Anthropologists are dedicated to research which has

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anthropologists are dedicated to research which has socially beneficial ends […]: exposing the weaknesses in grand policy programs, acting as advocates for the unvoiced, championing the downtrodden, and so on… anthropology remains a discipline with the greatest of promise, whose distinctive approach continues to yield a diversity of significant insights into matters of contemporary import, and whose potential value for our understanding of the social world has still not yet been fully tapped.
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15 To bolster this contention about anthropology, I wish to explore some of the more profound ethnographies about conflict, and from my point of view, are exemplar testimonies of the invisible histories I have been discussing at length. Of course, the works I choose to discuss are just a small sample of the many ethnographies available, and as such, the reader must forgive my personal indulgence in their exposé and to the exclusion of other works. My ethnographic selections represent images from South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe as to provide the broadest sense in which conflict is portrayed in the hands of anthropologists. I am confident after surveying the essence of these works we will see the world beyond a clash of civilizations, conflations of history, or foreign policy theories of state-building. Ethnographies are social investigations on the ground, which make connections about violence oft least understood by many academic disciplines. For it is the aim of anthropological enquiry to live with and participate in the lives of those we study, allowing for first hand insight of all aspects of human existence, not only the present but the past in the present as well. To capture the mosaic of ethnographic possibility for explaining the invisible histories of our day, especially in relation to conflict, I have selected from the works of Michael Taussig (1987), David Lan (1985), Nancy Scheper-Hughes (1992), E. Valentine Daniel (1996), and Neil Jarman (1997) to embody understandings of colonial terror, liberation struggle, ethnic strife, everyday violence, and sectarianism. Of the wide range of existing ethnographies, it is difficult to imagine a better rendering of the trauma of the colonial encounter by indigenous populations than Michael Taussig’s (1987), Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: a study of terror and healing , which at once evokes not only the fiction of Joseph Conrad, but actual facets of racism, power, oppression, and the emotive and redemptive struggle of curative energy. In probing the montage of colonial history and its effects on the present inhabitants of the Putumayo region of Colombia, Michael Taussig (1987) offers one of the best accounts of human tragedy and terror, which is juxtaposed by the paradox of spiritualist restoration. We are confronted by a world of seeming magical-realism but
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16 much more moving than any Gabriel García Márquez tale because the “space of death”, as depicted by Taussig (1987, p. 4), is all too real and all too terrible to fathom. Such encounters take us right into the nightmarish shadows of history. Taussig (1987, p. 5) writes:
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