Indiana Jones is to Anthropology as Fred Flintstone is to Neolithic Life

8 thoughts on “Indiana Jones is to Anthropology as Fred Flintstone is to Neolithic Life”

  1. 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 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.’

  2. Thank you President Mullings, for introducing some reality into this melee. Anthropology is a system of knowledge that, over time, strives to understand more about the world and about itself. An early founder, Bronislaw Malinowski, concealed the extent to which his field site, the Trobriand Islands, were deeply influenced by European colonists and missionaries — he simply omitted their presence from the maps he included in his books. By now anthropologists have achieved better understanding of the interconnectedness of all parts of the world and the historical depths of those interconnections. Diamond and Chagnon describe “primitives” as isolated in a state of nature that owes more Hobbes” imagination than Rousseau’s. This is at the very least a misrepresentation of the world as anthropology has come to understand it. We might then ask about the political point of view of those who want to insist that violence and warfare are endemic to the human species apart from specific historical provocations.

  3. Awww, shucks guys. I get why we needed to clarify some misunderstandings. I get why we had to speak out about anthro’s diversity. But why are we FIGHTING the imagery of Indiana Jones?!

    I mean, companies shell out millions to develop cool personifications for their stuff. Jarrod. Flo. The Most Interesting Man in the World. The T-Mobile Girl. Et cetera.

    Yet anthropology was simply handed Indiana Jones for free! Why aren’t we using this imagery to popularize our field?

    — Ashkuff | | How to use anthropology, in business and ADVENTURE!!!!

  4. Regardless of whether one disagrees with Chagnon’s theoretical orientation, behavior, findings and representations or not, I think it would be wise for the AAA to stay away from this, given their pathetic investigation (yes, it was an ethics investigation AND verdict) and treatment of him, which was repudiated and rescinded by the membership. The truth is the AAA botched this badly.

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