Teaching anthropology


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The only thing which can truly distinguish anthropology from the rest of social science is that it addresses human nature plus culture plus society.

Keith Hart1

Whatever definition of anthropology one chooses, it should stress that this is a discipline for understanding humankind in its many facets – holistically.

James L. Peacock2


THIS paper attempts first, to introduce the departments of anthropology in Indian universities; second, to examine the changing relationship between different branches of anthropology; and finally, to offer some observations on the state of social anthropology in India.

There are presently 33 university departments of anthropology of highly differing quality, the most recent addition being at Bundelkhand University, Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh). The Status Report on Anthropology, published by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1982, counted 26 departments in 22 universities, two universities having two and three departments respectively.3 Sixteen of them were exclusively of anthropology. Six were composite departments, two each of sociology and anthropology, and sociology and social anthropology, and one each of human genetics and physical anthropology, and physical anthropology and prehistoric archaeology. Two universities had departments of social anthropology, one of anthropological linguistics, and the other of human biology.

The UGC report classified the anthropology departments in three categories, viz. integrated, fragmented, and composite. The integrated departments were those where all the main branches of anthropology were taught and researched. Those departments which imparted training in one branch, or maybe two, like the department of human biology at Panjabi University (Patiala), were designated as fragmented. Composite departments had anthropology coupled with sociology.



However, the UGC report did not clearly spell out the major subdivisions of anthropology, the inclusion of which would yield an ‘integrated’ anthropology. A closer reading of this document suggests that besides the three well-known branches (viz. physical, archaeological, and social/cultural), it also considered linguistic anthropology as an important component of anthropology. With dismay, it noted that linguistic anthropology was taught in ‘only one or two universities’ (p. 12), one being the department of anthropological linguistics at Patiala. As a large number of universities did not teach linguistic anthropology, one could easily infer that none of the anthropology departments were in fact truly integrated.

Many changes have taken place in the organisation of anthropology departments in the last 18 years since the publication of the UGC report. First, exclusive anthropology departments have doubled in number, from 16 to 33. Second, some universities have established departments of tribal development (for example, in Arunachal University, Itanagar). These departments do not carry the tag of anthropology, but as they deal with the principal subject matter of anthropology, i.e. tribes, they employ anthropologists and are counted among the departments of anthropology. Third, the composite departments of sociology and anthropology, or sociology and social anthropology, are on the wane.4 Fourth, the hitherto ‘fragmented’ anthropology departments have come together, thereby resulting in ‘integrated’ departments. Fifth, linguistic anthropology has not developed much. Therefore, the departments of anthropology, which the UGC report regarded as ‘integrated’, have been built around the three main branches (physical, archaeological, and social/cultural).



The UGC report also offers a brief account of museums in anthropology departments. Museums have played an essential role in the development of anthropology. In many foreign universities, museums provide a part of the fieldwork grant to prospective researchers so that they may collect specimens of material culture as museum exhibits. Undergraduate students are also encouraged to write their dissertation on museum collections. By comparison, most anthropology departments in India, particularly of recent origin, do not have separate museums. Little surprise that the study of material culture, which used to be essential in anthropological training, has almost been relegated to the back seat. Even in departments with rich and elaborate museums, the role of the museum in teaching anthropology has greatly diminished.

Because the so-called ‘integrated’ anthropology bridges biological and social sciences, it occupies a dual, sometimes uncertain, status of science as well as arts. Some universities list anthropology as a science subject, to be administered by the faculty of science; for others, it is a social science, or even a discipline of the arts and humanities, notwithstanding its biological content. The subjects with which anthropology may be grouped – the ‘ecology of anthropology’ – may widely differ. In Delhi, anthropology’s kin are natural, biological and geological sciences; in Jhansi, anthropology is classed with social work, public administration, forensic science, applied psychology and women’s studies – all located under the rubric of the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Social Science.



The term anthropology in India is used for a generic discipline which deals with a specialised study of both biological and social-cultural facts; the latter include archaeological facts, the society and culture of contemporary peoples, and linguistic facts.5 Thus, there are two sub-disciplines of anthropology, one concerned with biological facts, the other with the cultural, and each is further divided into ‘special anthropologies’.6 This grotesquely encyclopaedic notion of anthropology is also followed in the universities of the United Kingdom and the United States of America.



