Novel Approaches to Anthropology

Novel Approaches to Anthropology : Contributions to Literary Anthropology

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This volume of interdisciplinary essays reflect current contributions to literary anthropology. Novel Approaches to Anthropology: Contributions to Literary Anthropology showcases the myriad ways that anthropologists bring their disciplinary perspectives, theories, concepts, and pedagogical strategies to interpreting fiction and travel writing written in the past and present. The authors integrate insights from the reflexive deconstructive turn in anthropology and from critical Marxist and feminist approaches that ground interpretation in the political, economic, and social constraints and experiences of everyday life. The contributors share the view that fiction, like all artistic expression, is rooted in specific historical and cultural contexts. Literature, like all artistic expression, stimulates a critical imagination by allowing readers to take a fresh look at their own society and culture.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 268 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739175025
  • 9780739175026

Table of contents

List of Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction: Anthropological Aspects of the Novel, by Marilyn Cohen
Chapter 2:A Shandean Description of Frakean "Ethnographic Behavior," by Ray McDermott
Chapter 3: Reading Defoe, the Eighteenth Century Master Story-teller, by Mary Elizabeth Reeve
Chapter 4: "A Genuine Victorian Oddity": Harriet Martineau's Fiction, by Marilyn Cohen
Chapter 5: Mark Twain's Weapon of Mass Destruction: "The Human Race Has Only One Really Effective Weapon and that is Laughter," by David Surrey
Chapter 6: The Creole Speaks: Daniel, Christophine and the Other in The Wide Sargaso Sea, by John Pulis
Chapter 7: Ethnografiction and Reality in Contemporary Irish Novels, by Helena Wulff
Chapter 8: Engaging Students' Interest Through Fiction, Memoirs and Film, by Ward Keeler
About the Authors
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Review quote

The subfield of literary anthropology logically connects the study of culture shared by literary studies and humanistic anthropology. Cohen presents seven articles covering this nexus with topics from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. A common theme in the essays is how specific literature can provide, particularly to students, superb introductions to social and cultural customs, beliefs, artifacts, behavior, and roles. From literature, the seven contributors (six from the US) examine Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, William Defoe, Harriet Martineau, Mark Twain, the Jamaican author Jean Rhys, minor 20th-century Irish authors, and 20th-century Southeast Asian authors. In the Sterne article, Ray McDermott compares and contrasts Sterne's culturally rich presentation of 18th-century England with Charles Frake's 1964 ethnography of Subanun religious life in the Philippines, a fascinating treatment examining methodology, approach, and content. The other articles (by Mary-Elizabeth Reeve, Cohen, David Surrey, John W. Pulis, Helena Wulff, and Ward Keeler) are likewise fascinating, each with in-depth insights into cultural life and of cultural analysis. The level of scholarly writing suggests an intended audience of advanced undergraduates to professors. Cohen's introduction prepares readers for the dazzling display that follows. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. * CHOICE * As it stands, this collection of creative and well-written essays will appeal to a wide audience of readers with a diverse set of literary sensibilities. . . .[T]he essays in the collection will convince social scientists to ask their students to read novels, analyze films, and ponder plays-from an anthropological perspective. * Current Anthropology * Novel Approaches to Anthropology mines fictional forms for deep ethnographic engagements. Whether providing cultural insights into Caribbean caste and color, English gendered domestic arrangements, American racism and imperialism, or discovering the compulsions of colonialism in South East Asian literary genres, these wide-ranging essays fix our attention on the accessibility and verisimilitude that storied accounts gift to anthropology. In turn, these writers return the favor, highlighting their richly contextualized appreciation of literary forms and content as ethnography. What an engrossing text! -- Rayna Rapp, New York University Novel Approaches to Anthropology reveals a beautiful coupling of fiction and anthropology. A reader's delight, this smart collection is provocative, engaging, sometimes disturbing-and always inspiring. This volume, rich with new readings of old and contemporary novels, will be cherished by students. -- Alisse Waterston, The City University of New York
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About Marilyn Cohen

Marilyn Cohen is associate professor of sociology and director of women's studies at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. Dr. Cohen is the author and editor of numerous books, articles, and book chapters. Her books include Linen, Family and Community in Tullylish, County Down, 1690-1914; The Warp of Ulster's Past: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Irish Linen Industry, 1700-1920; Reclaiming Gender: Transgressive Identities in Modern Ireland; and No Girls in the Clubhouse: The Exclusion of Women from Baseball.
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