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.
“Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” – Luke 6:42, or Robert Trivers
I have to apologize because my last blogpost was about The New York Times, but they won’t stop publishing stories that need to be attended to. For anyone who is following, on Thursday they published a hit piece on Harvard Med School professor David Reich. At 12,000 words, the piece was somewhat difficult to coherently sift through (they have a tendency to do this lately), but it made a number of accusations against both Reich’s lab and the field of ancient DNA in general ranging from scientific racism to methodological sophistry to the use of scare tactics to harass others out of the field and away from valuable skeletal samples in order to monopolize science. Continue reading “David Reich and The New York Times”