Nicholas Wade Writes Again—And Again Anthropology Pays Attention

Nicholas Wade has a new book out, and the Anthropologists are sharpening their indignation—complaining because he treads on their private territory.  Sorry, anthro, you are not medicine or law, and do not have a monopoly over who practices what you preach.  Let it go.  Sometimes I think that the entire discipline is beset by a big-time inferiority complex

The solution?  Simply do good anthropology, and more importantly, promote good anthropology.  That might mean assigning Nigel Barley’s The Innocent Anthropologist, Jonathan Marks book What it Means to be 98% Chimpanzee, Carol Stack’s All Our Kin, W. E.B. DuBois The Souls of Black Folk, and so forth.  Durkheim, Marx, Wollstonecraft, and Malinowski are also more worthy of your precious classroom time.  Talk about such books in your classes, have students read them, and stop wasting time setting up the strawmen of Nicholas Wade, Jared Diamond, and others you may not like.

Strawmen. Are. Not. Worth. Class. Time. Of. Which. There. Is. Too Little.

BTW, I assigned The Innocent Anthropologist this semester to a senior seminar in Social Science and again had a great response—so good that I’m going to try it out with a lower division International Engagement class next semester.  Barley is great because not only can you critique the limitations to functionalism, you can also talk about the nature of empathy, humility, cultural relativism, and ethnography.

And in a final BTW, if you want to see some posts here at Ethnography.com from the last time Wade published a book, they are here, and here.  From way back in 2007.

2 Responses to “Nicholas Wade Writes Again—And Again Anthropology Pays Attention”

  1. […] – Nicholas Wade Writes Again – And Again Anthropology Pays Attention from tony waters @ethnography.com – […]

  2. Tony says:

    Anthropology seems very restrained in their response to Nicholas Wade, this time. The heat and the fury seem be becoming from the “HBD” crowd, who are biological reductionists claiming that genetics=race=culture.

    Still haven’t seen Marks’ 98% Chimpanzee book cited. This book strikes me as being very relevant to all this heat and fury, and it speaks the languages of both Genetics and Anthropology. I would urge any of you HBD folk visiting this page (and it looks like there a lot of you judging from the number of hits this post is getting), to have a look! http://www.amazon.com/What-Means-98-Chimpanzee-People/dp/0520240642

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