Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays

Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays

by Johannes Fabian, Fabian Johannes
     
 

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This book collects published and unpublished work over the last dozen years by one of today’s most distinguished and provocative anthropologists. Johannes Fabian is widely known outside of his discipline because his work so often overcomes traditional scholarly boundaries to bring fresh insight to central topics in philosophy, history, and cultural studies.

Overview

This book collects published and unpublished work over the last dozen years by one of today’s most distinguished and provocative anthropologists. Johannes Fabian is widely known outside of his discipline because his work so often overcomes traditional scholarly boundaries to bring fresh insight to central topics in philosophy, history, and cultural studies.

The first part of the book addresses questions of current critical concern: Does it still make sense to search for objectivity in ethnography? What do we gain when we invoke “context” in our interpretations? How does literacy change the work of the ethnographer, and what are the boundaries between ethnology and history? This part ends with a plea for recuperating negativity in our thinking about culture.

The second part extends the work of critique into the past by examining the beginning of modern ethnography in the exploration of Central Africa during the late nineteenth century: the justification of a scientific attitude, the collecting of ethnographic objects, the presentation of knowledge in narration, and the role of recognition—given or denied—in encounters with Africans. A final essay examines how the Congolese have returned the “imperial gaze” of Belgium by the work of critical memory in popular history. The ten chapters are framed by two meditations on the relevance of theory and the irrelevance of the millennium.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Anthropology with an Attitude] offers thoughtful and critical responses to important questions. . . . Highly recommended for libraries with graduate programs in anthropology."—Library Journal

"Neither positivist nor postmodernist, Johannes Fabian is an "anthropologist with an attitude" compounded, we might say, of dialectics, decency, and a trenchant sense of the absurd."—American Anthropologist

Library Journal
This collection of essays is not for the timid or the traditionalist. It presupposes considerable knowledge of philosophy and history as well as anthropology, but for those with the background (or the persistent lay reader), it offers thoughtful and critical responses to important questions, among them, how ethnography is done, how it is represented through writing, and what effect literary criticism has had on the critical self-awareness of ethnographers. Fabian (cultural anthropology, Univ. of Amsterdam), whose fieldwork includes extensive experience in the Congo, also writes of anthropology's historical links with colonialism, which provided privileged access to the peoples anthropologists studied. He reminds us that "anthropology emerged, less as a science of human nature than as the study of the damage done by one part of mankind to another (and thereby to all of humanity)." Highly recommended for libraries with graduate programs in anthropology. Faye Powell, Portland State Univ. Lib., OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804741439
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Series:
Cultural Memory in the Present Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Johannes Fabian is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. Of his many books, the most recent is Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa.

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