Bourgois.pdf - PERSPECTIVES AN OPEN INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Nina Brown Thomas McIlwraith Laura Tubelle de Gonz\u00e1lez The American

Bourgois.pdf - PERSPECTIVES AN OPEN INTRODUCTION TO...

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PERSPECTIVES: AN OPEN INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González The American Anthropological Association Arlington, VA
Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology by Nina Brown, Thomas McIlwraith, Laura Tubelle de González is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted. Under this CC BY-NC 4.0 copyright license you are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material Under the following terms: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
Anthropology in Our Moment in History: Interview with Philippe Bourgois Robert Borofsky, Hawaii Pacific University, Center for a Public Anthropology [email protected] How did you become an anthropologist? Discovering anthropology for me was like falling in love. I was a freshman in college and I knew nothing about the subject. I didn’t have a major. I took one of those big introductory classes in a large lecture hall because I was curious, but I didn’t really have any idea what anthropology might be. The very first lecture blew my mind. It was by an old- style style anthropologist talking about his fieldwork in the Amazon. He introduced us to the Yanomami, an indigenous people who were at the center of a huge anthropological debate about the nature of violence at the time: How much of human violence is cultural? How much of it is at the essence of human nature? How much of it is imposed by larger historical and economic forces? The teacher described to us their “shaman” who sniff hallucinogenic drugs to communicate with spirits and to protect their village from sickness and attack by neighbors. The Yanomami shaman are the Amazonian equivalent to our philosophers, scientists, doctors and religious or political officials. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here is an academic discipline that sends its practitioners around the 1
world to immerse themselves in utterly unfamiliar, foreign cultures in order to explore the meaning of human existence. I adored the class even with all its old-fashioned faults—it did, after all, “exoticize” indigenous people as if they were not our contemporaries but lived in a bubble, oblivious to the effects of global power relations and colonial conquest.

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