Monday, August 20, 2007

Group Profile: The Cultural Anthropologists

[The next-to-last installation of a Monday series profiling Group of 88 members, which has included posts on miriam cooke, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Wahneema Lubiano, Pete Sigal, Grant Farred, Sally Deutsch, Joseph Harris, Paula McClain, Jocelyn Olcott, Irene Silverblatt, Maurice Wallace, Antonio Viego, and Kathy Rudy. The posts examine the scholarship and teaching of Group members, delving into the mindset of professors who last spring abandoned both the tenets of Duke’s Faculty Handbook and the academy’s traditional fidelity to due process. An item to keep in mind: in higher education, professors control the hiring process. The people profiled in this series will craft future job descriptions for Duke professors; and then, for positions assigned to their departments, select new hires.]

Only the African-American Studies (80 percent) and Women’s Studies (72.2 percent) programs had a higher percentage of their members sign the Group of 88’s statement than did the Cultural Anthropology Department, where 60 percent of the professors rushed to judgment last April.

Diane Nelson (B.A., Wellesley, Ph.D., Stanford) is a tenured associate professor in the department. She has published one book— A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincenntenial Guatemala—and lists other forthcoming projects, all from Duke University Press. The book, according to the University of California Press website, asks “Why use a body metaphor? What body is wounded, and how does it react to apparent further torture? If this is the condition of the body politic, how do human bodies relate to it—those literally wounded in thirty-five years of war and those locked in the equivocal embrace of sexual conquest, domestic labor, mestizaje, and social change movements?” The book, the press claims, “has special relevance to ongoing discussions of power, hegemony, and the production of subject positions, as well as gender issues and histories of violence as they relate to postcolonial nation-state formation.”

Nelson has taught such courses as “Cyborgs” (“an introduction to the emerging field of ‘cyborg anthropology’ which . . . melds ethnography, philosophy, film, science fiction, critical studies of science and technology, political economy, and feminist and anti-racist engagements with Big Science”); “Medical Anthropology” (where “ethic, power and the effects of inequality on health will be central, addressing gender, race, and national differentials in health rates; and asking what is the cure for so-called ‘diseases of poverty’?”); and “Cannibal Cultures” (which had “an emphasis on ethnicity/raciology, class, sexuality, and gender”). In other words: Race/Class/Gender: I, II, and III.

Nelson’s fall 2007 course, “Anthropology of Numbers,” deals with the same sorts of themes as her recent lecture, “Who Counts? Reckoning the After/Math of War in Guatemala.” She’s also produced such only-in-academia offerings as “Dispossession and Possession: The Maya, Identi/ties, and ‘Post’ War Guatemala”; “Phantom Limbs and Invisible Hands: Bodies, Prosthetics, and Late Capitalist Identities”; and “A Social Science Fiction of Fevers, Delirium and Discovery: The Calcutta Chromosome, the Colonial Laboratory, and the Postcolonial New Human.” (Nelson is fond of the trendy s/lash style of writing.)

Nelson has been a fixture in fringe protests on campus. In 2003, she walked out of class to protest the Bush administration’s foreign policy. (There’s an easy prep!) She has frequently invoked comparisons with World War II to justify her current foreign policy positions, though she often seemed to get her facts wrong. For instance, in 2003, she urged Chronicle readers to “actively make alternative histories,” as she observed how “massive unprovoked attacks on a sovereign nation, killing soldiers and civilians alike, were carried out by Germany against Poland and Austria.” (She offered the examples as an “analogy” to the U.S. war in Iraq.) Professor emeritus Lawrence Evans responded,

It may be, as Diane Nelson wrote, that we need “to actively make alternative histories.” She’s off to a good start when she asserts that in World War II Germany carried out an unprovoked attack on Austria. In 1938 Austria became part of Germany in a mostly non-violent coup aided by German troops. Austria then fought in WWII as part of Germany. Perhaps Nelson has an alternative story.

