Friday, March 26, 2010

Majoring In Men -- Literally

I studied with linguistic anthropologist Nancy Bonvillain, who published a Mohawk dictionary from her fieldwork, who co-authored a study along these lines in the American Anthropologist. It examined the gender of professors and heads of academic departments, and was at the time (~1976?) surprising in that, as I recall, perhaps only Chemistry had more males leading their departments than male heads of Anthropology departments. Not exactly your expectation given Margaret Mead's popularity.

She was also for a short time, head of the Anthropology dept. at Stony Brook University, where I attended some of her classes, as an undergrad and grad student. She was also teaching at the time at Columbia University as were some of the other faculty. As I recall there was only one fieldworker among the Swat Pathan and one among the Kurds in "southwest Asia" (Britannica) so I suspect any current anthropologist is in the middle of learning those cultures we're all suddenly defending or attacking and unlikely many "gender" studies of males have been done there, if so few "here".

A friend, I recall once was in the mountains of Morocco studying stories or myths about women as an undergrad at NYU. Another, a teacher, former translator of helicopter manuals into Vietnamese (they don't very well) found that there is only a slight statistical correlation with matrilineal societies (inheritance through women) and so called "witchcraft' in the extensive Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) often part of a law school's library. 
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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