Chapter

Studying anthropology in Oregon

in An Invitation to Laughter

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226434766
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226434759 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226434759.003.0003
Studying anthropology in Oregon

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At the University of Oregon, the Anthropology Department assigned the author a desk in a Quonset hut built during World War II. Near the Quonset hut, a statue commemorating “The Pioneer” overlooked the highway and the Western Pacific railway—a spot that was to become the sanctuary the author retreated to in order to dispel his occasional homesick, depressive moods. The highway signified movement, a return to Lebanon; the railway stood for the “Western tradition”—the cowboy culture the author had admired during his high school days in Tripoli. Because he had taken only two courses in anthropology at the American University of Beirut, the department at Oregon advised the author to take courses in cultural and physical anthropology, linguistics, and archaeology in addition to various subject and area courses. He liked the courses on Africa, linguistics, religion, and change best. During his stay at the University of Oregon, he discovered that, in contrast to Arab culture, which tends to suppress creativity, American culture seems to reinforce a person's individuality.

Keywords: University of Oregon; Lebanon; anthropology; linguistics; archaeology; religion; American culture; individuality; Arab culture

Chapter.  5466 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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