Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, by Roberto J. Gonzalez PDF

By Roberto J. Gonzalez

Anthropologists have a protracted culture of prescient diagnoses of worldwide occasions. owning a data of tradition, society, and heritage now not continuously shared through the media's speaking heads, anthropologists have performed an important position in instructing the final reader at the public debates from international conflict I to the second one Gulf War.

This anthology collects over fifty commentaries through famous anthropologists reminiscent of Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and Marshall Sahlins who search to appreciate and clarify the profound repercussions of U.S. involvement within the heart East, Asia, Africa, and Latin the United States. usually drawing all alone fieldwork, the anthropologists transcend the headlines to attract connections among indigenous cultures, company globalization, and modern political and monetary crises. Venues variety from the op-ed pages of across the world well known newspapers equivalent to the New York Times and the Washington Post to journal articles and tv interviews. exact sections entitled "Prelude to September eleven" and "Anthropological Interpretations of September eleven" contain articles that supplied many american citizens with their first mammoth advent to the heritage of Islam, valuable Asia, and the center East. each one article incorporates a short advent contextualizing the commentary.

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EDITOR’S NOTES 1. See George W. , ‘‘Anthropology and Society,’’ in Franz Boas, A Franz Boas Reader (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), pp. 307–309. Following the German sociological tradition of Max Weber, Boas assumed that as scientists, anthropologists should hold themselves to a high standard of objectivity—even when they produced truths threatening powerful interests. This was clearly exemplified in Boas’ attacks on racism: since racial hierarchies were based upon faulty science, racist policies had no rational justification.

And what you’re trying to do is—this is just a traditional, feudal Asian society, mainland style—and what you’re trying to do is change the course of warfare in Asia. To some extent this has been done: the Chinese People’s Liberation Army; it’s happened probably in the Japanese army, the Japanese Self-Defense and Home Defense Armies. But until the end of World War II, we always thought of the Japanese army as a real cruel, vindictive bunch of cutthroats. Well, it turned out in post–World War II analysis that the Bataan Death March was something that they handled to the best of their ability, given the available transport and the way that they would have handled their own prisoners.

Laura Nader’s article, published two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, is about ‘‘coercive harmony’’—imposed social harmony—and its consequences. The concept’s relevance in the post–September 11 period is clear, as many Americans feel pressure to fall into line with the dictates of the Bush administration’s policies. She writes: ‘‘Coercive harmony can stifle dissent for a while. But if dissent is too tightly bottled up, it will explode . . Academics should not be party to establishing an ideology of consensus on our increasingly corporatized campuses.

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