CURRENT THOUGHTS ON ANTHROPOLOGY AND DARWIN

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/ANTH600Fall2009.html]

30 September 2009

© [All Rights Reserved.] Placed on the World Wide Web on September 30, 2009, for Professor David Eaton's ANTH 600 (Core Seminar in Anthropology), for a presentation (with visuals) at California State University, Chico, on Wednesday October 7, 2009.

ABSTRACT

On October 7, 2009, I will present some personal thoughts on my career as an Anthropologist as well as thoughts concerning Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882). I have been a member of the faculty of CSU, Chico since August 1973 and am in my fifth (and final) year of participating in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and in December 2009 I will formally and completely retire from this wonderful institution. 

 

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere." C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
"Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." (Albus Dumbledore, in} J. K. Rowling, 2003, Harry Potter And the Order of The Phoenix (NY: Scholastic Press), page 826.

I have been interested in anthropological matters since 1963 and after I was Honorably Discharged from the United States Air Force in 1965, I began my full time academic career, receiving a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology in 1967 (Western Washington State College, now Western Washington University), an M.A. in Anthropology in 1969 (University of Oregon), and the Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1972 (University of Oregon) based on research and fieldwork dealing with the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga (1970-1971). I taught at the University of Minnesota for the 1972-1973 academic year and have been at CSU, Chico since August 1973. The year I received my Ph.D., 301 individuals received that advanced degree: 215 males and 86 females. The most recent information points out that for the 2007-2008 Academic Year, a total of 383 individuals received the Ph.D. in Anthropology. (Note that this was down considerably from the 699 degrees in the previous year and 603 in the year before that.) I like and appreciate the (translated) words of Claude Levi-Strauss (born in 1908) that I have often considered:

"It has often been said--I don't know if it is universally true but it is probably true for many of us--that the reason we took up anthropology was that we had difficulty in adapting ourselves to the social milieu into which we were born." In G. Charbonnier, 1969, Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss (London: Jonathan Cape Ltd), page 17. [This is a 1969 translation of the 1961 Entretiens avec Claude Lévi-Strauss.]

Incidentally, it should be pointed out that I was born in 1942 in Jersey City, New Jersey, graduated from high school in 1960, and commuted to New York City and New York University for 1960-61 academic year. I then proceeded to flunk out of NYU in 1961 and enlisted in the United States Air Force (1961-1965). I got married in 1963 (and am still happily married) and perhaps, when all of this, taken together, this is why I became an anthropologist! A lot of everything goes into who, what, and why each of us is what we are today and how we do what we do and when and where we do it! Perhaps I was always fascinated about people and the holistic aspect of anthropology. I was also inspired by the words of one of Darwin's staunchest supporters, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), who wrote "Try to learn something about everything and everything about something." Information on how my own thinking has evolved over time is available in the web pages below. As written last year, I once knew the anthropologist June Helm who died in 2004. June was born in 1924 and I in 1942, and although we were separated in age by 18 years, anthropology drew us together. The following appeared in January 2005:

"June Helm, who died February 4, 2004, was President of the AAA [American Anthropological Association] (1985-1987)....Following the list of her publications she appnded the comment: 'NB: I have never included 'paper read' and 'invited lectures' in my CV. If there are no published versions, I consider them ephemera [stress added]. Nancy Oestrich Lurie, Anthropology in the Libral Arts. Anthropology Newsletter, January 2005, page 4.

I do not consider any presentations as "ephemeral" which is why I create various web pages of presentations so individuals may pursue various ideas (should they so choose).

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2008.html [Seminar information for Septemner 30, 2008]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2007.html [Seminar information for October 16, 2007]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2005.html [Seminar information for October 19, 2005]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH300Fall2002.htm [Seminar information for September 18, 2002]

 

PART TWO: CONCENTRATING ON DARWIN.

