Re: Disappointed student

S.D.Lopez (
Mon, 08 May 95 23:20:39 GMT

In sci.anthropology Escribano write:

> I'm a Spanish Erasmus student in the U.K.C., studying
>anthropology. I thought that anthropology, as a science that studies
>humankind, was over the particularisms and so on of the social system of
>our Modern Western Culture. I thought anthropology was able enough to
>objectivate them, to see them as a relativist thing more in this
>multicultural world. Now I see that the situation is not like that. I
>realize more than ever that anthropology is part or the Modern Western
>Society dynamics, and thus, it cannot be withdrawn from it; I see that
>anthropology is at the present under the rules of such society, as any
>other aspect. I see that if you really want to understand humankind, the
>whole world, the true history of men since a very open point of view, you
>cannot, you'll find a lot of obstacles, since the restricted point of
>view of your teacher to the fact that new fields of study are not very
>well accepted, to the fact that our own society avoids certain points to
>be touched, with the help of anthropology teachers.
> I see that anthropology is more short-sighted than what anthropologists
>think, at least in the U.K..
> I see that anthropology is unable to study itself, unable.
> It is unable to look at itself, how will it then look at the rest
>of the world???

> I am really disappointed.

>Maria Escribano

>(PD.: I apologize for spell errors)


I'm, as well, an anthropology student in the U.K.C, and I think you are
talking about the most important problem we (the students) have in
the field of anthropology.

I'm, as well, absolutely disappointed about the way anthropology is
thaught in the Universities where I have studied, although not because of
the particular Universities or because of the teachers. I have studied in four
different Universities of Europe, and I have studied anthropology in three
of them. (I don't want to show my curriculum =-), but perhaps the
information bellow could be useful for you)

-In the UNED (Distance University of Spain), the way anthropology was
thaught was really simple: You had to learn from A to Z the Marvin
Harris' Book of'Introduction to Anthropology' and pass two exams. Of
course it was awful, but it had an advantage: the evaluation system was
free of particularisms, because it was written the exact number of
calories you had to use to answer the exam =->

-In the UCM (Madrid), teachers were aware of problems like ours, but
they were teachers, PERSONS!!! instead of books.

-Finally, in the UKC I can tell you my teachers are really very good
teachers, and I'd like to write here a couple of sentences for saying that
the human resource in my current University is -in my opinion- the best I
have ever known. The system has only two problems: the teachers are still
persons and the system is still english.(well, sorry, I mean...a bit
'academic'-it's not my fault if the english universities had that
stereotype....too much Victorianism perhaps? :-))

I'm sure there are many students like you and me, who feel that nobody is
able to teach us how to understand others, and of course they are by no
means able to evaluate our work. If you are able to have any kind of friends,
to learn the language of others or to learn and to understand what others
do; I think you are a good anthropologist.

There is not still a cultural convention in anthropology for saying this
is right or this is wrong. For me, the only academic and worthly exit seems
to be the cultural relativism (for me, this also means that an academic
evaluation in anthropology is, in general, unuseful)

I'm also disappointed, but not because of anthropology. I'm disappointed
about University anthropology. I think that I'm learning much more
anthropology by doing field work in the United Kingdom than learning
how to make charity, from my warm classroom of the University.(What can we
do? teachers have to eat!).

Perhaps it's more useful for me learning a language in the University better
than learning one of the courses. I spend some years in my life to become
an Economist; and I can tell you that I find more useful my knowledge in
economy for the practice of anthropology more than the specific courses
I have.

Oh, Yeah! We're involved in the Western Society! What can we do? I think
it doesn't matter. People in this newsgroup are also aware of that. Don't
worry about your Academic world, don't worry about your marks or rubbish
like that, (Now, for, example, we are involved in the INTERNET, what can
we do?)

Well...please, don't be disappointed. Anthropology is really beautiful!
and I also think that your article is better than any high mark you could
get in the university.

(Again: Sorry for the spelling)

P.S. TE QUIERO! (y el que lo quiera entender, que lo entienda)