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FW: 4/17/2001 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: daily@chronicle.com [mailto:daily@chronicle.com] Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 5:00 AM To: daily@chronicle.com Subject: 4/17/2001 Daily Report from
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 17, 2001
      FW: 4/17/2001 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

      -----Original Message-----
      From: daily@... [mailto:daily@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 5:00 AM
      To: daily@...
      Subject: 4/17/2001 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

      ACADEME TODAY: The Chronicle of Higher Education's
      Daily Report for subscribers

      Good day!

      Here are news bulletins from The Chronicle of Higher Education
      for Tuesday, April 17.

      * [snip]


      A glance at the March issue of "Anthropological Theory":
      A "confrontational" approach

      When anthropologists start replacing scientific scholarship with
      interviews and biographical portraits, something is wrong, says
      Stephen P. Reyna, a professor of anthropology at the University
      of New Hampshire, in the journal's inaugural issue. "Theory no
      longer counts in such an anthropological discourse," he writes.
      One research method that would help to formulate at least
      "approximate" truths in anthropology is labeled the
      "confrontational stance" by Mr. Reyna. It tries to steer a
      course "between the Scylla of dogmatism and the Charybdis of
      skepticism," he says. He describes how an incomplete version of
      the "confrontational stance" -- the power of confronting
      generalizations with detailed observation, and vice versa -- was
      used by social anthropologists throughout the 20th century to
      find fault with unilinear evolutionary theory. The theory
      insisted that culture occurs in higher and lower grades, and
      that "primitive" people had failed to make the grade, because
      they lacked the ability to reason. In the areas of kinship,
      economics, politics, and religion, social anthropologists who
      were "imagining themselves as scientists" were able to make
      observational advances and debunk many of the claims of
      unilinear evolutionary theory, says Mr. Reyna. A fully developed
      "confrontational stance" methodology, he says, will tell
      anthropologists "when they should be skeptical ... and how to
      avoid dogmatism." The article is online at
      (requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free at 

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