Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 20, 2013

What the press is saying about Napoleon Chagnon

Filed under: Yanomami — louisproyect @ 3:23 pm

Napoleon Chagnon

The best place to start is with Emily Eakin’s piece in the Sunday NY Times Magazine that provides a good background. Titled “How Napoleon Chagnon Became Our Most Controversial Anthropologist”, the article can best be described as damning with faint praise. She makes sure to identify the mistakes made by Patrick Tierney in his “Darkness in El Dorado,” a book that Chagnon blames for destroying his reputation, but he could hardly be happy with her reporting:

Chagnon strides into the middle of a shabono in a loincloth and faded high tops and strikes a warrior pose — a bearded Tarzan aping his subjects, to their audible delight.

A bearded Tarzan aping his subjects? This is hardly the metaphor that a man of science should welcome although it does strike at the heart of darkness imagery that defines Chagnon’s career. As evident in his writings, Chagnon enjoyed lording it over the tiny Yanomami men. Is it any surprise that his sociobiological “Naked Ape” predilections inspired him to develop an “alpha male” relationship with those he was studying?

Meanwhile the Sunday Times Book Review didn’t bother with any faint praise business and went straight for Tarzan’s jugular. Columbia University professor of anthropology and gender studies Elizabeth Povinelli seethes:

For him, the “burly, naked, sweaty, hideous” Yanomamö stink and produce enormous amounts of “dark green snot.” They keep “vicious, underfed growling dogs,” engage in brutal “club fights” and — God forbid! — defecate in the bush. By the time the reader makes it to the sections on the Yanomamö’s political organization, migration patterns and sexual practices, the slant of the argument is evident: given their hideous society, understanding the real disaster that struck these people matters less than rehabilitating Chagnon’s soiled image.

Although I have little use for the editorial decisions of Sam Tanenhaus, the neoconservative editor of the Sunday Times book review section, I almost sent him a dozen roses for assigning Professor Povinelli.

As is often the case with the N.Y. Times, unless you are Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, multiple reviews of your book will yield different conclusions. In the Science section on Tuesday, February 18, 2013, Nicholas Wade was positively glowing:

After overtaxing one of his informants, the shaman Dedeheiwä, about the reason for a succession of village fissions into smaller hostile groups, Dr. Chagnon found himself rebuked with the outburst, “Don’t ask such stupid questions! Women! Women! Women! Women! Women!”

Dr. Chagnon’s legacy… is that he was able to gain a deep insight into the last remaining tribe living in a state of nature. “Noble Savages” is a remarkable testament to an engineer’s 35-year effort to unravel the complex working of an untouched human society.

I am surprised that Chagnon did not report that the shaman told him, “Broads! Broads! Broads! Broads! Broads!”. His impact on the tribes was, after all, quite broad.

It should be mentioned that Nicholas Wade is an evolutionary psychologist (what used to be called sociobiology) himself. He wrote a book called “The Faith Instinct” that basically argued that worshipping a deity helps to guarantee “human success”. I can’t say that I am surprised to see a worshipful blurb from the National Review’s John Derbyshire on Wade’s website. Just to jog your memory, Derbyshire was fired from the National Review for writing an article elsewhere defending racial profiling in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s murder. Just the kind of guy you need to hype some sociobiological trash.

I was anxious to see what Charles Mann had to say about Chagnon in the February 18 Wall Street Journal. Mann is the author of “1491” and “1493”, two history books that can be described as pro-Indian.

Mann was an intriguing choice since an article extracted from “1491” that appeared in the March 2002 Atlantic Monthly depicts the pre-Columbian Amazon rainforest largely as “a human artifact” and no virgin wilderness. That viewpoint shapes the powerful conclusion of his review:

Implicit in his ideas is the presumption that the Yanomamo he met in 1964 are representative of the way all or most people were in the distant past — they are, as Mr. Chagnon puts it, “pure,” “pristine,” even “wild.” They were frozen in time, like insects in amber. But is that true? Researchers like Mr. Ferguson, Jacques Lizot, Ernest Migliazza and Neil Whitehead argue that the Yanomamo probably used to live hundreds of miles south, on the Rio Negro, a big tributary of the Amazon. Prior to 1492, these researchers say, this portion of central Amazonia was a prosperous, cosmopolitan, multiethnic network of big villages, fed by fish from the great river and reliant upon a multitude of forest products. When that network was thrown into turmoil by the arrival of European slavers and European diseases, the Yanomamo and many other groups fled into the hinterlands, where they now reside.

