September 11, 1998
Tribal Skirmishes in Anthropology
Split of Stanford department and rancor over a journal reflect tensions over the discipline's direction
In 1991, William Durham saw the future of anthropology, and it was good.
The Stanford University professor laid out his vision in the introduction to his book Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity (Stanford University Press). Sure, he conceded, there had been some fierce debates in the 1970s and '80s. Crude biological anthropologists, who viewed man as a robot ruled by his genes, had been squaring off against crude cultural anthropologists, who considered the very