As I get older, I have less and less in common with my students and every fall I try to think back to movies or TV shows I’ve seen that might serve as a common reference point for us. I was walking to the library the other day wondering “What movies have I seen recently?” And the only thing that came to me was “Guardians of the Galaxy” And I was all like: “Ok, so how can I make Guardians of the Galaxy relate to anthropology?” And then I realized: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY IS ALREADY A TOTAL METAPHOR FOR ANTHROPOLOGY.
You know that little purple stone that is on the bad guys hammer? THAT IS POWER OF ANTHROPOLOGY? And what does it take fully harness that power? Four brave heroes who EACH REPRESENT ONE OF THE FOUR SUBFIELDS OF ANTHROPOLOGY. They even have to temporarily kill off Groot — who represents the maybe-fifth-subfield of applied anthropology — in order to make it work.
I’m still up in the air on who is what subfield. Right now my thinking is this: Peter Quill is cultural anthropology: The most important but also the spaciest hero. Why is he in charge, other than some sort of default assumption that white guys are the lead hero even when they don’t even do ethnography any more and are just charming con artists. Gamora represents linguistic anthropology: overly-professional, uptight, kinda corky, but actually has much better fighting skills than cultural anthropology. Rocket is archaeology because material culture. Also sometimes he does cultural survey work with Groot. Drax represents bioanth because the guys is super-effective but sometimes you’re like: dude, get up out of the weeds. Some things are social constructs. TO me, Drax seems like the kind of guy who doesn’t understand why you didn’t include a p-value in your abstract.
But I could be wrong. How do you think that metaphor works out?