Re: RJ trial

stephanie m huelster (huelster@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 10:36:36 -0600

Now that RJ has been discreetly removed from the list, it seems we are
having the time of our lives discussing him like an odious guest that has
finally left a dinner party. I didn't mind reading RJ posts, deleted them
when I didn't have time or patience to hear his next proclamation, and felt
annoyed when he was asked to engage in direct intellectual discourse and
consistantly countered with more highly moral calls to arms. In my own
opinion, this interesting scenario has gone on for a few weeks now and has
become tedious, it is a kind of diappointment to log on and find RJ the
only subject going, aside from the gallant attempt by the physical anthros
to continue their tool use thread. I am a grad student and I would like to
talk anthropology with those of my like position as well as experienced
professors and other collegues in the field. I support the removal of RJ if
only because we might now be able to foster some discussion on a new topic,
Let's get down to cases ! Perhaps many of you spend so much time teaching,
writing and talking anthropology that you find the many diversions offered
by RJ easier to get your teeth into at the end of the day. I wouldn't know
though, as many of you don't usually respond (much like myself in the
present situation) unless it is in frustration, or to come out of the dark
electronic closet to flame someone. Where are you working ? What
theoretical questions fascinate you ? What emergent issues in our
discipline disturb or elate you ? I read a post that said it seemed the
overwhelming majority of persons disagreed with Hugh's action, I say only a
few respondants do not speak for all the anthro-l er's out there, my vote
(if that's what it comes to ) is Yes to the removal question. I don't think
the decision to remove RJ was made out of despotism, pouting pride or lack
of politcal correctness. In an alternate scenario:

In face to face seminar style discussions, there comes a point at which the
agendas and opinions of the persons engaged in a discussion become clear,
and things begin to repeat themselves. The arbitrator prudently decides to
move the discussion to a different topic. In most cases he does not have to
ask anyone to leave the room. If you keep trying to engage a person in
meaningful discourse( DIALOG !) and they pointedly refuse time and again to
address your points, you tire of it ! We may miss the RJ action, even long
for an inflammatory, all in capitals post bearing his name, but we should
move on.
Now, does anyone want to discuss the use of historical texts (colonial
documents etc) in elucidating past lifeways among peoples with no written
language ? Is anyone working in or interested in South American
Anthropology ? Are there any others who have attempted to mate anthropology
with other disciplines such as botany or geology for example ? What about
the reflexivity thread ? what about Postmodernism - borrowed from
architecture and applied to movements from art to our own humble writings ?
and in tribute to RJ, what about the colonial nature of inquiry about
'others'? Aren't all pursuits of knowledge colonial in nature to some
degree ? Spring approaches, trees are budding, bulbs emerging, how 'bout
some new discussions.

With no real offence intended;

Stephanie Huelster

UW Madison.