Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Here Come the Anthros (Again)

Some interesting new articles out ...

HERE COME THE ANTHROS (AGAIN): The Strange Marriage of Anthropology and Native America by ORIN STARN

This article charts and tries to reckon with the relationship between anthropology and Native America. In an older time, most American anthropologists made their living studying Indians, this almost parasitic disciplinary dependence lasting well into the 20th century. Then came the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, the Red Power movement, and a period of estrangement between anthropologists and Native America. And now, quite unexpectedly, a tentative rapprochement has been taking place, albeit on very different terms with native anthropologists often at the forefront. This article focuses mostly on the United States, although also reflecting on new work about native peoples Canada and Latin America. [Article here]

And, a reply from James Clifford here.

And, also this article will be relevant to many material culture studies types:

Human-thing entanglement: towards an integrated archaeological perspective by Ian Hodder

In exploring human-thing entanglement I wish to make five points. (1) Humans depend on things. In much of the new work in the social and human sciences in which humans and things co-constitute each other, there is, oddly, little account of the things themselves. (2) Things depend on other things. All things depend on other things along chains of interdependence. (3) Things depend on humans. Things are not inert. They are always falling apart, transforming, growing, changing, dying, running out. (4) The defining aspect of human entanglement with made things is that humans get caught in a double-bind, depending on things that depend on humans. (5) Traits evolve and persist. When evolutionary archaeologists identify lineages of cultural affinity, they claim to be studying cultural transmission. Transmission may be involved in such lineages, but it is the overall entanglement of humans and things that allows success or failure of traits. [Full article for free here]

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