July 23, 1967 Riot or Rebellion? How Today’s Political Crisis Began in Detroit

Detroit has stood at the center of a growing crisis in the United States tied to racial conflict, the collapse of the middle class, and political polarization. No city, argues historian Scott Kurashige, has come to embody the decline of middle-class economic security, the entrenchment of structural unemployment, and the burden of long-term debt more than Detroit. “When you think about Detroit’s 50-year crisis, he says, “it really relates to the unresolved contradictions of 1967.”

On July 23, 1967, thousands took to the streets of Detroit to vent their long-standing frustrations with racism, police brutality, and vanishing job prospects. Mainstream observers called it a “riot,” contending that it brought about the ruin of a once-great city and stressed for repressive policing to restore law and order. As Kurashige points out in his book The Fifty-Year Rebellion, many others instead called it a “rebellion,” and advocated for social programs and investments to remedy racism and poverty:

They viewed it as an expression of black unity and a political declaration for their “fair share” of resources and power in the great city and nation… Regardless of opinion, when we look closely at the deadly violence that took place during the rebellion, one pattern stands out: the killing of African Americans by state actors.

Of the 43 who died, 33 were black and 30 were killed by law enforcement, as the streets of Detroit were covered by 17,000 Detroit cops, state police, National Guardsmen, and finally U.S. Army troops. Authorities had hoped initial outbreaks of violence would play themselves out. When they instead expanded into full-fledged rebellion, the police became the aggressors in one confrontation after another. “This is more than a riot,” said one police officer, reflecting the view of many peers. “This is war.”

In the following segment of The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, Kurashige further clarifies the difference between the two terms, and why it’s an important distinction:

 

Challenging the conventional notion that “rioters” ruined a once-thriving city, The Fifty-Year Rebellion provides striking insights into the polarization of American society over the past half-century and how the struggle in Detroit will determine what type of political and economic system will emerge from the nation’s current crisis.

With a roster of key figures and their roles — from community activists such as James and Grace Lee Boggs to wealthy and private investors like Betsy DeVos and Dan Gilbert — the book shows that in the face of devastation and dispossession, visionary Detroit activists have organized a new model of a postindustrial city through the creation of urban farms, freedom schools, solidarity economics, and self-governing communities.


See Dunkirk to Hear It: A Spoiler-Free Guide to Music and Sound in Christopher Nolan’s New War Movie

by Todd Decker, author of Hymns for the Fallen: Combat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam


Director Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, opening in theaters this weekend in the US, sounds better than any war movie ever made.

I saw Dunkirk in 70mm and digital surround sound at the earliest possible showing at my favorite suburban St. Louis multiplex. Having just published a book on war movies from Apocalypse Now to American Sniper, I was eager to see and hear this latest entry in the intermittent but persistent World War II film cycle kicked off almost two decades ago by Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line.

At just 1 hour and 47 minutes, Dunkirk is a lean and gorgeous piece of filmmaking and film scoring that deserves to be experienced without undue preparation—so no spoilers here!

Instead, I want to offer some hopefully helpful hints about how Nolan’s film fits into the sonic and musical traditions of the post-Apocalypse Now war film. I detail these traditions at length in my book in separate sections devoted to each of the three elements of the soundtrack—dialogue, sound effects, music. Below is a quick consideration of Dunkirk along the same lines.

There’s very little talking in Dunkirk. Nolan has made a “silent” war film where sound effects and music carry the soundtrack: the film’s dialogue could easily be replaced with title cards as in the pre-sync sound era.

Nolan’s historical subject lends itself to minimal dialogue: Hundreds of thousands of British soldiers await evacuation from France on the beaches of Dunkirk. The British navy and a flotilla of civilian craft—pleasure boats, mostly—set out across the English Channel to bring them safely home. German bombers and fighter planes attack the evacuation and British Spitfires fight back. It’s a land-sea-air battle with clear geometric lines that Nolan effectively tells with sound effects following long traditions of the war film (see Chapter 6 in my book).

And, indeed, the sound effects in Dunkirk are astonishing—some of the loudest, clearest, and most physical I have ever experienced. I saw the film in a just renovated cinema outfitted with “dream loungers” (padded, automatically reclining seats straight out of high-end home theatre set ups). The low sounds of bombs reverberated through my whole seat with tremendous tone and clarity. My head felt vibrations as if on a rollercoaster. As with so many war films—especially the early digital surround sound hit Saving Private RyanDunkirk in the theatre uses sound to put the viewer’s body into motion, striving to elicit felt sonic identification with the soldiers in the story.

