Subject:      AZTLAN list: who are the "American Isolationists"?
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/02/10
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology

So who are the Isolationists?

As the regular readers of these ngs know well, over the last few
months there's been an active discussion here about the theories
that ancient peoples were making contacts across the Pacific. These
are fairly controversial theories, and it's not surprising that the
discussions have been heated from time to time.

Why these theories are so controversial, on the whole, quite escapes
me. After all, most of us know that the Polynesians were sailing all
around the Pacific in the earliest of times, and it would have been
extremely hard for them not to have made contact with the American

Be this as it may, yet, also some serious no-nonsense scholarly
research has been posted in the course of these discussions, and,
most likely, all parties learned some new things. I sure did.

Quite recently I decided to subscribe to AZTLAN mailing list, the
list dedicated to American pre-history. I did this in the hope of
seeing what scholars in the area are discussing, and what theories
are being suggested in regard to the emergence of early American
civilizations. I was also hoping to take part in these discussions
to the best of my ability. Well, little that I knew that some big
surprises were waiting in store for me...

To make the long story short, my subscription to Aztlan was not to
last very long. In fact, I was suspended from the list after about
a week. The manner in which this happened is what this post is
about. To wit, the listowner of AZTLAN has violated the guidelines
of his own list in order to get me off.

About 2 weeks have passed since this happened. I spent some time
trying to explain to the listowner that some misunderstanding may
have occurred. I promised to be polite and very reasonable in
anything I may post to the list in the future. Silence was my reply.
I'm still not receiving the mail from AZTLAN. Well, it's about time
the public knew about what's going on with this mailing list...

The guidelines of AZTLAN state clearly that those who may offend
against the list rules will be expelled "after a fair warning". No
warning was issued to me. I was suspended summarily, and without
explanation. In reply to my enquiry, the listowner explained that I
was suspended because I was "disruptive", and the manner of my
previous postings to sci.archaeology.mesoamerican newsgroup was not

Both of these reasons do not seem valid to me. I made 8 postings to
AZTLAN in one week when I was a subscriber. They are on file, and I
can make them available to anybody who wishes to see them. They are
short, polite, and to the point. I do not see in what way they may
have "disrupted" the list.

Why the manner of my previous postings to s.a.m should be the cause
for my suspension from AZTLAN is a mystery to me. This seems like a
trial by rumour and hearsay. I doubt that the listowner of AZTLAN
read any of my postings to s.a.m. He took someone's opinion, and
made his decision on this basis, most likely.

It is also to be noted that not only was I expelled from AZTLAN,
but, moreover, all discussion of trans-Pacific theories was
apparently banned after my expulsion. I don't know this for sure,
and yet this is what my informants tell me. (Yes, there _are_ some
members of AZTLAN who are friendly with me, and yet they would not
like to have their names named...)

So what was the real reasons for my expulsion? I really don't know,
yet I do have my suspicions...

In the course of discussions about the theories that early American
societies may have received some influences from Asia, and vice
versa, an opinion was expressed by me that the field of American
prehistory is dominated at this time by certain scholars who can be
described as "American Isolationists". These scholars see early
America as the "Fortress America", a sort of a cultural laboratory
where evolution of human societies can be studied in its "pure form".
No influences from anywhere should even be suggested. Any such
suggestion is seen as a terrible and egregious violation of
scholarly conventions -- an unforgivable transgression.

Someone replied to me and said that there are no "American
Isolationists" in s.a.m. Well, I don't know... perhaps this was an
exaggeration. So, let me ask you this, ladies and gentlemen, Are there
"Isolationists" on Aztlan mailing list? Perhaps someone may know the

Best regards,

Yuri Kuchinsky          | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
------------------------| is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
Toronto ... the Earth   | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
  --- my webpage is (for now?) back at: [22] ---

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