By comparison, on the Continent ethnology has continued as the central discipline dealing with the history of culture, and anthropology is synonymous with physical anthropology. In the English-speaking world, ethnology merges with archaeology in the larger field of cultural anthropology or cultural history, and social anthropology has emerged as a central discipline, particularly in the United Kingdom.7 On the Continent, thus, there are three disciplines, viz. anthropology, ethnology and archaeology, dealing with human biological and cultural facts. To my knowledge, attempts to integrate them have not been as strong as they have been in the United States or India.8

A department may include all the three (or four) sub-disciplines of anthropology in its teaching and research curriculum. However, this does not necessarily imply that they are equally developed, that resources and teaching positions are equitably distributed, nor that each branch attracts the same number of students. The department at Poona University, for example, has five teaching faculty – three physical anthropologists and two social anthropologists. For teaching archaeology, the department associates teachers from the other departments. Delhi University’s anthropology department has 13 physical anthropologists, seven social anthropologists, and two pre historians (and no one in linguistic anthropology). In the last 41 years, the University of Delhi has awarded 164 Ph.Ds for research work in anthropology; the first was conferred in 1959.9 Of these, 137 have been for research in physical anthropology, 26 for social anthropology and one for prehistory.



Examples drawn from the other departments will substantiate the fact that although a department may offer courses relating to the main offshoots of anthropology, one of them may be far more developed as compared to the others. Thus, ‘integrated’ anthropology may in reality be ‘fragmented’. Any branch of anthropology can develop independently of the assistance rendered to it by the other branches. For example, the Delhi department has produced outstanding research in the fields of bio-chemical genetics and cytogenetics. These students are now working in the specialised departments of immunogenetics, genetics and haematology. Perhaps the only social anthropology in these projects involved was that the blood samples (which were cultured for genetical works) were taken from a community of people, for whom physical anthropologists would prefer the term Mendelian group.



Why did the three disciplines of anthropology come together in the first place? Well, what brought them together was the idea of evolution; human bodies have evolved, so have societies, cultures and the languages of people. We may recapitulate here the following sentences from R.R. Marett: ‘Anthropology is the whole history of man as fired and pervaded by the idea of evolution. Man in evolution – that is the subject in its full reach’ (p. 7). Further, Marett wrote (p. 8): ‘Anthropology is the child of Darwin. Darwinism makes it possible. Reject the Darwinian point of view and you must reject anthropology also.’10 Classical evolutionism was discredited for its conjectural reconstruction, but the evolutionary perspective continued to keep physical and social/cultural anthropology together.

In the words of a physical anthropologist, G.W. Lasker: ‘Cultural elements, notably tool-using and speech, probably affected the direction of evolution of the genus Homo: certainly clothes, houses, the use of fire, food production, the control of diseases and many other cultural elements affect the selection pressures responsible for ongoing human evolution, human growth, body composition, and virtually every other process of concern to physical anthropology.’11 Fredrich Hulse approvingly quoted one of his colleagues who had said: ‘Physical anthropology’s one claim to a place in the sun is its ability to interpret biological variability in its cultural setting.’12 Later adaptational studies showed that the process of adaptation was both biological and cultural; thus, for instance, physical anthropological works on high altitude populations carried substantial information on cultural adaptation as well.



Physical anthropology was not only evolutionary in nature, it was equally concerned with classifying people and identifying their morphogenetic features. In India, until the late 1960s and early 1970s, physical anthropology was concerned with anthropometric, dematoglyphic and serological studies, the latter primarily dealt with the ABO system.13 Those physical anthropologists who went abroad to work with the well-known biologists of the time explored the study of other systems of serology and bio-chemical genetics. Those who received an opportunity to study at departments of physiology worked on respiratory physiology. However, Indian anthropology departments had neither the technical gadgets nor the expertise.

