Re: your mail

William Bangs (wbbangs@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Fri, 24 Feb 1995 20:11:04 -0800

I want to thank Richard Wilk for putting some anthropology back into
anthropology with his note about his teacher's manifesto. It seems that
much of what I read today which poses as anthropology would really be
happier on political science shelves. Why do some feel that blow-by-blow
descriptions of this-or-that bit of political manuvering are really
anthropology? They most certainly have their place in scholarly inquiry,
but when you don't get a real sense of what it is to live someplace
because the researcher was too busy "engaging" this or that posthumous
author, I think we all lose -- first because students (at whatever level)
who might otherwise contribute to our discipline long-term find
themselves bored out of it, and secondly because valuable rescources get
diverted which might otherwise go to folks doing work actually aimed at
what it means to be part of a specific culture, or of the human family in
general. It seems like an epistimological indecisiveness strong enough
to cloud judgement grips some; it's great to see that not all have lost
sight of what this anthro stuff's all about!

Ben Bangs

We each must decide which values are worth saving,
which satisfactions are worth sacrificing,
what ultimately we wish from life.

I fear many do not give this proposition
the sufficient thought it deserves:
until they become too engrained in a superficial life,
too far removed to find such harmony again...