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7217more on the end of anthropology programs

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  • Bob Muckle
    May 16, 2011
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      I recall a short article that was published several years ago on the status of anthropology in academia, written by a university president (and former anthropologist/archaeologist).

      The author was Steadman Upham, and the article was published in SAA Archaeological Record (available free-on-line several years ago).

      My recollection is that the article suggested, from an administrators point of view, anthropology was already perceived to have low status on the hierarchy of academic disciplines and was further descending. According to the article, anthropology was largely considered irrelevant in today's world. The view of many administrators was that anthropology had lost its distinctiveness, with its central concepts such as culture and methods such as ethnography having been successfully co-opted by other disciplines.

      So, perhaps something to consider is that it isn't that administrators do not understand anthropology; perhaps it is more that they do understand it and perhaps see the value of it. Still though, they think others can do it better. Including those with degrees in English, business and other disciplines.


      Upham states "...there is a general perception among many university administrators of academic irrelevance and intellectual disarray in social sciences and humanities. Anthropologoy is included among the fields that are suspect in this regard."
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