It is the anthropologist’s fate to always be between things: countries, languages, cultures, even realities. But rather than lament this, anthropologist Paul Stoller here celebrates the creative power of the between, showing how it can transform us, changing our conceptions of who we are, what we know, and how we live in the world.
Beginning with his early days with the Peace Corps in Africa and culminating with a recent bout with cancer, The Power of the Between is an evocative account of the circuitous path Stoller’s life has taken, offering a fascinating depiction of how a career is shaped over decades of reading and research. Stoller imparts his accumulated wisdom not through grandiose pronouncements but by drawing on his gift for storytelling. Tales of his apprenticeship to a sorcerer in Niger, his studies with Claude Lévi-Strauss in Paris, and his friendships with West African street vendors in New York City accompany philosophical reflections on love, memory, power, courage, health, and illness.
Graced with Stoller’s trademark humor and narrative elegance, The Power of the Between is both the story of a distinguished career and a profound meditation on coming to terms with the impermanence of all things.