A few weeks later, Nelson compared herself to Danes who wore the Star of David in World War II—again taking liberties with the historical record. For someone so concerned with the fate of World War II Jews, she has shown far less concerns for Jews today: she has both signed and publicly endorsed a petition demanding that Duke divest from companies doing business with Israel on defense issues. (The petition made no such demand for divestment regarding companies doing business with any other country, including such nations with poor human rights records as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan.) Former Harvard president Larry Summers termed similar proposals on his campus “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent.”

In 2004, Nelson broadened her usual Nazi analogy, asserting that “the US in not Berlin 1941, but it bears striking similarities to 1933, and to Santiago, Chile 1973 [when General August Pinochet was about to assume power in a brutal military coup], and Buenos Aires, Argentina 1976, just before those countries descended into dirty wars.”

Nelson has every right to offer such utterances. But surely Duke alums have every right to question how a person who repeatedly makes such intellectually facile comparisons obtained a job at one of the nation’s leading universities?

Nelson has admitted that an ideological imbalance exists among Duke’s humanities faculty. In 2004, she responded the DCU study by asserting:

While there are important differences, we must keep in mind that the Democrats and Republicans show negligible divergence on major domestic and foreign policy issues . . . Given this, I also want to know, where is the diversity? Where are the Greens, Labour, the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, the Communists, the Workers Party, the Black Panthers, Puerto Rican independistas, etc...? Where is the truly wide range of partisan organizing that, across the globe, offers diversity in imagining options for the future?

Imagine if the DCU’s findings had revealed the opposite total among Duke’s humanities faculty (i.e.: 142 registered Republicans, eight registered Democrats). Does anyone believe Nelson would have been so blasé about the findings, perhaps speculating that the real problem was that Duke lacked a sufficient number of Fascists, clericalists, and monarchists?

Shortly before the lacrosse party, Nelson was back in the news, this time for heckling David Horowitz when the conservative speaker came to campus. Pratt student Ben Grant had an appropriate response:

It’s one thing to disagree with Horowitz; I certainly do as do many others. It’s another thing altogether to attend a University as esteemed as Duke and not be able to get to hear every side of every issue. The immature behavior of Nelson and her comrades was absolutely astounding to me and many of my friends. Interrupting while Horowitz was speaking, not allowing his voice to be heard and making a mockery of the concept of free speech—I truly am astounded these are professors at the school that I love and attend . . . I speak for myself and many of my friends when I say that it was truly embarrassing to Duke as a collective body of mature, free-thinking adults to witness a professor act in such a juvenile, unprofessional manner.

Even though Nelson’s behavior contradicted provisions of the Faculty Handbook, she does not seem to have experienced any disciplinary action.

In the lacrosse affair, Nelson was one of five Group members to speak at the “Shut Up and Teach” forum. The Chronicle’s Naureen Khan described Nelson’s presentation:

To demonstrate the importance of articulating one’s views and connecting with the public, Nelson passed around string that linked members of the audience to one another. As she spoke of repression, she hacked off the connecting string to emphasize how such actions cut people off from one another.

While kindergarten teachers nationally doubtless use such stratagems, college professors might be expected to produce something a little more substantive.

A few weeks later, Nelson and Group member Pedro Lasch complained to the Chronicle that the Group had been victims of a “conspiracy.” Peopled by whom? Orchestrated by whom? For what purpose? Through what tactics?

Nelson supplied no details—perhaps in keeping with her preference for professors “actively mak[ing] alternative histories.” Facts, after all, can be inconvenient things.


Nelson’s colleague, Rebecca Stein, also signed both the Group statement and the “clarifying” letter. She is author of the forthcoming Itineraries in Conflict: The Political Life of Tourism in Israel and the Middle East. A critic of “dominant Jewish Israeli popular culture” (which, she argued in a 2000 essay, “has sought to defend the cultural integrity of Israel, to shore up its Jewishness and to preserve the fantasy of a Euro-Jewish nation-state”), Stein has championed alternative conceptions of culture in the area.

Stein has especially celebrated the “resistive work” of Israeli Arab rap and hip-hop artists Dam and MWR—who, she asserted, highlighted issues of “Israeli-Jewish racism.”

