Wednesday, October 04, 2006

There is a delicious lounge in the Anthropology department at Columbia University. It has furniture that looks modern(ist) in that the pieces have a simple elegance--that simultaneously evoke tinges of the primitive. It's all in tidy right angles--couches over here, discussion table there. The walls are decorated with photos of the anthropologists that created American Anthropology--and did so here at Barnard/Columbia. There are photos of Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Zora Neale Hurston, and others.

Back in one corner, behind the couch and next to a display shelf of curios, there is a sizeable metal bust of Franz Boas looking imposing and scholarly. On the wall behind him, in colorful, metallic letters that when strung across a wall usually spell out "HAPPY BIRTHDAY," it says "PAPA FRANZ."

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