How to overcome the glass ceiling in academia | Interview with Dr. Louise Lamphere
We met with Professor emeritus of University of New Mexico, Dr. Louise Lamphere, to talk about overcoming the glass ceiling in academia and the importance of learning from and understanding other cultures and so much more. Enjoy!
Professor emeritus of University of New Mexico, Dr. Louise Lamphere shares insights into understanding another culture, anthropology’s growth as a discipline, overcoming the glass ceiling in academia, and what we can learn from the Navajo.
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Top Influential Anthropologists Today
Interview with Anthropologist Dr. Louise Lamphere
00:01 Louise Lamphere: If there’s a choice between a man and a woman, they have equal qualifications, you take the woman. Or, you go out and really make sure that you’ve got a pool that has some women in it to start with. And this was at a time that Affirmative Action was really coming into universities.
00:19 Jed Macosko: Hello, I’m Jed Macosko, and I’m from AcademicInfluence.com and from Wake Forest University. And I have as a special guest today, Louise Lamphere from University of New Mexico, and she’s coming to us to talk today about her background in anthropology and some of the things that led her into the field of anthropology and the things that she’s done, because she’s one of the most influential anthropologists today. [laughter] So it’s good to have you, Professor Lamphere.
00:47 Louise Lamphere: Sure.
00:48 Jed Macosko: So tell us a little bit about how you got your start and what things led you into anthropology as a field.
00:55 Louise Lamphere: Okay. Well, I grew up in Denver, Colorado from a family that’s been in Colorado for quite a while, and I was actually born in St. Louis, but I was an undergraduate at Stanford and was a sociology major. And but I was kind of... I felt it was sort of a, I don’t wanna say boring field, but I just felt it wasn’t really... It was a little bit distance from real people. And so I did have this one experience of doing a survey where we went to different houses and asked people about their political concerns or something, and that was pretty interesting, ’cause you get to see the different levels of incumbent stuff, people in fancy houses and people in not so fancy houses. But when I was, about, a sophomore or junior, I read Ruth Benedict’s “Patterns of Culture,” which really turned me on to anthropology and I thought, “Wow, this is really interesting, ’cause it’s a book that’s about Native American people, the Pueblos, the Northwest Coast peoples and the Plains people.
02:11 Louise Lamphere: And I thought, “They have such different approaches to life,” and I thought, “Well, but this is really getting at these interesting cultural differences,” and I end up going to graduate school at Harvard in a department called Social Relations, which started after the World War II and only lasted till 1972, but the reason it was so appealing is, I did have professors who were graduates of Soc Rel, we used to call it. But the thing is, it was a four-field department. It had sociologists, social anthropologists, clinical anthropologists, and social psychologists. So you got this exposure to a broad piece of the social sciences, and the traditional anthropology department, which is still at Harvard, had archaeology and physical anthropology, and that stuff didn’t interest me nearly as much as the kind of cultural or social anthropology. So and then these connections with psychology and particularly with sociology. And the next major thing that was really important was, I went on a field school, which is an incredible way to get to know how to do what anthropologists do as field work and get exposure to another culture, and I think there’s still field schools available for cultural anthropologists. Archeologists do these every year,’cause...
03:42 Jed Macosko: I’ve heard about them, yes.
03:44 Louise Lamphere: You can’t do archaeology without digging things up or surveying the ground, and that’s what you learn in these field schools. But for cultural anthropologists, it’s really a way of understanding how other people live and getting skills like interviewing people and understanding how to study where people live and look at their economy, or whatever you want. So I spent a summer on a Navajo reservation actually, in a kind of off-reservation community, and I thought, “Boy, this is a great culture,” ’cause it was so different from ours, but I liked and was very attracted to parts of it. They have a great deal of emphasis on autonomy, for example, they have a very interesting religious system. And so that’s where I ended up doing my field work for my dissertation. It was not in Ramah, but on the major Navajo reservation in New Mexico. But that’s kind of what got me into anthropology, this whole experience to other cultures and ’cause anthropology’s core idea in cultural anthropology, is really understanding what we used to call the other, but it’s understanding what other people think and not trying to judge it and say, “This is bad” or “this is good” or whatever, but trying to get their point of view.