In a 2004 article, in what she herself conceded was a “polemic,” Stein and a colleague lamented the “marginalization of culture in radical scholarship on Palestine and Israel.” The goal of their efforts, they wrote, is “to broaden understanding of the terrain of power in Palestine and Israel and thereby the possible arenas and modalities of struggle.” The duo praised efforts of British scholars to “rethink classical Marxist paradigms and analytics with a view toward expending the terrain of what constitutes power and struggle.”

Though Stein has spent a lot of time talking about “culture,” she has shown little interest in examining how “culture” is passed down to schoolchildren in the Palestinian territories. (Indoctrination by groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, of course, would be very difficult to blame on “Israeli-Jewish racism.”) Instead, she is interested in challenging the “dominant map of the nation-state, historically predicated on forced Palestinian absence—materially from their land, and figuratively from official Israeli histories and public discourses.”

To interject: Stein (commenting on her area of academic specialty) was describing a state in which Israeli Arab citizens have full voting rights (12 currently serve in the 120-member Knesset, including the Knesset speaker and the minister without portfolio in Ehud Olmert’s government). Israeli Arabs also have the right to own land and considerable autonomy over the education of their children. And, of course, this is a state in which the Israeli Arab rap and hip-hop artists whose work Stein considers so important have freedom to perform.

Stein also has critiqued what she termed in 2004 the “pervasive fear (real and imagined) of random Palestinian violence” in Ariel Sharon’s Israel. In the essay, she did not precisely define what she meant by the term “imagined” fear, but she addressed the issue in a 2005 interview. Scholars have debated what caused the start of the second “intifada” and the demise of the Oslo peace process: some have blamed provocative actions by Ariel Sharon; others have pointed to Yasir Arafat’s willingness to tolerate (or even encourage) suicide-murder attacks against Israeli civilians. Stein suggested a third explanation . . . Israeli (Jewish) racism.

It’s worth noting that, at the time of her writing, Palestinian militant groups had an official policy of “random” violence—targeting civilian non-combatants, and especially women and children—through suicide-murder attacks. Between 2000 and 2005, there were 147 terrorist attacks in Israel, killing more than 800 Israeli civilians, including 119 minors. To Stein, these actions produced a "radical shift to the right" in Israel. In fact, of course, Ariel Sharon governed largely from the center, so much so that his actions splintered the conservative Likud Party and the creation of a new centrist party, Kadima. Stein's listeners never would have known.

Stein has taught courses such as “Space, Place, and Power” (in which “we will pay particular attention to issues of gender, class, sexuality, and race and the situated political and historical contexts of space and space-making”); and “Travel, Gender, and Power” (which addressed such politically correct questions as “What is the relationship between gender, travel, and power? Can travel be a subversive act? . . . And how do issues of race, class, and sexuality complicate these questions? . . . We will take tourism as our lens to investigate the relationship between globalization and mobility, sex and power, ‘authenticity’ and commodification . . . to build a critical discussion about gender and mobility”).

Stein also has sponsored a House course called “Nonviolent Activism in Israel & Palestine,” which explored such issues as “What is ‘creative extremism?’” and “When is violence justified?”

Stein made quite clear her approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict in 2004, when she was the only Duke professor to be on the announced pre-conference schedule for the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s conference on the Duke campus.*

The PSM opposes what it terms the “racist and apartheid” state of Israel, and has declined calls to criticize suicide-murder attacks, noting that “as a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.” PSM conferences have passed resolutions affirming that “Zionism is racism” and declaring “solidarity with the popular resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid.” The organizer of the Duke conference, Rann Bar-on—who later co-founded the potbangers’ organization in the lacrosse case—declined, when pressed, to criticize Palestinian suicide-murder attacks.

Asked to comment on the PSM’s stated positions, Stein demurred, telling the Chronicle, “The charge of terrorism has been a genuine distraction from the issues.” The Stein-sponsored House course assigned 20 pages of “field reports” from the PSM’s parent organization, the International Solidarity Movement.

As with Nelson’s peculiar invocations of history, Stein had every right to present at the PSM conference, even if she exercised questionable judgment by doing so. But imagine the (appropriate) outrage from Duke alums or from Stein’s colleagues if she had presented at, say, a high-profile conference organized by the KKK, or by Operation Rescue.

