Archive | November, 2014

Wanted: One Ethnocentric Anthropologist

17 Nov

Isn’t “narrow-minded anthropologist” an oxymoron?


Few professions are more antithetical to discrimination than anthropology. Understanding human differences is at the heart of everything we do. So, finding an anthropologist willing to tacitly approve of religious bigotry might be difficult. Nevertheless, I received a job listing from an academic institution attempting to do just that; they seek the elusive ethnocentric cultural anthropologist!


Can one even teach cultural anthropology while adhering to the restrictions below?

[BLANK] University, a Christ-centered community, prepares students spiritually, academically, and professionally to think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion. Professors teach all truth as God’s truth, integrating all fields of learning around the person and work of Jesus Christ, bringing the divine revelations through sense, reason, and intuition to the confirming test of Scripture. All applicants must express a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and express their Christian testimony in a local church. In addition, professors agree to live in agreement with the Community Lifestyle Statement and affirm the theological commitments expressed in the Statement of Faith. Individuals who would fit this profile are encouraged to apply for current openings in our faculty.


In other words, non-Christians and/or Christians who do not share their narrow, dogmatic view of the faith need not apply. Presumably, LGBT anthropologists would be rejected since that would likely conflict with the “Community Lifestyle Statement.”


The world’s exceptionally well-qualified Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, non-religious, etc. cultural anthropologists are not good enough for BLANK University. Many of the most highly respected anthropologists in the history of the discipline would not be “a good fit” for this institution. Franz Boas (1858-1942), the “Father of American Anthropology,” would not be welcome there. Can you imagine turning away an applicant like Franz Boas because of his religious affiliation (or lack thereof)?


Worse, in the fine print, BLANK University awkwardly tries to appear non-discriminatory:

Because [BLANK] University is a Christian university, employment requires an evangelical Christian commitment and lifestyle consistent with the university’s mission. Within that mission, [BLANK] is an EEO employer and encourages minority and female applicants.


This kind of outrageous religious bigotry has no place in the 21st Century, and should not be excused because BLANK University is a private institution. I question the ethics and anthropological commitment of any applicant who would accept money from such an institution. Further, I’m proud to teach anthropology for four truly Equal Opportunity Employers who never inquired about my religious preference.


Happy Carl Sagan Day!

9 Nov

Today would’ve been the 80th birthday of my hero Carl Sagan (1934-1996).

Sagan Sphinx