05:11 Louise Lamphere: And that carries through, no matter whether you’re working in the United States or not. But it’s this ability to qualitatively talk to people, to do what we call participant observation. In other words, you do things with people, you’re participating, but you’re also observing stuff, and you’re learning how to take field notes. And through that experience, which is much different than doing a survey in anthropology or in sociology, or looking at quantitative data, or just doing interviews, because you spend a lot of time with people and you really eat their food, you learn how to cook their meals like they do. You do things with people. On their Navajo reservation, I spent a lot of time driving people to stores and the local trading post to see neighbors or something like that. So you just do a lot of stuff with people, but you get to understand their life from... In a little more, a closer way than you would in any other discipline.
06:20 Jed Macosko: Yeah, and that’s what attracted you, it sounds like from starting in the field of sociology, moving to cultural anthropology and really getting in with the people in the Navajo Reservation, and then what did you do after Harvard? Where did you go after that? Did you start a teaching career?
06:37 Louise Lamphere: Well, I had a one-year job at the University of Rochester. I got my PhD in ’68, but ’67, ’68, I did have just one year a job, and then I got a job at Brown University. And this was...
06:48 Jed Macosko: Okay, well, tell us about that. Yeah.
06:51 Louise Lamphere: This was a really interesting window, because anthropology started expanding in, I would say the kind of early ’60s. Most anthropology departments were part of sociology departments, and the other thing that there was a big explosion in state universities and community college campuses and so forth, and anthropology became a kind of in field that students really were interested in, in that kind of like late ’60s, early ’70s. And so courses began to expand, anthropology departments broke off from sociology, and founded their own departments, so for a while, there was a bunch of jobs. And then about 19... In the early ’70s, it started to break down, because we had one of our first big recessions in ’73, ’74. And so the jobs became a little bit scarcer, but I got a job right there in ’68 and I had four job interviews and four offers, and...
08:00 Jed Macosko: Wow!
08:01 Louise Lamphere: But a couple years later, it just wasn’t there. And the discipline has gone up and down in terms of jobs that are available for people, but it was a kind of exciting time to enter the field, and...
08:16 Jed Macosko: Yeah. Well, tell us a little bit more about what happened at Brown, because we know you were embroiled in a controversy while you were there, and that shaped your life as a kind of milestone for you?
08:26 Louise Lamphere: Well, I went there, and it was a joint anthropology sociology department. There were a small number of anthropologists, but we were very chummy with each other. I was the only woman. Well, the wife of one of my colleagues taught some courses, and then eventually around ’72, we hired a woman to head our museum. But basically it was all guys, but the wives and partners and people like that, so we spent a lot... And this bunch of anthropologists and we were the folks... The guys all wore turtlenecks and dressed more informally than the sociologists who were wearing ties and shirts. So this was sort of the beginning of sex, drugs and rock and roll, so our department was very chummy, and we used to go out to bars together and sit in people’s houses and have afternoon cocktails and so on, so we were a very friendly group, and then the anti-war movement comes along a couple years later. A lot of things were happening at Brown that were really important in terms of changing the institution. When I first got there, they passed what they called a new curriculum, and it was a couple of undergraduates that put this thing together, and the idea was to, first of all, you could have classes without grades, and second of all, you could make up your own major.
10:02 Louise Lamphere: And then you could also, a group of students could get together and find a faculty sponsor and have their own course. And you didn’t have to do four courses a semester. You could graduate with a couple less than that. So it was a very flexible thing. And Brown, at the time, was at the bottom of the Ivy League. And it was a guys’ school, but it had Pembroke next door, which of course, was harder to get into, because the ratio was like two-thirds guys and one-third women, but they were in different places, but they had the same faculty. So the Pembroke women were really smart and good scholars and so on, and the guys tended to be fraternity guys, and lots of them wouldn’t date Pembrokers, ’cause they were too intellectual or something.