If this is correct, these people are not “pure” or “pristine”; they are dispossessed. And their existence in small bands is reflective not of humankind’s ancient past but of a shattered society that has preserved its liberty by retreat. It would be risky to base conclusions about the evolution of society on the study of posses of refugees, perhaps especially those who have survived both a holocaust and a diaspora.

Before the book hit the stands, Matt Ridley wrote a puff piece in the January 25 Wall Street Journal titled naturally enough “Farewell to the Myth of the Noble Savage”. It should be stressed, of course, that Chagnon’s adversaries in the academy were not into Rousseau, but Karl Marx. Marxist anthropology and its close relative cultural materialism do not posit a pure Eden-like status that is sullied by civilization. Instead they simply try to explain phenomena such as warfare in terms of class relationships. Furthermore, in pre-class formation such as hunting-and-gathering societies, there is little attempt to glorify an often-harsh existence except for the tendency to enjoy a kind of Stone Age leisure that Marshall Sahlins examined.

Ridley writes:

Meanwhile the science has been going Dr. Chagnon’s way. Recent studies have confirmed that mortality from violence is very common in small-scale societies today and in the past. Almost one-third of such people die in raids and fights, and the death rate is twice as high among men as among women. This is a far higher death rate than experienced even in countries worst hit by World War II. Thomas Hobbes’s “war of each against all” looks more accurate for humanity in a state of nature than Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “noble savage,” though anthropologists today prefer to see a continuum between these extremes.

This, of course, is the argument made by Steven Pinker and Jared Diamond in recent books that argue we’ve never had it so good. Civilization not only gives us hot showers in the morning but also keeps us from being clubbed to death by people with green snot pouring out of their nose. When I hear this sort of thing, I harken back to what Rosa Luxemburg wrote in “The Junius Pamphlet” at the beginning of WWI:

For bourgeois-liberal economists and politicians, railroads, Swedish matches, sewer systems, and department stores are “progress” and “civilization.” In themselves these works grafted onto primitive conditions are neither civilization nor progress, for they are bought with the rapid economic and cultural ruin of peoples who must experience simultaneously the full misery and horror of two eras: the traditional natural economic system and the most modern and rapacious capitalist system of exploitation. Thus, the capitalist victory parade and all its works bear the stamp of progress in the historical sense only because they create the material preconditions for the abolition of capitalist domination and class society in general. And in this sense imperialism ultimately works for us.

At this point it should not come as any surprise to learn that Matt Ridley is a sociobiologist himself. Written in 1993, his first book “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature” is par for the course. The book is filled with stunning observations such as: “Anaxagoras’ belief that lying on the right side during sex would produce a boy was so influential that centuries later some French aristocrats had their left testicles amputated.” I can’t say that I was surprised to find no reference to such occurrences in JSTOR. Ridley probably had it right when he wrote in the same book: “Half the ideas in this book are probably wrong.”

John Horgan has a blog post on Scientific American titled “The Weird Irony at the Heart of the Napoleon Chagnon Affair” that is a must-read. Back in 2000 Horgan was asked by he N.Y. Times to review Patrick Tierney’s “Darkness in El Dorado”. When word leaked out that he was the reviewer, he was contacted by a who’s who of sociobiologists:

I was still working on my review of Darkness when I received emails from five prominent scholars: Richard Dawkins, Edward Wilson, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett and Marc Hauser. Although each wrote separately, the emails were obviously coordinated. All had learned (none said exactly how, although I suspected via a friend of mine with whom I discussed my review) that I was reviewing Darkness for the Times. Warning that a positive review might ruin my career, the group urged me either to denounce Darkness or to withdraw as a reviewer.

One might wonder why they didn’t threaten to come to his house with clubs, beat him senseless, and drag off his wife by her hair. He continues:

I was so disturbed by the pressure from Dawkins et al—who seemed to be defending not Chagnon per se but the sociobiology paradigm–that I ended up making my review of Darkness more positive. I wanted Darkness to be read and discussed, to get a hearing. After all, Tierney leveled what I found to be credible accusations against not only Chagnon but also other scientists and journalists.

