The topic of Marxism in academia is hot, as it has been since The Communist Manifesto hit the presses more than 150 years ago in 1848. I’ve been reflecting on the prevalence of postmodern approaches in anthropology for a while, a topic which is especially more relevant now that more and more people are discussing them after hearing more publicly its criticisms by social science popularizers like Jordan Peterson. Continue reading “The Best Things Marxism Brought, Part I: Early Anthropology and Franz Boas (1858-1942)”
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have issues with Marshall Sahlins. From his anti-sociobiology standpoint and disagreements with Napoleon Chagnon on the matter which lead to Sahlins’ resignation from the National Academy of Science six years ago to his complaints about the degradation of anthropology as a discipline through its rejections of its roots two years ago, Sahlins has been a disliked figure on both sides of the science wars.
Adam Van Arsdale and Mary Shenk, two very good anthropological scientists, have published a new Comment in American Anthropologist titled, “Biological and Evolutionary Perspectives in American Anthropologist: An Editorial Provocation,” arguing that it’s time for biological and evolutionary anthropology to come back to the journal.1
I think a lot of people have been reading it and probably have opinions of their own, but I imagine there are some scarred folks looking at it and scoffing. Part of the concerns of Dr. Shenk and Dr. Van Arsdale is that anthropology has ruptured at the seams.
For those of us who received the non-binding name change survey from the American Association of Physical Anthropology this week, you may have seen the alternative “American Association of Evolutionary Anthropologists” floated as an option. I am somewhat frustrated that this has popped up. Although in Europe Evolutionary Anthropology most certainly describes what we are doing here (see the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology for example), in the United States it has long meant something different. Continue reading “Who Are the Evolutionary Anthropologists?”