Anthropology…in Theory

Anthropology 1989-1999. Tonto and the Lone Ranger sit at a table having coffee. Ranger: "Tonto, it's time we decolonize anthropology." Tonto: "I agree, but...how?" Ranger takes off his had and presents it to Tonto: "Here, try this on." Tonto: "Kimosabi, this is NOT a good fit." Ranger with no hat and blonde hair, says: "Nonsense! It looks PERFECT!."

Anthropology 1999-2009. Tonto and the Lone Ranger sit at a table in front of an open book. Tonto: "Hey Kimosabi, What's new?" Ranger: "I'm excited about anthropological futures. Anthropologists are studying emergent systems now." Tonto: "I see one problem, there is no 'future' in emergent systems." Ranger: 'You mean the 'future' has already come and gone?"

Anthropology 2009-2019. Ranger: "New animism! Materriality! Pluralverses! Ontologies!" Tonto: "Kimosabi!! STOP! Catch your breath!" Ranger: "It all makes sense. We're all related in this cosmos!" Tonto: "Whoa, kimosabi, slow down." Ranger: "Now, I know what you mean when you say, 'All my relations.'" Ranger: "Kimosabi!! You're finally going native!"

Anthropology 2019-singularity. Ranger stands next to a robot and says: "Tonto! Meet H.A.L., the technographer." Tonto: "H.A.L.? The Cazy computer from _2001 a Space Odyssey_?" Ranger: H.A.L.'s not crazy! Tell him, H.A.L." H.A.L.: I'm sorry Ranger, I can't do that." Ranger: "Hah! Doesn't he sound human?" Tonto: "POST-human, as a matter of fact."

Bernard Perley © 2019

Bernard Perley is Maliseet from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. He teaches courses in linguistic anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He combines his art and architecture background with ethnography to promote Indigenous language revival and social justice issues. And, he loves drawing cartoons.

Cite as: Perley, Bernard. 2019. “Anthropology…in Theory.” Anthropology News website, April 8, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1138

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