Various short-lived organizations of anthropologists had already been formed. Its members were primarily anti-slavery activists. They maintained international connections. Anthropology and many other current fields are the intellectual results of the comparative methods developed in the earlier 19th century.
I thank Lila and Sindre for sharing their conversation with the readership of the journal. You and I met in because we had both turned, as anthropologists, to address a disturbing public issue: This opened us up to forms of hostility that our earlier ethnographic work in Muslim communities, yours in Egypt and mine in South Africa, had not.
An Edited Anthology in Public Anthropology.
You prefer to call it public ethnography, following Didier Fassin. Your first book, Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society Abu-Lughodwas such a monograph in my case, and I know that this sentiment is shared by many anthropologists of my generation.
Through a rich and detailed ethnography, you describe the lives of a Bedouin group in Egypt from the point of view of your fieldwork with, mostly, women. Bedouin Stories Abu-Lughodthat your father, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, the Palestinian scholar and activist, had been something of a door opener.
But I would guess that it is unusual even for Middle East anthropologists to have such access to the field. I wonder how you think about this now. I am honored that Veiled Sentiments has this special place in your development. It seems so long since I wrote it.
I was a different person then—younger, more naive, and less politically engaged. I am temperamentally unsuited to argument—I get no pleasure from it. Anthropology was different in the late s and early s, too, when I was working on what became Veiled Sentiments.
Remember, it came out the same year as Writing Culture. For me, the lasting contribution of Veiled Sentiments is to have shared my discovery that women in this Bedouin community expressed—in moving oral lyric poetry—sentiments radically different from those they expressed in everyday discourse.
I used this discovery to force an appreciation of the complex workings of moral systems, especially ones based on honor. At that time, honor codes were the concern of anthropologists of the circum-Mediterranean area.
Like you, though, many people remain intrigued by what I wrote about my father having introduced me to this community, perhaps because it makes us think hard about our inevitable positionality in fieldwork. I know that it was a bit easier for me to be part of this family because of this identity.
Fieldwork is intense and interpersonally complicated for everyone. Once you are there, no matter how introduced, it is you—as a person—who develops the relationships you do, even as you never escape your locatedness. I have been thinking a lot about fieldwork lately.
My soul-searching was triggered by being invited to write a new afterword for the 30th-anniversary edition of Veiled Sentiments Abu-Lughod b. We are observing as we participate. Living together produces, over time, shared conversations, memories, and affections for people we have known in common.
I argue in this afterword that living together makes possible a bridging of differences across what my colleague Elizabeth Povinelli has characterized as incommensurate worlds. My experience of having developed these affections across differences is not unique. Fieldwork is a particularly intense and perhaps peculiar way of learning and being in the world, but every intimate relationship, if you think about it, involves bridging differences.
I take it, from what you say, that you have maintained contact with them. I have regularly returned for visits, although since the late s I have not been able to stay long each time.Their combined citations are counted only for the first article.
Lila Abu-Lughod. Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University. Verified email at feelthefish.com Articles Cited by. Title Cited by Year; Writing against culture.
Lila Abu-Lughod’s first publication, Veiled Sentiments, “was about the politics of sentiment and cultural expression in a Bedouin community in Egypt that made an argument about the complexity of culture”2.
43 Writing Against Culture Lila Abu-Lughod Writing Culture (Clifford and Marcus ), the collection that marked a major new form of critique of cultural anthropology's premises, more or less. Anthropology is the study of humans and human behavior and societies in the past and present.
Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies.
Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.. Archaeology, .
"we witness the intervention of a new actor by the new Constitution: inert bodies, incapable of will and bias but capable of showing, signing, writing, and scribbling on .