One thing can be sure: such a professor would not have attracted the support of her politically correct colleagues. Yet, in this case, to rebut criticism about the PSM affair, Diane Nelson and (of course . . .) Wahneema Lubiano created the Duke Radical Action Group, which the Chronicle reported took “a position of strong support for the conference.”

Lubiano described the group’s aim: “This summer Diane Nelson and I thought: ‘Why don’t we try to hone a larger group of people who have political interests and want to be engaged in both support of student actives and from our own vantage points?’”

The remark rather sounds like the mindset that created the Group of 88. Indeed, Stein and Nelson were two of the most easily predicted signatories of the statement.


The Cultural Anthropology Department also houses such Group members as Ralph Litzinger and Anne Allison (“Group of 88 for Credit”); “clarifying” professor Charlie Piot, who in February stated that the Group of 88’s blog critics should “shut up”; and anti-lacrosse extremist Orin Starn. Starn sought to exploit the case to forward his agenda of transforming Duke into the Haverford of the Triangle—including by publishing a fall 2006 op-ed that could have been a rough draft of Mike Nifong’s opening statement in a lacrosse trial—even as he privately e-mailed one of the accused students expressing sympathy and offering his support.

With “supporters” like Starn, Nelson, and Stein, why would Duke students need detractors?

*--modified for clarity, taking into account a commenter's recollection of the event


«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 235 of 235
Anonymous said...


People/government take and/or "give away" land all of the time. Examples from the 20th century include, but are not limited to, the decisions made at the Paris Peace Conference (see especially Hungary), decisions made at the Munich Conference, and variety of decisions made during the war, the Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Indonesian occupation of Timor, the division of the Indian subcontinet, Central/Eastern European land reforms...

And your point was? Land belongs to itself.

One Spook said...

Steve Horwitz writes:

"I do NOT want politicians mucking around in higher ed, even state-financed higher ed, in those sorts of ways. After all, they are so good at everything else that they do...

That's all well and good, however, the Federal Government has been "mucking around in higher ed" for quite some time; nearly 40 years. They call it "affirmative action" and "diversity" (See Grutter v Bollinger et al).

Of course this "mucking around" is quite "OK" with most university administrators because it fits their worldview (See: Race, Class, Gender).

But, when the military wants to recruit at law schools and universities in accordance with the Solomon amendment, a federal law that allows the Secretary of Defense to deny federal grants (including research grants) to institutions of higher education if they prohibit or prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus, that, according to some universities, is NOT "OK."

Harvard University, for example, receives $400 million per year in federal funding, but refuses to allow military recruiters on campus, in direct violation of the law. Harvard uses the lame argument that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals (enacted by former President Clinton),is a policy that they believe conflicts with their non-discrimination policies.

Like many leftist-controlled institutions, Harvard only follows the Federal laws they "like" because those laws fit their worldview ... you know ... due process for students, Solomon amendment ... take your pick!

One Spook

One Spook said...

Anon at 1:40 writes:

In Latin American, try, for example, the civilization in coastal Peru that developed--apparently--without the use of clay pottery. Don't believe me, check with the Field Museum in Chicago.

Yes, uh-huh, and it was this civilization that later developed clay pottery emblazoned with symbols of penises and vaginas so that folks could remember fondly how their civilization had developed BEFORE such fancy things as pottery ...

I just KNEW I could make this relevant!

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:42,

For me it's not the fact that she's wearing a shirt, tie, and coat, it's the fact that the shirt is wrinkled (look at the collar), the tie isn't tied correctly, her hair looks like it hasn't been washed in weeks, and her eyes look like she's been smoking some powerful skunk herb before breakfast. In short, she looks like a cross-dressing street bum working on her Dean Martin shtick.

Now, Horowitz makes a decent point that one can't judge a book by its cover, but it's also true that first impressions are often correct. Thus, I maintain that for Nelson to leave that photo up is an example of poor judgment, on her part as well as Duke's. (How hard would it be for her to get another, better one to put up? Hell, she probably makes a 6 figure salary.) But then, look at the standards set by the Dept. chair. These are not people I would have a lot of confidence in vis-a-vis serious scholarship. Heck, our artists and most nerdy geeks at least have the common sense to wear clean and pressed smocks, berets, shirts, and in the case of the nerds, to lose the pocket liners when facing the public.

