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Accepted Paper:

The Good(s) of Anthropology: For example, in Raising Doubts about the Prosecution of Dawoodi Bohra Mothers  
Richard Shweder (University of Chicago)

Paper short abstract:

How much cultural diversity ought to be allowable within liberal democracies? How good are anthropologists at answering questions about tolerance, for example, when faced with customs such as a gender-equal, religiously based Muslim version of the ancient Jewish Abrahamic circumcision tradition?

Paper long abstract:

For much of the twentieth century American cultural anthropology was meant to be an antidote to ethnocentrism and a challenge to imperial "up-from-barbarism," "we're developed/you're not", “West is best” thinking. That was its value. That was its telos. Its aim was to promote social intelligence in a world of plural beliefs, ideologies, values and ways of life. It’s mission (a classically liberal one) was to expand the scope of toleration for cultural and civilizational differences. Its message to practitioners: Nature, human rationality and the rules of moral reason leave plenty of room for cultural variety, so strive to verify the reality, validity, and intelligibility of values, beliefs and ways of life different from your own. My presentation will address two questions: (1) How is that pluralistic ideal connected to three other contemporary conceptions of the value of anthropology, for example, as a positive science seeking to discover how the world works; as a skeptical discipline unmasking claims to objective knowledge, and as a moral movement engaged in social activism?; and (2) To what extent is our discipline able to address normative questions about the scope and limits of tolerance for cultural diversity in liberal democracies such as our own? Highlighted as a case in point will be the recent prosecutions of Muslim mothers of the Dawoodi Bohra community in the United States, Australia and India, who are under attack because they customarily adhere to a religiously based gender-inclusive/gender-equal version of the ancient Jewish Abrahamic circumcision tradition.

Panel Speak24b
First things first: the good of anthropology II
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -