The lack of peace in Sri Lanka is commonly portrayed as a consequence of a violent, ethnonationalist conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. Viewed in this light, resolution could be attained through conflict management. But, as Qadri Ismail reveals, this is too simplistic an understanding and cannot produce lasting peace.
Abiding by Sri Lanka examines how the disciplines of anthropology, history, and literature treat the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. Anthropology, Ismail contends, approaches Sri Lanka as an object from an “outside” and western point of view. History, addressing the conflict from the “inside,” abides by the place and so promotes change that is nationalist and exclusive. Neither of these fields imagines an inclusive community. Literature, Ismail argues, can.
With close readings of texts that “abide” by Sri Lanka, texts that have a commitment to it, Ismail demonstrates that the problems in Sri Lanka raise fundamental concerns for us all regarding the relationship between democracies and minorities. Recognizing the structural as well as political tendencies of representative democracies to suppress minorities, Ismail rethinks democracy by redefining the concept of the minority perspective, not as a subject-position of numerical insignificance, but as a conceptual space that opens up the possibility for distinction without domination and, ultimately, peace.
Qadri Ismail is associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota. He has also been a journalist in Sri Lanka.
Examining representations of Balinese culture in complex contexts of Indonesia's colonial history, Hindu ritual practice as opposed to Islam, and comparative Indo-European hierarchies, Boon offers a powerful critique of doctrinal approaches to culture, religion, literature, politics, and the history of ideas and disciplines.
Beginning with the colonial era, Western biomedicine has radically transformed African medical beliefs and practices. Conversely, in using Western biomedicine, Africans have also transformed it. The African Transformation of Western Medicine and the Dynamics of Global Cultural Exchange contends that contemporary African medical systems—no less “biomedical” than Western medicine—in fact greatly enrich and expand the notion of biomedicine, reframing it as a global cultural form deployed across global networks of cultural exchange.
The book analyzes biomedicine as a complex and dynamic sociocultural form, the conceptual premises of which make it necessarily subject to ongoing change and development as it travels the globe. David Baronov captures the complexities of this cultural exchange by using world-systems analysis in a way that places global cultural processes on equal footing with political and economic processes. In doing so, he both allows the story of Africa’s transformation of “Western” biomedicine to be told and offers new insights into the capitalist world system.
This pathbreaking collection
of intellectual biographies is the first to probe the careers of thirteen
early African-American anthropologists, detailing both their achievements
and their struggle with the latent and sometimes blatant racism of the
times. Invaluable to historians of anthropology, this collection will
also be useful to readers interested in African-American studies and biography.
The lives and work of: Caroline
Bond Day, Zora Neale Hurston, Louis Eugene King, Laurence Foster, W. Montague
Cobb, Katherine Dunham, Ellen Irene Diggs, Allison Davis, St. Clair Drake,
Arthur Huff Fauset, William S. Willis Jr., Hubert Barnes Ross, Elliot
Africanizing Anthropology tells the story of the anthropological fieldwork centered at the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) during the mid-twentieth century. Focusing on collaborative processes rather than on the activity of individual researchers, Lyn Schumaker gives the assistants and informants of anthropologists a central role in the making of anthropological knowledge. Schumaker shows how local conditions and local ideas about culture and history, as well as previous experience of outsiders’ interest, shape local people’s responses to anthropological fieldwork and help them, in turn, to influence the construction of knowledge about their societies and lives. Bringing to the fore a wide range of actors—missionaries, administrators, settlers, the families of anthropologists—Schumaker emphasizes the daily practices of researchers, demonstrating how these are as centrally implicated in the making of anthropological knowlege as the discipline’s methods. Selecting a prominent group of anthropologists—The Manchester School—she reveals how they achieved the advances in theory and method that made them famous in the 1950s and 1960s. This book makes important contributions to anthropology, African history, and the history of science.
Tobias Rees Duke University Press, 2018 Library of Congress GN33.R44 2018
For most of the twentieth century, anthropologists understood themselves as ethnographers. The art of anthropology was the fieldwork-based description of faraway others—of how social structures secretly organized the living-together of a given society, of how a people had endowed the world surrounding them with cultural meaning. While the poetics and politics of anthropology have changed dramatically over the course of a century, the basic equation of anthropology with ethnography—as well as the definition of the human as a social and cultural being—has remained so evident that the possibility of questioning it occurred to hardly anyone. In After Ethnos Tobias Rees endeavors to decouple anthropology from ethnography—and the human from society and culture—and explores the manifold possibilities of practicing a question-based rather than an answer-based anthropology that emanates from this decoupling. What emerges from Rees's provocations is a new understanding of anthropology as a philosophically and poetically inclined, fieldwork-based investigation of what it could mean to be human when the established concepts of the human on which anthropology has been built increasingly fail us.
This exceptional collection revisits the aftermath of the 1954 coup that ousted the democratically elected Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. Contributors frame the impact of 1954 not only in terms of the liberal reforms and coffee revolutions of the nineteenth century, but also in terms of post-1954 U.S. foreign policy and the genocide of the 1970s and 1980s. This volume is of particular interest in the current era of the United States' re-emerging foreign policy based on preemptive strikes and a presumed clash of civilizations.
Recent research and the release of newly declassified U.S. government documents underscore the importance of reading Guatemala's current history through the lens of 1954. Scholars and researchers who have worked in Guatemala from the 1940s to the present articulate how the coup fits into ethnographic representations of Guatemala. Highlighting the voices of individuals with whom they have lived and worked, the contributors also offer an unmatched understanding of how the events preceding and following the coup played out on the ground.
Contributors are Abigail E. Adams, Richard N. Adams, David Carey Jr., Christa Little-Siebold, Judith M. Maxwell, Victor D. Montejo, June C. Nash, and Timothy J. Smith.
A world-renowned anthropologist, Anatoly M. Khazanov offers a witty, insightful, and cautionary analysis of ethnic nationalism and its pivotal role in the collapse of the Soviet empire.
“Khazanov’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history and culture of post-Soviet societies, combined with field research there since the 1960s, informs the case studies with a singular authoritative voice. This volume is destined to be an absolutely necessary reference for the understanding of ethnic relations and the politics of minorities in the ex-USSR into the next century.”—Leonard Plotnicov, editor of Ethnology
In this fascinating and inventive work, A. David Napier argues that the central assumption of immunology—that we survive through the recognition and elimination of non-self—has become a defining concept of the modern age. Tracing this immunological understanding of self and other through an incredibly diverse array of venues, from medical research to legal and military strategies and the electronic revolution, Napier shows how this defensive way of looking at the world not only destroys diversity but also eliminates the possibility of truly engaging difference, thereby impoverishing our culture and foreclosing tremendous opportunities for personal growth.
To illustrate these destructive consequences, Napier likens the current craze for embracing diversity and the use of politically correct speech to a cultural potluck to which we each bring different dishes, but at which no one can eat unless they abide by the same rules. Similarly, loaning money to developing nations serves as a tool both to make the peoples in those nations more like us and to maintain them in the nonthreatening status of distant dependents. To break free of the resulting downward spiral of homogenization and self-focus, Napier suggests that we instead adopt a new defining concept based on embryology, in which development and self-growth take place through a process of incorporation and transformation. In this effort he suggests that we have much to learn from non-Western peoples, such as the Balinese, whose ritual practices require them to take on the considerable risk of injecting into their selves the potential dangers of otherness—and in so doing ultimately strengthen themselves as well as their society.
The Age of Immunology, with its combination of philosophy, history, and cultural inquiry, will be seen as a manifesto for a new age and a new way of thinking about the world and our place in it.
For centuries, the Akulmiut people—a Yup’ik group—have been sustained by the annual movements of whitefish. It is a food that sustains and defines them. To this day, many Akulmiut view not only their actions in the world, but their interactions with each other, as having a direct and profound effect on these fish. Not only are fish viewed as responding to human action and intention in many contexts, but the lakes and rivers fish inhabit are likewise viewed as sentient beings, with the ability to respond both positively and negatively to those who travel there.
