PERSPECTIVES: AN OPENINTRODUCTION TO CULTURALANTHROPOLOGYNina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle deGonzálezThe American Anthropological AssociationArlington, VA
Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology byNina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González islicensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0International License, except where otherwise noted.Under this CC BY-NC 4.0 copyright license you are free to:Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or formatAdapt — remix, transform, and build upon the materialUnder the following terms:Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to thelicense, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in anyreasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensorendorses you or your use.NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercialpurposes.No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms ortechnological measures that legally restrict others from doinganything the license permits.
Anthropology in Our Moment in History: Interviewwith Philippe BourgoisRobert Borofsky, Hawaii Pacific University, Center for aPublic Anthropology[email protected]How did you become an anthropologist?Discovering anthropology for me was like falling in love.I was a freshman in college and I knew nothing about thesubject. I didn’t have a major. I took one of those bigintroductory classes in a large lecture hall because I wascurious, but I didn’t really have any idea what anthropologymight be.The very first lecture blew my mind. It was by an old-style style anthropologist talking about his fieldwork in theAmazon. He introduced us to the Yanomami, an indigenouspeople who were at the center of a huge anthropologicaldebate about the nature of violence at the time: How muchof human violence is cultural? How much of it is at theessence of human nature? How much of it is imposed bylargerhistoricalandeconomicforces?Theteacherdescribed to us their “shaman” who sniff hallucinogenicdrugs to communicate with spirits and to protect theirvillagefromsicknessandattackbyneighbors.TheYanomami shaman are the Amazonian equivalent to ourphilosophers, scientists, doctors and religious or politicalofficials. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here is anacademic discipline that sends its practitioners around the1
world to immerse themselves in utterly unfamiliar, foreignculturesinordertoexplorethemeaningofhumanexistence.I adored the class even with all its old-fashioned faults—itdid, after all, “exoticize” indigenous people as if they werenot our contemporaries but lived in a bubble, oblivious tothe effects of global power relations and colonial conquest.