There was considerable optimism about the future of anthropology when I came into the field over forty years ago, at a time when World War II was still a meaningful memory, the Korean War was a subject of great agony, and Vietnam was not yet part of our consciousness. During the late 1950s I had developed an interest in experiencing other cultures, and this led me to the field of international studies and indirectly to anthropology. Anthropology seemed a very positive way to get to know about other peoples and their ways of life. Such knowledge would create greater understanding among all peoples, and particularly, it had the potential for reducing friction and avoiding conflict. Naively, I think, some of my contemporaries and I believed that the field would grow and become a powerful influence in international relations, providing the knowledge and strategies for establishing communication among peoples and promoting peaceful coexistence. We were very young then and inexperienced. In this overview I touch on only some of the high points of my experiences in anthropology over the past decades and briefly comment on some of my reactions to developments in the field.


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