10:52 Louise Lamphere: So one of the first things that happened was they integrated the two in 1970. And that was about the same time that the US was involved in the Vietnam War and had just gone into Cambodia in the spring of ’70, so we had a big student strike, and that the junior faculty, a lot of us participated in these things along with the students. And so out of that couple of years, a group of us started getting together, because people had connections with folks in New York and learned about feminism, and we started having consciousness-raising groups and doing something to build what might become Women Studies, and also get a place for a women’s center. So all this stuff was going on at one time. Because Pembroke became part of Brown the same year as the strike, and they didn’t have a regular graduation. The students decided they wanted to run graduation. So they ran their own graduation, they had their own like a formal dance on the green. They had, everybody came in jeans and they just had a good time...
12:06 Louise Lamphere: So this was the kind of change that continued to happen in this period, and through reading groups and a consciousness-raising group, a group of us started to do things like teach a class, one of these group independent studies we were called. A course that we formed but the idea would there’d be a lot of student participation and so forth. So we tried that for one semester. And I started teaching classes on women, and then in conjunction with that, a friend of mine from graduate school, Michelle Rosaldo was at Stanford. She and her husband, Renato, had gotten jobs at Stanford, and actually he got a job, and then they sort of argued it, “Well, can’t you do both of us?” And so they got one and a half jobs and split it.
13:09 Louise Lamphere: Anyway, she and a bunch of graduate students and faculty wives at Stanford taught a course in I think the spring of ’72 on women, and they gave a session at the Anthropology meetings, which were in New York, I believe. And I said to Shelly, after I listened to the papers in the session, I thought, “Wow, this is really great. Maybe we could put together a book.” [chuckle]
13:36 Louise Lamphere: And so we started working. I used my network and she used her network, and I recruited some people through my Brown connections or my Harvard connections to put in things, and she used the Stanford people, plus other people she knew. And so we started putting together this Woman Culture and Society book which was finally published in the spring of ’74. At the same time, a gal named Reina Rider was working with people in Michigan and her book was coming out with a monthly review press just about at the same time, but we had a hard time finding a publisher, ’cause first of all publishers didn’t wanna publish collections. They wanted whole books by somebody. And second of all, we were junior scholars and didn’t know anybody, but Shelly finally was able to convince the Stanford people that this would be a good idea.
14:33 Louise Lamphere: So we got a contract with Stanford, and we got the thing together and published it. Well, this was at the same time I was coming for tenure. The rules, of course, are that you are hired for three years, you get a renewal, then you get another three years, and in your sixth year, you come up for tenure. And so by that time, my Navajo book was in press based on my dissertation, which was done on a Navajo Reservation, and I had several articles and I thought I was in pretty good shape.
15:07 Jed Macosko: Sounds good. Yeah.
15:09 Louise Lamphere: But Brown had also been going through an economic crisis. It had to do with the price of heating oil. [laughter] Among other things, but it was not a great time for the economy in general, but anyway, they started to have limitations on how many tenured slots every department had. But we got two, and there was another colleague of mine, Neils Barrow, who was coming in for tenure in the same year, so there was at least room for us, but by that time we had split off from the sociology department. We got a new building because Brown had bought up a nearby college campus, and we got the library to turn it into classrooms, seminar rooms.
15:51 Jed Macosko: Wow.
15:52 Louise Lamphere: We had about one classroom in place, but it’s a lovely building. It’s a terrific building. So we had just moved into that, and so when I came up for tenure, I was a little... I thought things are okay. I’ve been teaching classes, and I thought I had lots of graduate students I was working with, but I was very unclear what the rules were. When I was gonna put in a dossier? How many people were gonna write outside letters, and do I get to choose them, etcetera, etcetera. So I talked to my chair, Phil Lease, who was one of our drinking buddies [chuckle], but he said there were serious issues about my teaching, and I thought, “What?”
16:37 Jed Macosko: What?
16:38 Louise Lamphere: “Nobody’s told me that before.” And of course it was... We didn’t have teaching evaluations, so I had no way of knowing. And it must have been some kind of hearsay from one of my graduate assistants or something. So anyway, I decide, “Well, I’ll do some teaching evaluations,” so I did them for the fall semester, but I was still unclear about when they were gonna make a decision, what I had to give him. But I did get all my publications together and gave them to him and then I started... Usually, the graduate students were all asked to write letters, and so I went around to my graduate students and said, “Would you please write me a letter?” And it turned out in the end, which I, of course, did not discover until about 1975 or ’6 that Phil and another very close friend of mine, George Hicks, didn’t really think they wanted to have me have tenure.
