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.
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.
Strap on your snake chaps and slap on some sunscreen as biologist Jennifer Bové takes you out to the field in the company of biologists working on the frontlines of wildlife studies, botany, and resource management. This exuberant and entertaining collection of stories ranges from Myanmar to the Midwest, from Argentina to Alaska and many points in between, offering tales that are by turns thoughtful, funny, tragic, and just-plain-crazy.
During five years of working in snake-ridden sloughs and rough northern seas, Jennifer Bové often asked herself 'Why am I doing this?' Realizing her own experiences were only the tip of the iceberg, she invited friends and colleagues to answer the same question. The result is stories that include deadly snakebites, a plague of marmots, special delivery skunk oil, bald eagle wrangling, and a mountain goat loose in the galley of a research vessel. These adventures are the details behind the data collected by these men and women driven to unlock nature’s truths. In The Back Road to Crazy, seasoned researchers and novices alike reveal the impulse to trade the comfort of a more sheltered career for demanding physical labor, whims of weather, and the company of unruly creatures.
H. L. Goodall’s ground-breaking study of what people do with symbols and what symbols do to people explores the lives led by people in organizations. His narratives take on the form of six detective mysteries in which the narrator figures into the plot of the intrigue and then works out its essential patterns.
In the first mystery, "Notes on a Cultural Evolution: The Remaking of a Software Company," Goodall looks at the transition of a Huntsville regional office of a Boston-based computer software company where the lives and social dramas of the participants reflect the current state of high technology.
The second essay and perhaps the most insightful, "The Way the World Ends: Inside Star Wars," penetrates the various defenses of the Star Wars command office in Huntsville to discover its secrets and surprises. Goodall shows how media, technology, fear of relationships, and symbolic images of the future unite into the day-to-day operations of people who believe they are responsible for the outer limits of our nation’s defense.
"Lost in Space: The Layers of Illusion Called Adult Space Camp" illustrates how a supposedly innocent theme park invites participation in rituals and ceremonies designed to influence a future generation of taxpayers.
In "Articles of Faith," Goodall enters a super mall in Huntsville, noting how shopping centers provide consumers with far more than places to purchase goods and services.
"How I Spent My Summer Vacation" finds Goodall back in an academic environment, at a conference of communication scholars, where he demonstrates the difficult task of translating cultural understandings from one context to another.
"The Consultant as Organizational Detective" offers the sobering message that real-life mysteries may surprise even the most accomplished sleuth. A concluding chapter, "Notes on Method," and a new autobiographical afterword round out Goodall’s penetrating look at our symbol-making culture.
Collaboration between ethnographers and subjects has long been a product of the close, intimate relationships that define ethnographic research. But increasingly, collaboration is no longer viewed as merely a consequence of fieldwork; instead collaboration now preconditions and shapes research design as well as its dissemination. As a result, ethnographic subjects are shifting from being informants to being consultants. The emergence of collaborative ethnography highlights this relationship between consultant and ethnographer, moving it to center stage as a calculated part not only of fieldwork but also of the writing process itself.
The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography presents a historical, theoretical, and practice-oriented road map for this shift from incidental collaboration to a more conscious and explicit collaborative strategy. Luke Eric Lassiter charts the history of collaborative ethnography from its earliest implementation to its contemporary emergence in fields such as feminism, humanistic anthropology, and critical ethnography. On this historical and theoretical base, Lassiter outlines concrete steps for achieving a more deliberate and overt collaborative practice throughout the processes of fieldwork and writing. As a participatory action situated in the ethical commitments between ethnographers and consultants and focused on the co-construction of texts, collaborative ethnography, argues Lassiter, is among the most powerful ways to press ethnographic fieldwork and writing into the service of an applied and public scholarship.
A comprehensive and highly accessible handbook for ethnographers of all stripes, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography will become a fixture in the development of a critical practice of anthropology, invaluable to both undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty alike.
Children In The Field
edited by Joan Cassell Temple University Press, 1994 Library of Congress GN41.6.C48 1987 | Dewey Decimal 306.0924
"The wisdom of taking children on this journey into the abyss of otherness is debatable. That's the point: the unsettled (and unsettling) quality of this book is what makes it worth reading and pondering."
