Stephanie Wilson (swilson@BIGCAT.MISSOURI.EDU)
Thu, 3 Mar 1994 11:22:52 -0600

On Mon, 28 Feb 1994, John O'Brien wrote:

> 2). Acquiesence to illiteracy among their students.

I'll just reply to point #2 here:

Do you mean illiteracy literally (students who cannot read and write at
the college level?

If so, then this should be the problem of high school teachers for not
teaching the students properly (and passing them on for the next level of
teachers to handle) and the fault of admissions officers who admit the
student to the universities in the first place. I know of such students,
some who could not read a simple correspondence letter outloud and others
that could not write basic sentences (I've reads some sentences that I
wasn't even sure what the student was TRYING to say).

Or do you mean illiteracy in terms of not being familiar with basic
anthropological terms and classic texts?

If this is the case, I'm sure that this is also true. In some cases,
this is the fault of the professors. I completed my degree in Ancultural
anthropology without anyone assigning more than minimal readings in the
classics. I was never assigned to read more than summary articles of
Malinowski or Geertz; yet, many professors assumed that their students
knew what a "straw man" was or what "structural-functionalism" was. I'm
still not clear on many of these terms. And, yes, you can argue that
students should have read the classics anyway...but how much extra time
did you have while you were in school? or anyone else have for that
matter, even now...

Here, I would like to begin a survey. As a potential graduate student for
the Fall, I would like to ask ANTHRO-L:

What 3 or 4 books/articles do you think all Anthropology students should read
before beginning graduate work? This can include the sub-disciplines in
anthropology (since many schools are now requiring students have at least
one course in each of the sub-fields), or it can be specific to one
sub-field. Remember that time is limited and that the object is to create
a list of items to combat anthropology-illiteracy in terms of background,
not in terms of promoting a certain theory/school/topic/etc.

Steph Wilson