Can a Historian Lead Berkeley's Anthropologists? Department Is Split Over an Interim Chair

Can a Historian Lead Berkeley's Anthropologists? Department Is Split 1

Charlie Nguyen

At the U. of California at Berkeley, a dean's appointment of a historian to lead the anthropology department for a year has exposed a rift in the factionalized department. Several senior cultural anthropologists see the move as a blow to departmental independence. But some colleagues dismiss their arguments as quibbling.

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close Can a Historian Lead Berkeley's Anthropologists? Department Is Split 1

Charlie Nguyen

At the U. of California at Berkeley, a dean's appointment of a historian to lead the anthropology department for a year has exposed a rift in the factionalized department. Several senior cultural anthropologists see the move as a blow to departmental independence. But some colleagues dismiss their arguments as quibbling.

The anthropology department at the University of California at Berkeley has long been an esteemed center of scholarship, if also a contentious place. Next year it's going to be run by a historian.

The decision to appoint an interim chair from outside the department has angered several of the department's most senior and respected members, who describe the move as an affront to departmental self-governance‚ÄĒand a slight to them personally.

The move, however, also has