Anonymous said...

We all make statements - whether intentional or not - by how we dress and for the occasion we are dressing. When I dress for court (yes, I'm an attorney), I wear tailored suits in neutral colors, usually pants, but if skirts, of a modest length. Rather than have a judge, my adversary or my client pay any attention to my fashion, I attempt to have all focus on my arguments. When I attend a social function, my fashion is less tailored and more colorful (but still modest - which is my personal preference). I suspect that Prof. Nelson chose her look for the photo posted on the Duke site for the occasion. Prof. Nelson may be making a conscious statement about the uselessness of fashion. She perhaps wants to impart a sense of disregard for outward appearances as a way of stating that she rather have all focus upon what she has to say. (That so many are paying so much attention to her dress rather than to her scholarship - or lack thereof - would indicate that if disregard of her appearance was her goal, she has failed.) She may very well have a definite sense of style which includes a conscious disregard for ever-changing fashion. If so, can we say she is any different than Queen Elizabeth II about whom it is often remarked does not dress fashionably, but always dresses to her personal style.

Fashion is fleeting, but style is everlasting.

Anonymous said...


You didn't make your posting relavant and you made a fool of yourself. Why don't you just disappear, spook that you are.

This civilization didn't develop pottery because it didn't need it.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong, 3:42. Entire computer science departments are nerdy and don't wash their hair. What are you thinking?

Which artists are you thinking of who have the common sense to wear clean and pressed smocks? Are you being silly or just ignorant?

That woman's hair doesn't look dirty particularly. It looks braided. And her eyes? How do you know why her eyes look as they do?

What are you, the fashion police?

Anonymous said...

12:35 Sticking to the facts is so European. Whatever are you talking about?

You think economics professors dress well? I guess we have really different standards for well dressed.

Again, I have no issue with cultural anthropologists or anyone else who wants to dress as they choose. I'd frankly rather see a wide variety of dress on campus than the more limited "professional" look that many here seem to want. But, if we're going to be professional, I'm expecting Church's shoes and Hermes ties from all of you fashionistas. If you can't put up, shut up.

Anonymous said...

Dear 4:57,

When I was in grad school, we used to laugh at the female law students because they looked like "junior boys." They all wore pin-striped suits to class. I felt sorry for them. No chance for style!!!

I always tell my students to dress up for court if they want a chance of getting out of whatever the charge is. That's a pretty sad statement about how people are judged. One you confirm by the description of your dress.

While I suspect you're correct that the professor in question is making a fashion/style statement, I find it less of a problem than most of the posters here. Indeed, I didn't even notice her fashion faux pas.

Given the sharpness of the comments posted here, I would never permit my photograph to be posted and I would discourage others from it as well. Besides, Fools' names like fools' faces always appear in public places.

Debrah said...

TO 12:35PM--

A simply magnificent post.

Anonymous said...

Yuk to all of this. You guys must not have very busy lives.

These so-called "Cultural Anthropologists" should be REQUIRED to go live in some of their esteemed countries for 5 years.

Let them go to Afghanistan and do some REAL research, instead of hiding behind their desks and ivory towers and writing about subjects that are so esoteric that they have not benefit to anybody except the logging industry ( if their nerdy writings happen to end up published) or the navel-gazing colleagues.

Duke University need to re-think its whole hiring process.

Well... "rethinking" is NOT what is likely to happen there for a LONG LONG time.

I am so ashamed of them ( and of some of these mundane posts) that I am about to start telling people that I went to Duke back when it was about real scholarship.

Not now. Not today.



One Spook said...

Anon @ 4:58 writes:

Why don't you just disappear, spook that you are.

Sorry, I'm not that kind of spook; I'm the kind that can make you disappear.

