Date: 2016-03-10 02:43 pm (UTC)
doolabug: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doolabug
In my field (archaeology), in which I have read an astounding number of academic works, probably the one I most come back to and recommend to students is:
Macaulay, David
1979 Motel of the Mysteries. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
(http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/108831.Motel_of_the_Mysteries)

It is a short, tongue-in-cheek book about a future archaeologist who finds and excavates a 1970s-era motel. It's presented in the style of Carter's discovery of Tut's tomb and all the interpretations of objects are hysterically wrong - the TV is the Great Altar, the ice bucket is clearly meant to serve the purpose of canopic jars, etc. It's a study in how all our clever and carefully researched conclusions, while perfectly aligning with our observations, can be oh so wrong, and is a warning about jumping to conclusions about other cultures and people using preconceived ideas and inadequate information. It works for archaeology and it works for life.
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