Anthropological Theory

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1. All the readings for week 6 examine women whose work stood outside the male canon of anthropology. Carefully examine how each of these readings poses a challenge to assertions that women’s writing was atheoretical, subjective, and non-experimental. You will want to suggest whether their work was theoretical or not, how they addressed positivist-oriented ethnographic authority, and to what degree they may have provided experimental works, considering strategies such as blurred genres, multivocality, and the politics of representation.

2. Elsie Clews Parsons, Ella Deloria, and Zora Neale Hurston are representative of women who, although all trained in Boasian anthropology, in different ways challenged the anthropological canon. Analyze their respective positions in terms of class, race, gender, and ethnicity and how their respective subaltern positions were instrumental in challenging ethnographic authority. Include in your discussion Visweswaran’s assertion that “Analysis of positioning is key to understanding how feminist ethnographers theorize.” You will also want to examine differences among them in regard to their inside/outsider locations among those they studied.

3. Testimonial literature also stands outside the anthropological canon. Some acclaim Testimonio for giving discursive voice to marginalized and oppressed peoples. Others challenge its authenticity. The Rigoberta Menchu – David Stoll controversy illustrates this struggle for interpretive power.
A) Analyze this controversy in the context of the “Culture Wars” described by Pratt and explain, how it may or may not reflect resistance to the decolonization of knowledge in anthropology.

B) Based on Saporta’s essay, that views testimonio’s “remembering the dead” as restitutive and Jones’ “Un-writing the ‘Authentic’ Subaltern,” Develop an argument, explaining how you would respond to the challenge that testimonio establishes a master/puppet relation that commodifies the “authentic subaltern” as an object of seduction

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