anthropology is genocidal...???

Hugh Jarvis (C129QP43@UBVM.BITNET)
Mon, 6 Mar 1995 10:36:49 EST

I'm a little confused. (Probably not the last time.) Someone (I likely
don't need to name any names) recently described anthropology as being
genocidal. Apart from the obvious logical flaws (pictures of
anthropologists running around carrying chain guns and street sweepers
bounce through my head) in this statement, it also makes me wonder how
anyone with even a minimum of objectivity could say these words. While
anthropologists have certainly served their own motives (tenure?) and
their work has certainly been abused by others, their basic motivation
has been, I thought, a drive for knowledge and understanding of all
peoples. Further, their work has been invaluable in aiding a number of
groups from losing large aspects of their culture entirely through their
own neglect. Perhaps I might describe anthropologists as frequently
naive, or shallow - how often do we make any real committment to the
people we study? But genocidal?? Sounds like political rhetoric to me.

Hugh Jarvis