Roger Sandall is an ex-anthropologist and author of The Culture Cult - Westview, 2001 (see below). Reviewed last August in the Times Literary Supplement as "brilliant, sardonic, and impassioned", this attack on romantic primitivism ranges from discussions of the horrible decline and fall of anthropology, to the intellectual follies of thinkers like Isaiah Berlin and Karl Polanyi, to the baleful triumph of the anthropological meaning of "culture" in the humanities. It is neither polite nor politically correct: but it's a sure antidote to multicultural delusions.
Born in New Zealand, Sandall has worked variously at teaching, film-making, and writing, and lived successively in Auckland, New York, and Bondi Beach, Sydney.
He edited the Australian monthly, Quadrant in 1988, and has contributed to Encounter, Commentary, Sight and Sound, Art International, and The Salisbury Review.
More informative and entertaining writings can be found on Roger's new website.
This paper describes how the much mythologised 'Lawrence of Arabia' anticipated some of the methods, motives and themes of contemporary Islamic terrorism.
'Anthropologue' is a term coined by Roger Sandall to describe anthropologists who allow various ideologies to get in the way of a truthful account of tribal life. Early anthropologues usually promoted the concept of the 'noble savage' and the more recent varieties mixed this with Marxism to complete the rout of rationality and empiricism in the profession.
Memories of death and deportation from Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic States
The Middle Classes and the Culture Cult
Sinophiles, Sinophobes and Others
The Politics of Oxymoron currently in The New Criterion (Summer 2003) shows how anthropology took over the Arnoldian meaning of "culture" with disastrous results. The original study of this process appeared in Roger Sandall's essay in Encounter back in 1980, "When I hear the word 'culture . . . From Arnold to Anthropology". This much more detailed examination of the roles of Herder and Eliot, on the one hand, and the sinister Marxist ideologue, Raymond Williams and his pals on the other, is here reproduced in full.
Epistemology Without A Knowing Cameraman
Originally published in Art International. January . 1978
Funny things happen in Canberra. But the happening staged by Mr W. C. Wentworth and the Italian Ambassador 35 years ago was not just funny, it was to have peculiar and fateful consequences.