I have recently become part of a fascinating network, the Royal Anthropological Institute, who kindly made me a Fellow. Fascinating, because they have realised, after a longer period of Sleeping-Beautyesque focus on social and cultural anthropology alone, how important it is to embrace the natural science part of anthropology, its biological, forensic and medical strands. An excellent move that will bring Anthropology and its representation in the UK back to its comprehensive and encompassing roots and remit. Good also for BU, because the RAI is recognising our contribution towards educating the next generation of anthropologists, whose combined education in humanities and science produces the rounded and aware graduates society will need in future.
Naturally, the RAI fosters broad-ranging discussions among its members, and their ‘house journal’, Anthropology Today, invites guest editorials on a regular basis. Not long ago, a former Cambridge graduate, who moved on to a highly successful career in the US, reflected on the latest changes to the UK Higher Education system, its commercialisation and consumer orientation (anthropology today). American universities have been operating this for a long time, and they are beginning to pick up the fallout now. Hugh Gusterson’s thoughtful comparison of political agendas here and campus reality there makes interesting reading – if only to avoid falling into the same traps.