Re: Anthropology ?

Daniel Rosenblatt (
25 Jan 1995 06:11:00 GMT

jonM ( wrote:
: Why is it that this group appears to be continually concerned with
: questions pertaining to sociobiology and genetic notions of race? There is
: nothing that this group discusses that I would seriously connect with
: anthropology as a professional discipline as it is today.

: Is this because the popular perception of anthropology still revolves
: around theories of biological determinism and scientific reduction? Is the
: number of computer scientists in this group robbing it of the ability to
: address questions of cultural meaning (or anything meaningfully for that
: matter)?

: Getting pissed off!

: John Cook.

John--I've been kicking around the Idea of responding to your post for a
couple of days. Of course you are correct. Actually, it seems to vary
from time to time--lately has been particularly bad, but still, there is
never any discussion of research people are doing on this group, or of
current theoretical issues. I don't
know what to say as to cause--I don't think compuyter scientists are
entirely to blame--anthropology has always been somewhat counter to
"common sense" (At least in the US--I'm thinking of Boas' attacke on
racism, and Mead & Benedict's promotion of pop cultural relativism).
I hesistated for a while to respond largely because I don't have any good
ideas on what to do about it.

But: as a try, what do you do? I work on the role of urban *marae* in
the movement to revive Maori culture in contemporary Auckland. I'm
interested generally in "culture movements" in the Pacific (and
elsewhere). It seems to me that some of the models (e.g. Hobsbawm &
Ranger's _Invention of Tradition_, and some of Handler & Linnekin's work)
oversimplify the relation between politicized cultural revival movements,
and earlier cultural structures.

I'd be happy to discuss the issues involved in my work, or other
interesting anthropological issues. Imagine we have here a discussion on
anthropology in which textual strategies in ethnographic writing hasn't
come up (at least in the last few months)!

Anyway, I *would be interested to hear about anyone's anthropological work.

Daniel Rosenblatt <>
Department of Anthropology
University of Chicago

2/8 Ponsonby Tce
NEW ZEALAND Ph: 011-649-376-5072