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Anthropology off the Shelf. Anthropologists on Writing

  • ID: 2245962
  • Book
  • January 2011
  • 230 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Anthropology off the Shelf, leading anthropologists reflect on the craft of writing and the passions that fuel their desire to write books. At the core is a critical analysis of the ways in which anthropologists routinely frame, illustrate and contextualize new ideas about culture, and whether their methods facilitate or hinder engagement with the well–informed general reader. The eighteen contributors reveal their inspirations, their concerns about the writing process, their narrative strategies and their imagined audiences, as well as their habits and how they motivate people to read what they write. Each author reflects on the successes and failures of their strategic choices in writing and communicating anthropological subjects in the public sphere.

The reader will find rich but rarely tapped insights into the essential components and commitments of writing public anthropology, and how these writers steer through the difficult issues of racism, sexism, real and imagined critics, and ethical quandaries.

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Notes on Contributors.

Foreword (Cheryl Mwaria).

1. Introduction: The Writer in the Anthropologist (Maria D. Vesperi and Alisse Waterston).

Part I: Conceptions.

2. Speaking Truth to Power with Books (Howard Zinn).

3. Remember When Writing Was Fun? Why Academics Should Go On a Low Syllable, Active Voice Diet (Karen Brodkin).

4. The Bard (Carolyn Nordstrom).

5. Saggin′ and Braggin′ (Lee D. Baker).

6. Stories for Readers: A Few Observations from Outside the Academy (Andrew Barnes).

Part II: Creations.

7. Writing Poverty, Drawing Readers: Stories in Love, Sorrow and Rage (Alisse Waterston).

8. Write‑ous Indignation: Black Girls, Dilemmas of Cultural Domination and the Struggle to Speak the Skin We Are In (Signithia Fordham).

9. Writing Truth to Power: Racism as Statecraft (Arthur K. Spears).

10. Remembering Octavia (Sharon Ball).

11. Believing in Anthropology as Literature (Ruth Behar).

Part III: Receptions.

12. Walking in Zora′s Shoes or "Seek[ing] Out de Inside Meanin′ of Words": The Intersections of Anthropology, Ethnography, Identity, and Writing (Irma McClaurin).

13. Off the Shelf and Into Oblivion? (Catherine Kingfisher).

14. "Don′t Use Your Data as a Pillow" (S. Eben Kirksey).

15. The Trope of the Pith Helmet: America′s Anthropology, Anthropology′s America (Micaela di Leonardo).

16. The Book that Wrote Me (Roger Sanjek).

17. Fighting Words (Paul Farmer).

18. Taking Chances (Maria D. Vesperi).


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Alisse Waterston
Maria D. Vesperi
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