Thursday, April 3, 2008

Research and the "Duh" Factor

Over the past few years, I have become very cynical about research, especially in my own discipline. The anthropology conference last weekend nourished my cynicism. Does what I do really matter? If the earth was going to be hit with a meteor, would I be one of the 100,000,000 to be chosen to survive underground? My guess: probably not.

I chose to study anthropology because I believed that the perspecive of the discipline forces you to truly understand the human condition. I still believe that....only you can only get so far with perspective. Furthermore, some anthropological research just confirms the obvious. The more I write about my own research, the more I'm convinced people outside the discipline will read it and say "Well, duh." The bright side is that in all likelihood, no one will read my dissertation (this includes my committee members).

But if by some chance my writing did reach the general public, it will probably fall in the same category as these:

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