Social Science

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interview with an anthropologist?

can anyone suggest an interview with an anthropologist, this is kind of urgent

I'd absolutely suggest an interview with an anthropologist! (I think it's urgent for _everyone_!)

Your query is fascinating, and I'd be happy to do what I can, on this forum.

If you want a more private interview than that, though, you might first want to check Wikipedia or similar to get an idea of what area of anthropology you're interested in: paleoanthropology, cultural anthropology, etc.. Then: the various department curators at the American Museum of Natural History used to take phone questions, and maybe still do. They are some of the top scholars in the world, though, and you should take the opportunity to talk to them very seriously, and prepare for it. If you want to see some interviews online, google "Marvin Harris" (Harris, chair of the Columbia University anthropology department, was a deeply humanistic, but objective, guy who founded the anthropological school called cultural materialism, wrote the standard but unique anthropological advanced college text (_The Rise of Anthropological Theory_), and also wrote three books for general audiences (_Cannibals and Kings_, very serious and concerned , and _Our Kind_, fatter and lighter (all two- and three-page chapters, because his publishers asked him to write about everything he knew). Harris's last book, published the year he died (2000 or 2002, close as I can recall) is called _Theories of Culture in a Post-Modern Age_. If your urgent issue has anything to do with confusion arising from what you've heard or been taught in the past 30 years of academic .... (can't remember the polite term for b-s) ... Harris takes on, one by one, each of the varieties of cultural interpretation of that bountiful substance. Besides Harris, Cambridge D-Space has about 50 years worth of filmed and taped interviews with leading anthropologists online, set up so you can watch either an excerpt or the whole interview. This would be truly great, except that the anthropology department at Cambridge leans heavily towards the "functionalist" school, which avoids the big picture (which cultural materialism emphatically doesn't ... I'm neither primarily a cultural materialist nor a functionalist, by the way).

Of course, as you probably know, you can go to most good college or university website, look up the faculty list, and get the e-mail address of an anthropologist. Or call the American Anthropology Association.

Go to a University near you and check in the Anthropology department. According to what type of Anthropologist that you'd like to interview, inform the department head or the secretary what your intentions are and ask if you might be able to talk to someone.

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