[URBANTH-L]thanks, Nancy

Ben Chappell bchappel at Bridgewater.EDU
Wed May 4 10:38:44 EDT 2005

My CV is a state secret, and if I told you, I'd have to kill you...

Nancy, great point about how you have to follow the material into the 
theoretical areas that suit it. I find that people who want to lambast 
"pomo" (or name trends like "specialization" in the field) are 
overgeneralizing on a scale that they wouldn't accept in an undergraduate 

First of all, what is often called "postmodern anthropology" is a far, far 
cry from the "see Madonna, here's a big word, cool" kind of stuff that 
serves as a stereotype of "pomo." What, do we want to get rid of 
reflexivity, or considering the voices of research "subjects," or working 
toward decolonization or our field? Come on, now.

At its best, what postmodernism offers is a critique, in the spirit of 
Marx's words, a "ruthless" one of "everything." When people don't want to 
extend critical faculties to their own positions as researchers, I wonder 
what they're afraid of. Also, how can one then talk about rigor or empiricism?

"Postmodernism" as a publishing category (has it ever been this, actually?) 
may very well disappear, but we can't and shouldn't pretend that nothing 
has happened in theory over the past thirty years or so.

By the way, Nancy, Roland Barthes in Mythologies has a quotable rationale 
for neologisms, I believe.

back to grading...
Ben Chappell, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology/Cultural Studies
Bridgewater College, Virginia

If you are the big tree /  /  /
We are the small ax /  /  /

Bob Marley

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