Re: Is a Synthesis bad?

Krista L. Zielinski (claklz@TEC.NH.US)
Wed, 1 May 1996 18:55:48 -0400

On Wed, 1 May 1996, Ralph L Holloway wrote:

> I think Deus has it about right this time. It's not so much that we need
> a "grand synthesis" between the subdisciplines of anthropology but
> that we
> need an openess to exposure to what is happening therein. Perhaps the GS
> already occurred back in the '40-'60's with the realization that to study
> ourselves holistically, we needed insights from linguistics, the history
> of the human past as provided by archaeology, and the placement of the
> human species within the animal biological world, meaning the total of
> biological concerns fron comparative anatomy and functioning to behavior.
> Additionally, we needed cultural anthropology to provide in-depth foci of
> what would be universal among all of the varieties of cultures throughout
> the world, what varied, and how they worked. All of these concerns, and
> the concerns that have grown within each subdiscipline still intersect,
> but the specializations have driven fragmentation too, not too mention
> how all of this is situated within a world economy that limits its resources
> stringently regarding pedagogy. We are, alas, competing with each other.
> As for the "science" part, well I'd rather not stereotype. I've met
> outstanding cultural anthropologists who are "scientists" in the best
> sense of that term, because they test their own biases, or at least
> recognise that they have them, and they test, explore, reformulate, and
> test again. It's more than simply critical analysis. Physical has its
> scientists and escape artists too, as does archaeology. Unfortunately, I
> can't speak for linguistics given how long Columbia has not had one! ;-)).
> But my impression is that good science is being done there too.
> R. Holloway
3 cheers to you for your eloquent rebuttal.