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 Definition The holistic study of humankind; from the Greek words anthropos ("human") and logia ("study"). [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Anthropology [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant British English
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Stephen Ewen 04:26, 20 June 2007 (CDT)

The above is an experimental template. The comments are not!



Ah, yes, the all-important Intro. This intro is itself 228 words. So I offered a tentative start in it and suggested an outline. Input is more than welcomed, of course. Stephen Ewen 04:19, 27 February 2007 (CST)

Nice start. I'm worried, though, that your second paragraph gives the idea that Africans are physical, Haitians are cultural, Chamorro people are interesting only for their language and this all somehow gets applied in the U.S. Maybe it would be better to give examples for each subfield relating to a single group? Maybe I'm being overly careful.

Was it Geertz who described anthropology as an intellectual poaching license? I like that metaphor. --Joe Quick | Talk

It was Kluckhohn and Geertz quoted him, don't remember his point, however. I think the quote may be too nuanced for an intro, though. But Geertz is superbly rich. I give his "Notes on a Balinese Cockfight" to people newly interested in anthropology.
I think the idea of "covering the world" in some sense in the Intro is important to convey a sweeping sense of the scope and areas in which anthros work. We can think about changing the applied example to one from, say, development anthropology. I would like to include a Western example somewhere, however, to show that anthropology is not only done outside of the West among "those others". In the "Controversies" section, or perhaps better in "The Post-modern Challenge" section, one thing I am thinking is to include the core concern you are raising about "using" others. A fair bit of applied anthropology can be controversial, of course, e.g., the anthros right now in Iraq "helping" the military understand the on-ground situation, although the anthros themselves consider themselves doing a service to the Iraquis and maybe they are, all things considered in that the military is there. The "Controversies" section - I am wondering about things like that but am definitely thinking the Yanomami controversy and the AAA Code of Ethics in response. Everything is still of course tentative, however. Stephen Ewen 05:17, 27 February 2007 (CST)
That sounds good. Let's just flip the Chicago and Haiti examples. If there's one point we want to make by including the West, it is that we in the West aren't free from the "restraints" of culture after all. I think a cultural anthro example would be the most salient. --Joe Quick | Talk

Development of Anthropology

This page should help a lot with the historical section of the article... Joe Quick | Talk

Ideas about depth of discussion?

What are our goals for the length and depth of this article? I realize that this is a silly question, since we should mostly be able to tell as we're writing, but it might be smart to set out some goals/guidelines.

It should give a good overview of the field for someone who is just looking to find out what this anther-whatchsmacallit is all about, but we obviously can't include everything...

Each of the sub-disciplines will eventually have its own page, so we don't need try to cover everything here, but we still need to find a balance that will give a good idea of what the field is about. I would think not much more than a few paragraphs should suffice.

The sections on the development of anthropology and the successes and controversy sections will probably not be comprehensively covered elsewhere, so we'll need to be complete without being overwhelming. But how complete? And what is overwhelming? --Joe Quick | Talk

Looks like a great start! I think the article length should approximate biology. Once we get all the scaffolding and a lot of the boards in place, I'd like to copyedit it for a similar, personable-yet-encyclopedic tone as in the article. Stephen Ewen 01:24, 2 March 2007 (CST)
Biology is about 4000 words discounting section titles and the like. That works out to about 5 pages of normal single-spaced text, which sounds very reasonable.

What kind of scope do you have in mind for the sections titled "Successes of anthropology," "Controversy," "The continuing story," and "The postmodern challenge?"

With regard to "controversy": we have to be especially careful and circumspect with this section. I think that we'll certainly want to mention some of the more famous cases (e.g., El Dorado, phrenology, treatment of human remains & NAGPRA, use of ethnographic data in times of war [Korea, etc.]), but we should also make a point of distinguishing internal controversies from external ones, and which controversies are centered around disconnects between the assumptions held within anthropology by those with formal training, and those assumptions not understood by most people who are outside the discipline (e.g. many journalistic accounts). Especially for this controvery subsection, perhaps we shouldn't put up anything that doesn't cite from the get-go specific sources as examples or as arguments from particular positions. Maybe it's best to write these passages offline first, then bring them into the wiki pages with at least the first round fairly well referenced (more than is normally done for less sensitive passages). Richard J. Senghas 01:36, 30 March 2007 (CDT)
With regard to the PM Challenge: I'd like not to fan the flames too much of the so-called postmodern problem. I find too often that many anthropologists have a kneejerk reaction to the term and anything associated with it (or anyone admitting positive predispositions towards PM), and I frequently observe gratuitous disparaging remarks about it, even as PM recedes to being just another perspective among others, rather than "the latest fashion" (another derogatory stereotyping). Some PM contributions are awful, some useful, and some has been quite good. Richard J. Senghas 01:36, 30 March 2007 (CDT)
These are sections that I had intended to leave to Stephen Ewen to start, since he laid out the first outline and I wasn't sure where he wanted to take them. So I have no strong feelings either way, but if we're going to to work on anything offline, let's work out a system for organizing that work before we jump in.
If others agree that the Post Modern Challenge will present difficulties, then we might consider giving it a place in the history section and not displaying it so prominently. --Joe Quick (Talk) 02:18, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

Hi Richard. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I am really glad for your presence here!

