I recently read Shirley Fedorak’s new book Anthropology Matters! It is about the relevance of anthropology in our everyday lives as human beings in the Western world.
The best chapters discuss questions such as these:
Of What Use is Anthropology to the Business World? Is Female Circumcision a Violation of Human Rights or a Cherished Cultural Tradition? What Does it Mean to Grow Old? What Impact Has Missionism Had on Indigenous Cultures? Is the Practice of Purdah and Wearing the Hijab Oppressive to Women or an Expression of Their Identity? How Do Anthropologists View Same-Sex Marriages and Changing Family Structure? Has the Medium of Television Changed Human Behaviour and World Views?
Having read these eye-opening discussions, nobody will doubt the relevance of anthropology to our own everyday lives.
But I wonder what a book entitled Archaeology Matters! may look like and even whether it could be written (yet). It strikes me that volumes like Barbara Little’s Public Benefits of Archaeology do not address similarly bold questions in a similarly candid way.
We welcome comments which address this issue, suggest important questions archaeologists can answer (like the anthropological ones above), or which simply wish to draw attention to papers or books that do in fact successfully discuss the relevance of archaeology in our everyday lives in the present!