"No theme in biology and perhaps in all the sciences so seized the Victorian imagination as did the evolutionary hypothesis. Evolution, the development of one form from an antecedent form or series of forms, acquired obvious relevance for an understanding of the past and present condition of animal and plant species [stress added]." Victorian Science: A Self-Portrait From The Presidential Addresses to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1970, edited by George Basalla, William Coleman, and Robert H. Kargon, page 300.

"The birth of anthropology, its origin, its foundation, is in evolution. Anthropology, it can justly be said, is a child of evolution. It was evolution, in three senses of the term, that inspired the birth of anthropology in the nineteenth century: the technological revolution in Europe; the Enlightenment; and the idea of Progress [stress added]." Philip Carl Salzman, 2001, Understanding Culture: An Introduction to Anthropological Theory (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.), page 87.

I have been "doing Darwin" for years and have numerous web pages on Darwin: if you wish to pursue those further, please consult the "Master Page" located at: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/DarwinPagesOnly.html [Darwin Pages Only]. Should you wish to see how other individuals and institutions have incorporated some of my ideas concerning Darwin into their web pages, please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/UrbanowiczCitations.html [UrbanowiczCitationsOnTheWeb].

In 1859, Darwin published the first edition of his monumental work, namely On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (this is the on-line version of the first edition of 1859). The following information concerning the various editions of "Origin" has already been presented in numerous of my Darwin web pages and I am not at all ashamed of repeating them here since the data (#1) indicate the changes that Darwin himself made in "Origin" in his lifetime, (#2) demonstrate the importance of writing and re-writing, (#3) get you to think about which version of Darwin you are reading and (#4) and encourage you to think about the following: what do you really know about Darwin? Please note the changes Darwin made in the SIX editions of Origin during his lifetime (as calculated by Morse Peckham [Editor], 1959, The Origin Of Species By Charles Darwin: A Variorum Text):

THE VARIOUS EDITIONS FROM 1859-1872:

YEAR/Ed.
COPIES
Sentences
Sentences
Sentences
TOTAL
% CHANGE
1859/1st
1,250

3,878

1860/2nd
3,000
9 eliminated
483 rewritten
30 added
3,899
7 %
1861/3rd
2,000
33 eliminated
617 rewritten
266 added
4,132
14 %
1866/4th
1,500
36 eliminated
1073 rewritten
435 added
4,531
21 %
1869/5th
2,000
178 eliminated
1770 rewritten
227 added
4,580
29 %
1872/6th
3,000
63 eliminated
1699 rewritten
571 added
5,088
21-29 %

In my opinion, the most important "change" that occurs in Origin over the years appears in the final chapter entitled "Recapitualtion and Conclusions." In the final lines of the 1860 edition Darwin had the following:

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved [stress added]"

Note the inclusions of the phrase "by the Creator" which did not appear in the 1859 edition but which appeared in all subsequent editions of Origin re-written by Darwin and published in his lifetime. What edition, from the second to the sixth, are you reading? In 2005, Sean Carroll pointed out:

"In the short time between the first and second edition of The Origin of Species, Darwin inserted three more words into that famous closing paragraph, adding 'by the Creator to rewrite the phrase as 'having been originally breather by the Creator into a few forms or into one‚'  Darwin later expressed his regret for doing so in a letter to botanist J. D. Hooker [1817-1911]:  'But I have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the Pentateuchal term of creation, by which I really meant 'appeared' by some wholly unknown process.'" Sean Carroll, 2005, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The new Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, pages 296-297. 

Incidentally, I was fortunate to teach two graduate seminars at CSU, Chico on Darwin in 1995 and 2005 (and selected student papers from the 1995 seminar are available in a 1996 publication of The Chico Anthropological Society Papers: Special issue on Charles Darwin (Number 16) and we had some excellent discussions and papers on Darwin! The background paper for that particular 1995 seminar is located at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curbanowicz/Darwin/DarwinSem-S95.html. Information dealing with the Spring 2005 seminar is available at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curbanowicz/syllabi/SYL_303-SP2005.html.