Dunkirk’s score is by composer Hans Zimmer, who also composed original music for The Thin Red Line and Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. All three of these films feature what I call almost continuous scores. Indeed, I can’t recall a single moment of Dunkirk when the soundtrack mix didn’t contain something categorizable as music. Zimmer’s score provides crucial support to Nolan’s “silent” film approach to storytelling.

And the music does something else, too. Without giving anything away, suffice it to say that, as in his earlier films Memento, Inception, and Interstellar, Nolan is again exploring issues of time and narrative shape. Zimmer’s score for Dunkirk plays a crucial role pacing the action and instantly shifting the film’s momentum with a huge array of beat-driven textures (such as the below teaser track released on Youtube).

 

Zimmer offers only one melody in Dunkirk and it’s borrowed. To prepare yourself for the film’s most self-consciously emotional moments—best experienced in a theatre full of British nationals (who’ll likely be crying to more than just the music itself)—listen to Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations below.

 

Among many YouTube’s of “Nimrod,” I chose a version featuring the Staatskapelle Berlin at the BBC Proms, a site of nationalistic celebration in the UK. A German orchestra playing this British orchestral staple feels to me like a needed, tiny correction to Nolan’s film, which begins (like countless war films) with an informative title that euphemistically and problematically reads, “The enemy have driven the British and French forces to the beach.”

I hope you enjoy Dunkirk as much as I did.


Todd Decker is Professor of Music at Washington University in St. Louis. The author of four books on American commercial music and media, he has lectured at the Library of Congress, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and LabEx Arts-H2H in Paris.

 


O.J. Simpson and the Verdicts in 1995

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of 1995: The Year the Future Began

O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing in Nevada today may have been much-anticipated and widely watched. But it was no “flashbulb moment,” not an occasion so rare and powerful that it will be remembered for years by many thousands of people.

Indeed the hearing’s outcome — Simpson won parole — was more expected than memorable, and more subdued than dramatic.

It was only faintly reminiscent of the “flashbulb moment” on October 3, 1995, when verdicts were read at the close of Simpson’s double-murder trial in Los Angeles.

On that occasion, as I discussed in my 2015 book, 1995: The Year the Future Began, the United States stood still in a rare moment of nationwide anticipation.

Simpson that day in 1995 was acquitted of the vicious slashing deaths of his former wife, Nicole, and of her friend, Ronald Goldman, and Americans by the millions stopped what they were doing to follow the reading of the verdicts on television and radio.

Simpson’s parole hearing today was televised live and streamed online. While it allowed the country an up-close look at Simpson after his nearly nine years behind bars, it was not a moment fated to be long remembered or often recalled.

Simpson, now 70, is stooped and slow afoot. But he is still voluble and self-absorbed. He went before the parole board seeking release from a prison term for armed robbery, kidnaping, and other offenses stemming from an encounter in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007. Simpson essentially had a small posse to retrieve memorabilia he said had been stolen from him.

For those crimes, he was sentenced to 9 to 33 years in prison. The outcome of today’s hearing means he will be released as soon as October 1.

Simpson often apologized during the hearing for participating in the Las Vegas robbery, saying he wished it had never happened.

He also he revealed flashes of ego and self-absorption that characterized his high-flying celebrity lifestyle before 1995. He told parole board members he was “a good guy” and insisted, without smirking, “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know?”

He blamed other participants for the encounter in Las Vegas having spun out of control. He was unaware, he said, that handguns had been drawn.

But he made no reference to the killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman; their deaths were not germane to today’s hearing.

But a question that was relevant in 1995 lingers after today’s hearing. It’s a question sure to arise again when Simpson is set free from Lovelock Correctional Center in northwest Nevada. The question is:

What accounts for the seemingly endless media and popular-culture fascination with O.J. Simpson?

Some of the Simpson-fixation can be connected to the nostalgia that embraces the 1990s these days. CNN, for example, has begun a seven-part documentary series that revisits the decade. Simpson’s trial in 1995 has to rank among the top 10 events of the decade, at least in America.

It was, after all, commonly referred to as the “Trial of the Century.” While it wasn’t as consequential as the rise of the Internet, the fall of the Soviet Union, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, or the genocide in Rwanda, it was one of the decade’s “flashbulb moments.”

Simpson-fascination also can be attributed to perverse interest in how he won acquittal in 1995 despite the considerable evidence — notably, forensic DNA evidence — that was arrayed against him.

In the face of that evidence, and of the intense pressures he faced, Simpson kept his composure during the months-long trial. He didn’t testify, as he said he would. But his lawyers found ways for Simpson to declare, in the courtroom, that he was innocent.

