Re: whither indeed

hjmartin (hatch@RICHMOND.INFI.NET)
Fri, 1 Dec 1995 12:38:59 -0500

Maria Swora wrote:

> The administration here at the University of Rochester saw fit to
>eliminate the graduate program in anthropology last year.

Why did the administration disband Rochester's graduate program? Was the
decision a good one for the university as a whole? The second question is
meant as a pointed reminder that the frog in the well is limited to a very
small view of the stars. Anthropology departments must, like all other
units in the organization, justify their existence.

>Three faculty are
>retiring this January, and will not be replaced.

Vindictive or because the department is shrinking? The losers are the students.

One is our only
>ethnohistorian/archeologist. What kind of anthropology department has no
>ethnohistorian, archeologist, or linguist?

I can't readily respond to that. I thought that archaeology was one of the
bright spots in terms of attracting students. Could it be that students
were not attracted - either as majors or as graduate students? But the
important question is why did it happen? What are the reasons that brought
administrators at Rochester to de-emphasize the program? Were the reasons
peculiar to Rochester or do they pervade administrations across the nation?

A premature conclusion (few have responded to the initial posting as of
yet): Wouldn't it be a _very_ good idea to understand administrative
thinking and be able to respond quickly to save programs and positions?.
Anthropologists do, after all, study alien ideologies.

>I gave a paper at the AAA, in a session on drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
>All the papers were good, but mine was the only one that was not an applied

I sympathize with this statement and know exactly what she means. However,
as one author at the AAA 'whither' session said, the only way to stay alive
may be to adapt. If applied anthropology is the wave of the present, then
individuals uncomfortable with it simply must decide if they will continue
to do what they find interesting, become applied anthros or flee. The
choice affects lives and is not the least a trivial one.

Maria's response is a good one and I thank her.


Jim Martin