INTO THE 21st CENTURY

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office: Butte 202]; 530-898-6192 [Department: Butte 311]; 530-898-6143 [FAX]
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu / home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2007.html]

9 October 2007

© [All Rights Reserved.] Placed on the World Wide Web on October 9, 2007, for Professor William Loker's ANTH 600 (Core Seminar in Anthropology) on October 16, 2007, at California State University, Chico.

ABSTRACT

On October 16, 2007, I intend to place some 21st Century ideas concerning the discipline of Anthropology (as I interpret it) into some perspective. I have been a member of the faculty since August 1973 and am presently "semi-retired" and in my third year of participating in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP); I teach full-time in the Fall semester and do other things in the Spring semester and I anticipate participating in FERP until December 2009 (when I must completely retire from the faculty and teaching at this institution).

 

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

Should you wish to place some of my October 16, 2007, comments in perspective, you are referred to two earlier web papers created for the Anthropology core seminar, available at: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH300Fall2002.htm [Seminar information for September 18, 2002] and http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2005.html [Seminar information for October 19, 2005].

As pointed out in the "Inroduction" to the 2005 paper, quoting C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), "With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere" and I frequently cite the translated words of the French essayist Montaigne (1553-1592): "I quote others only the better to express myself" (Essays, translated by J.M. Cohen, 1958, page 52). In 2005 I also wrote the following, utilizing the words of the American Anthropologist, Hortense Powdermaker (1900-1975):

"The anthropologist is a human instrument studying other human beings and their societies. Although he [and she!] has developed techniques that give him [and her] considerable objectivity, it is an illusion for him to think he can remove his [or her] personality from his work and become a faceless robot or a machinelike recorder of human events [stress added]." Hortense Powdermaker, 1966, Stranger And Friend: The Way Of An Anthropologist, page 19.

Paraphrasing my own words from 2005, we all have our own unique personalities which influence how we see and interpret the world and my current reflections continue to be these: (#1) know your history and do your research and read widely and form your own opinion and be willing to change your opinion when you are exposed to new ideas and evidence; (#2) become excellent at something: become the best possible you that you can become not a second-hand somebody else; (#3) be honest with yourself and know your own strengths and weaknesses and have passion in what you do: passion, patience, and persistence and a positive attitude are all important in what you attempt to do in life!

If you are a cultural anthropologist, read some original ethnographies; if you are into archaeology or forensic anthropology or museum studies, read some original works by the pioneers of those areas in the fascinating field that is Anthropology! Be prepared to change your opinion and avoid what David Dobbs referred to, in commenting on the opinions of the distinguished Swiss-American naturalist Louis Aggasiz (1807-1873), namely that someone stated that towards the end of his life Aggasiz had "something worse than ignorance" namely "calcification of both mind and ego [stress added]." (David Dobbs, 2005, Reef of Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Aggasiz, And the Meaning of Coral [NY: Pantheon Books], page 95); have that positive attitude!

In 2006 an interesting book was written by Kyle Ward, entitled History in the Making: An Absorbing Look At How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years (New York/London: The New Press) and in it he had the following:

"Students of history [or the History of Anthropology I add] are rarely, if ever, asked to criticize what they read in their U.S. [Anthropology] history textbooks or any [anthropological] historical research, nor do people question a textbook's [or ethnographic report's] point of view. We as history [of Anthropology] educators would be better served if they did. For by forcing people to dissect and question their U.S. [Anthropological] history textbooks and their understanding of [Anthropological] history, we get closer to lifting the veil off the knowledge we have that our [Anthropological] history is not only an important subject for a society but also an intriguiging and inspirational story as well. And hopefully, in the long run, we can destroy the curse and let others in on the secret that [the] history [of Anthropology] is not written in stone but is actually a subject that needs discussion, debate, and research to keep in alive and interesting to all [stress added]." Kyle Ward, 2006, History in the Making: An Absorbing Look At How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years (New York/London: The New Press), page xxv.

Interesting words, no?

