Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2

I'm sitting in a room smelling of old books and pipe tobacco. Behind the blinds, there is dried ivy--it had come through the windows before they removed it from the building. On the wall across from me, there are boxes full of slides and film, and I wonder what is on them. Books have titles like Ghost Dance and the Ochoa Language, and are side by side with government records and reviews on all manner of things. So different than the conference rooms in my department, this is Anthropology.

We sit around a long wood table: two biologists, two anthropologists, and one philosopher. Today's topic is polyandry and polygyny in the Pimbwe, but it is bound to change. Every week, we gather to discuss anthropology and biology and sociology and philosophy and anything else that comes to mind.

This is the kind of thing I thrive on. Intellectual conversation, discussion, with enough humor to keep everything alive. Nothing is off limit here--socialism, religion, and western idealism and racism have all been topics of discussion. Some days, I feel grossly outclassed in intellect among this group, but still, it feels good.

This is the life.


  1. Oh man, I was wondering what is up with Pimbwe people and their polyandrous and polygynous ways.

    Okay, joking aside --I'm not up to speed on the Pimbwe people but you have now given me something to look up in my encyclopedia when I get home-- I love the smells of old books and pipe tobacco. I also love a good intellectual discussion/debate/whateverhaveyou. Sounds like a good time.

  2. Spelling error fixed! Should have been polyandry (defined as women having multiple husbands. Polygyny is men having multiple wives. Polygamy encompasses them both.)

    Yeah, I'm not an anthropologist (proudly one of the biologists), so sitting around discussing stuff like that, and being that wide ranging--as part of a class--isn't something we do. It's awesome. Not to mention the room is enat.

  3. I once had an intellectual discussion with a pair of friends on just when the action of stomping began and ended, in order to know if what took place was actually a stomp or an attempt to stomp.

    Or we could have all been smokin' too much weed:)

  4. Oh, Deek, I can only imagine where these discussions would go if there was weed involved. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in there that hasn't actually tried weed, though... so it would get interesting.