When these foreign-trained anthropologists returned to India, they collaborated either with the sophisticated departments of biology or medical colleges. Or in frustration, they went back to their old techniques of population genetics, conducting measurements on living humans and skeletons, collecting prints (of palms, fingers, and soles) and analysing their patterns, or drawing blood for typing and reporting their frequency. Barring serological work, other studies required a simple tool-kit such as an anthropometric rod, a pair of callipers, printing ink, pad and paper. Data collection was a simple process and so was its statistical treatment. Data were usually collected from hospitals and schools, where the doctors and teachers as the case may be, played an important role in ‘ordering’ or ‘persuading’ the individuals (the ‘subjects’) to abide by the instructions of the researchers. In my opinion, physical anthropologists collected data; they did not conduct fieldwork.14



Against this background, it may be guessed that many established social anthropologists, whether influenced by the Boasian encyclopaedic approach or by the non-complexity of physical anthropological work, wrote articles (sometimes jointly) on blood groups, dermatoglyphics, or anthropometric measurements.15 Doctoral theses in social anthropology of the 1950s often carried information on the physical anthropology of the people. Crossing over from one discipline to the other was possible. In the Delhi department, most physical anthropologists lectured on material culture, anthropological techniques, and the migratory history of populations. Anthropology even then was a set of specialisations, but the distance between different disciplines was not great.16


During the mid-1970s, some anthropology departments collaborated with foreign geneticists and physical anthropologists. With generous funding from abroad, highly sophisticated laboratories were set up in these departments. For instance, take the case of the Delhi department that was immensely benefited by collaborating with an internationally known human geneticist, F. Vogel, who spent several weeks in Delhi in the 1970s teaching interested faculty members and students the techniques of cytogenetics. However, not all anthropology departments were that lucky. They persisted with old techniques of frequency reporting, thus widening the gap between the departments that acquired newer interests and technology and those that could not. To keep pace with the new frontiers in physical anthropology, many enthusiastic and forward-looking researchers actively collaborated (and still do) with biomedical institutions that did not have any shortfall of equipment and technical expertise. This has marked the beginning of the ‘medicalization of physical anthropology.’ As a result, the gulf between physical and social/cultural anthropology further increased. In fact, western physical anthropology has progressed in this direction.17

The outcome of these developments was that anthropology became a ‘group of subjects and sub-subjects,’ each having its own set of techniques, analytical categories and conclusions, and each interacting with another full-fledged discipline. It was virtually impossible for anyone to shift from one main discipline to another – say from physical anthropology to social anthropology, or vice versa.



In addition, physical anthropology comprises a number of super specialisations and horizontal mobility within them is quite difficult. A shift from a study of human growth and development to molecular anthropology, or from serology to dermatoglyphics, would mean seeking apprenticeship in an entirely new complex of techniques, reading absolutely new literature and interacting with a new department (for example, genetics, forensic science, haematology) altogether. That is the reason why Indian physical anthropologists have fewer specialisations. Incidentally such super specialisations do not exist in social anthropology.

Like anthropology in general, physical anthropology too is a group of subjects, which perhaps may not be said of social anthropology. True, social anthropology has specialisations, but not the super specialisations of the type of physical anthropology. This nature of anthropology is clearly reflected in articles published in its journals, or in the chapters of books. Seminars organised by anthropology departments are equally general and all encompassing. Some anthropologists proudly justify this state of affairs by considering anthropology as a subject without frontiers, without boundaries.

In the beginning, physical anthropology was able to keep pace with international standards. But scientific and technological innovations take place at a faster speed and are quite expensive to keep up with. Only well funded institutions, which anthropology departments were never, could have hoped to acquire them. Further, newer research findings required a qualitative change in anthropology syllabi and practicals, which could only have been possible in a separate department of physical anthropology, or where the specialised training began in the first year of postgraduation. In addition, there was a need of teachers and research scholars actively engaged in developing newer fields, who would not only disseminate knowledge but also supervise doctoral dissertations to be evaluated by internationally known experts in the field.



Being a non-laboratory and field-oriented discipline, social anthropology did not face these crises. All it needed to do, which it did with reasonable success, was to take a critical look at newer approaches and data. Teachers of social anthropology are expected to share fieldwork experience and the analysis of observed cultural practices with their students. As a result the teaching of social anthropology is far less stereotypical and textbook oriented – a problem encountered in other fields, including physical anthropology. Raymond Firth reminds us that all teaching is a mode of personal communication and his statement applies well to social anthropology.18 The problem with Indian social anthropologists, however, is that not many have more than one bout of sustained field-work to their credit; thus references to their fieldwork become repetitive and boring.



