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ANTHROPOLOGY 101 WINTER 2010 LECTURE 01 KOTTAK 1 INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY Opening: 2 stories, 2 epiphanies; Fricke tells two stories to bring the idea of anthropology as both personal & intellectual into focus. His first anecdote is a reading from a letter written by an anthropologist doing fieldwork to his friends. The excerpt goes like this: Not so long ago, driving an empty grain truck down a scoria graveled road, hauling my trail of red dust west into the blue sky, following the other grain truck driven by [my friend], listening to the recently returned meadowlarks, and taking in the sweep of all this purity of space I woke up to myself and started laughing. I am enjoying this work too much to call it that! It feels so good to try getting these gears to shift up or down in the ancient truck, grinding away and finally slipping in with that sweet click of accomplishment. Feels good, too, to smell dust and oil and the near ferment of old grain in the bins. And to have grease and dirt worked into the cracks on your knuckles so that you can’t quite get it all out by washing your hands. Grass-stained, oil stained, grain-stained jeans. Cow shit on the boots. With these occasional epiphanies, I break from thinking about all this as data, just long enough to savor the clear stream of my joy at what I do. Then Fricke tells a story from his last fieldwork in Nepal, when he was sick and needed to get up a high ridge carrying his pack. He told about how he wanted to carry his own pack & how he refused to let others take it. But then they did take it, his friends, and Fricke describes the mild rebuke they gave him. Anthropology is personal & anthropologists will give you personal reasons for why
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2011 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

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