There is a delightful book by Maurice Sagoff (1970) entitled Shrinklits: Seventy of the World's Towering Classics Cut Down To Size (New York: Workman Publishing) wherein the following appears on page 99 concerning Darwin's Origin::

"All creatures strive;
The fit survive.

Out of this surge
Species emerge.

'Throw the bum out!'
Is Nature's shout.

And 'Class will tell'
Sex-wise as well.

The age-old race
To win or place

(At least to show)
Persists, although

The way things look
None Dares make book."

In his 2005 publication entitled Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Aggasiz, and the Meaning of Coral, David Dobbs has an excellent summary of Darwin's evolutionary theory:

"The most central and vital [of several key concepts] are that all species descend from a single common ancestor; that the number of species has mutliplied in branching fashion as different varieties and populations have evolved into new species; and that the mechanism driving this change is natural selection--the 'survival of the fittest' (or luckiest) individuals of each generation by virtue of the advantages granted by their genetic makeup. To oversimplify just slightly, one can view Darwin's construct as a theory of evolution of multiple species via common descent by means of natural selection [stress added]." David Dobbs, 2005, Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Aggasiz, and the Meaning of Coral (NY: Pantheon Books), page 73.

With these words in mind, I also appreciate and believe in the words of the eminent anthropologist Gregory Bateson:

"The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself. If, now, we correct the Darwinian unit of survival to include the environment and the interaction between organism and environment, a very strange and surprising identity emerges: the unit of survival turns out to be identical with the unit of mind" [italics in original; stress added]." Gregory Bateson [1904-1980], 1972, Steps To An Ecology of Mind (NY: Ballantine Books), page 483.  

Over the years of 1994 to 2003, working as part of a team with some fantastic individuals at CSU, Chico, four "Darwin Videos" were created wherein I portrayed Darwin in the first person. A concise summary of the "Darwin Project" (which took longer than the actual 1831-1835 Voyage of the Beagle) may be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/CELTOctober2004Darwin.html [The Darwin Project: 1996 to 2004! ]. That page also provides links to the four videos available on the web (and those links are included at the end of this current web page). Several Darwin "Self tests" have also been created over the years, and you may access these at the following addresses:

2005 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SelfTesting/DarwinTestFive.htm (Darwin Self-Test Five} February 2005).

2004 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SelfTesting/DarwinTestFour.htm (Darwin Self-Test Four} September 2004).

2003 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SelfTesting/DarwinTestThree.htm (Darwin Self-Test Three} October 2003).

2001 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SelfTesting/DarwinTestTwo.htm (Darwin Self-Test Two} November 2001].

2000 http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SelfTesting/DarwinTestOne.htm (Darwin 2000-2001 [Self]Test One} January 2000).

In 2009 there have been world-wide activities relating to the sesquicentennial of the publication of Darwin's "Origin" as well as the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the following sites (some of which were listed last year) should still be interesting:

http://darwin-online.org.uk/ [The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online]

http://www.darwinfoundation.org [The Charles Darwin Foundation]

http://www.darwin-literature.com/ [Darwin-Literature.com]

http://www.aboutdarwin.com/ [About Darwin.com]

http://www.darwinday.org/ [Darwin Day]

You also might be interested in http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/darwin-centre-visitors/index.html, providing information on the "Dawin Centre" (which is part of the Natural History Museum in London).

Darwin was, and continues to be a fascinating individual, worthy of research and analysis from many approaches. Consider the words of the eminent physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) when he wrote: "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." 1950, Scientific Autobiography And other Papers (Frank Gaynor, translator), pages 33-34. With those words in mind, I must point out that Darwin is still "controversial" to many individuals (particularly Americans?). You may be aware that there is a new movie about Darwin entitled Creation, and the trailer is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz2oEayPqNM. (Some background information on the film and Darwin is also available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6khb8ZeKDg.) As might be expected, there is a bit of a "controversy" concerning this film and for information on that, please see: http://www.wikio.co.uk/video/1651767 as well as http://markcrispinmiller.com/2009/09/darwin-movie-blocked-by-christian-right/comment-page-1/ where it is pointed out that:

"A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer. The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival [on September 10, 2009] and has its British premiere on Sunday [September 25, 2009]. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia. However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution [stress added]."