17:38 Louise Lamphere: And they also didn’t... Neil’s had a bunch of other problems and stuff, and so they were not gonna support him, but at the time, we had six full professors, all men, and it turned out the year I was up, there were three of them that weren’t on campus. George was off on the Azores doing field work. A guy named Deetz, Jim Deetz, famous archaeologist, he was off doing archeological work, and then Dwight Heath, who was another cultural anthropologist was not there, and so there really only three people, but Phil did get letters from people. He got a letter from Heath, and George wrote one, but the spring went on and I thought, “Well, when am I gonna hear anything? What’s going on?” ’Cause I was pretty nervous after I’d had this conversation with Phil in the fall. And so finally around early May, I’m still worried about hearing anything, and about a week before graduation, Phil calls me in his office and he said that I wasn’t gonna get tenure. “Oh, my God, what’s the problem?” [chuckle]
18:57 Jed Macosko: Oh, God. [chuckle]
18:58 Louise Lamphere: And he said, “Well we thought your recent work on women was theoretically weak, and your teaching was poor, but not so much worse than others.”
19:10 Jed Macosko: So it was all about the women...
19:11 Louise Lamphere: So there I was. [laughter]
19:12 Jed Macosko: Sounds bad. [chuckle]
19:13 Louise Lamphere: And I walked out of my office... I thought to myself, “I’m gonna lose my job? This is my career, this is the discipline I love. I’m not gonna... I’ve gotta do something about this.”
19:28 Jed Macosko: Yes, you’re not gonna just sit there...
19:29 Louise Lamphere: So I did things like try to call the president, no, try to see the provost, couldn’t get any place. There was a very nice woman who was the vice president for academic affairs, but I couldn’t really get to see her. I finally was able to catch her going from her office up to her house for some... Graduation was just around the corner, so she was at some dinner with alumni or lunch with alumni. And she basically says, “My hands are tied, I can’t do anything.” So I wasn’t sure what could happen because by that time, what happened is the department had given... Phil had written a letter to the provost, and the provost had ratified their decision. So that was that.
20:22 Louise Lamphere: So graduation came around, and Jane Dwyer, who was the other woman on the faculty, we headed out to the lawn in front of our department, and it was a lovely summer day, we had a nice punch bowl that Jane had put together with strawberries on the punch and so on. And so after all that, I went to talk to... I said, “Phil, can I talk to you for a minute in your office?” So I went in his office and I said, “Look, I’ve hired a lawyer and I’m gonna sue.” ’Cause by that time, I’d looked around to see if I could figure out what to do [chuckle] and had found a law firm. So that was kind of that for a while, and the summer went on. By that time, I had been hooked up with Peter Evans, my lifetime partner. And he was in Brazil, so I went to Brazil for the summer. And this guy I’d hired as a lawyer didn’t do anything over the summer. He was also running for office in the state for attorney general. And so nothing happened. So then I came back in the fall, and I turned out that it wasn’t clear who was gonna take this case, ’cause he wasn’t in this firm.
21:31 Jed Macosko: Yeah.
21:33 Louise Lamphere: But finally, a guy named Milton Stanzler called me, and he turned out to be terrific.
21:39 Jed Macosko: Great.
21:39 Louise Lamphere: And he said he would take the case. He was also a lawyer for the faculty union at the University of Rhode Island.
21:46 Jed Macosko: Oh, good.
21:46 Louise Lamphere: And so, knew about tenure, understood how the universities worked, and is an incredible litigator. I mean...
21:53 Jed Macosko: Great. Good for you.
21:54 Louise Lamphere: He can really pound somebody in court, or in a deposition, or something.
22:00 Jed Macosko: Oh, good.
22:00 Louise Lamphere: Sharp guy, really amazing. Anyway, so it turned out that his nephew had come back to Rhode Island and was part of the law firm. And so Jordan, the nephew, Stanzler, did a lot of work on the case. And in the beginning, they decided... We... Well, first of all, we had to go through an internal grievance procedure.
22:25 Jed Macosko: Sure.