Polls said most Americans didn’t buy it. But interest endures as to how he beat the rap.

A broader explanation for the continuing fascination lies in Simpson’s stunning fall from grace — from rich and admired celebrity to convicted felon who has spent years of his dotage behind bars. Simpson once seemed to have it all: He was a professional football star who made it to the sport’s Hall of Fame. He was a TV sports commentator, a movie actor, a pitchman. He was well-liked, even esteemed. And all that, he lost. How could he have allowed that to happen?

And then there’s race: The verdicts in 1995 exposed fault lines in how white and black Americans regard and respond to the U.S. criminal justice system. The “flashbulb moment” at the close of the trial was marked by what I described in 1995 as “stark and contrasting reactions”: Many African Americans cheered Simpson’s acquittal while many whites were shocked and dismayed.

The disparate reactions, I noted, “prompted much anguished commentary that America’s racial divide was more profound than had been understood.”

The outcome of today’s hearing precipitated no such clash of reactions.


W. Joseph Campbell is the author of 1995: The Year the Future Began and Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism.


Listening for the Secret and the Summer of Love at the California Historical Society

On July 18th at 12 PM, meet author Ulf Olsson and series editor Nicholas Meriwether in San Francisco at the California Historical Society for a lunchtime conversation on Listening for the Secret: The Grateful Dead and the Politics of Improvisation, available now.

Listening for the Secret, the first volume in the new Studies in the Grateful Dead series, is a critical assessment of the Grateful Dead and the distinct culture that grew out of the group’s music, politics, and performance. Olsson places the music group within discourses of the political, specifically the band’s capacity to create a unique social environment, and examines the wider significance and impact of its politics of improvisation.

Studies in the Grateful Dead presents original monographs and edited anthologies by experts representing a range of disciplinary perspectives and fields that highlight the complexity, power, and enduring appeal of this protean, compelling musical and cultural phenomenon.

For more about Listening for the Secret and this upcoming event, see the author and editor’s article introducing the book on the Summer of Love 50th Anniversary website.

Additionally, learn more about the enduring culture and legacy of the Summer of Love by visiting On the Road to the Summer of Love at the California Historical Society (May 12, 2017 – September 10, 2017), as well as The Summer of Love Experience at the de Young Museum (April 8, 2017 – August 20, 2017).

Save 30% on The Summer of Love Experience catalogue, Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Rolland other great books on this moment in Bay Area history by checking out our Summer of Love required reading list and using the discount code 17W3224 on the UC Press website.


Richard Taruskin Wins 2017 Kyoto Prize

UC Berkeley Department of Music Professor Emeritus Richard Taruskin has been awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize. A notable honor, the Kyoto Prize has long been regarded by many as the most significant award available in fields that are traditionally not honored with a Nobel Prize.

   

Bestowed annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation, the Prize is presented in three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and the Arts and Philosophy. Taruskin joins prominent scholars to win the award including Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, Witold Lutoslawski, and fellow UC Berkeley faculty member Richard Karp.

“The quality and volume of his work reveal that in music, creativity can be found not only in composition and performance, but also in meticulous discourse contextualizing the art.”—Inamori Foundation

A world-renowned musicologist, music historian, and critic Taruskin came to UC Berkeley Music in 1986. Previously he served numerous roles at Columbia University where he earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. While at Columbia he worked as choral conductor and played viola da gamba with the well-known Aulos Ensemble.

UC Press is proud to be the publisher of many of Richard’s books, including the recently-released Russian Music at Home and Abroad. We warmly congratulate him on this significant recognition for his work.


This Year’s One City One Book Selection Is Black against Empire

UC Press is proud to announce that San Francisco’s 13th Annual One City One Book selection is Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.

Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party.

Bloom and Martin analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the party at its peak of influence.

Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, the book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.” — One City One Book Selection Committee

Black against Empire will be featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city — pick up your copy for some summer reading and get ready for the One City One Book program extravaganza this fall! Join book discussions, view themed exhibits, attend author talks and participate in many other citywide events in September and October. Head to the San Francisco Public Library‘s site for more details, and stay tuned for the One City One Book Exhibits and Events Guide.


Recommended Reading for Independence Day

Together with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution is one of America’s most important documents, vital to our political life. While the Declaration, signed 241 years ago today, listed grievances against the king of England and warned of a destructive government, the Constitution was and is the fundamental framework for the United States. Since today is a celebration of our freedom, we draw inspiration from the First Amendment, the most important for maintaining a democratic government.

This selection includes titles that address aspects of these First Amendment protections — as well as the fallout when these freedoms are threatened.