Information (and additional Creation footage) about the London premier can be found at http://channelbee.com/home/show/video/2331. I am delighted that Darwin is being recognized for the genius that he was but disturbed about some of the controversy concerning his ideas! It is important, however, that Darwin, and his important ideas, are being recognized! One of my favorite statements concerning Charles R. Darwin comes from Janet Browne:

"He [Charles Darwin] believed that the natural world was the result of constantly repeated small and accumulative actions, a lesson he had first learned when reading Lyell's Principles of Geology [1830] aboard the Beagle and had put to work ever since. ... No one, not even Lyell [1797-1875] himself, or any of Darwin's closest friends and supporters, accepted as ardently as Darwin that the book of nature was about the accumulative powers of the small [stress added]." Janet Browne, 2002, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place - Volume II of a Biography (NY: Alfred A. Knopf), page 490.

As Sean Carrol wrote: "This is the essence of Darwinian evolution-that natural selection for incremental variation forged the great diversity of life from its beginning as a simple ancestor.  Simple logic, scientific immortality [stress added]." Sean Carroll, 2006, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, page 30. Not only is the "book of nature" about the "accumulative powers of the small" but so is the book of culture! What we are today is the result of what we were yesterday (and the many days before that) and what we will become is the result of today! As the motto of CSU, Chico states: "Today decides tomorrow!"

 

PART THREE: LIFE WHILE AT CSU, CHICO AND AFTER CSU, CHICO.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness."
Samuel Langhorn Clemens (1835-1910), perhaps better known as Mark Twain.

I've enjoyed teaching tremendously since arriving here in 1973 (even though I was in Administration, or Management, from 1977 to 1988). In 2004, while I was still teaching full-time at CSU, Chico, I was contacted by a booking agency (who handled all types of personnel for cruise ships) about the possibility of lecturing and have been doing just that since December 2004. Since I decided to partically retire (through FERP), I chose not to teach in the spring semesters. In January 2009 I was one of the "Explorations Speakers" for Holland America Line Inc. (HAL) on a twelve day cruise from Fortaleza, Brazil, to Rio De Janeiro, Argentina, on the ms Prinsendam. A few months later, in 2009, my wife and I cruised (and provided lectures) on the Spirit of Oceanus from Tahiti to Guam. For information about these, and other cruises I have provided lectures on since 2004 (with an extensive bibliography, including printed and web-based material, please see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/PacificReferences.html [Various Pacific References]. In 2010 I will again be providing lectures for HAL for a cruise to Hawai'i and French Polynesia; then, after returning to Chico for a few days, my wife and I will fly to Australia and I shall provide lectures on a cruise from Sydney to Vancouver, Britsh Columbia. (Incidentally, my wife has also begun lecturing on these cruises, providing complementary information to my lectures). Thirteen months from now, in November 2010, my I my wife and I are scheduled to once again join the Spirit of Oceanus, providing lectures from Easter island to Fiji (see http://www.cruisewest.com/world-cruises-guests).

 

PART FOUR: CONCLUSIONS.

"Old age has a way of forcing a person back upon themselves. The pace of life slows and brings with it a natural inclination to reflect upon the past." Linda Lear, 2007, Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature (NY: St. Martin's Press), page 427.

I will completely retire from teaching at CSU, Chico in December 2009 and hope to travel and cruise and provide lectures on various cruises as long as I am able to and as long as they want me. Just as we are "evaluated" for our teaching at this institution, I have also been evaluated for every cruise that I have lectured on and I will discuss certain aspects of my lecture-crusing career at the final Anthropology Forum on December 10, 2009, in a presentation entitled "Final Words And Crusing Into Retirement" [http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTHFORUMFALL2009.html]. I end this particular web page with the same words of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) that I used one year ago in this class:

"...no one possesses the less because everyone possesses the whole of it. He [or she!] who receives an idea from me receives [it] without lessening [me], as he who lights his [candle] at mine receives light without darkening me." [See: www.uh.edu/engines/epi792.htm} Jefferson and Technology]. 