This bilingual book details the lives of the Akulmiut living in the lake country west of Bethel, Alaska, in the villages of Kasigluk, Nunapitchuk, and Atmautluak. Akulmiut Neqait is based in conversations recorded with the people of these villages as they talk about their uniquely Yup'ik view of the world and how it has weathered periods of immense change in southwest Alaska. While many predicted that globalization would sound the death knoll for many distinctive traditions, these conversations show that Indigenous people all over the planet have sought to appropriate the world in their own terms. For all their new connectedness, the continued relevance of traditional admonitions cannot be denied.
In Alchemy in the Rain Forest Jerry K. Jacka explores how the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea's highlands struggle to create meaningful lives in the midst of extreme social conflict and environmental degradation. Drawing on theories of political ecology, place, and ontology and using ethnographic, environmental, and historical data, Jacka presents a multilayered examination of the impacts large-scale commercial gold mining in the region has had on ecology and social relations. Despite the deadly interclan violence and widespread pollution brought on by mining, the uneven distribution of its financial benefits has led many Porgerans to call for further development. This desire for increased mining, Jacka points out, counters popular portrayals of indigenous people as innate conservationists who defend the environment from international neoliberal development. Jacka's examination of the ways Porgerans search for common ground between capitalist and indigenous ways of knowing and being points to the complexity and interconnectedness of land, indigenous knowledge, and the global economy in Porgera and beyond.
Meth cooks practice late industrial alchemy—transforming base materials, like lithium batteries and camping fuel, into gold
Meth alchemists all over the United States tap the occulted potencies of industrial chemical and big pharma products to try to cure the ills of precarious living: underemployment, insecurity, and the feeling of idleness. Meth fires up your attention and makes repetitive tasks pleasurable, whether it’s factory work or tinkering at home. Users are awake for days and feel exuberant and invincible. In one person’s words, they “get more life.”
The Alchemy of Meth is a nonfiction storybook about St. Jude County, Missouri, a place in decomposition, where the toxic inheritance of deindustrialization meets the violent hope of this drug-making cottage industry. Jason Pine bases the book on fieldwork among meth cooks, recovery professionals, pastors, public defenders, narcotics agents, and pharmaceutical executives. Here, St. Jude is not reduced to its meth problem but Pine looks at meth through materials, landscapes, and institutions: the sprawling context that makes methlabs possible. The Alchemy of Meth connects DIY methlabs to big pharma’s superlabs, illicit speed to the legalized speed sold as ADHD medication, uniquely implicating the author’s own story in the narrative.
By the end of the book, the backdrop of St. Jude becomes the foreground. It could be a story about life and work anywhere in the United States, where it seems no one is truly clean and all are complicit in the exploitation of their precious resources in exchange for a livable present—or even the hope of a future.
An Aleutian Ethnography
Lucien Turner University of Alaska Press, 2008 Library of Congress E99.A34T874 2008 | Dewey Decimal 979.800497
Lucien Turner was a pioneering nineteenth-century ethnographer whose study of Aleut communities surpassed the work of all of his contemporaries, and now his rare writings are collected here for the first time. Turner’s admittedly fragmentary ethnographic notes, which chronicle his complete immersion in three Aleut communities, reveal valuable insights into Aleutian cultures and the outsiders who lived among them in the nineteenth century. Carefully edited by Ray Hudson, An Aleutian Ethnography is an essential resource for scholars of American history and history of anthropology alike.
Anton Chekhov is revered as a boldly innovative playwright and short story writer—but he wrote more than just plays and stories. In Alive in the Writing—an intriguing hybrid of writing guide, biography, and literary analysis—anthropologist and novelist Kirin Narayan introduces readers to some other sides of Chekhov: his pithy, witty observations on the writing process, his life as a writer through accounts by his friends, family, and lovers, and his venture into nonfiction through his book Sakhalin Island. By closely attending to the people who lived under the appalling conditions of the Russian penal colony on Sakhalin, Chekhov showed how empirical details combined with a literary flair can bring readers face to face with distant, different lives, enlarging a sense of human responsibility.
Highlighting this balance of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to bring new energy to the writing of ethnography and creative nonfiction alike. Weaving together selections from writing by and about him with examples from other talented ethnographers and memoirists, she offers practical exercises and advice on topics such as story, theory, place, person, voice, and self. A new and lively exploration of ethnography, Alive in the Writing shows how the genre’s attentive, sustained connection with the lives of others can become a powerful tool for any writer.
