Re: The new Am. Anthropologist

Fri, 7 Oct 1994 13:28:34 -0400

Douglass Drozdow-St.Christian has written:
>The overall tone of the editors intro struck me as a bit
>higgledy-piggledy...we should all talk together but specific
>disciplinary concerns can also be dismissed out of hand....i can't tell
>if this is a call for more inclusive scholarship or some sort of left
>over hippie plea for "come on people, let's get together and love one
>another"...i await further evidence....

I have not yet seen the new AA, but it seems to confirm some of the
suspicions I had when reading the Tedlocks' editorial statement they
made in the AAA Newsletter a while back. What struck me then was a
paradox that I think bedevils much of what passes for "multiculturalism"
and "postmodernism," i.e. the new forms of prescriptive relativism that
dominate academic discourse these days. The paradox is this: on the one
hand, it is asserted that all modes of discourse--poetry and photography
alongside positivist data analysis--should be included within the
editorial purview, while on the other the practical result is the
inclusion of only certain kinds of discourse; biological anthropology is
apparently non grata now. The paradox stands on an irony, perhaps an
hypocrasy: the will to be diverse and inclusive ends up as be
totalitarian in its own way, *since it seeks to encompass diversity
within two covers of a book*. True diversity, in my view, follows from
the opposite editorial policy: define the specific values and goals that
the journal seeks to match and *exclude all else*; and leave the
selection of what counts as diverse to individuals, whose own editorial
policies are reflected on the books they have on their shelves. What is
repugnant about the Tedlocks' new editorial policy, if I may base my
opinion on what I've read here, is their assuming of that role, of the
one who selects what counts as diverse.

This comes from a Mesoamericanist who finds both of the Tedlocks' work
to be top rate.

Raf Alvarado