In addition, since I am a Pacific anthropologist (or an anthropologist who has interests in Pacific matters, both past and present), let me finally end with the words of John Orlebar who served as a midshipman abourd H.M.S. Serigapatam from 1829 to 1832 (and who wrote about the Polynesian Islands of Tonga in an 1833 publication):

"Few are they who have not appeared one time or other in print, and in these days, no man is safe. The most idle and thoughtless, trusting in their imagination write novels,--the most sage and stupid write essays or political pamphlets. Such being the case, I also join the crowd, and present to the Reader this unpretending little book [or brief web page], trusting it may afford some information and amusement." Lieut. J. Orlebar, R.N., 1833, A Midshipman's Journal on Board H.M.S. Seringapatam, During the Year, 1830; Containing Brief observations on Pitcairn's Island, And Other Islands in the South Seas (London: Whittaker, Treacher, and Co.).

I trust this current brief item is neither "idle and thoughtless" and is not "stupid" but do hope that "it may afford some information and amusement."

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FOUR DARWIN VIDEOS (AND THE YEAR THEY WERE COMPLETED): 

1997 Charles Darwin: Reflections - Part one: The Beginning. [ ~Seventeen Minutes Video. Darwin in England]. [http://rce.csuchico.edu/darwin/RV/darwinreflections.ram]. Produced and Edited by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [http://www.real.com/player/index.html].

Imagine that you could visit with Charles Darwin as he remembers his youth. Perhaps you could learn what early experiences sharpened his power of observation and contributed to his unique perspective of the world. Join Dr. Charles Urbanowicz as he portrays the fascinating and very human Charley Darwin in the first program of the series Charles Darwin: Reflections: The Beginning. 

1999 Charles Darwin: - Part One: The Voyage. [ ~Twenty-two Minute Video. Darwin sailing from England to South America.] [http://rce.csuchico.edu/darwin/RV/darwinvoyage.ram] Produced and Edited by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [http://www.real.com/player/index.html].

Sail along with Charley Darwin on the first half of his historic journey around the world aboard the HMS Beagle. In this second video in the series, Charley Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz ) travels from England to unexplored reaches of South America and along the way he confronts slavery, rides with gauchos, experiences gunboat diplomacy, encounters a future dictator of Argentina, explores uncharted rivers, and discovers dinosaur bones. 

2001 Charles Darwin: - Part Two: The Voyage. [ ~Twenty-seven Minute Video. Darwin from South America, through the Galápagos Islands, and back to England.] [http://rce.csuchico.edu/darwin/RV/darwin3.ram] Edited by Ms. Vilma Hernandez and Produced by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [http://www.real.com/player/index.html].

The second half of the historic journey of the HMS Beagle finds Charles Darwin exploring more of South America and several islands in the Pacific. In this episode, Charley Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz) views several active volcanoes, experiences an earthquake, treks to the Andes, explores the Galapagos Islands, and then heads for home. 

2003 Charles Darwin: - Part Three: A Man of Science. [ ~Twenty-four Minute Video. Darwin from South America, through the Galápagos Islands, and back to England.] [http://rce.csuchico.edu/Darwin/RV/darwin4.ram] Produced and Edited by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [http://www.real.com/player/index.html].

Within a few years of his return to England, Charles Darwin happily settled into marriage, moved to a quiet house in the country, and begun a routine of research and writing which would occupy the rest of his life. In this episode discover why Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz) waited over 20 years to publish his groundbreaking work Origin of Species, and learn how ill health, family tragedies, friends, respected colleagues and ardent supporters shaped his life and career.

To go to the home page of Urbanowicz, please click here;

Department of Anthropology;

to California State University, Chico.

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ANTH600Fall2009.html

 [~4,059 words]

Copyright © 2009; all rights reserved by Charles F. Urbanowicz
30 September 2009

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