The promising development of physical anthropology in the 1970s was not sustained in India. The international scene was different where super-specialisations continued to blossom.19 By the late 1980s and early 1990s, physical anthropology in India became less laboratory oriented, for the laboratories were ill-equipped. The old interests (in dermatoglyphics, serology and anthropometry) did not fade away as was earlier imagined. With the growth of sport science and ergonomics, anthropometry acquired a new engagement, conducting measurements on sports personnel and on others for designing machines.

The fields which came to the forefront in this period were anthropological demography, medical anthropology and ecological anthropology. Besides being considered of tremendous applied value, they were also regarded as bio-behavioural (or bio-cultural) disciplines, thereby providing the meeting point of physical and social/cultural anthropology. Today, many physical anthropologists are trying their luck in these fields, which, despite their biological content, have essentially been developed by social anthropologists. These newly acquired interests of physical anthropology have drawn it closer to social/cultural anthropology. This has happened because of a relative decline in laboratory conducted work.



In departments of anthropology in Indian universities, social anthropology is far more developed in comparison to prehistoric archaeology or linguistic anthropology. The idea that anthropology studies ‘other cultures’, particularly of the preliterate communities, now known as ‘tribes’, is more appropriate to social than physical anthropology.20 From the beginning, physical anthropologists have conducted studies (and continue to do so) in their own communities, or in other towns and urban communities. As noted previously, their ‘subjects’ are chiefly drawn from schools and hospitals.

It is for demographic projects, which in any case are a new addition to physical anthropology, that they focus on the family. Physical anthropologists never discussed the methodological problems in studying one’s own society, as has been the case with social anthropologists.

Social anthropology in India draws heavily upon Indian examples and case studies. Barring a few topics – such as acephalous political systems, ceremonial exchange, witchcraft, conspicuous consumption – for which it is imperative to discuss the classic cases of the Nuer of the Sudan, the Trobriand Islanders, the Azande, or the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia, the emphasis of Indian social anthropologists remains largely on Indian tribes and peasants. But the irony is that barring the detailed tribal monographs prepared by the British colonial officers and others (such as S.C. Roy, D.N. Majumdar) before Independence, we do not have any recent good ethnographies of a comparable type.

Doctoral candidates working on the Angami Nagas still rely on J.H. Hutton’s 1921 monograph on this tribe, notwithstanding the weaknesses of Hutton’s fieldwork and the fact that he was required to write up his information based on the thumbnail sketch provided by the Assam administration. Similarly, even today the best work on the Baigas (of Madhya Pradesh) remains Verrier Elwin’s, or on the Gonds by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf. India has 461 scheduled tribes (according to the Peoples of India Project of the Anthropological Survey of India), of which detailed ethnographies are available on not more than around 30; many of them are awaiting their study.



The Indian anthropology journals which cater to all branches of anthropology, do sometimes publish short and preliminary accounts of some tribes, but these articles serve little purpose. They cannot be used for either teaching or research. In the absence of worthwhile consulting material, Indian students have to rely upon earlier ethnographies despite the fact that the societies, which attracted the attention of the colonial officers and anthropologists, have fast changed. Moreover, colonial ethnographies have their own constructions of Orientalism that needs to be systematically deconstructed.

Indian social anthropologists usually carry out their fieldwork in India. Normally, they return to their own region, state, district, or even village, for intensive study; they thus are saved from learning an alien language and passing through the ‘trials and tribulations’ of fieldwork in a different culture.21 The quality of such fieldwork is often poor. The ethnographer tries to fill the gaps in data by taking recourse to secondary information or becoming excessively theoretical in his analysis, with the result that the people are pushed to the margins.



This is not to say that there have been no first grade studies of one’s own community or region – we may remember here T.N. Madan’s work on the Kashmiri Pandits; nor that Indian scholars have not worked on societies outside India. Well-known works in the latter category are by Surajit Sinha, Satish Saberwal, J.P.S. Uberoi, T.N. Pandey and R.K. Jain. It may be noted, however, that work on non-Indian societies has mainly been attempted by those who studied in a foreign university (in Europe or America) where it was easier to get generous funding for fieldwork (which is extremely difficult in Indian universities and research organisations) and training in the language spoken by the people with whom one intended to carry out the ethnographic work.

