politics offscale...

Gessler, Nicholas (gessler@ANTHRO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU)
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 09:50:00 PDT

I must second Rushton's comment that: "I have only been on the net four days
and have seen numerous attempts to censor each other."

Discussions of the editorial changes in the American Anthropologist have
been stifled. Is it off-limits to discuss published articles? Psyche-D
regularly does so.

What could be more important than discussions of what constitutes
anthropology, or what does not? What could be more important than
discussions of the validity of our methods and procedures for
making claims about the world? Right or left, we all claim to have some
insight into the world around us.

Oxford defines a censor as: 1) Ancient Roman magistrate...
supervising public morals... person expressing opinions on others' morals and
conduct... 2) Official licensing or suppressing as immoral, seditious, or
inopportune... news or military intelligence. 3) Various university
officials ;)

If the Tedlock's editorial policy was contentious and "too hot" for the list,
shall we agree in advance not to discuss Roy D'Andrade's "Moral Models in
Anthropology" (in press in Current Anthropology)?

Would anyone care to discuss Paul Gross' "Higher Superstition: The Academic
Left and its Quarrels with Science?" Or Thomas Nagel's "The View from
Nowhere?" Perhaps we each silently agree that we are unlikely to change our
own views as the result of further or repeated discussion, and consequently
don't want to waste the time. I don't know.

I do know that I learn the most from discussions of contentious issues. When
the Archaeology list turns to discussing outhouses, Arch-Theory discusses
anything but theory, and Anthro-L ceases discussing some of the major issues
in anthropology, my finger flies over the "delete" key, and I start looking
at other lists. (No doubt I'm trying to find those other venues where the
epistemological issues of social science are more "appropriately" discussed.)

Nick Gessler