Napoleon Chagnon the ‘Most Controversial Anthropologist’

Napoleon Chagnon grew up in Port Austin, Michigan and was the second of twelve children. He is a graduate student at the University of Michigan. He did his ethnographic field work in the Venezuelan jungle with the Yanomamo tribe, in which he encountered scary experiences, some which could have led to his death. This tribe in particular were violent and in which they constantly “live in a state of chronic warfare,” as said by Chagnon. Genealogies was his driving obsession and he was able to get data on about 4,000 Yanomami. He even wrote books about this tribe and because of the information in his books, some of his colleagues and Patrick Tierney accused him of exaggerating the violence in the tribe and “fabricating data, staging documentary films and participating in a biomedical expedition that may have caused or worsened a measles epidemic that resulted in hundreds of Yanomami deaths.” This is how he became known as Americas ‘most controversial anthropologist.’ Even though Chagnon retired early, he believes “the whole point of my existence as a human being and as an anthropologist was to do more and more research before this primitive world disappeared.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/napoleon-chagnon-americas-most-controversial-anthropologist.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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