This book argues that the history and character of modern
anthropology has been egregiously distorted to the detriment of
this intellectual pursuit and academic discipline. The "critique of
anthropology" is a product of the momentous and tormented events of
the 1960s when students and some of their elders cried, "Trust no
one over thirty " The Marxist, postmodern, and postcolonial waves
that followed took aim at anthropology and the result has been a
serious loss of confidence; both the reputation and the practice of
anthropology has suffered greatly. The time has come to move past
this damaging discourse.
Herbert S. Lewis chronicles these developments, and subjects the
"critique" to a long overdue interrogation based on wide-ranging
knowledge of the field and its history, as well as the application
of common sense. The book questions discourses about anthropology
and colonialism, anthropologists and history, the problem of
"exoticizing 'the Other, '" anthropologists and the Cold War, and
more. Written by a master of the profession, In Defense of
Anthropology will require consideration by all anthropologists,
historians, sociologists of science, and cultural theorists.
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