My discipline, cultural anthropology, has one foot in the sciences and one in the humanities. My philosophy of teaching has always been to help students understand that they don't have to choose between science and humanism. We need science, lots and lots of it, to help expose false ideologies, like racism. And we need humanism, lots and lots of it, to provide guidance on what people across different cultures and times see is important in life. I teach my graduate students to prepare themselves as scientists and as humanists in order to do the best science they can, and I teach them that good science requires preparation as much in method as in theory.
Cultural anthropology is heavy on theory, light on method. This always struck me as peculiar, since anthropology is generally so uncompromisingly empirical: The whole discipline is based on fieldwork - all four fields, including archeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology - often with people whose language and culture is very, very different from our own. Yet, there has always been a mystique about fieldwork, with little if any training available in methods in graduate programs around the country. The mystique is partly swagger, since fieldwork is physically demanding and often dangerous, but it's also partly healthy skepticism. One wants, after all to allow cultural differences to emerge as data, in the context of living with people.
My view is that cultural differences are exactly what we want to record faithfully. I am dedicated to teaching students about research design and about the systematic methods available for collecting and analyzing field data. (Over the years, my course on research design has enrolled students from nursing, education,