--The Women's Review of Books
The conditions under which knowledge is acquired help shape that knowledge. Yet, until quite recently, the conditions under which anthropologists observe and interact with members of other cultures were considered the stuff of memoirs, not science. Although many families have accompanied anthropologists to the field, few researchers have discussed this aspect of scientific life. This collection of narratives by anthropologists who brought children with them into the field combines personal drama, practical information, and advice with an examination of the way in which the presence of children can alter the relationship between those who study and those who are studied.
The stories are funny, sad, horrifying, fascinating. Each essay presents different field conditions, locations, family constellations, experiences, and reactions. Photographs of the anthropologists and their children enhance the engaging and illuminating accounts. This book, the first study of its kind, will be essential reading for anyone involved in field research.
"A superb collection of papers documenting the value, trauma, joy, and frustration of taking children along on a field work adventure. This book covers, among other topics: burying a child in the field, bearing a child in the field, analysis of the hardships children face in a difficult field experience, and children serving as role models in language learning and the establishment of rapport with community members. This should be required reading for anyone anticipating a field work experience."
--Sue-Ellen Jacobs, University of Washington
"[These] stories...present the missing factor in anthropological research, which is after all supposed to be producing the most human of disciplines, involved with the intercultural world of woman alive and man alive; at last in this book we have children alive. The volume covers difficulties both of family and field situation and truthfully faces the differences in cultures.... The vignettes of children's lives are unforgettable."
--Edith L.B. Turner, University of Virginia
It is often forgotten that anthropology--the scientific study of cultural difference--arose from situations that required a practical management of cultural differences. Out of the practical contexts of colonial contact--administration, mission, nationalism, policing, settler cultivation, tourism, warfare--emerged methods, and images of otherness, that inform anthropological notions of cultural difference to this day.
The essays in this volume share the assumption that "ethnography," far from being the unique purview of anthropology, is a broader field of practice out of which and alongside which anthropology attempted to distinguish itself as a scientific discipline. They explore a variety of situations in colonial South and Southeast Asia and Africa and in the treatment of the indigenous inhabitants of North America and Australia to provide genealogies of present-day anthropological practices, tracing them back to the subjects of colonial ethnography.
This book introduces into the history of anthropology many of the insights developed in recent studies in history, cultural studies, and the anthropology of colonialism. It can serve as a course book in the history of anthropology and the anthropology of colonialism, while at the same time addressing a much larger audience of students of colonial history, of the history of science and modernity, and of globalization.
Peter Pels is Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Amsterdam. Oscar Salemink is Program Officer for Social Sciences and Humanities, The Ford Foundation-Vietnam.
Recounting her own field experiences in Japanese-American relocation centers during World War II and later in American Indian communities, Rosalie H. Wax offers advice to help the beginning field worker anticipate and confront the exigencies and accidents of fieldwork with good nature, fortitude, and common sense. Doing Fieldwork is a useful book in many respects: as a guide to participant observation and ethnographic fieldwork; as an analysis of the theoretical presuppositions and history of fieldwork; as a discussion of contemporary issues in social science research; and simply as an entertaining and dramatic story.
Since its founding in the nineteenth century, social anthropology has been seen as the study of exotic peoples in faraway places. But today more and more anthropologists are dedicating themselves not just to observing but to understanding and helping solve social problems wherever they occur—in international aid organizations, British TV studios, American hospitals, or racist enclaves in Eastern Europe, for example.
In Exotic No More, an initiative of the Royal Anthropological Institute, some of today's most respected anthropologists demonstrate, in clear, unpretentious prose, the tremendous contributions that anthropology can make to contemporary society. They cover issues ranging from fundamentalism to forced migration, child labor to crack dealing, human rights to hunger, ethnicity to environmentalism, intellectual property rights to international capitalisms. But Exotic No More is more than a litany of gloom and doom; the essays also explore topics usually associated with leisure or "high" culture, including the media, visual arts, tourism, and music. Each author uses specific examples from their fieldwork to illustrate their discussions, and 62 photographs enliven the text.
