Or: Camilla, Why are You Blogging Extra?
After leaving class this week, I realized that I had failed to communicate two of my highly relevant thoughts during our (slightly meandering) discussion. Maybe I was thinking too hard about taking notes or maybe I just think slowly. I don’t know. Anyway, here they are, in no particular order.
1. I do not dislike Bulliet. I actually think that Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers is eminently readable and presents a lot of really interesting ways of looking at (and categorizing) the past. I think that our class (including me!) has beaten up on Bulliet because he is an easy target–he is highly and unapologetically opinionated. However, I do not always think that that is bad. Sometimes, particularly as an older academic (as Bulliet is), you can and should express your opinion without apologizing for it.
2. I think that there is a huge amount of value to knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Of course, application is important, but what is application based upon, if not knowledge? What inspired us first to understand the inner working of an atom or to fly to the moon? Knowledge. Poets don’t write poems because they are useful. I would argue that similarly, true scientists don’t do science because it is useful. How can we be of any service to the world, anyway, until we have a solid knowledge of its workings? If knowledge is not a high priority, the application or utility of the knowledge will certainly be second-rate.