Saturday, September 6, 2008

In Memory of...

I just received Melissa Brown's edited volume "Explaining Culture Scientifically" which was published by the University of Washington Press. The title of the book is interesting as it is either oxymoronic (given how most anthropologists treat the concept culture) or redundant (given how some of the folks in the book treat culture). Actually, the book contains discussion and examples of both interpretations.

Most interestingly, the books dedication is to the Department of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford University. This now defunct attempt at carving out an anthropology that has distinctly scientific goals, was once a bright example of the different products embedded in the quagmire that is Anthropology. Sadly, much of the engine behind the splitting of the "cultural" and "scientific" anthropology was composed of ill-fitting personalities rather than central principles. Still, for many of us, it was a bold statement. Quite fittingly, the dedication reads:

In memory of

the Department of Anthropological Sciences

at Stanford University


with hopes that what might have bloomed there

will find other soil in which to grow.

Here, here.


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