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An Anthropology of Anthropology


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About the Author

Dr. Borofsky is Director of the Center for a Public Anthropology and a Professor of Anthropology at Hawaii Pacific University. Including this book, he is the author or editor of eight books dealing with constructions of knowledge in the Pacific islands-such as Making History (1987) and Remembrance of Pacific Pasts (2000)-and the current state of cultural anthropology, including Assessing Cultural Anthropology (1994), Yanomami (2005), and Showing Anthropology Matters (2018).


"Borofsky's call for a public anthropology with real human, political and intellectual stakes is inspiring. His rich documentation of the history of anthropology and his critique of the propensity for elite academics to pursue irrelevant trendy theory that advances careers instead of useful, knowledge helpful to the people anthropologists study is right on point. Please read this book and engage with the world on behalf of social justice." PHILIPPE BOURGOIS, Director of the Center for Social Medicine and Humanities, UCLA"Never has the time been as ripe for anthropologists, both as scholars and citizens, to turn their unique human, humane insight toward urgent public issues in our world. Seldom has the case for such a turn been as boldly or persuasively made as in this book." JEAN COMAROFF, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University"For the past century, anthropology has established itself within and through universities. But what, fundamentally, is anthropology's purpose beyond the classroom? In an important rethinking of a field he loves, Borofsky has thrown down the gauntlet, arguing that a field devoted to the understanding of cultures and the diverse ways people behave must be held to a higher standard. The challenge of fashioning an anthropology accountable to a broader public isn't new, as readers of the discipline's major figures, from Boas to Mead, know. But Borofsky shakes up the debate in new and engaging ways. As you will see, the book offers much food for thought. I truly enjoyed this book. I hope it finds a wide readership." PAUL FARMER, MD, PhD, Kolokotrones University Professor, Harvard University"This is a very important critique of the decline of anthropological thinking into the shrink- ing corridor of careerism in which quantity has replaced quality, in which creativity and pathbreaking ideas have become a relic of the past. Borofsky makes a strong plea for redirecting anthropology into the world beyond the academy that is our object of study in order to produce knowledge that has a real impact on others and is not simply focused on our own social status and career steps." JONATHAN FRIEDMAN, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, U.C. San Diego, Directeur D'etudes, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris"Borofsky's book is brimming with ideas for redefining anthropology. He shows close up through case studies how the institutional structures of the academy have controlled and restricted anthropology as an intellectual discipline. He asks tough questions about individual accountability, ethics, and self-interests. Has anthropology made real intellectual breakthroughs in recent decades? He confronts anthropologists asking them to reassess and to renew our social contract with the public good so that our ethnographic engagements can enrich the broader society as well as anthropology. For many years Rob Borofsky has been a necessary critic to the profession that he so clearly loves. Once again, he is pushing the envelope toward a more critically interpretive, ethical, and public anthropology for the people--the people they study and for the people who dedicate themselves to the 'difficult science' of ethnography. I recommend this incisive and valuable book to anyone who cares about the future of our field. Once you read it, you will see why." NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES; Chancellor's Professor of Medical Anthropology Emerita, U.C. Berkeley

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