Yale Anarchist Professor Booted

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Volin
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Dec 9 2005 13:32
Yale Anarchist Professor Booted

At the risk of starting a topic that may already exist...

"A professor and outspoken anarchist has agreed to leave Yale University this spring, ending an appeal over whether his termination was politically motivated. David Graeber, one of the world's leading social anthropologists, said he will teach two classes next semester, then take a yearlong paid sabbatical after which he will not return. "Normally, you get a sabbatical on the condition that you come back and teach the following year," Graeber said. "I'm getting the sabbatical on the condition that I don't come back and teach."

Graeber, 44, is an anarchist whose counterculture writings are nearly as popular as his academic work. When Yale's anthropology told Graeber not to return next year, scholars worldwide wrote letters of support, some suggesting Yale was letting politics influence its hiring.

Graeber said relationships with his peers became strained after he joined groups such as the Direct Action Network and Ya Basta in 2001 and began appearing at anti-globalization protests and in newspaper articles. Graeber is unabashed about his politics he carries an Industrial Workers of the World union card in his wallet and his disdain for the Yale faculty who fired him. He said he deserved better from the university and said the provost's office could have intervened to save his job.

Graeber said he plans to spend much of his year off doing research and writing. He said he has new books coming out soon and is working on another. His resume includes a number of forthcoming articles, including titles such as "Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery.""

He wrote, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. 8)

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Jacques Roux
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Dec 9 2005 16:47

Anyone read his stuff? Is it any good? Any online?

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888
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Dec 11 2005 05:56

I've only argued with him on the old email lists like organise and newsgroups - he's OK, pretty sound politics if tending to a dislike of certain organised anarchist groups like nefac for some reason.

Mike Harman
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Dec 11 2005 10:54

He loves crimethinc and pga, and seems to think anarchism would be served better by having more college professors. Looks like a post-left and/or without adjectives type.

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemID=4796

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Steven.
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Dec 11 2005 12:08

Ah is he the guy who wrote some "anarchist academic" piece in that magazine... can't remember the name - the other one done by the guy who runs Anarchy - a journal of desire armed? I think it was, and it was moronic claptrap. If it was him, then he probably shouldn't be allowed to work at Yale cos he's so fucking stupid. Still I'll look it up and check cos if it wasn't him that could sound out of order.

AnarchoAl
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Dec 11 2005 21:53

I've read a small amount of stuff by Graber that was generally pretty good. A comrade who I have a great deal of respect for knows him and has a great deal of respect for him, so I'd hesitate before laying into him. Has anyone actually read any of his books?

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georgestapleton
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Dec 12 2005 00:51

Yeah he wrote the article in new left review THE NEW ANARCHISTS

http://www.newleftreview.net/NLR24704.shtml Which is pretty diabolical.

But he's written better stuff. See his long 'Value As The Importance of Actions' in the commoner. http://www.commoner.org.uk/10graeber.pdf

I didn't read all of it but it looks promising. He also wrote a book 'Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology' which is available here for FREE eek http://www.prickly-paradigm.com/paradigm14.pdf

A review of it is here http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=05/08/14/0314250

When I was over in America pretty much every academic/lefty bookshop was selling his 'Fragments'.

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Jacques Roux
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Feb 14 2006 15:43
georgestapleton wrote:

I didn't read all of it but it looks promising. He also wrote a book 'Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology' which is available here for FREE eek http://www.prickly-paradigm.com/paradigm14.pdf

This got plugged by a tutor of mine in an anthropology class today, so im going to read it and enlighten you all wink

Apprently Graebar has been reinstated now.

revolutionrugger
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Apr 20 2006 19:24

i was friends with David back in the day. He's a good guy. He blames the more sectarian sounding language of that one article on his editor. I think thats a bold face lie he made up so we wouldn't argue politics. But, despite his hippy-anarchism he's a good mensch, and a very smart man. His First book is pretty good, though i don't pretend to understand all of it. Plus, when ever he does a grad-student speaking gig in town, I show up and he makes sure i get invited to posh-academia parties where i can snag bottles of wine and expesive cheese.

petey
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Apr 20 2006 20:09

penn?

revolutionrugger
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Apr 20 2006 20:21

johns hopkins actually. so you can imagine how nice the cheese was.

revolutionrugger
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Apr 20 2006 20:23

also his mom is a really sweet lady, and his dad fought in the spanish civil war.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Apr 20 2006 22:22

Fragments is actually pretty good, in particular he has some pretty short but stunning jabs at post modernism. I wouldn't go so far as to say 'post left' but he is very much a product of the anti globalization movement. I'm just starting his book on theories of value and it seems pretty good. There is a lot of stuff in economic anthropolgy lib com's would do well to look at more and Graeber does a good job of laying out the discipline in a way that most anarchists that read a lot of theory can appreciatiate.

He is a little into some of the more flaky parts of activist culture though, such as consensus decision making, and lifestylism in general. Maybe the fact that I just finished reading Gramsci is dead is what makes this guy seem alright though compared to day he's positively down to earth.

gentle revolutionary
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Apr 22 2006 14:58

And he's a fellow Wobbly:)

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 24 2007 18:50

And guess where he's lecturing this year?

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RevolutionReversal
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Sep 24 2007 20:24

i have heard mixed reviews.

Apparently he is super paranoid about everything in person. This was a rumour i heard about from a friend. On the other hand I find his written work and the email correspondence I have had with him to be bang on.
He generally seems like a nice guy and fairly well thought out; our politics may not be the same exactly but at least he's not a capitalist or a fascist or a social democrat.

His piece on anarchist anthropology is quite good actually; and flint uses him well in the article on Iroquois Confederacy.

