A couple of months ago I spent the evening at CSU Fresno with students and faculty and we had a wonderful wide ranging conversation about anthropology, ethics, war, peace and a few minutes on circumcision just for good measure.
One of the questions we asked ourselves was who is really working on the most pressing issues of the day? Do we really need another study on gender and identity as expressed among pre-schoolers when the ice cap is turning to a slushie? How is anthropology addressing the issues of global warming in a very tactical, practical way? I don’t mean yet another Marxist creed about how global warming is the fault of all us bastards that watch TV and shop in the local market. How can anthropology help policy makers understand why going green is a tough row to hoe for the average consumer, and how we can we make it easier?
What are the other big issues we are dealing with: recession, health care crisis, the public schools, elder care, oh and there is the whole war deal.
But anthropologists need to stop screeching about the evil doers, and actually get into the game.
Look, we can put the issues of the gender identity of pre-schoolers on the back burner for a few years. They don’t want to float away anymore than the rest of us.