(Further notes after my first “My Teachers” post, and additional perspective from my prior post on the State Department, Foreign Service Institute, and our Current Ignorance of the World.)
My teachers of Anthropology and Linguistics at SUNYBuffalo, had been working for the U.S State Dept, in the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) during and after WWII. Their work consisted centrally of working (â€œfieldworkâ€) in the different Languages and Cultures of the world â€“ advising and teaching State Dept personnel in exploring and understanding the other languages and cultures of the world.
Language and Culture were considered important in understanding and dealing with the world.
Different peoples and nations had to be studied in their â€œown terms,â€ in order to understand and deal with them â€œrealistically, effectivelyâ€¦â€ To be an effective statesman, one should speak the native language In these senses: other countries were different from us, but should be studied in their ownÂ terms, toward good and effective foreign politics and policies.
As Secâ€™y of State to President Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles had a quite â€œdifferentâ€ picture of the United States and other countries. They were not just â€œdifferentâ€ from the U.S., but they were considered as somewhat â€œlesser,â€ in the contexts of a kind of â€œhierarchyâ€ of nations. (Dulles was a deeply religious person with a deep sense of â€œAmerica-Firstâ€ â€“ America was a kind of â€œCity upon a Hill.â€) His picture of America and the world has persisted well into the present.
In any case, all the Anthropologists and Linguists in the FSI were â€œfired,â€ in 1955. Read the rest of this entry »