The Old Northwest -- the region now known as the Midwest -- has been largely overlooked in American cultural history, represented as a place smoothly assimilated into the expanding, manifestly-destined nation. An American Colony: Regionalism and the Roots of Midwestern Culture studies the primary texts and principal conflicts of the settlement of the Old Northwest to reveal that its entry into the nation's culture was not without problems. In fact, Edward Watts argues that it is best understood as a colony of the United States, just as the eastern states were colonies of the British Empire.
Reconsidered as a colony, the Old Northwest becomes a crucible revealing the complex entanglement of local, indigenous, and regional interests with the coercions of racism, nationalism, and imperialism. This conflicted setting, like those of all settlement colonies, was beset by competing views of local identity, especially as they came to contradict writers from the eastern seaboard.
Using postcolonial theories developed to describe other settlement colonies, An American Colony identifies the Old Northwest as a colony and its culture as less than fully participating in either the nation's or its own writing and identity. This embedded sense of cultural inferiority, Watts argues, haunts Midwestern culture even today.
American Culture comprises fifteen essays looking at the familiar and the less familiar in American society: urbanites in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, rural communities in the American West, Hispanics in Wisconsin, Samoans in California, the Amish, and the utopian religious communities of the Shakers and Oneida. The essays address a wide range of topics and a spectrum of occupations-miners, whalers, farmers, factory workers, physicians and nurses-to consider such questions as why some religious sects remain distinctive, separate, and viable; how groups use of such things as nicknames and family reunions to maintain ties within the community; how immigrant communities organize to sustain traditional cultural activities.
The United States, it is often said, is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. But what, precisely, do we mean when we speak of “ethnic” groups or “ethnicity”? What is the distinction, for example, between “race” and “ethnicity”? How do various groups meld with the rest of American society? Should we think in terms of assimilation, integration, pluralism, or some other relationship between ethnic groups and the mainstream? It is these and many other questions that Jason J. McDonald tackles in this timely and insightful book.
Chapters explore a range of topics, including how different ethnic groups arrived in the United States—whether through violence and coercion or willing immigration; the peculiar identification of Native Americans as “ethnic,” despite the fact that they are indigenous to the land; whether the American public’s attitudes toward and treatment of difference has been consistent with the nation’s professed egalitarian ideals; and how factors such as language, religion, class, gender, and intermarriage play in either strengthening or weakening ethnic identity and group solidarity.
An engaging and critical look at a term that remains stubbornly ambiguous in both scholarly discussion and the vernacular, this book makes an important contribution to the ongoing debates about “difference” in American society.
What similarities and differences do humans see between themselves and animals? Why do people commonly make metaphorical comparisons between human beings or social groups and animals, and to what degree are people’s attitudes and beliefs about animals parallel to or contingent upon their attitudes and beliefs about human beings and human society? This collection of articles considers these issues. The issues are basic in any study of "totemism," or human and animal relationships, and they have been discussed in anthropological literature since the time of Lewis Henry Morgan’s work on Iroquois social organization.
The contributors to this anthology have not limited themselves to the notion that clans and moieties are the only sources and objects of metaphorical comparisons between humans and animals. They suggest a shift in perspective that has metaphorical comparisons generated by conceived similarities and differences between animals and particular types of human beings. Some examples of this include macaw fledglings as adolescents; pumas as fully initiated men, and foxes as young married men. With this shift of emphasis, a significantly different analytic focus in the study of human-animal relations is produced.
An engaging look at the rise and fall of cultural diversity in the colonial South and its role in shaping a distinct southern identity
The 18th-century South was a true melting pot, bringing together colonists from England, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and other locations, in addition to African slaves—all of whom shared in the experiences of adapting to a new environment and interacting with American Indians. The shared process of immigration, adaptation, and creolization resulted in a rich and diverse historic mosaic of cultures.
