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Time and the Other How Anthropology Makes its Object

His books include Out of Our Minds: Arguments and Reminders ; Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays ; and Ethnography as Commentary: Writing from the Virtual Archive. Matti Bunzl is professor of anthropology and history at the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign and the author of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: How did he know this? I guess because they are naked and are therefore from the Garden.


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What we seemed to be looking at and vision is the dominant trope in anthropological discourse, seeing is believing after all is the way we were, collectively and individually. Fabian talks a lot about the way shifters, especially tenses, are used in the rhetoric of ethnography to eradicate temporal distance on the one hand while denying the preliterate and the uncivilized any depth of history on the other. Traditional ethnography erases time by using the present tense to make past events from fieldwork appear more vivid.

But such ethnography will also rely on tropes that make the genuinely coeval and contemporary appear primordial or archaic. But does anthropology really 'make its object?


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The authority of the author demands that an object be found, and if not found, created. This reflexive pose is the escape hatch to Fabian's system. Indeed, the benefits of reflexivity are both ethical and epistemological.


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Getting the ethnography right is not just a matter of being fair to the other culture. It also entails bending our own understanding toward alternative cosmologies in order to move past the good, common sense of the discursive assumptions embedded in our own 'native' models. Saying that all cultures are valid or that some cultures are preliterate or preindustrial does not solve the problem of how to come to terms with the chronic strangeness of the Rousseauan other.

Although I agree with Fabian on nearly every point, I can't help but wonder: What if all that remains is a sense that nothing can or should be done? But if nihil ex nihilo, if nothing comes of nothing, then this nihilistic anthropology devolves into a foundational critique of time itself. Which is not such a bad thing. Why ask astrophysicists about the nature of time? Why not ask the Jivaro or the Hopi, instead?

Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object - Johannes Fabian - Google Книги

Despite its abundant questions, Fabian's book often lacks cogent answers. By burning the 'map' of human 'eternity,' our sociocultural understanding seems limited to making textual gestures in the temporal mirror. Now that we 'see' where we as anthropologists have come from not from primitives, but from pseudoscientists , how can we now 'envision' a new path forward into new times and new places? Jan 13, Francisco Reis rated it really liked it Shelves: Feb 17, Adam rated it liked it. I read this for my Oral History class.

It is another book we are constantly reminded is crucial and foundational and that conveniently proves to be near impossible to make any sense of, which seems more than a bit funny. I enjoyed the couple of chapters that made sense to me and his overall message is really important. I definitely plan to come back to it one day when I have more time. This is the kind of book that one would expect an out-of-touch academic to author. Start in the middle, ramble, repeat. Maybe there is something of value here, but the narrative makes it difficult to tell.

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Apr 03, Leslie rated it liked it. Patterson rated it really liked it Mar 08, Aurora Gomez Rodela rated it really liked it Sep 23, Cultural Constructions of Temporal Maps and Images.

Alfred Gell - - Berg. Christoph Wulf - - University of Chicago Press. Anthropology Through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe. Michael Herzfeld - - Cambridge University Press. Experiments in Interpretive Anthropology.

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A Sense for the Other: The Timeliness and Relevance of Anthropology. A Passage to Anthropology: Between Experience and Theory. Kirsten Hastrup - - Routledge. The Limits of Auto-Anthropology. Marilyn Strathern - - In Anthony Jackson ed.