ABOUT THIS BOOK
Unique in ethnography, Nurturing Doubt documents the transforming
effects of field experiences on a young Mennonite who went to Argentina
to work with the Toba, first as a missionary and later as an anthropologist.
Elmer Miller insightfully probes the documents--diaries, field journals,
and letters--of both his lives, revealing as he does the ways in which
his perceptions of the Toba--and theirs of him--changed when his role
Deeply affected by an upbringing in which he had been taught that doubting
was "sinful," Miller gradually found that he doubted not only
the validity of the missionary mandate but also his ethnographic mandate
and the whole practice of anthropology. His exploration of how his doubt
was transformed from a negative activity into a positive philosophical
attitude underscores the richness of his relationships with the Toba.
In depicting the move from theological to anthropological discourse, Miller
contributes to current debates over the form and purpose of ethnographic
investigation and reporting.