Throughout the book, the contributors highlight anthropology's commitment to taking people seriously on their own terms, paying close attention to what they are saying and doing, and trying to understand how they see the world and why. Sometimes this bottom-up perspective makes the strange familiar, but it can also make the familiar strange, exposing the cultural basis of seemingly "natural" behaviors and challenging us to rethink some of our most cherished ideas—about gender, "free" markets, "race," and "refugees," among many others.
William O. Beeman
E. Valentine Daniel
Alex de Waal
Faye V. Harrison
A. David Napier
Christopher B. Steiner
In Fieldwork Dilemmas ten anthropologists disclose the political and physical dangers inherent in field research. Focusing on former socialist states, they vividly depict the upheavals of everyday life in eastern Euorpe, revealing how their informants and the communities in which they live undergo political and economic dislocations, plummeting living standards, emerging gender inequalities, and ethnic and nationalist violence.
Reports from Armenia, Bulgaria, eastern Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, and Uzbekistan show how fieldworkers struggle to reconcile previous experiences with postsocialist stereotypes about Soviet culture, the West, and the effects of the penetration of capitalism into noncapitalist societies. These fieldwork dilemmas are analyzed by anthropologists who are learning to position themselves professionally and personally in the field under often unstable, unpredictable situations. This volume will interest not only anthropologists but fieldworkers of all kinds, and not only scholars of eastern Europe but all those who study rapid societal changes.
Paul Riesman's Freedom in Fulani Social Life is based upon his two years of residence among the Jelgobe, a group of semi-nomadic Fulani of the Sahel in Upper Volta, western Africa. Since its original publication, this classic study has profoundly influenced the field of anthropology through its re-examination of the enthnographer's personal input on his research.
"Freedom in Fulani Social Life richly documents how the ethnographer's own personal and cultural background is implicated in the research process. . . . For this reason, [Riesman's] book will be of paramount interest to all ethnographers."—Philip L. Kilbride, Reviews in Anthropology
"A remarkably well-written and insightful account of Fulani life. . . . In addition to using the conventional approaches of participating in and observing the daily activities of the Jelgobe . . . Riesman enriches his account by examining his personal feelings about particular incidents."—Library Journal
"An interesting and provocative study."—Choice
At the time of his death in 1988, Paul Riesman was an anthropologist who taught at Carleton College.
National Geographic has been called a window on the world and a passport to adventure. Each month an estimated forty million people in 190 countries open its pages and are transported to exotic realms that delight the eye and mind. Such widespread renown gives the magazine's writers an almost magical access to people and happenings, as doors that are closed to the rest of the journalistic world open wide.
Thomas Y. Canby was fortunate to be a NationalGeographic writer and science editor from 1961 to 1991, a time during which the Society's ventures and size grew by leaps and bounds and the resources available to staff were seemingly limitless. In From Botswana to the Bering Sea, he gives readers an on-the-ground look at the life of a National Geographic field staffer and an insider's view of the fascinating dynamics within the magazine's editorial chambers.
Canby's assignments dealt largely with issues of global concern, and his travels took him to the farthest reaches of the planet. This book gives the reader the visas and tickets to share in Canby's experiences -- from a Filipino rice harvest capped by a feast of deep-fried rats, to impoverished villages of Asia and Africa gripped by the world's most widespread famine, to seal hunting and dog sledding with Eskimos in the Canadian high Arctic. Readers match wits with paranoid guardians of the secret Soviet space program; skirt land mines in the flaming oil fields of Kuwait; and dodge death while scuba diving to an archaeological site in a Florida sinkhole. The book also gives insight into the magazine's inner workings: how article subjects are chosen; how writers are assigned and interact; how prolonged trips to impossibly remote destinations are planned; how staffers operate in the field.
Working for National Geographic has been called "the best job in the world." From Botswana to the Bering Sea describes that unique job, and answers from first-hand knowledge the question Canby and his colleagues are so often asked: "So, what is it like to work for National Geographic?"
When Nathan Wachtel, the distinguished historical anthropologist, returned to the village of Chipaya, the site of his extensive fieldwork in the Bolivian Andes, he learned a group of Uru Indians was being incarcerated and tortured for no apparent reason. Even more strangely, no one—not even his closest informant and friend—would speak about it.
