Marshall Sahlins, Still Kicking Ass (Or, Shakeup at the National Academy of Sciences)


I remember reading Chagnon's famous book (Yanomamo: The Fierce People) in an undergrad anthropology class. Even though my bullshit detector was a lot less finely calibrated back then, I remember thinking, "Wow, this guy really thinks he's the shit" and "Hey, I didn't think anthropologists were allowed to be racist."
100 points for mentioning his name in The Slog. His work on Hawaii is fantastic.
Controversial soft science, eh?
If even half the accusations against Chagnon are true, he should be in prison.
Anthropology isn't a science, and is useless when it pretends to be.
U of Chicago? Very cool!
Marshall Sahlins still rocks. He bummed a cigarette from me years ago when he came to give a talk at Reed. In return, he gave me a quote to use in my thesis. Swell guy.
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 Survival's website… for statements from Davi Yanomami, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Philippe Descola and Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, 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.'
Anthropology is as much a science as, say, epidemiology. Only prissy, sanctimonious, fops who never get out in the sun unless wearing a tin foil hat to protect them from the socialist conspiracy think anthropology isn't a science.