Uncyclopedia on anthropology

The famous photo of Malinowski learning the enforcement mechanism for the kula ring as reanimated skeletons attack his camp.
The famous photo of Malinowski learning the enforcement mechanism for the kula ring as reanimated skeletons attack his camp.
For our readers not too familiar with the history or current state of anthropology, you could find much more useful resources, but why bother? Consult Uncyclopedia’s article on ‘anthropology,’ a muddled mess of baseless assertions and inaccuracies; in other words, probably as good a definition as any other.

Wizened anthropologists will notice all sorts of crucial elements that are still missing from the entry; our friends on the Australian Anthropological Society mailing list have pointed out that perhaps the most famous recently-deceased anthropologist, Michel Foucault, is missing from the un-entry. I also noted the absence of any discussion of the role of hallucinogens in the production of anthropological theory, from the early crucial inspiration of absinthe to the later influence of Amazonian pharmacology and performance-enhancing peyote, to more recent experimentation with endo-generated narcotics such as extreme reflexivity and disciplinary megalomania/self-castigation bipolarism.

Also mysteriously missing is any mention of thesis-related slavery in the teaching of anthropology, chunky ethnic jewelry or hemp clothing, or any word with the prefix ‘post-‘. In other words, the uncyclopedia entry on anthropology is a work in progress, but definitely not likely to become the least bit more accurate or reflect the field in a favourable light. I’d heartily recommend that you click on the link to visit the site so that someone might fall under the illusion from the page traffic that anthropology has a larger audience than it actually has, or you could maliciously hack the page and suggest that the field is closely related to sociology.

Photo archived at: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Harryhausen_skeletons_2.jpg

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Trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, I have gone on to do fieldwork in Brazil and the United States. I have written one book, Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art (Oxford, 2005). I have also co-authored and co-edited several, including, with Dr. Daniel Lende, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012), and with Dr. Melissa Fisher, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke, 2006). My research interests include neuroanthropology, psychological anthropology, sport, dance, human rights, neuroscience, phenomenology, economic anthropology, and just about anything else that catches my attention.

3 thoughts on “Uncyclopedia on anthropology

  1. Hilarious, Greg. The un-cyclopedia is also a great place to post all delicious rumors about anthropologists that might not make it into print otherwise. e.g. that one about a student of Taussig, for his final class presentation, running buck naked into the classroom with a book of Taussig’s, then ripping out the pages and stuffing them into his ass. Apocrypha says that Taussig gave him an A.

  2. I, for one, am happy to celebrate Uncyclopedia’s lack to anything labelled ‘post-‘within anthropology. I got a huge laugh from the article though.

    As an aside, did Foucault actually refer to himself as an anthropologist?

    1. Dear AJ —
      Just because someone does not refer to him- or herself as a ‘genius,’ do you not call them a ‘genius’?! We knows an anthr’pologist when we seez ’em, even if he or she claims to be a historian or social theorist or journalist… Foucault? Anthropologist. Bourdieu? Anthropologist. Karl Marx? Anthropologist. Herodotus? Anthropologist. Buddha? Anthropologist…

      But the person I disagree with theoretically in my own department? Not doing anthropology. Nope.

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