Wachtel discovered that a series of recent deaths and misfortunes in Chipaya had been attributed to the evil powers of the Urus, a group usually regarded with suspicion by the other ethnic groups. Those incarcerated were believed to be the chief sorcerers and vampires whose paganistic practices had brought death to Chipaya by upsetting the social order. Wachtel's investigation, told in Gods and Vampires: Back to Chipaya, reveals much about relations between the Urus and the region's dominant ethnic groups and confronts some of the most trenchant issues in contemporary anthropology. His analysis shows that the Urus had become victims of the same set of ideals the Spanish had used, centuries before, to establish their hegemony in the region.
Presented as a personal detective story, Gods and Vampires is Wachtel's latest work in a series studying the ongoing impact of the Spanish conquest on the Andean consciousness and social system. Its insight into Bolivian society and the legacy of hegemony confronts some of the most trenchant issues in contemporary anthropologyand will be of great interest to scholars of anthropology, Latin American studies, and Native American studies.
The Highlands Controversy is a rich and perceptive account of the third and last major dispute in nineteenth-century geology stemming from the work of Sir Roderick Murchison. The earlier Devonian and Cambrian-Silurian controversies centered on whether the strata of Devon and Wales should be classified by lithological or paleontological criteria, but the Highlands dispute arose from the difficulties the Scottish Highlands presented to geologists who were just learning to decipher the very complex processes of mountain building and metamorphism. David Oldroyd follows this controversy into the last years of the nineteenth century, as geology was transformed by increasing professionalization and by the development of new field and laboratory techniques. In telling this story, Oldroyd's aim is to analyze how scientific knowledge is constructed within a competitive scientific community—how theory, empirical findings, and social factors interact in the formation of knowledge.
Oldroyd uses archival material and his own extensive reconstruction of the nineteenth-century fieldwork in a case study showing how detailed maps and sections made it possible to understand the exceptionally complex geological structure of the Highlands
An invaluable addition to the history of geology, The Highlands Controversy also makes important contributions to our understanding of the social and conceptual processes of scientific work, especially in times of heated dispute.
Scholars have long recognized that ethnographic method is bound up with the construction of theory in ways that are difficult to teach. The reason, Allaine Cerwonka and Liisa H. Malkki argue, is that ethnographic theorization is essentially improvisatory in nature, conducted in real time and in necessarily unpredictable social situations. In a unique account of, and critical reflection on, the process of theoretical improvisation in ethnographic research, they demonstrate how both objects of analysis, and our ways of knowing and explaining them, are created and discovered in the give and take of real life, in all its unpredictability and immediacy.
Improvising Theory centers on the year-long correspondence between Cerwonka, then a graduate student in political science conducting research in Australia, and her anthropologist mentor, Malkki. Through regular e-mail exchanges, Malkki attempted to teach Cerwonka, then new to the discipline, the basic tools and subtle intuition needed for anthropological fieldwork. The result is a strikingly original dissection of the processual ethics and politics of method in ethnography.
For the late Fuad I. Khuri, a distinguished career as an anthropologist began not because of typical concerns like accessibility, money, or status, but because the very idea of an occupation that baffled his countrymen made them—and him—laugh. “When I tell them that ‘anthropology’ is my profession . . . they think I am either speaking a strange language or referring to a new medicine.” This profound appreciation for humor, especially in the contradictions inherent in the study of cultures, is a distinctive theme of An Invitation to Laughter, Khuri’s astute memoir of life as an anthropologist in the Middle East.
A Christian Lebanese, Khuri offers up in this unusual autobiography both an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective on life in Lebanon, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in West Africa. Khuri entertains and informs with clever insights into such issues as the mentality of Arabs toward women, eating habits of the Arab world, the impact of Islam on West Africa, and the extravagant lifestyles of wealthy Arabs, and even offers a vision for a type of democracy that could succeed in the Middle East. In his life and work, as these astonishing essays make evident, Khuri demonstrated how the discipline of anthropology continues to make a difference in bridging dangerous divides.
