History and Anthropology??

William Bangs (wbbangs@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Sun, 19 Mar 1995 12:52:35 -0800

Hi, all. Before I sign off, I'd like other opinions on the proper role
of the study of history within (cultural) anthropology. That is, (why)
can't we take it as a given that a culture also exists in history, and
that it's helpful to understand the historical and political situation,
but that this does not deny that people do have something which, though
it might not really be so, they claim is timeless called 'culture' -- a
systematic set of taught, self-consciously held assumptions about the
world and way of dealing with that world?

I'm asking this because where I am right now we seem to study a lot more
about history and politics than, say, the spiritual world in which a
Balinese finds himself. Notice I didn't say "the *average* Balinese
here; I just said 'a' Balinese. Is there any room in the dicipline
anymore for studies of the: "People X generally, but not by any means
ALWAYS think Y type? That's really why I got into this biz; otherwise I
WOULD HAVE chosen history -- that facinating study of how people really
DID deal with the world at one point as against how a theory someone
evolves thinks they MIGHT!

Thanx, all.