Re: man and mankind

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Mon, 10 Apr 1995 12:35:46 -0400

Stephanie. A basic principle in linguistics is that language changes as
culture changes and vice versa, which takes care of the feedback between
the two. Forgive me for reminding you that when anthropology emerged as
a discipline there were very very few women participating in it, because
very few women were admitted to higher education; hence the men used
male-dominant language,common at the time, but as more and more women were
admitted to
higher education and more and more women went into anthropology, as well
as the other disciplines, this constituted a big change in the culture and
changes in the language followed suit. What is so sacred about the word
"man" that some male anthropologists cling to its use as defining
humankind (anthropology, the science of man), long after its original
useage has been outworn. This is also part of what we as anthropologists
teach, when we are discussing language and culture. In fact, one might
define anthropology as the discipline that teaches how humans change as
they evolve and as they adapt to changing environments and
situations. Ruby Rohrlich