Stoller - The Power of the Between

Anthropology Links & Stoller, The Power of the Between

Anthropology links, featured book is Paul Stoller, The Power of the Between: An Anthropological Odyssey.

  1. Stoller - The Power of the BetweenPaul Stoller or Why Anthropology Still Matters. I’ve very much appreciated the writing Gina Athena Ulysse and Paul Stoller have been doing at The Huffington Post, and this is a double-dip, as Ulysse wrties about Stoller winning the Anders Retzius gold medal. Here’s Ulysse interviewing Stoller: “Anthropology will continue to get a bad rap as long as we anthropologists think and write about the human condition in obtuse ways. When I talk about my life in anthropology and the people I have come to know and love over the years, I find people in the audience moved–not because what I had to say was particularly brilliant, but because I opened my experience–my joy and pain and that of my Nigerian friends–to them and such an opening established a connection. At my last several talks, I’ve seen people shed a tear to two when I talk about the depth of my ethnographic experience and the depth of the humanity of my Nigerian friends. That kind of connect is usually missing in anthropological accounts. In my view of things, this connect should be the centerpiece of what we do.”
  2. Anthropologists should do a better job of promoting their field. “Cultural anthropology’s branding problem is largely superficial. Anthropologists possess unique knowledge and skill sets that have real-world value. Anthropology helps us understand the world in a way that cannot be reduced to numbers or captured in surveys. . . . Anthropologists need to take better ownership of our brand. The complexity of anthropological concepts such as culture, power and the global should not dissuade anthropologists from engaging in meaningful public discourse.” Thanks Beatriz Reyes-Foster and Ty Matejowsky for a great column!
  3. Stephen Wertheim reviews Diamond in The Nation. Alex Golub not only puts out his own reviews of Jared Diamond, Anthropology, Footnoted, he reviews the reviews. This is important work–for better or worse, Jared Diamond is approaching Margaret-Mead-like reach. Even though Napoleon Chagnon probably got more column-inches and splash in The New York Times, this has faded into a news media blip. Diamond’s book continues to get mentions and coverage. Like it or not, if anthropologists want “ownership of our brand” (link #2), we do need to tackle Jared Diamond.
  4. Searching for a Career in Anthropology.
  5. Sarah Franklin comments on egg-freezing, a response originally posted on ReproNet to the debate previously highlighted in Link #7.
  6. Speaking in Proverbs: Language and Everyday Life in Belize.
  7. Prehistoric Drugs – Cultural Tools. A blog by retired anthropologist and pharmacist Pamela Watson, now added to the Anthropology Blogs 2013 list.

Book Description: It is the anthropologist’s fate to always be between things: countries, languages, cultures, even realities. But rather than lament this, anthropologist Paul Stoller here celebrates the creative power of the between, showing how it can transform us, changing our conceptions of who we are, what we know, and how we live in the world. Beginning with his early days with the Peace Corps in Africa and culminating with a recent bout with cancer, The Power of the Between is an evocative account of the circuitous path Stoller’s life has taken, offering a fascinating depiction of how a career is shaped over decades of reading and research. Stoller imparts his accumulated wisdom not through grandiose pronouncements but by drawing on his gift for storytelling. Tales of his apprenticeship to a sorcerer in Niger, his studies with Claude Lévi-Strauss in Paris, and his friendships with West African street vendors in New York City accompany philosophical reflections on love, memory, power, courage, health, and illness. Graced with Stoller’s trademark humor and narrative elegance, The Power of the Between is both the story of a distinguished career and a profound meditation on coming to terms with the impermanence of all things.

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