tenure according to procedures laid
down by the Australian Universities Academic Staff Award. This
award has the full force of national law and protects working
conditions of academics here in Australia. The award prevents
vice-chancellors from sacking staff without cause and requires
them to follow a stringent set of procedures regarding dismissal.
At all stages Rindos has been represented by FAUSA, the
Australian academic staff union. My point is simple: there is
another side to this story and I hope readers will not jump to
conclusions on the basis of the previous posting alone. I make
these comments as an interested observer whose department is now
responsible for the other archaeologists in the University.
Neither I nor any of my colleagues has had any direct
involvement in the proceedings against Rindos.

And again, posted by Professor Sandra Bowdler on 25 June 1993:

The recent posting by Hugh Jarvis describes a supposed case of
suppression involving Dr David Rindos. This is a highly
inaccurate version of these events. To single out but one
inaccuracy, far from any other department at UWA being
"enthusiastic" about Dr Rindos joining their staff, NOT A SINGLE
department has been willing to have him, despite generous
conditions offered by the university. Anyone who wants to know
the truth should contact someone else at UWA, such as the
Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Head of Academic Board,
Senate etc - unless they are ALL believed to be involved in some

Did you bother then, Hugh Jarvis, to contact any of the above so as
to check the facts before launching your broadside against us here in
Western Australia? No?

So what was Dr Rindos doing that everybody regarded so unproductive,
apart from having initiated the now infamous sex-scandal against his
own Professor while he was Department Head in Archaeology, and as I
understand while she was away in China?

Was it that Anthro-Gopher of which you boast above?

In a School focused so remarkably on this continent and its place in
the region, how is it that Rindos yet demonstrably knows virtually
nothing of Australia?

Was he carrying out any research at all? I have raised that query
myself, this being one of the major established world centres of
Australian Anthropology and one of the very few places where
anthropologists and archaeologists necessarily work closely hand in

Or is that what you regard as a "quieter" academic life, Hugh Jarvis?

That your friend spending his time playing with computers invigorates
somehow? Or was it the sex-scandal intended to have livened things
up just a tad, before they all went back to sleep?

Given your demonstably public disdain for the process of checking
carefully through the various facts in order to arrive at a fair and
unbiased opinion, on what grounds would any of us consider your
as plainly hysterical ravings to carry any weight at all?

Or, as Bowdler asks, do you honestly believe EVERYONE here to be
engaged in a conspiracy against your particular mate?