Now, why don't you just run along and go play with your pottety and leave the discussion to the adults.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

TO: 5:35

"I always tell my students to dress up for court if they want a chance of getting out of whatever the charge is."

who are you teaching that you need to give lessons on proper court attire for criminal charges?

fun story: when serving as a law clerk for a judge assigned to the criminal division, a defendant appeared for his sentencing hearing wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with a large marijuana leaf. clearly not a student of yours. despite his odd fashion choice, his sentence was fair and appropriate.


Anonymous said...


I agree with you! That's why throughout my life I have looked for classic styles in clothing and shoes, etc. Some things never go out of style...and there seems to be a high correlation between style and quality. There is nothing quite like a tailor-made merino wool suit, Egyptian cotton button-down shirt (also custom made), an Hermes tie and all-leather Alden shoes (well polished of course)...a simple signet ring (at least 14 carat) with one's family crest ... aftershave and grooming with Kiehl's ... hair neatly trimmed and combed. And a twinkle in one's eye, a steady gaze, impeccable manners and a firm handshake.

God, ... if only I could afford all that and hide my double chin.

Anonymous said...

One Spook...question...were you with the foreign service or CIA? or other intelligence agency...even KBG or Stasi? (ha)

My son has expressed an interest. Does he need to be fluent in a foreign langauge?

Debrah said...

All that family crest crap gives me the creeps.

Half the time it's a faux history attached by some crazy aunt whose talent is historical embellishment.

Debrah said...

I still have an Hermes scarf that was a romantic gift when I was 21....and it's still like new.

It's so versatile that I used to use it as a hip wrap over a swimsuit.

So, yes, quality counts...and like quality people.....never go out of style.


Anonymous said...


Family crests have been substantially cheapened by anyone in the US who claims a right to display a coat of arms. The right to display a coat of arms does not extend over the ocean. Those presumtuous enough to display them are like the person who claims their family was in Virginia before Jamestowne...unless of native American heritage, simply balderdash.

But coats-of-arms and crests still make nice rings.

Anonymous said...

"... if only I could afford all that and hide my double chin."

I'm sure you wear your double chin well.


Debrah said...

To "inman"--

Well, I was here first. LOL!

Danced across the Siberian Strait.

Part of my ancestry is Cherokee Indian.


I taught you how to grow corn.


Anonymous said...

I ran across a very interesting web site for all those who would like to learn about race and slavery in America

"There are many ways that human beings divide themselves up. Class is one, [and] gender, race, ethnicity. There's a number of ways that people divide themselves up."

Timothy H. Breen
William Smith Mason Professor of American History
Northwestern University

Anonymous said...

Debrah, you minx,

I bet it was pop corn!

Even so, we invented the popcorn butter substitute and seasoning.

Anonymous said...

Also, Debrah,

I bet your family looked really chic in their woolly mammoth togs. Ralph "Lifschitz" Lauren, eat your Homo Sapien heart out, for Debrah's Cro Magnon designers were WAY ahead of their time.

Fur no less!

Debrah said...

To "inman"--


In the immortal, gutteral words of Claus Von Bulow:

"You have no idea."

My mother was the Joan Collins of the town and a clothes horse. My father had to go around to her various "accounts" and ask them to stop her.


Good news: She's a lot older now and my excruciately BORING att'y brother is "handling" her. I don't get along with either of them.

Oh.....if only we could sometimes be born....without family to endure.

ROTFLM-T's-O !!!

One Spook said...

inman @ 6:36 writes:

My son has expressed an interest. Does he need to be fluent in a foreign langauge?

No, but it helps. These days I might recommend Farsi.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Dear thinks-you're-so-smart-at -just-after-one...

In Latin American, try, for example, the civilization in coastal Peru that developed--apparently--without the use of clay pottery. Don't believe me, check with the Field Museum in Chicago.

Ok, dooofffusssssssssssssssss?

BTW, did you devlop an extraordinarily large mouth to put your feet in or is your foot, like your brain, small???

8/21/07 1:40 PM

Our would-be professor must have missed the last four words from this sentence of the press release by the Field Museum: "CHICAGO - New radiocarbon dates of plant fibers indicate that the site of Caral (120 miles north of Lima, Peru) was home to the earliest known urban settlement ... in the New World." The press release goes on to explain, "The surprising evidence pushes the development of these important advances in the Americas back to as early as 2627 B.C."