To Horgan’s credit, he withstood the pressure and was even tougher on Chagnon than he might be today. This was what he wrote back in 2000:

Tierney has convinced me that Chagnon’s critics were right after all. First, the visits of Chagnon — or any outsiders — to the Yanomami exposed them to pathogens to which they were extremely vulnerable. Because the Yanomami attributed illness to the sorcery of enemies, they blamed one another for infections caused by foreigners.

Perhaps reflecting Chagnon’s vindication by the anthropology establishment and Tierney’s eventual repudiation, Horgan strikes a rueful note:

I have one major regret concerning my review: I should have noted that Chagnon is a much more subtle theorist of human nature than Tierney and other critics have suggested. In fact, Chagnon has never been as much of a genetic determinist as, say, Wilson or anthropologist Richard Wrangham, who have cited Chagnon’s work as evidence that warfare has deep biological roots. (See my rebuttal of this hypothesis here.)

I first interviewed Chagnon in 1988, after Science published his report that Yanamamo killers fathered more offspring than male non-killers. Chagnon was funny and profane. He called non-killers “wimps,” and he denounced his detractors as left-wing peaceniks clinging to the “myth of the noble savage.” But when it came to the theoretical implications of his work, he chose his words with surprising care.

Saying he had been falsely accused of claiming that there is a “warfare gene,” he denied that Yanomamo warriors are innately warlike. He noted that Yanomamo headmen usually employed violence in a controlled manner; compulsively violent males often did not live long enough to bear children. Yanomamo males engaged in raids and other violent behavior, Chagnon proposed, not out of instinct but because their culture esteemed violent behavior. Many Yanomamo warriors had confessed to Chagnon that they loathed war and wished it could be abolished from their culture.

Chagnon reiterated this view when I interviewed him for “The New Social Darwinists,” a critique of evolutionary psychology published in Scientific American in October 1995. He said he was disturbed at the degree to which some sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists downplayed the role of culture in human behavior. I said he sounded like Stephen Jay Gould, a vehement critic of genetic explanations of human behavior. I meant to goad Chagnon with the comparison, but he embraced it. “Steve Gould and I probably agree on a lot of things,” Chagnon said.

Well, it would have been interesting to see how “Steve Gould” would have responded to Chagnon’s comment but somehow I doubt it. Gould was an enemy of biological determinism and despite Horgan’s assertion that Chagnon was falsely accused of claiming that there was a “warfare gene”, there is little doubt that he was committed to a “spread your seed gene”. In other words, Chagnon viewed the need for men to get as many “women, women, women, women” under their control as innate. The violence, of course, was instrumental to their achieving that goal.

One thing is damned sure, however. James V. Neel, Napoleon Chagnon’s research partner in Yanomami territory, was committed to eugenics, the bogus science that Stephen Jay Gould dismantled in “Mismeasure of Man”. In the torrent of articles and email that followed the publication of “Darkness in El Dorado”, Terence Turner, a member of the anthropology department at Cornell University, delivered the goods on Neel’s “science”. He quotes from a Neel article [emphasis added]:

There is scant prospect of our engineering an early return to Yanomama population structure– small demes, living of course in twentieth-century comfort, in which a generally acknowledged headman of superior attributes enjoys a well-defined reproductive advantage. Since there is little prospect society will ask us to remake it with these or other extensive eugenic measures, there really are available only two practical (i.e., socially acceptable) courses of eugenic action for the immediate future.

Turner offers these thoughts [emphasis added]:

The same ideas and eugenic claims for Yanomama-type society are repeated, in less developed form, in Chapter 17 of Neel’s autobiography, Physician to the Gene Pool. Dr Neel also expressed some of these ideas to me in personal conversation. Shortly after my return from my first field trip to the Kayapo in the winter of 1964, Neel invited me to Ann Arbor to give a lecture to his students and colleagues about practical aspects of field research in the Amazon. This initiated a period of loose collaboration with the project organized by Neel and the distinguished Brazilian biological anthropologist, Francisco Salzano, for comparative research on the population genetics of Amazonian indigenous groups. My main contribution to the project was a genealogical census of a Kayapo community that I believe comprises the project’s main data base on the Kayapo. After my lecture to Neel’s group at Ann Arbor, there was a small reception. I found myself standing next to Dr. Neel, who startled me by exclaiming, “Maybe now we can really find the leadership gene” (these were his exact words as I remember them). Incredulous, I in turn exclaimed, “You can’t be serious!”. He replied in words to the effect that he did not think it unreasonable to suppose that in small, relatively isolated societies like those of contemporary Amazonian peoples, men would rise to leadership by virtue of superior genetic endowment, and as polygamists be able to reproduce their genes more than less dominant monogamous men.