I think your advise about carefully drafting such material in a draft page before adding it is very good. I am personally a big fan of doing this, even if it means leaving a stub up for a while. We can carry that on at Anthropology/Draft.

As to the PM issue, we would certainly be remiss to ignore it. As I crafted the Intro, it places anthropology in light of it being a reformers discipline whose goal is to benefit humankind, which I think we would agree is fundamentally so. As I understand "the PM challenge" (and let me say I completely concur with your assessment of it as whole -- "some...awful, some useful, and some...quite good"), it has much struck at the foundational assumptions depicted in the Intro, saying the categories anthros use are simply power-based hoists that do more damage to humankind than good, etc. At the same time, anthro authors have sought to respond to such criticism, e.g., see Recapturing Anthropology. I think this is an important part of "the story". Another part of that story could be that the movement turned out to "just another perspective among others" rather than the "challenge" to the discipline it was often framed as. In that respect, what Joe says may be the best way to go: "giving it a place in the history section and not displaying it so prominently." Do feel free to re-work this article's whole outline!

Also, we will need to make sure to incorporate British anthro somehow. There is a British trained anthro editor on board.

I'd really like to work toward making this an compelling introductory narrative that can be approved. I will help all I can in-between doing my many constabulary duties.

Stephen Ewen 02:43, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for the warm welcome. It's good to be involved. I think it may be smart to move the PM section into the history section, for the reasons just mentioned. A few years back, it would have made sense not to, but now, I think that puts PM in its appropriate context.

BTW: I, too, have a fairly British training. At U Rochester, most of the faculty were trained and/or worked in England (Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics), or had U Chicago connections that were also rather British oriented. We all had to plow through many of the British anthropologists for our core theory class, which seemed to focus more on the contributiond of British and European figures (note that very English distinction) than North American ones. It was very much a social anthropology program, less of a "cultural" program in the North American sense.

Richard J. Senghas 07:56, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

Use of "socio-cultural"

I find the hyphenated form of this word orthographically marked and awkward, both to read and to write. I tend to prefer "sociocultural" because it snags on the reading eye a bit less, and thus distracts less. What do others think? Richard J. Senghas 01:52, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

Sounds fine to me :) --Joe Quick (Talk) 02:08, 30 March 2007 (CDT)
No problem at all. Stephen Ewen 02:09, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

IItalic textmages

By the way, I just found at that Clifford Geertz died late last year. See this and this.

Stephen Ewen 03:14, 27 April 2007 (CDT)

  • I think Image:Nepal_Field2_0005.jpg is a fabulous shot, but not free, although I tried. This one shall be replaced when a good free one ca be found. Also, I found about 15 great images on flicker that can be used to construct a mural for the lead image. They were no derivis, so I have emailed for the author to kindly remove that restriction. Stephen Ewen 01:42, 28 April 2007 (CDT)

Stephen Ewen 12:18, 28 April 2007 (CDT)

License changed by author. :-) Stephen Ewen 15:04, 29 April 2007 (CDT)
  • Image:FranzBoas-Eskimo.jpg Boas dressed as Eskimo fisherman.
    Good piece for the history section, once it is developed. (I plan to get back to that section soon, by the way. :) --Joe Quick (Talk) 21:18, 29 April 2007 (CDT)

The mural is great, Steve. I really like it. I did shrink it a little bit, though, in order to make the text look a little cleaner. --Joe Quick (Talk) 12:09, 30 April 2007 (CDT)

400 px is fine :) But let's not go any bigger than that. Otherwise, the text starts to look kind of squished. 400 px puts it right on the verge for a maximized window on my monitor (1024 X 768). --Joe Quick (Talk) 22:49, 30 April 2007 (CDT)
Ouch. I must be getting spoiled on this 17 inch bargain I got. Stephen Ewen 22:56, 30 April 2007 (CDT)
Haha. By the way, you said on the image page that all of the pictures came from Flickr, but the old woman near the bottom right looks very familiar (as though I've seen her elsewhere). Do you have the url for that pic? Is it possible that I'm remembering another piercing gaze? --Joe Quick (Talk) 23:03, 30 April 2007 (CDT)
The Saddest Eyes on Flickr! Even uploaded by a person with a real name, as all were. Stephen Ewen 00:58, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

Magic + Culture

Dear colleagues - would you be so kind as to take an interest in developing (no matter how modestly) the following pages which I have created stubs for: Magic and Culture. Even a brief mark on the discussion page would be of support - at least in future we can easily find each other to edit, feed-back and so on. Regards. aladin Aladin 07:13, 14 November 2007 (CST)

History of anthropology

Biomedical Anthropology

Is biomedical anthtropology a large enough discipline to cover here? I know Binghamton University is one of few, if not the only university to adopt the dicipline as a program in their college. I only mention this because it is an area I may wish to persue in graduate school, yet I cannot find much information on the subject online. Thanks! --Brian R. Head 13:04, 17 April 2008 (CDT)