Journeys with Flies
Edwin N. Wilmsen University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress GN34.3.F53W55 1999 | Dewey Decimal 301.0723
From 1973 to 1994, anthropologist Edwin Wilmsen lived and worked among the Zhu, Mbanduru, and Tswana people of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa. Thousands of miles from his home, immersed in what first seemed a radically different place, and operating in languages he initially did not understand, he began a record of his impressions and reflections as a complement to his scientific fieldwork. Journeys with Flies weaves together the multilayered experiences of his life among these Kalahari people, capturing at once the intellectual challenges an anthropologist faces in the field and the myriad and strange ways that unfamiliar experiences come to resonate with deeply personal thoughts and recollections.
Combining biography, poetry, and anthropology, Wilmsen vividly portrays the intense realities of life in the Kalahari and carries the reader across space and time as events in the present trigger emotions and memories. Images of apartheid, for example, evoke memories of Wilmsen's childhood in the segregated South. Poems, journal entries, and moving accounts of deepening personal relationships all intertwine as Wilmsen conveys the experiences he shares with his "subjects" in spite of vast differences in their backgrounds—extreme thirst under the desert sun, grief over the death of a child, and the constant irritation of ubiquitous flies.
"Our understanding of other peoples," he writes, "lies not in themselves or in anything that they do but in our experience of them. Experience that is lived partly in their world and partly in a shell of our world that we wear when we meet them."
Sophisticated, lyrical, and passionately written, Journeys with Flies will inspire all those who travel to places far from home.
What is it like to do field biology in a world that exalts experiments and laboratories? How have field biologists assimilated laboratory values and practices, and crafted an exact, quantitative science without losing their naturalist souls?
In Landscapes and Labscapes, Robert E. Kohler explores the people, places, and practices of field biology in the United States from the 1890s to the 1950s. He takes readers into the fields and forests where field biologists learned to count and measure nature and to read the imperfect records of "nature's experiments." He shows how field researchers use nature's particularities to develop "practices of place" that achieve in nature what laboratory researchers can only do with simplified experiments. Using historical frontiers as models, Kohler shows how biologists created vigorous new border sciences of ecology and evolutionary biology.
Kiriwina, the largest of the Trobriand Islands in eastern Papua New Guinea, is anthropology's "sacred place." It was here that Bronislaw Malinowski conducted the path-breaking fieldwork that enabled him to revolutionize British social anthropology. And it was here that he developed one of anthropology's most important tools: photography.
Malinowski's Kiriwina presents nearly two hundred of Malinowski's previously unpublished photographs, taken between 1915 and 1918, of the Trobriand Islanders. The images are more than embellishments of his ethnography; they are a recreation in striking detail of a distant world. Michael Young, an anthropologist and Malinowski's authorized biographer, has selected the photographs based on one of Malinowski's unpublished studies of the region, and the plan of that abandoned project has helped structure this book.
Divided into fourteen sections, Malinowski's Kiriwina is a series of linked photo-essays based on Trobriand institutions and cultural themes as described by Malinowski. The introductory essay by Young appraises the founding anthropologist's photographic oeuvre, explains the historical circumstances and technical aspects of the images, and puts them in their colonial context. Young illuminates the photographs with quotations from Malinowski's diaries, letters, and field notes, thereby giving a biographical dimension to the collection. Commentaries on the images by contemporary Trobrianders add a further layer of interpretation. The result is a stunning record not only of a fascinating place, but of the mutual relationship between ethnography and the visual.
The postmodern opposition between theory and lived reality has led in part to an anthropological turn to "dialogic" or "reflexive" approaches. Michael Jackson claims these approaches are hardly radical as they still drift into such abstractions as "society" or "culture." His Minima Ethnographica proposes an existential anthropology that recognizes even abstract relationships as modalities of interpersonal life.
Written in the style of Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia, Jackson's work shows how general ideas are always anchored in particular social events and critical concerns. Emphasizing the intersubjective encounter over objective descriptions of the whole historical and contemporary situation of a given people, he illustrates the power and originality of existential anthropology through a series of vignettes from his fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Australia. An award-winning poet, novelist, and anthropologist, Jackson offers a timely critique of conventions that dull our sense of the links between academic study and lived experience.