Now, this moron's original claim (based apparently on some racist need to belittle European accomplishments) was, "And, the earliest civilizations were not necessarily in Europe, home of the `white` man, but rather in today's Latin America.

It's generally agreed that the earliest civilizations began about 10,000 years ago -- that is, about 8000 BC See, i.e., Civilization makes its debut (8000 - 3000 BC). This Field Museum Latin American civilization dates to 2627 BC. With a little math we can see that 2627 BC is 5,373 years from 8000 BC, but 2627 BC is only 4,634 years from now, 2007 AD. Thus this Latin American civilization began 739 years closer to now than it did to the "earliest civilization". Is our anonymous would-be history professor is extending the definition of "earliest civilizations" to include those which began nearer to today than to civilization's origins?

While we are at it, we also find that Europe's "earliest civilization" was established about 4700 BC -- that is, about 2,000 years earlier than the perfesser's Latin American champion. Dead White Males Did It First

Finally about my foot, perfesser, you can tell the doctor how big it is after we do the three-legged race to the hospital.

R.R. Hamilton

One Spook said...

Debrah, draped in a Hermes scarf, writes @ 8:16:

Part of my ancestry is Cherokee Indian.


I hear there may be an opening at the University of Colorado ...

Debrah said...

Way back (zzzzzzzzzz years ago) when I took several anthropology courses, all of my professors were very casual in their dress.

Perhaps deliberately.

Or perhaps they were often out in the field working on digs...or in the basement sorting through boxes of materials for numerous exhibits...which would have made "dressing up" a wasted endeavor.

From what I've gleaned so far, the anthropology profs in this 88 series sport their mufti attire because of lazy affectation.

Debrah said...

To "inman"--

You know, we should apologize to KC for all this more-than-one-needs-to-know personal information.

It's easy to get carried away.

Sorry. :>)

Anonymous said...

"After reading and re-reading Houston Baker's response to my Email the followoing became crystal clear:
2. The rape and assault allegations against him were likely true."

And even if they weren't, whatever he did do was surely bad enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:06 PM said...

....Finally, lets see you praise the League of Nations or the UN when they decide to give up YOUR land in order to remedy the horrific acts of a random nation that had nothing to do with you. Sure you'd be happy with that.

During WW I, the idea developed that the problem of nationalism could be solved, in part, by breaking up the huge multi-national empires, like Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empires in particular. "Must every language have its own country?" Clemenseau is said to have asked Pres. Wilson -- to which Wilson's at least implied answer was "yes".

So, when every other little nationality in Europe and the Middle East (think here of the Estonians and the Kuwaitis) was getting its own country, it was impossible to ignore the Jews who (1) had long historical ties to the Turkish-ruled lands (particularly Jerusalem, which had a Jewish plurality, if not a majority) in which the Jews wanted "a national home", and (2) Jewish financiers had provided much of the money support for the Allies.

The fact is, the Arabs, had they been willing to negotiate at the end of the Turkish-rule, could have confined the Jewish National Home to a small coastal strip between Tel-Aviv and Haifa. It was by choosing War that the Arabs lost their lands. IMO, they cannot now be heard to complain about suffering the normal consequences of losing a war of choice.

Debrah said...

To Spook--


Good one.

The only difference would be--part of my ancestry really is!

Churchill is as much American Indian--I don't use Native American because it's a bureaucratic invention--as Jerry Springer.


Steven Horwitz said...

Ralph Phelan gets the LOL of the day with:

"2. The rape and assault allegations against [Houston Baker] were likely true."

And even if they weren't, whatever he did do was surely bad enough.

Very nice indeed.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Debrah @ 9:27,

I thought this was an up-close-and-personal blog...

Please don't confuse me, for I am easily addled.

Oh, and by the way, I thought the English were native Americans!?!

ROTFLM-T's-O !!!

In my case, you've really have to wonder what the "T"'s are....

(damn that hurts)

Debrah said...

I hope KC has something exciting at midnight.

I'm drowning in an ocean of anticipation.

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 235 of 235   Newer› Newest»