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The Brian Ferguson Interview

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Checking out the Guide to the Marvin Harris papers, 1945-2001

Source tweet

Marvin Harris died on this day, nineteen years ago, and today anthropologist Brian Ferguson (I interviewed him in 2019) happened to email me with a link to the Guide to the Marvin Harris papers, 1945-2001 at the Smithsonian Institute Virtual Archives. 

Ferguson reports that the Guide was arranged by anthropologist David Price.

Price shared this photo of Harris on Twitter - wow I didn't realize Harris went through a hippie stage.

I have a few small gripes about the Guide:

The name of anthropologist Maxine Margolis (who I also interviewed) is misspelled "Margoline" in the Sources Used section.

Harris's article for The Nation is written as "Big Busts on Morningside Heights" but the original article was Big Bust - singular. The article with original title is available on archive.org.

I also think the biographical notes should at least make a reference to Harris's appearances on the Charlie Rose show and in a video by Hazel Henderson. I have provided excerpts from both here on Pinkerite

A less minor issue is that the Biographic Notes section should, in my opinion, include a mention of Ferguson's role in Harris's refining the emic/etic concept to include the mental/behavior dimension, which I discussed with Ferguson in the interview.

But Price deserves credit for arranging this, it's an important addition to Harris's legacy. Harris is a huge influence on Pinkerite, especially concerning Steven Pinker's race and gender essentialism.

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