Shawn Michael Fielding (sfieldin@KNOX.EDU)
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 10:43:03 -0500

On Thu, 3 Oct 1996, gisela bulanikian wrote:

> What is it say today, about the relationship between sociology, anthropology and
> history? Could it be possible that union?. In wich points they don't get
> along well?
> Gisela
Whoa! Huge questions! To answer this would take volumes of books. Yes
there is a link between each of these, as discussed all the way back to
Comte and before. It is impossible to separate a society from its
culture or its experiences. The connections between these three subjects
are unmistakble. For instance, a historical account of, say, the Battle of
Little Big Horn. Better yet look at the three movies that have come out
about this over the years and how differently cultural norms have shaped
the view society has had about Custer. In 1919, a movie called They Died
with Their Boots On shows Custer as a hero dying in a massacre by savage
native beasts. In 1969, a movie came out that connoted Custer as an
insane war-loving, Native American-hating tyrant in an obvious no win
About five years ago a miniseries called Custer came out showing Custer as
a feeling man with symapathy towards Native Americans, yet with an ideal
of duty towards ones country above all else. This would prove to be his
downfall. In each of these contexts can one see not only the outlook of a
society on this event, but also the cultural signifigance of the time
on the event. The view of Native Americans in America's eyes has changed
dramatically obviously, but there is more to it than just this. Notice, for
instance, what wars might have been near
the times of each of the films. In 1919, the world just got over what was
thought to be the war to end all wars, giving Americans a pretty good
feeling about
themselves and our place as the good guys in the world. In 1969, the
Vietnam War created hostility in many against military action and the
United States involvement in world affairs. Near the time of the Gulf
War came the third movie. The American government pushed the view of
American involvement in the Gulf as a mercy mission to protect an
unfortunate country and the American ideal of freedom in the world.
This was our duty. Can you see Custer and the battle of Little Bighorn
as a symbol of America's view of themsleves? All this in a
historical context. I took the example of these movies because it
was the simplest to explain, but all historical and cultural
resources can be investigated on Anthropological, Sociological,
Historical, and Historiographical contexts. The ties between these
are very important to understand not only the times or places
studied, but also much about ones own cultural viewpoint.

Shawn Fielding