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Re: end of anthro program at my community college

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  • George Thomas
    Main concerns might be: 1. The tricky proposition of re-iterating the nature and scope of this beast, anthropology to administrators, business leaders and
    Message 1 of 19 , May 16, 2011
      Main concerns might be:
      1. The tricky proposition of re-iterating the nature and scope of this beast, "anthropology" to administrators, business leaders and politicans without making it seem like an exercise in scolding the very folks who view themselves as the adults in this conversation, and ramming our "touchy-feely" discipline (to use a currently popular political hee-haw) "down their throats."  Remember: Anthropologists are the outsiders here.
      2. Make lists of main themes which the businessification of anthropology crowd appear to be pushing.  Devise trains of argument to appeal to the many different camps within that crowd.  For example, if a group of English Lit professionals can be identified, stress the fact that anthropological method is pluralistic, ranging from hypothesis testing exercises, nearly to literary critique.  Who knows: Maybe, to the chagrin of social work departments and archaeologists, anthropology might find itself cross-listed with English, and both boats might end up sinking together as "useless" subjects are eventually cut.  Just think how happy construction businesses will be!
      3. ..... Oh never mind.
      One main advantage to anthropology the way it has been up until about ten years ago is that politics and business tended to leave it alone.  A disadvantage to this advantage was sometimes that anthros seldom considered what bidness wonks call "best business practices."  I worked for a time administering contracts for an archaeologist who ran his operation in terms of one of the slogan-ridden fads of business akin to what used to be called "Zero Defects."  (I believe they moved away from "Zero Defects" because it is stiflingly naive).  But anyway, the system WORKED, and he got archaeological mitigation projects done, analyzed and published with much less confusion and extra effort than usual.
      At least he claimed that was the case.
      I guess my main point might be that there are ways of meeting those ignorant bidness geeks half-way, and adopting some methods of running the battleship (however one defines "battleship"), WITHOUT compromising the discipline.  Anthro might even gain a reputation for diplomacy.
      Somewhere I have a quote suggesting a reputation which anthropology has among (some.... around 1986) foreign policy geeks.  Still looking for it.  It ain't good.
      Re: end of anthro program at my community college
          Posted by: "Lloyd Miller" lloyd.miller@...
          Date: Sun May 15, 2011 9:56 pm ((PDT))

      Ann and Kathleen,

      I agree. It might be a useful article for both AN and SACC Notes. Maybe I can piece together the threads from the listserv discussion and perhaps solicit additional comments.


      On May 9, 2011, at 12:04 PM, Kathleen Terry-Sharp wrote:

      > Ann-Great idea...but how about something for AN, as well.  Smaller
      > anthropology programs are facing similar issues.
      > KTS
      > On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 12:03 PM, Kaupp, Ann <kauppa@...> wrote:
      >> Lloyd, could be an interesting article for SACC notes on how to get college
      >> officials on board over the importance and fascination with this field.
      >> Might even use it as a "how to." Ann
      >> -----Original Message-----
      >> From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      >> Lloyd Miller
      >> Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2011 8:56 PM
      >> To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      >> Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Re: end of anthro program at my community college
      >> Mark,
      >> I'm so sorry to hear what's happening to anthropology at Tri-C. Something
      >> similar took place at DMACC when I retired. I gave the dean job description
      >> recommendations for my replacement as he requested, but the (then) president
      >> denied the position. Three years later, my son (a full-time English
      >> instructor at DMACC's Urban Campus) wrote an email to the new president
      >> stating, in essence, that as the college seeks to expand its "cultural
      >> diversity" in both students and curriculum, it will hardly be credible if it
      >> doesn't have a full-time anthropologist on staff. He also explained who I
      >> was and that he was my son (for full disclosure)-the new president had not
      >> met me. The president emailed Sam back saying he'd look into it. The
      >> following fall, Dennis was hired. Several long-time colleagues suggested
      >> that the previous president's denial was payback to me for all the years I
      >> was active in the faculty association, edited the association newsletter and
      >> refused to be a "team player."
      >> I agree with George that all the suggestions made to your original message
      >> hold promise. Tony's recommendation for corralling influential people to
      >> direct political action will produce the results if it's workable. Bob's
      >> ideas for emphasizing the practical and job-related nature of cultural
      >> resource management and contract archaeology are also promising, and are
      >> often the most persuasive arguments to community college bigwigs after
      >> direct political clout. I used to introduce anthropology to my students by
      >> showing them that anthropology dealt with the first 99 percent of human
      >> history, from the earliest prosimians to the first civilizations of
      >> Mesopotamia, when Western Civ history courses began. It impressed them, but
      >> of course they weren't in control of curriculum.
      >> I plan to re-write that piece I sent you (from the TAO OF ANTHROPOLOGY) for
      >> SACC Notes to make it short, sweet and intelligible to the lay public, even
      >> college presidents, but as I've written elsewhere, the value of anthropology
      >> is hard to sell to people who haven't taken an anthro course, and tends to
      >> embarrass them for their ignorance. Also, some of what we teach (as you've
      >> written before) threatens the goals and wishes of the powerful to maintain
      >> control over others.
      >> Lloyd
      >> On May 7, 2011, at 9:38 AM, George Thomas wrote:
      >>> All suggested possible openings into this issue, the serious as well as
      >> the flippant ones, have been good. I wonder if English Lit interests are as
      >> influenced by postmodernism as anthropological theory seems to hint. If
      >> postmodernists reject Western positivist science in favor of "literary
      >> criticism," collaborative research etc., all having possibilities for
      >> excellent new views on research, methods, etc., why would English
      >> departments close off anthropology departments altogether? It would probably
      >> be a dead end to approach such administrators with this kind of notion, but
      >> one can dream. Visualize new age anthro departments personned by nobody but
      >> deconstructionists.
      >>> Just a passing, frivolous thought...
      >>> But at base, all this seems related to the political movement ongoing
      >> within the past few months aimed at cutting ed. and retooling curricula to
      >> suit political fad. Texas seems bent on cutting research and retooling the U
      >> of TX to a degree/jobs mill.
      >>> G
      >>> 1a. Re: end of anthro program at my community college
      >>> Posted by: "Lewine, Mark" mark.lewine@...
      >>> Date: Fri May 6, 2011 2:16 pm ((PDT))
      >>> Well said Kip. Two patterns that I have observed in this situation may
      >> interest you and others:
      >>> My current campus president is a former English Lit. professor and I have
      >> found over my forty years in academia that English profs in power show two
      >> disturbing trends that have caused harm to anthropology : a lack of
      >> understanding or even appreciation for the contributions of social sciences
      >> to academics or education, and a sense of empowerment over students and
      >> colleagues due to the mandated requirements accorded English curricula in
      >> the system while the rest of us struggle to survive. (they tend to act like
      >> empowered gate-keepers of Western civilization and "college" culture)
      >>> _____
      >>> From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Kip Waldo
      >>> Sent: Thu 5/5/2011 3:57 PM
      >>> To: SACC-L
      >>> Subject: Re: [SACC-L] end of anthro program at my community college
      >>> Mark,
      >>> I am sorry to hear that all your efforts face this assault.
      >>> I think the suggestions that have been made are good in buttressing your
      >> case. But, it will probably take more than a good argument, otherwise this
      >> kind of action wouldn't be taken. Who, in this day and age could question
      >> anthropology's contribution to our understanding of how humans occupy this
      >> planet and how we might find the way to continue?
      >>> I know you have built some powerful alliances over the years and have
      >> students who have benefited enormously from the program. If they can be
      >> mobilized, in any way, via emails, letters to the president and Board of
      >> Trustees (assuming that you have one) and maybe attend a Board meeting to
      >> voice their concerns and use every means they can muster, including press
      >> coverage, that could probably have an impact. Obviously you want to be
      >> supportive of the integrity and the mission of the college etc., etc. while
      >> conducting such a campaign which will allow your corporate shill to join the
      >> parade.
      >>> All the best to you.
      >>> kip
      >>> Kip Waldo
      >>> Anthropology Instructor
      >>> Chabot College
      >>> 25555 Hesperian Blvd.
      >>> Hayward, CA 94545
      >>> kwaldo@... <mailto:kwaldo%40chabotcollege.edu>
      >>> voice 510.723.6980
      >>>>>> "Mark Lewine" <mlewine@... <mailto:mlewine%40wowway.com> >
      >> 05/04/11 3:08 PM >>>
      >>> Our corporate president of what used to be a great community college has
      >> again decided to diminish anthropology in our time of resource
      >> scarcity...understand that my college, Cuyahoga Community College, has both
      >> a state support and a county levy support, that has kept us in financial
      >> stability while others suffer more. My 'replacement', Beth Hoag, has only a
      >> one term emergency lectureship that ends in May, has been doing the program
      >> coordinator work for free, now it is being done by a History professor. We
      >> have just learned that they will not even continue the lectureship. That
      >> means that the Anthro program at Tri-C, with its 15 sections of cultural,
      >> physical, archaeology, with its urban historical archaeology program, with
      >> its national awards for serving students, will now diminish with no support.
      >> She and the History prof. will fight for it and have asked for help in
      >> spelling out clearly "what could a full time anthro person do that a soc. or
      >> history
      >>> person couldn't in terms of the anthro program and associate's degree"
      >> and "why do we need a full-time anthropology professor at a community
      >> college". Please send me answers that I can give to her from you...a
      >> national case will help, they no longer listen to me. Thanks, Mark
      >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> ------------------------------------
      >> Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links
      > --
      > Kathleen Terry-Sharp
      > Director, Academic Relations
      > Director, Practicing and Applied Programs
      > American Anthropological Association
      > 2200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 600
      > Arlington, VA 22201
      > Tel: (888) 393-1141, Fax: (703) 528-3546
      > web: www.aaanet.org
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > ------------------------------------
      > Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links

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