But it is also true that Indian students studying abroad for a degree in social science almost invariably work on a topic related to India (and not even to Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or Bhutan). Their pre-Ph.D projects are also conducted on Indian students or Indians settled abroad. India is an ensemble of enormously diverse cultures and here one may have the experience of working in ‘other cultures’, the kind of experience anthropologists look forward to. However, the academic parochialism of Indian students is such that they take up the study of their native regions and communities. Rarely do we come across north Indian students conducting their fieldwork in south India. Almost all the students from Bihar, Orissa, Nagaland, and Manipur in my department have ensconced themselves either in their natal communities or regions for fieldwork.22 Many of them will be produce what has come to be known as ‘autoethnography’.



Anthropology departments in India, thus, have a different complexion in comparison to those in the West. The former specialise in Indian studies whereas the latter endeavour to cover the entire world, all the ethnographic zones one may think of. Consequently, they are far more comparative than are our departments. A popular trend with western anthropologists is to conduct fieldwork in two or more, sometimes widely distinct, areas. Louis Dumont carried out intensive fieldwork with communities in Tamilnadu and eastern Uttar Pradesh, two culturally distinct zones, although he did not find the latter particularly interesting.23 My doctoral supervisor, Caroline Humphrey, worked in Nepal, India, Russia, and Mongolia. Her student, James Laidlaw, has now shifted his focus to study urban Taiwan after having worked for many years with the Svetambara Jains in Jaipur.

As noted earlier, Indian anthropologists rarely explore two or more ethnographic landscapes. In many cases, their first fieldwork, usually for their doctoral dissertation, is not of high quality. It barely yields a doctoral thesis. Because of a paucity of more data the researcher does not attempt additional monographs on the people he studied; rather he switches to writing about theoretical and conceptual issues that do not require primary data. With poor fieldwork and inadequate data, the anthropologist hides behind theories and information collected by others. Despite this, Indian anthropology can hardly boast of an ‘acknowledged’ theoretical work, a contribution to major theoretical approaches, such as functionalism, structuralism, hermeneutics, inter-pretivism, feminism, and so on.24



It is the marketability of social anthropological research that pre-occupies our researchers. They are attracted by development, ecology, social gerontology, medical anthropology and demography – fields in which they expect to find jobs, particularly with NGOs. Currently, the traditional areas of research (viz. kinship, religion, myths and beliefs, cosmology) hardly attract any students. Unfortunately, research in economy and polity has also declined in anthropology. The themes which have gained popularity in social anthropology are those in which the physical anthropologists are also interested. So are the sociologists.

There have been a few research projects in medical anthropology or demography, where both physical and social/cultural anthropologists collaborated. Nevertheless the main interaction of social anthropologists has been with sociologists, and not with physical anthropologists. The fear that this would lead to the merging of social anthropology with sociology is unfounded. Both social anthropology and sociology have retained their respective identities. As noted earlier, their combined departments are in decline. This indicates that each discipline asserts its identity and does not want it to be abrogated, regardless of the common interests and perspectives it may share with the other discipline.



To sum up, the concept of evolution brought together the independently developing studies of human biological and social-cultural facts. Later, the idea of holism (i.e., anthropology as a total understanding of humankind) sustained the coexistence of physical and social/cultural anthropology in the same discipline.25 It appears to me that the idea of holism has been one of the main factors explaining the merging of the ‘fragmented’ departments into ‘integrated’ ones. The UGC report presumes, and so do many anthropologists, that the best anthropology is one that is integrated. Whether there is a theory (or a paradigm) that can explain both the biological and social-cultural facts, is certainly not an issue in the writings of those who argue the case for integrated anthropology. For them, integration means a horizontal coexistence of different anthropologies, which in fact may not have many interactions between them.