The cultural encounters of these groups of settlers would ultimately define the meaning of life in the nineteenth-century South. The much-studied plantation society of that era and the Confederacy that sprang from it have become the enduring identities of the South. A full understanding of southern history is not possible, however, without first understanding the intermingling and interactions of the region’s eighteenth-century settlers. In the essays collected here, some of the South’s leading historical archaeologists examine various aspects of the colonial experience, attempting to understand how cultural identity was expressed, why cultural diversity was eventually replaced by a common identity, and how the various cultures intermeshed.
Written in accessible language, this book will be valuable to archaeologists and non-archaeologists alike. Cultural, architectural, and military historians, cultural anthropologists, geographers, genealogists, and others interested in the cultural legacy of the South will find much of value in this book.
Natalie Adams / Ronald Anthony / Monica Beck / Dave Crass / Chester B. DePratter / Daniel T. Elliott / Rita F. Elliott / Tammy Forehand / William Green / Michael O. Hartley / J. W. Joseph / Julia King / Bruce R. Penner / Katherine A. Saunders / Ellen Shlasko / Bobby G. Southerlin / Carl Steen / Thomas R. Wheaton / Martha Zierden
Power is immanent in human affairs; by definition, human beings are political animals. The only way to fully comprehend and analyze the complexities of power is to locate where material, psychological, and social dimensions of political power are ultimately and socially situated and reproduced.
This collection of essays highlights the theoretical concerns of political anthropology. Initially published in the journal Ethnology, the essays were classroom tested and collected on the basis of student comments. An in-depth introduction presents the intellectual traditions in political anthropology and focuses particularly on the manner in which various periods defined and dealt with the nature of social power. It also places current works within the framework of critical but constantly revised theoretical problems.
Contributors: Mart Bax; Ernest Brandewie; Karen J. Brison; Philip A. Dennis; Richard G. Dillon; Harvey E. Goldberg; James Howe; Donald T. Hughes; Roger M. Keesing; Donald V. Kurtz; Charles Lindhom; Robert F. Maher; Richard W. Miller; Sydel F. Silverman; L. Lewis Wall; Daniela Weinberg
Michael M. J. Fischer Duke University Press, 2009 Library of Congress GN27.F57 2009 | Dewey Decimal 301
In Anthropological Futures, Michael M. J. Fischer explores the uses of anthropology as a mode of philosophical inquiry, an evolving academic discipline, and a means for explicating the complex and shifting interweaving of human bonds and social interactions on a global level. Through linked essays, which are both speculative and experimental, Fischer seeks to break new ground for anthropology by illuminating the field’s broad analytical capacity and its attentiveness to emergent cultural systems.
Fischer is particularly concerned with cultural anthropology’s interactions with science studies, and throughout the book he investigates how emerging knowledge formations in molecular biology, environmental studies, computer science, and bioengineering are transforming some of anthropology’s key concepts including nature, culture, personhood, and the body. In an essay on culture, he uses the science studies paradigm of “experimental systems” to consider how the social scientific notion of culture has evolved as an analytical tool since the nineteenth century. Charting anthropology’s role in understanding and analyzing the production of knowledge within the sciences since the 1990s, he highlights anthropology’s aptitude for tracing the transnational collaborations and multisited networks that constitute contemporary scientific practice. Fischer investigates changing ideas about cultural inscription on the human body in a world where genetic engineering, robotics, and cybernetics are constantly redefining our understanding of biology. In the final essay, Fischer turns to Kant’s philosophical anthropology to reassess the object of study for contemporary anthropology and to reassert the field’s primacy for answering the largest questions about human beings, societies, culture, and our interactions with the world around us. In Anthropological Futures, Fischer continues to advance what Clifford Geertz, in reviewing Fischer’s earlier book Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice, called “a broad new agenda for cultural description and political critique.”
