Friday, October 17, 2014

Reverse Anthropology

I popped into the anthropology museum on the Brown campus en route to the workshop. One of the special exhibitions is on the symbols of the university. My initial reaction was that it was a sort of cheap appropriation of the anthropology museum to promote school spirit during homecoming season (which happens to be this weekend here). But in fact, by subjecting academic regalia and ritual to the same scrutiny as the kind of objects one would more conventionally expect to see in an ethnographic collection, it posed a serious question about the place of this sort of thing and about why the viewer should consider a Brown University robe any less strange than the personal adornments of various groups from central America and Africa.

No comments:

Post a Comment