History of Anthropology is a new series of annual volumes, each of which will treat an important theme in the history of anthropological inquiry. For this initial volume, the editors have chosen to focus on the modern cultural anthropology: intensive fieldwork by "participant observation." Observers Observed includes essays by a distinguished group of historians and anthropologists covering major episodes in the history of ethnographic fieldwork in the American, British, and French traditions since 1880. As the first work to investigate the development of modern fieldwork in a serious historical way, this collection will be of great interest and value to anthropologist, historians of science and the social sciences, and the general readers interested in the way in which modern anthropologists have perceived and described the cultures of "others." Included in this volume are the contributions of Homer G. Barnett, University of Oregon; James Clifford, University of California, Santa Cruz; Douglas Cole, Simon Frazer University; Richard Handler, Lake Forest College; Curtis Hinsley, Colgate University; Joan Larcom, Mount Holyoke College; Paul Rabinow, University of California, Berkeley; and the editor.
In 1963 R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon set off for Australia, where he was to record, chart, and preserve several of the complex and nearly extinct Aboriginal languages. Beginning with his introduction to these languages while a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh and his difficulties in getting to the Australian bush, Dixon's fourteen-year tale is one of frustration and enlightenment, of setbacks and discoveries.
As he made his way through northern Australia, Dixon was dependent on rumors of Aboriginal speakers, the unreliable advice of white Australians, and the faulty memories of many of the remaining speakers of the languages. Suggestions of informants led him on a circuitous trail through the bush, to speakers such as the singer Willie Kelly in Ravenshoe, who wanted his recordings sent to the south, "where white people would pay big money to hear a genuine Aborigine sing" and Chloe Grant in Murray Upper, who told tales in four dialects of digging wild yams, of the blue-tongue lizard Banggara, and of the arrival of Captain Cook. Dixon tells of obtaining the trust of possible informants, of learning the customs and terrain of the country, and of growing understanding of the culture and tradition of his subjects. And he explains his surprise at his most unexpected discovery: that the rich oral tradition of the "primitive" Aborigines could yield a history of a people, as told by that people, that dates to almost ten millenia before.
Anthropology is by definition about "others," but in this volume the phrase refers not to members of observed cultures, but to "significant others"—spouses, lovers, and others with whom anthropologists have deep relationships that are both personal and professional. The essays in this volume look at the roles of these spouses and partners of anthropologists over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially their work as they accompanied the anthropologists in the field. Other relationships discussed include those between anthropologists and informants, mentors and students, cohorts and partners, and parents and children. The book closes with a look at gender roles in the field, demonstrated by the "marriage" in the late nineteenth century of the male Anthropological Society of Washington to the Women’s Anthropological Society of America. Revealing relationships that were simultaneously deeply personal and professionally important, these essays bring a new depth of insight to the history of anthropology as a social science and human endeavor.
The state has recently been rediscovered as an object of inquiry by a broad range of scholars. Reflecting the new vitality of the field of political anthropology, States of Imagination draws together the best of this recent critical thinking to explore the postcolonial state. Contributors focus on a variety of locations from Guatemala, Pakistan, and Peru to India and Ecuador; they study what the state looks like to those seeing it from the vantage points of rural schools, police departments, small villages, and the inside of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Focusing on the micropolitics of everyday state-making, the contributors examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. They show how the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty. Demonstrating the indispensable value of ethnographic work on the practices and the symbols of the state, States of Imagination showcases a range of studies and methods to provide insight into the diverse forms of the postcolonial state as an arena of both political and cultural struggle. This collection will interest students and scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, and history.
Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson
The last traces of Australia's tropical rainforest, where the southeasterly winds bring rain to the coastal mountains, contain a unique assemblage of plants and animals, some primitive, many that are found nowhere else on earth. And fifteen years ago, they also contained Bill Laurance, a budding ecologist seduced by the nature of the landscape in north Queensland. Laurance isn't your typical scientist: he wears cut-offs instead of white coats, enjoys the occasional food fight, and isn't afraid to speak his mind, even if it gets him into trouble, as it often did in the Australian rainforest and as he recounts in his marvelous Queensland journal Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles.
