Saturday, March 12, 2011

Anthropology is . . .


Anthropology is . . .

Supposed to be the study
Of behaviour
Of social relationships
Of the physical
Of the social
Of the cultural . . .
Development of human beings
Human beings
Not just Aborigines
And other ‘primitive’ societies
But of all human beings.
But why don’t I ever meet anthropologists
who study white people?

Sydney, 2004

Published in I'm not racist, but... which can be ordered here.

9 comments:

Jules said...

From my favourite collections of poetry. Any other teachers out there who want to bring some contemporary and relevant poetry into their classrooms, get this for all of your students!

JabulaniSon said...

Because they are already busy studying all the other peoples ... including white people :-)

There's plenty navel gazing by whites on whites ... just walk into a good bookstore ... LOL

Cathy said...

I really like this Anita. I will have to get my hands on this collection to read more.

Dr Anita Heiss said...

Hi Jules. Thanks for the endorsement, am glad you get something from my words. Peace!

JS - I think you may just be write mate! :)

Cathy - hope the rest of the collection speaks to you.

Have a good weekend all,
Anita

Jeni said...

I'd just like to comment on the last question of your poem (which I think is great and agree with on the whole). I studied anthropology at uni in the early 90s and I recall there were heaps of topics that the study of anthropology covered - from looking at urban graffiti artists, to topics in medical anthropology (eg AIDS patients), as well as looking at gender, education and social inequality issues. The beauty, I think, of anthropology is that you can study whatever interests you and over the past 20-30 years there has been a distinct movement towards studying subcultures and aspects of white society by white anthropologists.

Dr Anita Heiss said...

Thanks for your comment Jeni. I guess I was really talking about those I speak to and meet and obviously in my world they're going to be people researching blackfellas. But even abroad when I lectured across the US doing a peace and justice tour three times, every anthropology class I entered they were studying 'primitive peoples'. I think I'll get a research grant and going into Bellevue Hill and study wealthy whitefellas. You wanna be my research assistant? Could be interesting! :)

Jeni said...

Thanks for your response Anita. I wanted to add that, yes, I have found that the main work for anthropologists in Australia is working with blackfellas, particularly on native title claims. I think the fact that you encountered anthropology classes overseas (and you would likely find them here too) where they were studying 'primitive peoples' is really an artefact of the history of anthropology in researching the 'other', the 'exotic', the 'different' as a result of world exploration in the 1700s - 1900s. PS I'd 'love' to be your research assistant! :)

Liz@streetcandy.com said...

Thanks for featuring this book, I'm going to find a copy for my kids :)

Dr Anita Heiss said...

Hi Liz - glad you dropped by. Peace. Anita