Perhaps, a viable model for organising the teaching of anthropology is to create separate departments of its main branches, controlled by a faculty, which may be called the faculty of anthropology. I have in mind the successful Cambridge experiment. Cambridge University has independent departments of social anthropology, archaeology, and biological (i.e. physical) anthropology, all placed under the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology. At one time Cambridge had one department of anthropology representing all the specialisations, but once faculty members realised the need for specialised knowledge in each branch, they decided to separate. However, first year students are required to do a preliminary paper in one of the branches of anthropology. Often, the Cambridge faculty organises a series of lectures on a common topic (such as, human nature) to be delivered by anthropologists from different specialisations. It is in these arrangements of teaching, combined lecture programmes, faculty meetings and appointments that the placenta of anthropology remains intact. In this arrangement, anthropology can effectively deal with the differentiation of knowledge while keeping the cognate disciplines together, for they share certain concerns in common, evolution being one of them.

Social anthropologists have time and again argued that analytical ethnography and not the dry philosophical discussions with jargonised gobbledegook, which has become fashionable with post-modernism gives identity to their subject.26 The subject can be salvaged not by developing areas reputed to have a market value, but by producing good ethnographies – the thick descriptions – of the phenomena under study. Our methodology and its outcome has impressed, and also enriched, other disciplines. Let’s further it by being devoted fieldworkers and conscientious writers of the life of the ‘other’ or ‘our’ people, as observed and not as imagined.



1. Comment in Tim Ingold (ed.), Key Debates in Anthropology. Routledge, London and New York, 1996, p. 42.

2. The Anthropological Lens: Harsh Light, Soft Focus. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986.

3. I have chosen to begin with the UGC report because it is the latest report available on the state of anthropology departments in India. K. Suresh Singh told me (in April 2000) that another committee (of which he was a member) was formed after 1982 to look into the teaching of anthropology and it had submitted its report. To my knowledge, this report has so far not been published. The members who finalized the 1982 report were Professors L.P. Vidyarthi, B.K. Roy Burman, S.R.K. Chopra, and L.K. Mahapatra.

At one time, Sri Venkateswara University (Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh) had two anthropology departments, one of social anthropology, and the other of physical anthropology and archaeology; they have now merged into one department of anthropology.

4. I once asked a professor in a composite department (of sociology and social anthropology) about the courses offered in social anthropology. He said that although there was no exclusive paper on social anthropology, each course had some anthropological content. For instance, the theory paper taught Bronislaw Malinowski and A.R. Radcliffe-Brown; research methodology – the genealogical method; sociology of religion – animism and totemism; and the paper on Indian society had a section on tribes. The inclusion of information about institutional practices of ‘primitive’ societies justified the title of social anthropology in a composite department. We may note that some sociology departments (for instance, at Jaipur or Jodhpur) teach a paper on social anthropology, but have never argued in favour of a composite name for their department. Shah (p. 96) writes that sociology and social anthropology are ‘loosely integrated under the rubric of sociology in India.’ See A.M. Shah, ‘In Memory of M.N. Srinivas’, Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) 34(1), 2000, 93-104.

5. I am reminded of Haddon (p. 11) who wrote that one branch of anthropology deals with the ‘natural man’ (or homo) and the other with the ‘social man’ (or socius). See A.C. Haddon, The Practical Value of Ethnology (Conway Memorial Lecture). Watts and Co., London, 1921.

6. Indian anthropologists have so far not attempted a good textbook (or dictionary) of anthropology as a whole, something comparable to the one by R. Beals and H. Hoijer, An Introduction to Anthropology. Macmillan, New York, 1959; or a recent one by R. Scupin and C.R. DeCorse, Anthropology: A Global Perspective. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1992. The most popular text in social anthropology in India, which carries examples from Indian tribal and peasant societies, is by D.N. Majumdar and T.N. Madan, An Introduction to Social Anthropology. Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1956.

7. Lienhardt (p. 5) writes that ethnology has tended to be identified with the study of material culture. In Britain, ethnologists were more preoccupied with things than people. See G. Lienhardt, Social Anthropology. Oxford University Press, 1964.

8. See V.K. Srivastava, ‘The Future of Anthropology’, Economic and Political Weekly 34(9), 1999, 545-52.

9. The Delhi anthropology department was founded in 1947 by Professor P.C. Biswas, who, though a physical anthropologist by training from Germany, described himself as a ‘general anthropologist’.