22:27 Louise Lamphere: Because basically, Milt says, “Look, if there’s any grievance procedure, we need to do it because what we’re gonna try to do is go to federal court and get a letter that says we can go ahead and sue. And if we’ve done internal procedures, we’ve got a better case.”
22:49 Jed Macosko: Sure.
22:50 Louise Lamphere: So we spent that year doing this internal review, which didn’t get me any place. Nice bunch of faculty, but the problem was you couldn’t, for example, charge discrimination because the procedures only dealt with procedures. If something was wrong with the way they did the process, then you could have agreements on that, but you couldn’t do about discrimination. Although I threw in discrimination on the things I was unhappy about.
23:19 Jed Macosko: Sure, yeah.
23:22 Louise Lamphere: So we got a little ways on that, we got... Basically, there were two things that the committee, the hearing committee had found wrong. One was that the delay was so long, and there was some other issue. So I got a rehearing by the group of administrators above the provost...
23:47 Jed Macosko: Good.
23:47 Louise Lamphere: Which are the other top administrators including the president. And of course that was totally pro forma, and they said they were just gonna ratify what the department had done anyway. But by that time, we had filed in federal court in May of... That would have been ’75. And Jordan, I think it was Jordan’s idea, but Jordan and Milton decided that they would do a class action. Now, it wouldn’t be about me, but it would be about discrimination against women at Brown, period, as faculty members. So it took a year for the class action to get decided, ’cause a judge has to decide whether we could have a class action, it wouldn’t be just an individual case. The judge we ended up getting... There were two federal judges on the bench, and this guy, Raymond Pettine, was fabulous.
24:46 Jed Macosko: Oh, good.
24:47 Louise Lamphere: I was very lucky because I had a terrific lawyer, a terrific judge, a university that was going through some financial crisis and couldn’t afford huge lawsuits, and it was kind of a perfect storm in that sense, because a lot of the lawsuits that were filed by women in that same period, because the reason that we could do it was that Tittle VII began to apply to universities about 1970.
25:17 Jed Macosko: Oh, wow.
25:17 Louise Lamphere: So this was... Or ’72 maybe. But this was ’74, ’75, and so people were beginning to bring these lawsuits, and very few of them got very far.
25:27 Jed Macosko: Yeah.
25:28 Louise Lamphere: But mine was probably the most successful in the country maybe.
25:31 Jed Macosko: Wow. Well, just getting to sort of the punchline then, you got the case decided, and I think I remember you telling me that Brown had to, for 10 years, create a committee to make sure this wouldn’t happen to other people.
25:47 Louise Lamphere: That’s right.
25:48 Jed Macosko: And then it got extended for another five years after that because they couldn’t quite get their act together. [laughter]
25:53 Louise Lamphere: Right.
25:54 Jed Macosko: So, for 15 years, you helped protect people from that kind of discrimination, is what you’re telling me.
26:00 Louise Lamphere: Well, it really ended up transforming the university.
26:01 Jed Macosko: That’s great.
26:02 Louise Lamphere: I mean, the reason we were able to settle this was because we got a new president, Howard Swearer.
26:06 Jed Macosko: Oh, good.
26:07 Louise Lamphere: Who didn’t want a $1 million lawsuit when he was trying to raise money. But the settlement took a long time, but we got out of it, something called a consent decree. The consent decree gave three of us tenure, ’cause there were three other women that came in the case, and one of them was just an assistant professor, and she kind of got a three-year salary. So three of us got tenure.
26:37 Jed Macosko: Good.
26:37 Louise Lamphere: And then we were able to lay out all these procedures that everybody had to go through in terms of hiring, contract renewal, tenure, promotion to full. But the folks that were over... We got this committee called a monitoring committee, which was made up of two people I chose, two people the faculty chose, and one the four of them chose. And they looked at everything that came through the door, so to speak. And we got this thing to last for 10 years.
27:09 Jed Macosko: And then five more? [chuckle]
27:12 Louise Lamphere: The thing that was really important was we set goals and timetables, which meant, this is based on how many women in what discipline. So they could be higher in English than they were in Physics. But the idea was that every department would make an effort to hire women. And of course, it wasn’t that we were not doing this fairly, but the idea is if there’s a choice between a man and a woman, they have equal qualifications, you take the woman.