 

PART TWO: SOME STATISTICS AND FALL 2007 E-RESERVE ARTICLES FOR ANTH 496

In anticipation of our meeting and discussion on October 16, 2007, please consider the following information:

"In the summer of 1994 [and how old were you then?] the Internet was still mainly an academic plaything. The company that became Netscape Communications had not yet released its web browser. Many computers still ran MS-DOS. Intel's new Pentium chip was a luxury, and a 1-gigabyte hard drive was considered huge." Stephen H. Wildstrom, Lessons from a Dizzying Decade in Tech. Business Week, June 14, 2004, page 25.
Go to: http://www.zakon.org/robert/internet/timeline/ [Hobbes' Internet Timeline v6.0] where you will see that:

In June 1993 there were a total of 130 World Wide Web Sites
In June 1994 there were a total of 2,738 World Wide Web Sites
In January 1996 there were a total of 100,000 World Wide Web Sites
In April 1997 there were a total of 1,002,612 World Wide Web Sites
In February 2000 there were a total of 11,161,811 World Wide Web Sites
In December 2002, there were a total of 35,543,105 World Wide Web Sites.
In July 2003, there were a total of 42,298,371 World Wide Web Sites.
In January 2004, there were a total of 46,067,743 World Wide Web Sites.
In December 2004, there were a total of 56,923,737 World Wide Web Sites
In August 2005, there were a total of 70,392,567 World Wide Web Sites.
In November 2006, there were a total of 101,435,253 World Wide Web Sites.

A1991 publication pointed out that for Anthropology, the median time from the B.A. to the Ph.D. was 12.4 years; for comparison purposes, for Psychology it was 10.1 years and for Economics 9.1 years from B.A. to Ph.D. (R. L. Peters, 1992, Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide To Earning A Master's Or A Ph.D. Consider the following data:

For the 2005-2006 Academic Year, a total of 603 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 329 females [55%] and 274 males [45%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (18), Canada (43), Croatia (2),Finland (5), Mexico (7), and the United Kingdom (32). Source: The 2006-2007 American Anthropological Association Guide, pages 635-636. [NB: Guide has 605 degrees.]

For the 2004-2005 Academic Year, a total of 677 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 441 females [65%] and 236 males [35%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (16), Canada (52), China (1), Croatia (2),Finland (5), Norway (2), and the United Kingdom (59). Source: The 2005-2006 American Anthropological Association Guide, pages 629-630.

For the 2003-2004 Academic Year, a total of 655 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 373 females [57%] and 282 males [43%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (30), Canada (39), China (2), Mexico (3), Norway (2), and the United Kingdom (59). Source: The 2004-2005 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 650.

For the 2002-2003 Academic Year, a total of 603 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 401 females [66.51%] and 202 males [33.49%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (13), Canada (41), Hong Kong (1), Mexico (3), Norway (6), and the United Kingdom (36). Source: The 2003-2004 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 606.

For the 2001-2002 Academic Year, a total of 588 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 331 females [56.3%] and 257 males [43.7%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (13), Canada (39), Hong Kong (2), Mexico (7), Norway (6), and the United Kingdom (35). Source: The 2002-2003 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 606.

For the 2000-2001 Academic Year, a total of 603 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 360 females [59.7%] and 243 males [40.3%]; note, this includes degrees from Australia (7), Canada (31), Ireland (1), Mexico (3), Norway (4), South Africa (1), and the United Kingdom (82). Source: The 2000-2001 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 582.

For the 1999-2000 Academic Year, a total of 641 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: no gender-specific information was provided. Note: this included degrees from Australia (11), Canada (39), China (1), Mexico (4), New Zealand (1), and the United Kingdom (30). Source: The 1999-2000 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 699.

For the 1998-1999 Academic Year, a total of 616 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology: there were 349 females [57%] and 267 males [43%]. Source: The 1999-2000 American Anthropological Association Guide, page 553.

NOTE: "Doctoral research in anthropology [over the years 1891 to 1930] was mainly a young man's pursuit: more than 85 percent [of the total of 124 doctorates over this time period] were men, and more than 81 percent were under 35 at graduation, with half under 30 [stress added]." Jay H. Bernstein, 2002, First Recipients of Anthropological Doctorates in the United States, 1891-1930. The American Anthropologist, Vol. 104, No. 2, June, pages 551-565, page 557.