10. R.R. Marett, Anthropology. William and Norgate, London, 1912.

11. G.W. Lasker, ‘Introduction’, in D.G. Mandelbaum, G.W. Lasker and E.M. Albert (eds.), The Teaching of Anthropology. Memoir 94, American Anthropological Association, 1963.

12. F.S. Hulse, ‘Objectives and Methods’, in Mandelbaum et al., 1963, ibid. p. 69.

13. See N.K. Bose, Fifty Years of Science in India: Progress of Anthropology and Archaeology. Indian Science Congress Association, Calcutta, 1963; Indera P. Singh, ‘Twenty-five Years of Physical Anthropology in India – an appraisal’, The Eastern Anthropologist 27(3), 1974, 183-94.

14. Fieldwork is an activity undertaken by a social or cultural anthropologist who stays with the people, his own or others whom he intends to study in their natural habitat for a lengthy period of time, not less than one year, with an aim to understand the meaning of institutions and practices from a ‘within’ (or insider’s) perspective.

15. See Bose (1963), ibid.

16. This would explain why a social anthropologist like J.D. Mehra contributed to dermatoglyphics, and a physical anthropologist, Abhimanyu Sharma, to kin terms. See J.D. Mehra, ‘Notes on Palmar Mainlines of the Shokas of Almora District’, The Anthropologist 6(1 & 2), 1959, 22-5; A. Sharma, ‘Notes on Kachin Kinship and Linguistic Categories’, The Anthropologist 2(2), 1955, 55-63. A famous sociologist, Irawati Karve, also conducted anthropometric measurements; see I. Karve and V.M. Dandekar, Anthropometric Measurements of Maharashtra. Deccan College, Poona, 1951.

17. Indian physical anthropologists collaborate with foreign biologists and medical scientists in various projects, but their job is mainly confined to the collection of data, which is analyzed by the foreign collaborators. In the publications that follow, the Indians remain junior authors. For instance, recently in the news were the conclusions of research on caste and genetic structure (The Week, 6 December 1998; India Today, 14 December 1998). Nine scientists originally published the finding of this research in Nature (395; 15 October 1998). The names of the three Indian anthropologists from Andhra Pradesh, who collaborated in the research, based on 250 individuals from 12 Telegu-speaking castes, figured from number five to seven.

18. Raymond Firth, ‘Aims, Methods, and Concepts in the Teaching of Anthropology’, in Mandelbaum et al. (1963), ibid., pp. 127- 40.

19. The reader may have a look at the issues of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

20. Pandya writes (p. 380-1): ‘Éanthropology aim(s) at explicating the meaning and actions of a people rooted in one time and place to people in a different time and place.’ See Vishvajit Pandya, ‘From Photography to Ethnography: Andamanese documents and documentation’, Visual Anthropology 4: 1991, 379-413.

21. On this point, see Andre Beteille, ‘Epilogue: village studies in retrospect’, in Caste, Class and Power: Changing Patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village. Oxford University Press, Delhi, Second Edition, 1996, p. 234.

22. Nearly every student who came from West Bengal to study modern Indian history at Cambridge (in the early nineties) worked on a topic related to his state – jute mill towns, communist party, freedom movement.

23. See T.N. Madan, ‘Louis Dumont 1911-1998: a memoir,’ Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) 33(3), 1999, 473-501.

24. Gopala Sarana is perhaps one of the few Indian anthropologists who has written on topics such as social structure and social organization, functionalism, structuralism, definition of marriage, comparative method. See his Sociology and Anthropology and Other Essays. Institute of Social Research and Applied Anthropology, Calcutta, 1983.

25. See note 2 in this article.

26. On this point, see Sidney W. Mintz, ‘Sows’ Ears and Silver Linings: a backward look at ethnography,’ Current Anthropology 41(2), 2000, 169-89. Beteille writes (p. xv): ‘Sociologists are notorious for being unwilling or unable to put things in a nutshell; when they do so, the language they use tends to be so arcane and recondite that few are able to understand their meaning.’ See Andre Beteille, Chronicles of Our Time. Penguin Books, 2000.