Stumbling Toward Truth: Anthropologists at Work by Philip R. DeVita
272 pages, $31.95 list
1-57766-125-7
978-1-57766-125-2
Stumbling Toward Truth
Anthropologists at Work
The essayists in Stumbling Toward Truth are anthropologists who have paused to share personal experiences that uncover important truths they’ve learned by living with and trying to understand others. The twenty-nine poignant fieldwork tales collected here reveal much about what anthropology can teach about others as well as ourselves, the spirit of the ethnographic enterprise, and issues of crosscultural humanity and humaneness. Readers will discover from these once-private stories from around the world that much of what anthropologists learn about themselves and others is totally unanticipated. Oftentimes, cultural truths and unexpected realities are stumbled upon. These lessons remain perhaps the most memorable and critical of fieldwork.
Table of Contents
Preface (Philip R. DeVita)
1. An Anthropologist as Travel Writer (Robert Tonkinson)
Part I. UNEXPECTED WELCOMES TO OTHER WORLDS
2. Getting Below the Surface (Douglas Raybeck)
3. Of Softball Bats and Fishnets: A Summer in the Alaskan Bush (George Gmelch)
4. The First Rotumans (Alan Howard)
5. Navigating Nigerian Bureaucracies: or, “Why Can’t You Beg?” She Demanded (Elizabeth A. Eames)
6. Two Tales from the Trukese Taproom (Mac Marshall)
7. Reflections of a Shy Ethnographer: Foot-in-the-Mouth Is Not Fatal (Juliana Flinn)
8. Greasy Hands and Smelly Clothes: Fieldworker or Fisherman (Philip DeVita)
9. Of Teamwork, Faith, and Trust in Western Sumatra (Carol J. Colfer)
10. Some Consequences of a Fieldworker’s Gender for Cross-Cultural Research (Susan Dwyer-Shick)
11. Fieldwork That Failed (Linda L. Kent)
Part II. OTHER WORLDS, OTHER CULTURAL LOGICS AND REALITIES
12. Not a Real Fish: The Ethnographer as Inside Outsider (Roger M. Keesing)
13. Ethnocentrism and the Abelam (Richard Scaglion)
14. What Drives the Birds? Molting Ducks, Freshman Essays, and Cultural Logic (Phyllis Morrow)
15. What Did the Earthquake Mean? (Alice Pomponio)
16. Centering Lessons Learned from Mescalero Apaches (Claire R. Farrer)
17. Don’t Mess with Eagle Power! (James Clifton)
18. A Very Bad Disease of the Arms (Michael Kearney)
19. Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapples, and No Watermelons at All (David Counts)
20. Lessons in Introductory Anthropology from the Bakairí Indians (Debra S. Picchi)
21. Arranging a Marriage in India (Serena Nanda)
22. ‘Pigs of the Forest’ and Other Unwritten Papers (Terence E. Hays)
23. Lesson from the Field: Gullibility and the Hazards of Money Lending (Cindy Hull)
24. To Die on Ambae: On the Possibility of Doing Fieldwork Forever (William L. Rodman and Margaret C. Rodman)
25. A Letter from the Field (Marty Zelenietz)
26. Turning Tears into Nothing (Miles Richardson)
27. “Did You?” (Ward H. Goodenough)
28. Munju (Trecie Melnick)
29. The Inseparability of Reason and Emotion in the Anthropological Perspective: Perceptions upon Leaving “The Field.” (Kris Heggenhougen)