George Mentore



GUEST: George Mentore, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia.


TOPIC:  In this exclusive extended conversation, Professor George Mentore discusses his fieldwork experiences in the jungle of South America and the vital role that anthropology continues to play in the curriculum of a powerful liberal arts education.

He also explores the historic events of the summer of 2012 when members of the UVA Board of Visitors attempted to force President Theresa Sullivan from office. (14:00) George then served on the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate, and enjoyed a unique perspective. He speaks candidly about those events in this first-ever interview. He says, “That whole series of events was the proudest moment in 27 years of teaching at UVA. I’ve never been more proud of the faculty than in those few weeks. It hit a moral core of our community. I didn’t understand fully until mentore.photo__0then the place that Jefferson’s university has in the collective imagination of the nation. There’s just something about that university, as a public institution that belongs to Jefferson, that actually belongs to the nation. People just couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to it.”

He also takes a moment to reflect on the revolutionary changes that have been taking place in universities around the county in the last few decades— including at the University of Virginia: as a corporate model has contributed to the rise of an administrative class of managers that have taken control of the institution. (19:40)

Among other topics: issues of power in America today; the changes he’s seen among his students over the past three decades; and some impacts of changing media on young people and the society at large.


ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE:  Wednesday, February 26, 2014.