His book Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology is available to download for free on his wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Graeber at the bottom of the page.

His pieces on altruism and soldiers are also quite good. I would give him a chance and also look mroe closely to critique him.

Flint
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Sep 24 2007 21:59
revolutionrugger wrote:
His First book is pretty good,

Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams is better than "Fragments..."

Supposedly his next book is going to be on the "History of Debt".

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Khawaga
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Sep 24 2007 22:23
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Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams is better than "Fragments..."

Yup, would agree with that. I guess the problem with "Fragments..." was that it was just that, fragments. Though for being that it was good.

drsocialism
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Sep 24 2007 23:10
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
And guess where he's lecturing this year?

"On June 15, 2007, Graeber accepted the offer of a senior lectureship in the anthropology department at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He will begin teaching there in September 2007." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Graeber

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Tacks
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Sep 25 2007 00:08

lol grin

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 25 2007 02:50

Yep. 3 of my ex-housemates do Anthippiology and I heard off one of them. Well I guess it'll mean that there's at least one anarchist on campus this year. Last year there would have been two if Tommy Ascaso ever went to class. wink

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 25 2007 02:53

And if we're talking about radical professors, the way cooler one in the Anth dept is Brian Morris, who helped form Brighton Anarchist Group in the 60s and forced my housemates to read bios (by him, no less) of Bakunin and Kropotkin. Actually, the Anth dept's alright, also got the guy who invented the term "informal economy". And it has its own fucking library. In fact, it'd almost be bearable if every fucking student didn't have dreadlocks and a hardon for cultural relativism. Wankers.

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Steven.
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Sep 25 2007 08:41
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
And if we're talking about radical professors, the way cooler one in the Anth dept is Brian Morris, who helped form Brighton Anarchist Group in the 60s and forced my housemates to read bios (by him, no less) of Bakunin and Kropotkin.

I bet battlescarred'll know him - the library I worked at had an old BAG newsletter with articles signed by him in... might've been from the 70s though...

Terry
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Sep 25 2007 12:23

Brian Morris writes "guest articles" (ie from non-members) for Organise! Didn't realise it was anthropology he did, assumed political science, but then it never ceases to amaze me how academics manage to manouevere their discipline in the direction of their political viewpoint without any apparent connection between the two.

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Khawaga
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Sep 25 2007 12:31
Quote:
Brian Morris writes "guest articles" (ie from non-members) for Organise! Didn't realise it was anthropology he did, assumed political science, but then it never ceases to amaze me how academics manage to manouevere their discipline in the direction of their political viewpoint without any apparent connection between the two.

Why do you assume that the artificial fragmentation of knowledge (i.e. disciplines) is the norm. The fact that we have disciplines is a result of analytical philosophy and capitalist specialization. Anthropology and political science is basically inseparable. The connections are very apparent, in fact ontological.

Flint
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Sep 25 2007 12:45
Khawaga wrote:
Why do you assume that the artificial fragmentation of knowledge (i.e. disciplines) is the norm. The fact that we have disciplines is a result of analytical philosophy and capitalist specialization. Anthropology and political science is basically inseparable. The connections are very apparent, in fact ontological.

Except Political Science these days is some quick overviews of political philosophy, a bunch of civics for prospective law students, and quantitative studies on polling data for determining potential election results.

It seems that anthropology, sociology and history are where folks go to deal with political questions rather than just being a piece in the government/electoral machine.

Terry
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Sep 25 2007 13:01

"Why do you assume that the artificial fragmentation of knowledge (i.e. disciplines) is the norm."

Cause it is. You will note universities are divided into departments for instance. I'm not knocking people for getting out of that box at all, it just suprises me that they can.

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Sep 26 2007 03:39
Flint wrote:
Khawaga wrote:
Why do you assume that the artificial fragmentation of knowledge (i.e. disciplines) is the norm. The fact that we have disciplines is a result of analytical philosophy and capitalist specialization. Anthropology and political science is basically inseparable. The connections are very apparent, in fact ontological.

Except Political Science these days is some quick overviews of political philosophy, a bunch of civics for prospective law students, and quantitative studies on polling data for determining potential election results.

It seems that anthropology, sociology and history are where folks go to deal with political questions rather than just being a piece in the government/electoral machine.

Really depends on your department; I am in political science and have had a really broad based schooling dealing with many more basic political issues. It tends to be what professors you interact with, and who you are.

Flint
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Sep 26 2007 05:07
RevolutionReversal wrote:
Really depends on your department; I am in political science and have had a really broad based schooling dealing with many more basic political issues. It tends to be what professors you interact with, and who you are.

Whatever, Canada.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 26 2007 06:03
John. wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
And if we're talking about radical professors, the way cooler one in the Anth dept is Brian Morris, who helped form Brighton Anarchist Group in the 60s and forced my housemates to read bios (by him, no less) of Bakunin and Kropotkin.

I bet battlescarred'll know him - the library I worked at had an old BAG newsletter with articles signed by him in... might've been from the 70s though...

That was how I found out about him!

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Khawaga
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Sep 26 2007 09:56
Quote:
Except Political Science these days is some quick overviews of political philosophy, a bunch of civics for prospective law students, and quantitative studies on polling data for determining potential election results.

It seems that anthropology, sociology and history are where folks go to deal with political questions rather than just being a piece in the government/electoral machine.

Hmmm, I can't say I agree with you on this one. Ontologically these things do not have separate existence from each other. But I guess that this might have to do with the specifics of American vs European academia. From what I've read the Americans are obsessed with quantitative data, relative to Europe (though it is pretty important there as well).