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Re: [SACC-L] Interesting Article: A Radical Anthropologist Finds Himself in Academic 'Exile'

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  • Lloyd Miller
    Nikki, I found this article fascinating, and the ensuing comments even more so, and don t you let it depress you! In addition to a poor job market, David
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 17, 2013
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      Nikki, I found this article fascinating, and the ensuing comments even more so, and don't you let it depress you! In addition to a poor job market, David Graeber is fighting a battle that has more to do with politics and the current state of our national mood of extremism than with his considerable academic credentials. Even if he walked on water (and perhaps comes closest among anthropologists to doing so, in my opinion), he would probably not have gotten hired in the US because he tells the truth. Truth-telling without the polished edges, as Laura Nader said (one who tells the truth but without the rough edges), is anathema to "collegiality," a euphemism for "do as we do and don't rock the boat."

      Graeber is preceded by both Ashley Montagu and Margaret Mead, neither of whom taught regularly as tenured faculty in anthropology departments (Montagu was on Rutger University's medical faculty; Mead worked at the American Museum of Natural History and taught as an adjunct at Fordham and Columbia Universities). They nonetheless managed to analyze society truthfully and in critically constructive ways in larger public venues more than other anthropologists in their time. My own sense was that many anthropologists felt threatened by them and were jealous of them for their relative popularity and fame. I was privileged to observe this first-hand several times. So Graeber's lot may be to follow Montagu and Mead as an anthropological gadfly sans the comfortable collegiality of an American anthropology department.

      You, I think, will eventually get that job you're seeking, and you deserve it. Hang in there!

      Lloyd



      On Apr 16, 2013, at 9:21 PM, Nikki Ives wrote:

      > If this guy can't get a full-time job in the U.S./Canada with his teaching and publishing record, I'm doomed (and I'm not even radical)! This is so depressing...
      >
      > http://chronicle.com/article/A-Radical-Anthropologist-Finds/138499/?key=SD0lKVdjYnoZbHxgZmxCZDwAPHRoOUh1MXIeby4sbl5QGQ%3D%3D
      >
      > Nikki
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mark Lewine
      Nikki, as usual, Lloyd is clear and correct...I just want to add one thing from my experience...my state and college is generally negative about anthropology
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 18, 2013
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        Nikki, as usual, Lloyd is clear and correct...I just want to add one thing
        from my experience...my state and college is generally negative about
        anthropology and has been for some time...those who were successful at
        getting a full-time tenured job in anthro had to actively and personally
        create a program with strategic planning. In my case, I started with
        finding an academic administrator who was international and understood the
        need to learn cultures and languages in a global society...he was political
        and pragmatic, so I met with him for a series of informal breakfast chats
        off-campus to discuss how the college could gain from appointing an ethnic
        community leader advisory group, an Intercultural Community Council, which
        would have an anthropologist (me) and an administrator as staff to organize
        its activities for the benefit of advancing the educational needs of ethnic
        communities at our community college. (I pointed out that such a group
        could help our international bilingual/multilingual students as community
        mentors, help the college pass educational initiatives and communicate our
        programs to their communities, help us with raising scholarship funds for
        their community residents, etc.) This group helped get acceptance for
        building our anthropology program as an external community force is most
        influential with community college boards and administrators. I then found
        one Dean on my campus who agreed to be a campus partner in building our
        anthropology curricula and instruction. (I was then teaching 1 cultural
        section and 4 sociology courses as I have a Master's in both soc. and
        anthro.) So, I kept my community advisory group active and working with
        perhaps 4 phone calls a week to our leadership, and one letter sent to each
        member each term...always asking them "what they thought of...and giving
        them clear choices among anthro supporting activities..." and also made some
        longterm friendships that became cultural/linguistic field advisors. I made
        sure that we invited our college Academic Vice President for our annual
        wrap-up meeting in June, and we would always have an exchange of gifts from
        college to Council President, and from Council President to College V.P.
        Our dean would always be present at these meetings if possible or get the
        minutes so that she would understand that her boss, the Acad. V.P. was there
        approving of us. I always made sure that we had an International Business
        program event once a year, and involved our Hospitality Management Program
        and our excellent Music Program in our meetings, to support ethnic food and
        culture, as well as global intercultural business. As Math is almost always
        mostly international/intercultural in its faculty, we would always invite
        them to participate in our annual meeting. Eventually, our Anthro Club and
        the Math dept. developed an intercultural pot luck once a year that was
        fantastic! Finally, when the time was ripe, I drafted a Strategic Five Year
        PLan for a full Anthropology Program with steady growth toward a 3 field
        freshman and sophomore level courses...and that was before web courses. We
        ended with a 14 section program, a Program Coordinator role, one full-time
        prof., 4 part-timers with sub-field specialties and instructional skills
        needed...(lab, tech, multi-media, etc.)

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Lloyd Miller
        Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:28 AM
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting Article: A Radical Anthropologist Finds
        Himself in Academic 'Exile'

        Nikki, I found this article fascinating, and the ensuing comments even more
        so, and don't you let it depress you! In addition to a poor job market,
        David Graeber is fighting a battle that has more to do with politics and the
        current state of our national mood of extremism than with his considerable
        academic credentials. Even if he walked on water (and perhaps comes closest
        among anthropologists to doing so, in my opinion), he would probably not
        have gotten hired in the US because he tells the truth. Truth-telling
        without the polished edges, as Laura Nader said (one who tells the truth but
        without the rough edges), is anathema to "collegiality," a euphemism for "do
        as we do and don't rock the boat."

        Graeber is preceded by both Ashley Montagu and Margaret Mead, neither of
        whom taught regularly as tenured faculty in anthropology departments
        (Montagu was on Rutger University's medical faculty; Mead worked at the
        American Museum of Natural History and taught as an adjunct at Fordham and
        Columbia Universities). They nonetheless managed to analyze society
        truthfully and in critically constructive ways in larger public venues more
        than other anthropologists in their time. My own sense was that many
        anthropologists felt threatened by them and were jealous of them for their
        relative popularity and fame. I was privileged to observe this first-hand
        several times. So Graeber's lot may be to follow Montagu and Mead as an
        anthropological gadfly sans the comfortable collegiality of an American
        anthropology department.

        You, I think, will eventually get that job you're seeking, and you deserve
        it. Hang in there!

        Lloyd



        On Apr 16, 2013, at 9:21 PM, Nikki Ives wrote:

        > If this guy can't get a full-time job in the U.S./Canada with his teaching
        > and publishing record, I'm doomed (and I'm not even radical)! This is so
        > depressing...
        >
        > http://chronicle.com/article/A-Radical-Anthropologist-Finds/138499/?key=SD0lKVdjYnoZbHxgZmxCZDwAPHRoOUh1MXIeby4sbl5QGQ%3D%3D
        >
        > Nikki
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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