The book is his record of the time he spent in this remote area and his run-ins with plant, animal, and human species alike. Laurance lived in a tiny town of loggers and farmers, and he witnessed firsthand the impact of conservation issues on individual lives. He found himself at the center of a bitter battle over conservation strategies and became not only the subject of small-town gossip but also the object of many residents' hatred. Keeping ahead of his high-spirited young volunteers, hounded by the drug-sniffing local policeman, and all the while trying to further his own research amid natural and unnatural obstacles, Laurance offers us a personal and hilarious account of fieldwork and life in the Australian outpost of Millaa Millaa. Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles is a biology lesson, a conservation primer, and an utterly energetic story about an impressionable young man who wound up at the epicenter of an issue that tore a small town apart.
Tuhami is an illiterate Moroccan tilemaker who believes himself married to a camel-footed she-demon. A master of magic and a superb story-teller, Tuhami lives in a dank, windowless hovel near the kiln where he works. Nightly he suffers visitations from the demons and saints who haunt his life, and he seeks, with crippling ambivalence, liberation from 'A'isha Qandisha, the she-demon.
In a sensitive and bold experiment in interpretive ethnography, Crapanzano presents Tuhami's bizarre account of himself and his world. In so doing, Crapanzano draws on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and symbolism to reflect upon the nature of reality and truth and to probe the limits of anthropology itself. Tuhami has become one of the most important and widely cited representatives of a new understanding of the whole discipline of anthropology.
Walter Benjamin's Grave
Michael Taussig University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress GN34.3.F53T38 2006 | Dewey Decimal 301.0723
In September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his travelling partners would be denied passage into Spain in their attempt to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology’s—and indeed today’s—most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin’s grave in Port Bou. The result is “Walter Benjamin’s Grave,” a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin’s border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name.
“Looking over these essays written over the past decade,” writes Taussig, “I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp.” Although thematically these essays run the gamut—covering the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, discussions of peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman’s body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence—each shares Taussig’s highly individual brand of storytelling, one that depends on a deep appreciation of objects and things as a way to retrieve even deeper philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that materialist knowledge offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit.
Pursuing an adventure that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin’s grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century’s greatest cultural critic.
Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes
Robert M. Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress GN307.7.E44 1995 | Dewey Decimal 305.800723
In this companion volume John van Maanen's Tales of the Field, three scholars reveal how the ethnographer turns direct experience and observation into written fieldnotes upon which an ethnography is based.
Drawing on years of teaching and field research experience, the authors develop a series of guidelines, suggestions, and practical advice about how to write useful fieldnotes in a variety of settings, both cultural and institutional. Using actual unfinished, "working" notes as examples, they illustrate options for composing, reviewing, and working fieldnotes into finished texts. They discuss different organizational and descriptive strategies, including evocation of sensory detail, synthesis of complete scenes, the value of partial versus omniscient perspectives, and of first person versus third person accounts. Of particular interest is the author's discussion of notetaking as a mindset. They show how transforming direct observations into vivid descriptions results not simply from good memory but more crucially from learning to envision scenes as written. A good ethnographer, they demonstrate, must learn to remember dialogue and movement like an actor, to see colors and shapes like a painter, and to sense moods and rhythms like a poet.
The authors also emphasize the ethnographer's core interest in presenting the perceptions and meanings which the people studied attach to their own actions. They demonstrate the subtle ways that writers can make the voices of people heard in the texts they produce. Finally, they analyze the "processing" of fieldnotes—the practice of coding notes to identify themes and methods for selecting and weaving together fieldnote excerpts to write a polished ethnography.
This book, however, is more than a "how-to" manual. The authors examine writing fieldnotes as an interactive and interpretive process in which the researcher's own commitments and relationships with those in the field inevitably shape the character and content of those fieldnotes. They explore the conscious and unconscious writing choices that produce fieldnote accounts. And they show how the character and content of these fieldnotes inevitably influence the arguments and analyses the ethnographer can make in the final ethnographic tale.
This book shows that note-taking is a craft that can be taught. Along with Tales of the Field and George Marcus and Michael Fisher's Anthropology as Cultural Criticism, Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes is an essential tool for students and social scientists alike.