They say you are known by the company you keep. If Neel was Chagnon’s closest collaborator in the Amazon rainforest, you really are kidding yourself if you think he had anything in common with “Steve Gould”.

Of these articles or reviews on Napoleon Chagnon timed to coincide with the release of his memoir “Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes—the Yanomamö and the Anthropologists”, the two most negative were written by women.

Although this is impossible to prove, I strongly suspect that men are less offended by Chagnon’s theory that Yanomami violence is a function of men trying to gain access to as many women as possible in order to help propagate their genes.

Jacques Lizot, a Levi-Strauss disciple who worked among the same tribes as Chagnon, and Sarah Dart wrote a paper titled “On Warfare: an answer to N. A. Chagnon” for the November 1994 issue of “American Ethnologist”.

In examining the warfare between the villages that supposedly proved Chagnon’s thesis, Lizot discovered that only 0.3 percent of the were with women taken from an enemy group. Based on these figures, there is no cost-benefit involved with fighting in order to secure childbearing females. Unlike the Trojan War, this bloodletting in the Amazon had nothing to do with stealing women.

Lizot and Dart apply the coup de grace to Chagnon:

Chagnon’s point of view is, moreover, marked by an underlying male chauvinism, and sociobiology is a garment that suits him well. According to his conception of things, women, in the quarrels of the men, are nothing but beings without initiative and will.

20 Comments »

  1. What can we say about the savages who populate the West. Generally speaking these brutes eat and consume without a moments thought for the consequences of their actions, without any sense of responsibility for anything, period. The Western system engenders a psychopathic mentality, the West cannot stand in judgement on anyone. It is barbarity on a grand and almost unimaginable scale.

    Comment by SteveO — February 20, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  2. [...] What the press is saying about Napoleon Chagnon (Louis [...]

    Pingback by The New York Times on Chagnon | Savage Minds — February 20, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  3. With 2 World Wars and the Holocaust tucked away in museums it looks like the Euro centric imperialist is back at it again.

    The targets for their abuse get smaller and smaller by the years. Read what they said about Asians 100 years. Whoops, can’t get away with that now. Latin America also appears to be slipping from their grasp. Sad times for the anthropological racist, reduced to sucker punching a few tiny and remote tribes to lift up their foul spirits.

    Comment by purple — February 20, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

  4. Alice Dreger has written a pretty damn persuasive defense of Chagnon and attack on the bizarre Tierney, available on her website, and I write as someone with absolutely no connection to this tempest, nor much background besides your fulminations, which seem widely off-base in light of her work.

    Comment by mjosefwMartin — February 20, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

  5. Does Dreger have an explanation for Neel’s eugenics?

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2013 @ 2:31 am

  6. Why don’t academic clowns like Chagnon study true savages? Like live with Unka Dick Cheney for years or go live among the savages of Congress and study their noble existences.

    Comment by theSAVAGEgrowlingwolf — February 21, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  7. You certainly should check out her well-written report – there is a quote or two from Neel, from the 60’s, with the word “eugenics” in it, and she mentions his son and his concern for his father – but I didn’t come away thinking she backs Mengele, or whatever you think someone using that term 50 years ago was.

    Comment by Martin — February 21, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

  8. On Dreger: http://anthroniche.com/darkness_documents/0617.htm

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  9. On Tierney, from Sponsel: “Tierney’s book is not 100% false. Yes, there are problems, indeed more than I realized on an initial hurried reading. But much remains valid and useful (Borofsky 2005). No individual or organization has demonstrated that every single sentence in Tierney’s book is false or problematic. Even if 80 to 90 percent of it were false or problematic, that leaves 20 to 10 percent that is not.”
    That is one fast, hurried, pathetic backtrack – Tierney comes off as a charlatan, no less in Dreger’s account, and this is the best defense from a Tierney partisan?
    Whatever the problems there might have been with Chagnon, or not been, having Tierney, or rather, James Frey, or was it Times reporter, or was it Steven Glass, as your protagonist damns the anti-Chagnon side.