Incidentally, in the year I received my Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (1972), a total of 301 individuals received that degree from various academic institutions. There were 215 males and 86 females in that year.

For my current Anthropology 496 course (Proseminar in the History of Theory and Method in Anthropology, with the Guidebook and syllabus available at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/syllabi/SYL_496-FA2007.html), I have placed various article on E-Reserve. Should you wish to access them before our meeting on the 16th of October (or any time this semster), the password for ANTH 496 is J2CH2. The 1965 article by Melville Herskovits [1895-1963] entitled "A Genealogy of Ethnological Theory" is an interesting mid-20th Century article; your attention is also called to the two items from the 2006 publication edited by Paul Erickson and Liam D. Murphy entited Reading For A History of Anthropological Theory and the two items from that publication available on E-Reserve: "Part I: The Early History of Anthropological theory" as well as "Part II: The Early 20th Century." Returning to an earlier Core Seminar presentation, in 2005 I pointed out the following:

"One who makes a close study of almost any branch of science soon discovers the great illusion of the monolith. When he [or she] stood outside as an uninformed layman, he [or she] got a vague impression of unanimity among the professionals. He [or she] tended to think of science as supporting the Establishment with fixed and approved views. All this dissolves as he [or she] works his [or her] way into the living concerns of practicing scientists. He [and she] finds lively personalities who indulge in disagreement, disorder, and disrespect. He [and she] must sort out conflicting opinions and make up his [and her] own mind as to what is correct and who is sound. This applies not only to provinces as vast as biology and to large fields such as evolutionary theory, but even to small and familiar corners such as the species problem. The closer one looks, the more diversity one finds [stress added]." Norman Macbeth, 1971, Darwin Retried: An Appeal To Reason (NY: Dell Publishing Co.), page 18.

 

PART THREE: CONCLUSIONS

Should you wish to learn more of what I do since I am now semi-retired (or "phasing-out" as it has also been described), you are encouraged to see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificReferences.html, which is an on-going "work-in-progress" providing references for "Peoples and Cultures of the Pacific" (and which I am utilizing this semester in ANTH 373 (Pacific Cultures ) and which I am hoping to teach again in my final semester at this wonderful institution beginning in August 2009. This particular web page provides numerous references (both web-based and printed materials, including Anthropological works and "general works") and includes various maps of the Pacific cruises I have lectured on since December 2004. See you next week! 

Finally, perhaps you saw this in The New York Times last week:

"SHABAK VALLEY, Afghanistan &emdash; In this isolated Taliban stronghold in eastern Afghanistan, American paratroopers are fielding what they consider a crucial new weapon in counterinsurgency operations here: a soft-spoken civilian anthropologist named Tracy. Tracy, who asked that her surname not be used for security reasons, is a member of the first Human Terrain Team, an experimental Pentagon program that assigns anthropologists and other social scientists to American combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her team's ability to understand subtle points of tribal relations &emdash; in one case spotting a land dispute that allowed the Taliban to bully parts of a major tribe &emdash; has won the praise of officers who say they are seeing concrete results…. In September [2007], Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates authorized a $40 million expansion of the program, which will assign teams of anthropologists and social scientists to each of the 26 American combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since early September, five new teams have been deployed in the Baghdad area, bringing the total to six… In interviews, American officers lavishly praised the anthropology program, saying that the scientists' advice has proved to be "brilliant," helping them see the situation from an Afghan perspective and allowing them to cut back on combat operations.….The process that led to the creation of the teams began in late 2003, when American officers in Iraq complained that they had little to no information about the local population.…Ms. McFate, the program's senior social science adviser and an author of the new counterinsurgency manual, dismissed criticism of scholars working with the military. "I'm frequently accused of militarizing anthropology," she said. "But we're really anthropologizing the military [stress added]." David Rohde, 2007, Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones. The New York Times, 5 October 2007 [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/world/asia/05afghan.html?_r=1&oref=slogin]

Interesting times to be an anthropologist!

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[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2007.html]

 

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Copyright © 2007; all rights reserved by Charles F. Urbanowicz
9 October 2007

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