Re: Decolonizing Anthropology

DK Worthy (dkw101@UNIX.YORK.AC.UK)
Tue, 7 Feb 1995 12:08:04 +0000

On Mon, 6 Feb 1995, Robert Johnson wrote:

> Would you have maintained your objectivity in Nazi Germany of the
> 1930's as your Jewish colleagues were arrested and butchered?
> Would you have maintained your objectivity in El Salvador of the
> 1980's during the murder of Archbishop Romero and the massacre at
> El Mozote?
> Would have you accepted the protection of the SS and the Atlacatl
> Battalion respectively for yourself and your students? How would
> you maintain your objectivity in the decision to expose your students
> to such dangers? Would you have excluded Jewish students or those
> determined to show opposition to the murder of indigenous peoples
> in El Salvador?

What I was trying to say in my original posting (albeit badly) was that I
do not believe that anthropological and archaeological research should be
governed from above as your proposals seem to show. The decision on
whether or not to continue in one of the countries mentioned above should
be up to the researcher in charge and not forced upon him. Of course
many of us would end research in countries if the dangers got too bad but
I do not believe that these decisions can be made for us and that is what
I objected to in your original posting.

Darren Worthy