    Comment by Martin — February 21, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

  10. I just read Dreger’s article. It takes no position on sociobiology or Chagnon’s thesis, namely that Yanomami violence can be explained in terms of securing women to carry a dominant male’s semen. This is something that strikes me as pure bullshit and that I have critiqued here when it came from others, such as Steven Pinker or Jared Diamond. Chagnon is less indicted by Tierney’s book than by his own actions and scholarship, which I have studied at length.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 22, 2013 @ 12:11 am

  11. It should be fairly obvious that it is our ability and propensity to cooperate which sets humans above other species. Among other things evidenced in the variety of our facial expressions as opposed to other primates. It is this propensity to cooprate, not the violence that Pincker etc al. fantasizes about, that is most uniquely human.

    Comment by purple — February 22, 2013 @ 6:04 am

  12. The problem with Louis’s approach is that he wants to say “this man is morally bad” and therefore his science is wrong. This is not a scientific approach.

    Comment by Tony Clifford — February 22, 2013 @ 8:57 am

  13. If you’re self-described as “unrepetentant,” you won’t admit error, such as finding pure villainhood in a man falsely indicted by a fraud.

    Comment by Martin — February 22, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  14. The bigger problem is that the major intellectual project of sociobiology, now renamed as evolutionary psychology, because of the previous high-profile scurrilous attack has proved to be a success. Contra Lewontin and Gould, human beings DO have evolutionary adaptations. The flowering of departments of evolutionary psychology around the world is great news for those who wish to understand human nature.

    Comment by Tony Clifford — February 22, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  15. Matt Ridley is a sociobiologist himself.

    Not just a sociobiologist,

    disgracedChair of Northern Rock
    The First Bank to run in this Depression
    Now a member of the unelected, unaccountable House of Lords
    Culture or Genes?
    See

    The Man Who Wants to Northern Rock the Planet

    Matt Ridley’s irrational theories remain unchanged by his own disastrous experiment.

    By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 1st June 2010

    http://www.monbiot.com/2010/06/01/the-man-who-wants-to-northern-rock-the-planet/

    Comment by SaltleyGates — February 24, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

  16. I have been in a part of the country where Chagnon is strongly vindicated, and Sahlins is held up as a villain that has systematically destroyed anthropology. If these peers were any more in the know, they would (unjustly) accuse Terrence Turner of the same, since he blanketied the netwaves with messages to engage in the AAA meeting that occurred with the publication of Darkness to register our opinions, being an evangelist for the survival of the Kayapo, and not using them for personal aggrandizement. But they don’t know, they just read the Times Book Review.

    What I know from field observations of this new-old ilk defending Chagnon is that they have close personal relationships with him, or want to portray themselves as such to steal a little of his limelight; they embrace a Darwinian pseudo-science steeped in racist and sexist tripe of evolutionary psychology (and this by no means is meant to suggest all Darwinian and genetic approaches are bad, there are people slaving in the lab doing good science, which is different than armchair Darwinians who promote certain ideas because it appeals to their warped notions of common sense); and they had poor potential reproductive success until they were professors, not being too popular with potential mates and using their status later to gain genetic traction by snagging undergrads that were a generation or more their juniors, in a field (anthropology) with something like 1000 jobs nationwide and production of Ph.D.s that exceeds that carrying capacity frequently, and where social, and not genetic Darwinism is rampant. They continually rehash a vulgar account of Chagnon and his critics with little attachment to the truth that simply vindicates a worldview they want to promote, and that they created and noisily defend to justify their own existence.

    The upshot of this should be a study of “Darkness in Academia” on the shit that many anthropologists pull under the guise of such unaddressed mission statement bylines as “an important part of the anthropology mission is to apply anthropological concepts to the resolution of important social, cultural, and environmental problems of our times.” The real mission is to secure status, make money, fawn on superiors to smooth the way to advancement, and destroy all perceived disagreement no matter how innocuous. They are gradually dismantling the anthropological project wherever they can, and couch it in such doublespeak as “democritization of science,” which means you don’t need to know the literature or history of the discipline to bluster on about your personal and unfounded opinion.