"Elegantly written essays. . . . Roseberry is the real gem, an anthropologist with extensive Latin American field experience and an impressive scholarly grasp of the histories of anthropology and Marxist theory."--Micaela di Leonardo, The Nation "An extremely stimulating volume . . . rich and provocative, and codifies a new depature point."--Choice "As a critic . . . Roseberry writes with sustained force and clarity. . . . his principal points emerge with a directness that will make this book attractive to a wide range of readers."--American Anthropologist "Roseberry in among the most astute, careful, and theoretically cogent of the anthropologists of his generation. . . . [This book] illustrates well the breadth and coherence of his thinking and guides the reader through the complicated intersections of anthropology with history, political economy, Marxism, and Latin American studies."--Jane Schneider, CUNY In Anthropologies and Histories, William Roseberry explores some of the cultural and political implications of an anthropological political economy. In his view, too few of these implications have been explored by authors who dismiss the very possibility of a political economic understanding of culture. Within political economy, readers are offered sophisticated treatments of uneven development, but when authors turn to culture and politics, they place contradictory social experiences within simplistic class or epochal labels. Within cultural anthropology, history is often little more than new terrain for extending anthropological practice. Roseberry places culture and history in relation to each other, in the context of a reflection on the political economy of uneven development. In the first half of this books, he looks at and critiques a variety of anthropological understandings of culture, arguing for an approach that sees culture as socially constituted and socially constitutive. Beginning with a commentary on Clifford Geertz's seminal essay on the Balinese cockfight, Roseberry argues that Geertz and his followers pay insufficient attention to cultural differentiation, to social and political inequalities that affect actors' different understandings of the world, other people, and of themselves. Sufficient attention to such questions, Roseberry argues, requires a concern for political economy. In the second half of the book, Roseberry explores the assumptions and practices of political economy, indicates the kind of problems that should be central to such an approach, and reviews some of the inadequacies of anthropological studies. William Roseberry is a professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research.
In Anthropology and Social Theory the award-winning anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner draws on her longstanding interest in theories of cultural practice to rethink key concepts of culture, agency, and subjectivity for the social sciences of the twenty-first century. The seven theoretical and interpretive essays in this volume each advocate reconfiguring, rather than abandoning, the concept of culture. Similarly, they all suggest that a theory which depends on the interested action of social beings—specifically practice theory, associated especially with the work of Pierre Bourdieu—requires a more developed notion of human agency and a richer conception of human subjectivity. Ortner shows how social theory must both build upon and move beyond classic practice theory in order to understand the contemporary world.
Some of the essays reflect explicitly on theoretical concerns: the relationship between agency and power, the problematic quality of ethnographic studies of resistance, and the possibility of producing an anthropology of subjectivity. Others are ethnographic studies that apply Ortner’s theoretical framework. In these, she investigates aspects of social class, looking at the relationship between race and middle-class identity in the United States, the often invisible nature of class as a cultural identity and as an analytical category in social inquiry, and the role that public culture and media play in the creation of the class anxieties of Generation X. Written with Ortner’s characteristic lucidity, these essays constitute a major statement about the future of social theory from one of the leading anthropologists of our time.
Examines the inherently problematic nature of representation and description of living people in ethnography and in anthropological work
In Anthropology and the Politics of Representation volume editor Gabriela Vargas-Cetina brings together a group of international scholars who, through their fieldwork experiences, reflect on the epistemological, political, and personal implications of their own work. To do so, they focus on such topics as ethnography, anthropologists’ engagement in identity politics, representational practices, the contexts of anthropological research and work, and the effects of personal choices regarding self-involvement in local causes that may extend beyond purely ethnographic goals.
Such reflections raise a number of ethnographic questions: What are ethnographic goals? Who sets the agenda for ethnographic writing? How does fieldwork change the anthropologist’s identity? Do ethnography and ethnographers have an impact on local lives and self-representation? How do anthropologists balance long-held respect for cultural diversity with advocacy for local people? How does an author choose what to say and write, and what not to disclose? Should anthropologists support causes that may require going against their informed knowledge of local lives?
Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz / Beth A. Conklin / Les W. Field / Katie Glaskin / Frederic W. Gleach / Tracey Heatherington / June C. Nash / Bernard C. Perley / Vilma Santiago-Irizarry / Timothy J. Smith / Sergey Sokolovskiy / David Stoll / Gabriela Vargas-Cetina / Thomas M. Wilson
Using cultural anthropology to analyze debates that reverberate throughout the human sciences, George E. Marcus and Michael M. J. Fischer look closely at cultural anthropology's past accomplishments, its current predicaments, its future direction, and the insights it has to offer other fields of study. The result is a provocative work that is important for scholars interested in a critical approach to social science, art, literature, and history, as well as anthropology. This second edition considers new challenges to the field which have arisen since the book's original publication.
