One of the things #AAAfail has revealed is not just wide divisions within the anthropological community about what anthropology is — I think we all knew those were there — but also wide division about what the terms to evaluate those divisions mean. Especially the term ‘science’: does this mean a general belief ’in reality’ and ‘a broad commitment to empiricism’ or something more specific like ‘deductive research methodologies, an attempt to minimize the subjectivity of the researcher, extremely specific genre choices about conveying research results’ and so forth. One of the biggest problems, in other words, is that we have no ethnography of what anthropologists believe about their discipline.
Anthropologie & Santé
I’m passing along the announcement of a new international journal on the anthropology of health: Anthropologie & Santé.
from American Anthropological Association by Amy
I am posting this on behalf of Jacob Hickman, a PhD student from the University of Chicago’s Department of Comparative Human Development.
Two recent pieces in the Chronicle of Higher Education (available here and here) document something that happened at the past American Anthropological Association meetings that I was not aware of during the meetings. I went to the general business meeting to hear about some of these developments, but what is interesting is that this particular development occurred during the Executive Board Meeting, rather than being presented before the general AAA body for debate and a vote.
AAA President Virginia R Dominguez
The following is a letter from AAA President Virginia R Dominguez regarding the association’s long range plan.
Every so often an event or statement captures the attention of anthropologists on important issues for the profession, regardless of the intentions of those involved in sponsoring the event or formulating the statement. The past 10-12 days are an excellent example.
You know, I really like the whole history of science. I mean the kind that looks at scientific practice as yet another human social and cultural system. Fascinating stuff. And when it comes to those wonderful discussions about truth, the limits of objectivity, and the fallibility of science…I think it’s all very relevant, fascinating, and important to think about.
A few thoughts regarding the recent controversy stemming from the AAA executive board’s revision of the association’s statement of purpose which removed explicit descriptions of anthropology as “science.”
A recent Inside Higher Ed article, “Anthropology Without Science”, discusses the American Anthropological Associations recent changes to its’ “vision” (not definition for some reason) of Anthropology. I tried work a definition or two of anthropology into Chapter 2, and where I thought I’d really messed it up, it turns out others are having just as tough a time,
Medical Anthropology, a journal dedicated to publishing papers that examine human behavior, social life and health in an anthropological context, has recently made available a number of articles published since the inception of the journal in 1977. The journal provides a global forum for inquiring into and elucidating the social and cultural, ideational, contextual, structural and institutional factors that pattern disease, shape experiences of illness and wellbeing, and inform the organization of and access to treatments.
The latest Medical Anthropology is a special issue on “Medical Travel” — a topic which has received surprisingly little attention from medical anthropologists until now. In their editorial to the issue, Carolyn Smith-Morris and Lenore Manderson write:
Multispecies ethnography (the study of both human and non-human organisms and their linkages both conceptually and in reality) has a truly emergent feel at the moment within (and outside) of anthropology. Many people in anthropology feel very excited about the prospects of a new inter- and intra- disciplinary field of empirical study and theorizing.
[Max Forte: The following article by John Allison, an anthropologist and former employee of the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System, offers us an inside look at the workings of HTS and its training program, adding to a growing body of insider accounts published as leaks to John Stanton's many articles, as comments on this blog (often anonymous), and previous posts on this site (i.e., “Another Insider’s View of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System“).