Friday, May 8, 2009

Reason Number 5,782,496 Why Anthropologists Are a Pain in the Ass

Conversation on the way to the photocopier:

Psych person anxious to share with me his desire to spread the gospel of Service Learning: "My students had such a good experience helping to build homes for Katrina victims in New Orleans when we went a couple of years ago. It really gave them perspective on their lives. It really achieved what I wanted. They really felt sorry for those people."

Pamthropologist: "I am not really sure I want my students feeling sorry for people, that whole superiority thing, you know."

Psych person: "What do you mean?"

Pamthropologist sliding further down the hall and feeling awk...ward having only just realized where this was going because she was too busy wondering if the copier had been fixed and forgot to be diplomatic and was her usual blunt self: "Well, you know, my discipline isn't really comfortable with the idea of creating an us/them perspective which pits the "other" as the victim. We kind of like the idea of meeting as equals. Plus, we aren't, necessarily, into the whole idea of having students have "emotional" experiences. We look at things a bit more analytically. Oh my, look at the time must get this done."


R.A. said...

ah, don't worry, the psych person will just label you as having preliminary symptoms of postmodern depression, or maybe "borderline functionalist personality."

Socect said...

I like/agree with the perspective... but I wonder; our discipline doesn't like to set up an us/them othering perspective? Why do I keep hearing (from anthropologists!) that "anthropology is the study of the other"? I'd always thought it was the study (-ology) of humans (anthrops). Sadly, I think we still have a very, very long way to go before (if ever?) anthropologist get off their Kipling-esque (neo)colonial high-horse (and as well, long before those who make their living regurgiating the (neo)colonial critique allow the discipline to move on).

missivesfrommarx said...

Hahaha! Awesome.