In Anthropology in the Meantime Michael M. J. Fischer draws on his real world, multi-causal, multi-scale, and multi-locale research to rebuild theory for the twenty-first century. Providing a history and inventory of experimental methods and frameworks in anthropology from the 1920s to the present, Fischer presents anthropology in the meantime as a methodological injunction to do ethnography that examines how the pieces of the world interact, fit together or clash, generate complex unforeseen consequences, reinforce cultural references, and cause social ruptures. Anthropology in the meantime requires patience, constant experimentation, collaboration, the sounding-out of affects and nonverbal communication, and the conducting of ethnographically situated research over longitudinal time. Perhaps above all, anthropology in the meantime is no longer anthropology of and about peoples; it is written with and for the people who are its subjects. Anthropology in the Meantime presents the possibility for creating new narratives and alternative futures.
This collection provides vivid ethnographic explorations of particular, local Christianities as they are experienced by different groups around the world. At the same time, the contributors, all anthropologists, rethink the vexed relationship between anthropology and Christianity. As Fenella Cannell contends in her powerful introduction, Christianity is the critical “repressed” of anthropology. To a great extent, anthropology first defined itself as a rational, empirically based enterprise quite different from theology. The theology it repudiated was, for the most part, Christian. Cannell asserts that anthropological theory carries within it ideas profoundly shaped by this rejection. Because of this, anthropology has been less successful in considering Christianity as an ethnographic object than it has in considering other religions. This collection is designed to advance a more subtle and less self-limiting anthropological study of Christianity.
The contributors examine the contours of Christianity among diverse groups: Catholics in India, the Philippines, and Bolivia, and Seventh-Day Adventists in Madagascar; the Swedish branch of Word of Life, a charismatic church based in the United States; and Protestants in Amazonia, Melanesia, and Indonesia. Highlighting the wide variation in what it means to be Christian, the contributors reveal vastly different understandings and valuations of conversion, orthodoxy, Scripture, the inspired word, ritual, gifts, and the concept of heaven. In the process they bring to light how local Christian practices and beliefs are affected by encounters with colonialism and modernity, by the opposition between Catholicism and Protestantism, and by the proximity of other religions and belief systems. Together the contributors show that it not sufficient for anthropologists to assume that they know in advance what the Christian experience is; each local variation must be encountered on its own terms.
Contributors. Cecilia Busby, Fenella Cannell, Simon Coleman, Peter Gow, Olivia Harris, Webb Keane, Eva Keller, David Mosse, Danilyn Rutherford, Christina Toren, Harvey Whitehouse
Anthropos and the Material
Penny Harvey, Christian Krohn-Hansen, and Knut Nustad, editors Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress GF75.A645 2019
The destructive effects of modern industrial societies have shaped the planet in such profound ways that many argue for the existence of a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. This claim brings into relief a set of challenges that have deep implications for how relations between the human, the material, and the political affect contemporary social worlds. The contributors to Anthropos and the Material examine these challenges by questioning and complicating long-held understandings of the divide between humans and things. They present ethnographic case studies from across the globe, addressing myriad topics that range from labor, economics, and colonialism to technology, culture, the environment, agency, and diversity. In foregrounding the importance of connecting natural and social histories, the instability and intangibility of the material, and the ways in which the lively encounters between the human and the nonhuman challenge conceptions of liberal humanism, the contributors point to new understandings of the capacities of people and things to act, transform, and adapt to a changing world.
Ants For Breakfast
James Skibo University of Utah Press, 1999 Library of Congress DS666.K3S53 1999 | Dewey Decimal 392.309599
A view from the remote Philippine highlands where the author’s time in the kalinga homeland was packed with the elements of a thriller novel: mystery, danger, sex, violence, death—and research too!
Ants for Breakfast is about the adventure of modern archaeology. Seeking insight into prehistoric pottery manufacture and use, archaeologist James Skibo traveled to the remote Phillippine highlands to live with the Kalinga people, once headhunters, and one of the few groups in the world who still use ceramics for cooking.