27:42 Jed Macosko: Right.
27:43 Louise Lamphere: Or you go out and really make sure that you’ve got a pool and have some women in it to start with. [chuckle] And this was a time that affirmative action was really coming into universities, but usually the affirmative action official for the university had hardly any power. But this consent decree...
28:02 Jed Macosko: This monitoring committee really helped.
28:04 Louise Lamphere: Really gave women faculty some power.
28:08 Jed Macosko: That’s great.
28:09 Louise Lamphere: The other thing is if you were part of the class, a faculty women at Brown, somebody who had applied to Brown, you could come and charge discrimination and they would hear your... There was another committee that kind of heard these cases.
28:23 Jed Macosko: Oh, that’s wonderful.
28:24 Louise Lamphere: So the university fought all this tooth and nail when it came to giving people raises and stuff because they felt they’d been discriminated against, the committee would do something, and then the university would say, “No, too much money, [chuckle] cut that down.”
28:41 Jed Macosko: At least you had somebody who could help out, somebody who could go to bat for you.
28:47 Louise Lamphere: But it really made a huge difference because in that period between ’77 when we settled the suit, and ’92 when it was finally removed. ’Cause by ’87, we really hadn’t gotten to the goals and timetables. The idea was 57 tenured women by ’87. That was the magic number. And we got to about 52 or something like that.
29:15 Jed Macosko: Okay. You got another five years after that to try to fill in the gaps.
29:17 Louise Lamphere: And so we got another five years, it got much closer.
29:19 Jed Macosko: Perfect. Well, where did you go after all this? So, you got tenure in ’77, thanks to this decree. Then now you’re in New Mexico. So what happened between then and now?
29:29 Louise Lamphere: Well, for a while there, I didn’t have a job, so I got a job in New Mexico. Which of course, since I grew up in Colorado, and since I’d done my fieldwork on the Navajo reservation, it was like coming home.
29:41 Jed Macosko: Okay, good.
29:41 Louise Lamphere: And Albuquerque, New Mexico is a city, but it’s not as big as Denver, and so it seemed like a much homier-like place. And the other thing was much more multi-cultural, because there’s a huge Hispanic population, and there’s Pueblo reservations, the Navajo reservations, a lot of indigenous people in the state. And so the student body is pretty diverse. And it was a public institution, which I’ve come to really feel is terribly important. And so I came here, and then we got the case settled, and for a while there, I kept putting off going back, ’cause...
30:22 Louise Lamphere: Well first of all, I got a sabbatical, which is usually what you get when you get tenure, but I was a few years late there. And I started a project out here on women who work in factories. And so I finally went back in ’79. But then it was pretty uncomfortable because my old friend George was then head of the department. I was not exactly on speaking terms with him. And by that time, Howard Swearer decided this consent decree was very burdensome and just assumed he’d get rid of it. So I felt like I couldn’t ever do anything there, like I would never be able to be department chair, I wouldn’t be able to have some position in the Pembroke Center. I just... I felt... And I had a chance to come back here, ’cause I kinda kept my position rolling a little bit. And so they had a couple of people that left the department, so there was an opening, and so I decided to come back here.
31:38 Jed Macosko: And you’ve been there ever since?
31:42 Louise Lamphere: Yep, until I retired in 2009, but I still have an office. [laughter]
31:48 Jed Macosko: Great.
31:48 Louise Lamphere: Hanging on by a little toe hold.
31:50 Jed Macosko: Well, what would you say to people who are thinking of majoring in anthropology as undergraduates, particularly women, or people who are from cultures and genders and things that aren’t represented as much in academia? What would you say to those people?
32:09 Louise Lamphere: Well, I think one of the things is anthropology itself has really changed a lot, especially the cultural part. And it’s archeologists and physical anthropologists too, because we’re much more concerned with collaborating with our subjects, and using them as partners rather than just subjects. And we’re also... I think in cultural anthropology, there’s a big move to really look at what I call critical social issues. So most of my students have worked in the US, all of my work’s been in the US, on things like farm workers in California, immigration issues, and detention of kids in detention centers who are trying to... Or a part of immigrant families, abortion rights. Just huge amounts of issues that the anthropological qualitative approach is pretty important because you can understand how people are experiencing things and what their ideas are about what’s going on in a much more interesting way. And especially if you do what’s called participative research or collaborative research, you engage the community or an institution to help... To be the people who decide what’s gonna be studied, So you don’t come in and say, “Well, I’m interested in your religion. I’m gonna study your religion.”
