Anthropology Graduate Student Discovers Social Life
EVANSTON—In a startling discovery garnering the attention of local news media, NU Anthropology major and incipient researcher Allison Dumke, through her immersion in local culture, has uncovered the existence of a social life.
“I will not commit the error of overgeneralizing—often called the ‘ethnographic fallacy,’—nor yet speculate on the structural or political economic exigencies of my subjects,” Dumke said, “but it appears they deploy this ‘social life,’ if you will, to have—in a hegemonically constructed, definitely not a priori or ‘given’ sense—fun.” Over the course of a year of fieldwork, she was obliged to attend gatherings where these subjects engaged in an array of rituals involving conversation, drinking, musical performances, long walks, or simply sitting in place together. The reason for these ceremonial practices eludes contemporary anthropologists.
In a brave attempt to resist romanticizing the indigenous, or overly identifying with them in an effort to ‘go native,’ Dumke has declined all offers from her informants to help her in developing her own social life. “It works…within…their culture,” the erstwhile researcher articulated, “But there are experiential limits to cultural relativism. I cannot simply ‘hang out’ for no reason.”
What similarity these humans-with-a-social-life might have to fully civilized, modern, present day human anthropology students at Northwestern remains unanswered as of press time.