Even as he looked for clues to the past in the practices of the present, the author’s time in the Kalinga homeland was packed with excitment: mystery, danger, sex, violence, and death. It was also an opportunity to taste a world both subtly and vastly different, while adding a new perspective to his own. In the course of his narrative, Skibo seizes every opportunity to link his experiences to the development of modern archaeology, and to such topics as human evolution, the peopling of the world, animal domestication, cultural logic, food taboos, basketball, Indiana Jones, and even Imelda Marcos.
This volume grew out of a symposium held at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in November 1969 at New Orleans, Louisiana. The "Apachean Symposium" was designed to provide an opportunity for scholars engaged in research on southern Athapaskan cultures to report upon their findings, and wherever possible, to link them to known fact and existing theory. The diverse work presented here will add significantly to the knowledge about Apachean cultures, and each of contributions also pertains directly to wider spheres of anthropological concern.
In this extended meditation, Jean Lave interweaves analysis of the process of apprenticeship among the Vai and Gola tailors of Liberia with reflections on the evolution of her research on those tailors in the late 1970s. In so doing, she provides both a detailed account of her apprenticeship in the art of sustained fieldwork and an insightful overview of thirty years of changes in the empirical and theoretical facets of ethnographic practice. Examining the issues she confronted in her own work, Lave shows how the critical questions raised by ethnographic research erode conventional assumptions, altering the direction of the work that follows.
As ethnography takes on increasing significance to an ever widening field of thinkers on topics from education to ecology, this erudite but accessible book will be essential to anyone tackling the question of what it means to undertake critical and conceptually challenging fieldwork. Apprenticeship in Critical Ethnographic Practice explains how to seriously explore what it means to be human in a complex world—and why it is so important.
One idiosyncrasy of archaeology in North America is that it is considered a sub-field of cultural anthropology. To explore the dimensions of this situation, editor Alan P. Sullivan assembled a group of practicing archaeologists, each with different expertise, to analyze problems with the current disciplinary arrangement and to recommend changes in practice and pedagogy that might coalesce into a truly archaeological study of the cultural past.
By using the theoretical tension that has arisen between archaeology and cultural anthropology, the contributors illustrate the effectiveness of concepts and methods that have little, if any, overlap with those of the mother discipline.
Archaeological Concepts for the Study of the Cultural Past examines the degree to which the historically close relationship between archaeology and cultural anthropology may actually have inhibited archaeological investigations—particularly of those aspects of the cultural past that may be ethnographically undocumented or incompletely described.
Atlas of World Cultures
George Peter Murdock University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981 Library of Congress GN345.3.M86 1981 | Dewey Decimal 306
The publication of Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas in 1967 marked the first time that descriptive information on the peoples of the world—primitive, historical, and contemporary—had been systematically organized for the purposes of comparative research. In this volume, Murdock has completely revised this work, selecting 563 societies that are most fully and accurately described in ethnographic literature. The identification of each society gives its geographical coordinates and date, its identifying number in the Ethnographic Atlas, and an indication of whether it is included in the Human Relations Area Files or the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. In addition, bibliographical references are offered for each society.
The information and suggested research techniques will be of value to comparativists in anthropology, history, political science, psychology and sociology. Most importantly, it offers a simple method fro choosing a valid sample of the world’s known societies for cross-cultural research.
Azan on the Moon is an in-depth anthropological study of people’s lives along the Pamir Highway in eastern Tajikistan. Constructed in the 1930s in rugged high-altitude terrain, the road fundamentally altered the material and social fabric of this former Soviet outpost on the border with Afghanistan and China. The highway initially brought sentiments of disconnection and hardship, followed by Soviet modernization and development, and ultimately a sense of distinction from bordering countries and urban centers that continues to this day.
Based on extensive fieldwork and through an analysis of construction, mobility, technology, media, development, Islam, and the state, Till Mostowlansky shows how ideas of modernity are both challenged and reinforced in contemporary Tajikistan. In the wake of China’s rise in Central Asia, people along the Pamir Highway strive to reconcile a modern future with a modern past. Weaving together the road, a population, and a region, Azan on the Moon presents a rich ethnography of global connections.