9584 - Theoretical Appropriations of Ethnographic Concepts - Theory, particularly humanities-based cultural studies, has tended to assume that the products of cross-cultural ethnographic research are ethically as well as epistemologically available for appropriation (and isolation from original context) into theoretical discourses of little or no concern to communities whose intellectual property is appropriated. E.g., there is no difference between new age spirituality (and the scholarship arising from it) and the Society for Creative Anachronism (whose ostensible medieval models cannot talk back). I do not suggest that mainstream Western scholarship should not learn from ethnography. I do suggest that we should acknowledge the agency of persons who embody those traditions.
This course will take a series of concepts of issues that appear in "theory" discourses without ethnographic exemplar and search for a common field of discourse that would enrich both.
- nation, nation-state and national identity
- state uses of history
- tribe vs. face-to-face community
- standpoint/situated knowledges
- oral traditions and memory
- gaps in "historic" record/interpretive history
- thought experiments vs. ethnographic cases
- animacy of nature and human relationship thereto
- community (vs. individual rights), citizenship, identity politics
Theory sources for these discourses: Foucault, Deleuze, Benedict Anderson, Haraway, Connerton, Goody, Ong, Derrida, Hayden White, Jim Clifford, some postcolonial theory.
Reading some ethnographic exemplars and exploring what is glossed over in the theoretical discourses that would enrich them if taken more seriously, is proposed.
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