    I wholly support Sahlins’ withdrawal from the National Academy. True anthropologists may have to carry on an intellectual and social guerilla war outside official organs of academia in order to save it from the miscreants (denouncing them to senators who have veto power on public funding as constituents rather than members of the loyal opposition, etc.), the anti-pologists like Chagnon whose exciting and graphic comments about viciousness and snotty noses have now warped the public’s understanding of anthropology is and should be.

    Comment by DirectCritic — February 24, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

  17. Wow, tempests aplenty – over what, again? Academia now? Associations of academics?
    Do you really think you can ramp up all the charges to racism, sexism, intentional murder on a few “sociobiologists,” somehow represented by the immortal one Matt Ridley, whose every utterances are their common obligation?
    While there is a trillion dollar overseas war supported by these very campuses, while pollution spews every higher on the roads to and through these campuses, while corporations control every last social space on the way to our doom, we let this left space be hijacked by “Darkness” ravers?

    Comment by mjosefwMartin — February 24, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

  18. Louis, thanks for the plug for my Scientific American column on Chagnon, but you misunderstood me. As a result of the pressure from Dawkins et al, I made my Times review of Darkness in El Dorado more positive toward Tierney and negative toward Chagnon. I “plunged the knife in” a bit deeper. FYI I just posted another column comparing Chagnon to Margaret Mead. Ironies abound: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/02/25/is-sociobiologist-napoleon-chagon-really-a-disciple-of-margaret-mead/

    Comment by John Horgan — February 25, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

  19. Survival International has compiled a list of materials from experts, anthropologists and the Yanomami themselves on the Chagnon debate, and how Chagnon’s work has been disastrous for the tribe.

    Visit http://www.survivalinternational.org//articles/3272 for statements from Davi Yanomami, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Philippe Descola and Manuela Carneiro, and an open letter signed by over a dozen anthropologists who have worked for years with the Yanomami. They ‘disagree with Napoleon Chagnon’s public characterisation of the Yanomami as a fierce, violent and archaic people. [and] deplore how Chagnon’s work has been used throughout the years – and could still be used – by governments to deny the Yanomami their land and cultural rights.’

    Comment by Survival International — February 26, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

  20. The kerfuffle that keeps on kerfuffling – windbaggery everywhere.
    So a blogger on Scientific American uses his position as a blogger on some website deemed “scientific” to issue schoolyard putdowns of an investigator who outed one of his pet sources as a fraud, a Frey, a Blair. No rejoinder from the blogger to any specific charge by Ms. Dreger, just pettifoggery about her temerity to list her credentials or subsequent friendship with Chagnon. This blogger was oh-so-brutally attacked by a coterie of sociobiologists, none with a rap sheet of assaults, including Daniel Dennett, a particularly vicious capo according to the blogger. End result – not one admission of being suckered by the Murray fake – a few grudging demurrals, but no outright rejection. Of course, this does not address the many charges against Chagnon after this debacle of revelation about the initial source’s untrustworthiness, but that’s for the departments to thrash out, on their way to their faculty functions.
    Then comes Sahlins with his disassociation, linking it to Chagnon’s award.
    Only that’s not the real reason for the disassociation from the AAA, or whatever it is – it is the militarization of anthropology, too, acording to Shalins, which has been going on for decades, as any outsider could see. Evidently this was okay for Sahlins during the Bush years, and the first Obama administration, when academic anthropology was front-and-center as the leading edge of the Afghanistan invasion. Still, Sahlins’ paid his dues, with no disassociation. So which desrves the blame – the award to some emeritus, or the on-going, system-wide, irreversible corruption?
    Then we have the matter of his employer, the University of Chicago, funded by completely corporatized, militarized, indigenous peoples’ land-destroying billions. No disassocation from the U of C? Why not?
    Feel to ignore these questions if they are too pointed – there really is no Internet law that says that any direct challenge to anyone’s ethics needs to be responded too, least of all from a commenting nobody.

    Comment by Martin — February 26, 2013 @ 10:49 pm


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