ANTHROPOLOGY–The Definitive Definition (2nd edition)



an·thro·pol·o·gy  /ˌanTHrəˈpäləjē/


  1. The professional looting of other cultures, by persons with few original or significant ideas of their own.
  2. Institutionalized raiding among academics, by persons with few original or significant ideas of their own.
  3. An established sport among white people which, like cricket, has been exported internationally and is sometimes unnecessarily copied by those who were its objects and who are the source of original and significant ideas of their own.
  4. The practice of excessively claiming credit for achievements of little value.
  5. The pretentious posture of speaking for others, even as others do their own talking.
  6. Speaking behind the backs of others, or even speaking about others as if the same others were either absent or mute. 
  7. A formal means of certification that involves the bourgeois class of white Westerners producing and consuming knowledge of the world.
  8. A room full of white people, speaking of non-white people.
  9. A method of counterinsurgency and occupation, designed to appropriate, channel, or erase any possibilities for subversion.

Synonyms: philately, butterfly-collecting, bird-watching, counterinsurgency, burglary, larceny, abduction, piracy.

Antonyms: reciprocity, equality, sharing, effective, fruitful, productive.

Used in a sentence:

“Thanks to anthropology, we now know that we are human and make meaning.”

“We finally found out we were primitive, when we saw our photo on the cover of an Introduction to Anthropology textbook.”

“Before it was just things we do as part of our daily routine, but now that anthropology has come, it is theory.”

“An anthropology class is a lot like fifteen men on a dead man’s chest.”

Also see:Anthropologist” in Uncyclopedia.

13 thoughts on “ANTHROPOLOGY–The Definitive Definition (2nd edition)

  1. Maximilian Forte

    Ah, Ah, Yaho, Yaho, Yaho, Yaho

    Long ago and long ago
    The pirates have their fun in the burning sun
    Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
    Yaho, Yaho, Yaho and a bottle of rum

    All day long in the burning sun
    Yaho, Yaho, Yaho till the day is done
    Ah, Ah, Yaho, Yaho, Yaho, Yaho

    Long ago and long ago
    The pirates have their fun in the burning sun
    Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
    Yaho, Yaho, Yaho and a bottle of rum
    All day long in the burning sun

  2. redecomposition

    My problem with It that it sounds very ambitious and almost pretentious. If it’s teachable discipline – it will be about seeing and understanding things through the prism of learned templates, frameworks, definitions and jargon, not to mention subjectivity. Does anthropology ever see the trouble with “essence” being something that is undefinable linguistically? Now anthropology seems almost like a science populated with enlightened gurus with enormous wisdom where people go for answers.

  3. Maximilian Forte

    Adam Kuper’s argument is that anthropology has been the study of primitives. The only problem, he argues, is that there never were any primitives, it’s all a fiction. Draw your own conclusions of what that says about institutionalized anthropology!

    But, ssssh, you can’t say that anthropology is at an end…”never say we die.”

  4. John Allison

    Amazing how the serendipities are raining down. I was thinking the same thing. As you know, I tell people I am a poet, or a “writer”. I mean, is a horse still a horse when it is horsepower in the engine of a Ford. And, now, those with that title we get all puffed up over, seems to be struggling for an identitiey and seeking support for its justification for being; seeking academic papers to prove that it matters if anthropology exists???: And, just to prove how important we are, Ken Ames quotes Karl Popper. I don’t see the relevance, except to say we are “scientists”? But, who cares, it looks like a good reason for a party.


    Portland, Oregon

    University Place Hotel
    310 SW Lincoln St.
    Portland, OR 97201


    The usefulness of Anthropology as a discipline, of Anthropological knowledge and training has been seriously challenged across North America over the past year. While our field has certainly dbeen defended, we as Anthropologists need to redouble our efforts to show how the practice of Anthropology matters. We know it matters, and at this conference, we want presentations by representatives of Tribes, Academia, Federal Agencies, and private sector consultants demonstrating how the field of Anthropology is not only alive and well, but crucial. The conference also strongly welcomes symposia and papers on any Anthropological topic in all four subfields.

    •Cost: $45.00 advance/$55.00 on site
    •No Host bar
    •Banquet (Buffet-style) with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options
    Other hospitality/meetings include:

    “There can be no ultimate statements science: there can be no statements in science which can not be tested, and therefore none which cannot in principle be refuted, by falsifying some of the conclusions which can be deduced from them.”

    Karl Popper

    Kenneth M. Ames
    Professor Emeritus
    Portland State University

  5. anthroknight

    Don’t you think this is a bit harsh, Max?

    Certainly, there are more than a few grains of truth in your ‘definition’, but this seems to negate the amazing work of many anthropologists who spend their lives trying to overturn such stereotypes (yourself included) with sincere goals of actually adding to human knowledge and improve lives and relationships. A definition such as this one could have the effect of convincing a few more nay-sayers that they’re right about anthropologists!

    Or perhaps I missed some inside irony?

    Tony Knight
    University of Kent
    PhD student

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Hello Tony,

      I agree with you, except perhaps on the definition of “many” and maybe “amazing”. If any of them would like to hire me as their paid publicist, they know where they can reach me. Needless to say, I only accept payment in the form of barrels of rum.

  6. Jérémy

    Another example of its use in a sentence:

    – After the riots in London, PM David Cameron said : “But it is quite clear that we need more, much more, anthropology on our streets and we need even more robust anthropology action.”

  7. John Allison

    Like all professions in the USNATO economy, anthropology has become what the Empire will pay for; from the early use of “Physical Anthropology” to the recent use in HTS, anthropology has morphed to allow those with that title to survive by adapting to Empire’s desires.

    The best anthropology that wars and their booty can buy; but, what does it really have to do with understanding the world of diverse human societies and to give them a voice in that economy and a chance to survive and reconsolidate in sovereignty? Of course, anthropology departments have to survive, and the message is clear, “Our way or the highway” for anthropology.

    Even with the pilots of fighter jets, whose cabins are designed for the habitual motions and preferred locations of essential equipment, seats, levers, switeches and buttons, how many of the pilots whose habits of motion were used to provide the specifications for design were pilots who were from the cultural world of those diverse societies: or do they simply become “acculturated” and enfolded into the Empires specifications. The global Empire slouches toward Bethlehem and Damascus.

    This is not the anthropology into which I was educated. I don’t buy it. Of course, I am obsolete equipment in that economy. I am pleased to have my own very limited economy to allow me to continue to be the anthropologist I learned to be in the original vision for a culturally diverse global society.

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