33:38 Louise Lamphere: You come and say, “Well, I’m a researcher. I’m interested in working with you. What’s on your mind, and what would you like to have me work on?” One of my students worked with a Pueblo group that’s in... Down by El Paso, and wanted to study their casinos, but they said, “No, we’re really concerned about diabetes.” So he said, “Okay, I’ll work on diabetes.” And so he... Usually in that case, you get a committee of people, or you train research assistants, and you give feedback during the whole course of the research about what’s going on, and they get to say, “Well, you should be doing this, or we like that, or what about this?” And so on. So that’s the way anthropology is in academia. But there’s also a lot of opportunities to do this kind of stuff if you’re outside academia, museums for one.
34:40 Louise Lamphere: But there are a lot of... People start working for NGOs and doing research around that. There’s... A lot of people were doing oral histories. So there’s plenty of opportunities for anthropologists, and we’re trying to make more for people that are outside the discipline. And probably half the people that get PhDs in anthropology, and this has been true for at least 20 years, are not working in universities because what’s happened to universities is rather than having... When people retire, they don’t make another position for an assistant professor, they break it up into five adjuncts or something of the sort. So it’s not been good for either teaching students or for people who are the teachers.
35:31 Jed Macosko: Yeah, no.
35:33 Louise Lamphere: But at any rate, it’s hard to get academic jobs. But there are a lot of other possibilities and a lot of ways in which anthropologists can go on to have very interesting careers based on that kind of training you get as an anthropologist.
35:48 Jed Macosko: Yeah. And that seems to be the real advantage of studying anthropology as an undergraduate, let’s say, is you’re learning how to listen to people and not judge their views.
36:00 Louise Lamphere: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
36:00 Jed Macosko: Just take those views in, listen to them, and try to make sense of them, using the very same people that you’re listening to as a guide to how to best make sense of all of it. So...
36:13 Louise Lamphere: That’s right, that’s right.
36:15 Jed Macosko: Now, as a final sort of thought here, we live in a country that’s probably more divided than it ever has been before, and the way you were describing anthropologists, I thought, “Well, if everybody was an anthropologist, we wouldn’t have this problem, because people would listen to each other.
36:27 Louise Lamphere: Yeah, right. [laughter] People wouldn’t feel so angry at immigrants, for example, if they could understand why immigrants came but also what they do when they get here and...
36:40 Jed Macosko: Yeah.
36:40 Louise Lamphere: How they’re managing and...
36:42 Jed Macosko: They would have sympathy for that life and the life that the immigrants live. And then people who are mad at others for wanting to build the wall down there in the south of New Mexico and Arizona and Texas wouldn’t maybe be as mad at the people who want a wall, because they would understand what the wall builder’s culture is, and why they want the wall, and what... You see what I’m saying? It goes both ways. And so what can you tell the world at large about how to do that better? And give us some parting thoughts, as we close out this interview.
37:19 Louise Lamphere: Well, I do think it’s an attitude, and I do think that there are people who get that attitude outside the classroom. But it’s very much an appreciation for the diversity of human life, which is what anthropology studies in the broadest sense. And it’s very different than “my way or the highway,” so to speak, and I think a lot of people get it from other places, but it’s really... It’s super important for that kind of perspective to get more play, so to speak. So take an anthropology class. [laughter]
38:02 Jed Macosko: Yeah, that’s right. Everybody should take one. [laughter] Maybe just listening to your interview and how you worked your way through the controversies and your career, I think it’ll be inspiring to people. So thank you so much...
38:14 Louise Lamphere: Okay, good.
38:15 Jed Macosko: Professor Lamphere. You did an amazing job explaining everything to us so clearly. We really appreciate it.
38:19 Louise Lamphere: Okey-dokey. Well, good. You’re welcome.