Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sources on Contemporary Anthropology - 2

From Steven Ybarrola, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Asbury Theological Seminary:

Thanks, Edwin, for the thorough reply. I think you've nicely laid out some of the main criticisms of the “worldview” concept in modern anthropology. Indeed, one way to dismiss the work of an anthropologist today is to label him or her an “essentialist.” However, I'm not sure the concept has been totally abandoned in the discipline, and in fact there has been some critiques of the criticisms of worldview and “culture” more generally. My colleague here at Asbury Seminary, Mike Rynkiewich, examined a recent issue of Anthropology News, the monthly newsletter of the American Anthropological Association, and found several references in the articles to worldview (I don't recall off hand which issue it was) [Steven later clarified that Mike related this observation orally]. Also, one of the last books to be published by the eminent Christian anthropologist Paul Hiebert is entitled Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change, where Hiebert addresses various characteristics and types of worldviews (Bob Priest may have already mentioned this book in his post. For some reason I didn't receive it). An article I've found helpful on this subject is by the anthropologist William Douglass, “In Search of Juan de Onate: Confessions of a Cryptoessentialist,” Journal of Anthropological Research 56 (2): 137-163, 2000.

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