Freedom of Religion

The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11 Edited by Sylvester A. Johnson & Steven Weitzman

As early as 1917, the FBI began to target religious communities and groups it believed were hotbeds of anti-American politics. Whether these religious communities were pacifist groups that opposed American wars, or religious groups that advocated for white supremacy or direct conflict with the FBI, the Bureau has infiltrated and surveilled religious communities that run the gamut of American religious life. This book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.

Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy across the Political Divide by Ruth Braunstein

In the wake of the Great Recession and amid rising discontent with government responsiveness to ordinary citizens, Prophets and Patriots follows participants in two very different groups—a progressive faith-based community organization and a conservative Tea Party group—as they set out to become active and informed citizens, put their faith into action, and hold government accountable. Both groups viewed themselves as the latest in a long line of prophetic voices and patriotic heroes who were carrying forward the promise of the American democratic project. Yet the ways in which each group put this common vision into practice reflected very different understandings of American democracy and citizenship.

Freedom of Speech and the Press

When Government Speaks: Politics, Law, and Government Expression in America by Mark G. Yudof

Government’s ever-increasing participation in communication processes, Mark Yudof argues, threatens key democratic values that the First Amendment was designed to protect. Government control over the exchange of ideas and information would be inconsistent with citizen autonomy, informed consent, and a balanced and mutually responsive relationship between citizens and their government. Yet the danger of government dominance must be weighed against the necessary role of government in furthering democratic values by disseminating information and educating citizens. Professor Yudof identifies a number of formal and informal checks on government as disseminator, withholder, and controller of ideas and information.

American Carnival: Journalism under Siege in an Age of New Media by Neil Henry

In this vividly written, compelling narrative, award-winning journalist Neil Henry confronts the crisis facing professional journalism in this era of rapid technological transformation. Drawing on significant currents in U.S. media and social history, Henry argues that, given the amount of fraud in many institutions in American life today, the decline of journalistic professionalism sparked by the economic challenge of New Media poses especially serious implications for democracy. As increasingly alarming stories surface about unethical practices, American Carnival makes a stirring case for journalism as a calling that is vital to a free society, a profession that is more necessary than ever in a digital age marked by startling assaults on the cultural primacy of truth.

Right to Assemble and Petition the Government

The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs & Scott Kurashige

A vibrant, inspirational force, the late-great Grace Lee Boggs participated in all of the twentieth century’s major social movements — for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and more. In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Boggs shrewdly assesses the political, economical, and environmental crisis right up to 2015, drawing from seven decades of activist experience and a rigorous commitment to critical thinking, to redefine “revolution” for our times. In a world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption, this book is a manifesto for creating alternative modes of work, politics, and human interaction.

The Activist’s Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century by Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw’s hard-hitting guide to winning social change details how activists can best use the Internet and social media, and analyzes the strategic strengths and weaknesses of rising 21st century movements for immigrant rights, marriage equality, and against climate change. Whether it’s by inspiring “fear and loathing” in politicians, building diverse coalitions, using ballot initiatives, or harnessing the media, the courts, and the electoral process towards social change, Shaw—a longtime activist for urban issues—shows that with a plan, positive change can be achieved. The Activist’s Handbook is an indispensable guide not only for activists, but for anyone interested in the future of progressive politics in America.


A Deepening Political Divide

By Ruth Braunstein, author of Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy across the Political Divide

The ascendance of Donald Trump to the presidency, and the groundswell of resistance that followed, revealed a rift in the American populace. Some have been shocked by the depth, rancor and seeming intractability of this divide. The election of President Obama (twice) was widely viewed as a sign of national healing. Through this lens, Obama’s hopeful words of solidarity and progress had been a balm on the wounds left by centuries of racial strife, religious disagreement, and ideological antagonism. Trump’s election tore those wounds open anew.

But the apparent disjuncture between Obama’s and Trump’s victories can be reconciled by recalling that America’s history has not been a steady march of progress; rather, it has been marked by a pattern of advances and retrenchment. The age of Lincoln was also the age of the Know-Nothings; FDR provoked a backlash from groups ranging from conservative business and religious leaders to the Klan; and Kennedy’s moment was also Wallace’s. If Obama’s election represented an expansion of the symbolic boundaries of American belonging, then Trump’s rise marked the relatively predictable return of reactionary politics to the national stage.

Yet we should not forget that the country was also deeply divided during the Obama era. The divisions of those years may appear quaint compared to those that have revealed themselves since Trump’s election. But they laid the groundwork for the situation in which we find ourselves today. I spent several years on the front lines of that political divide during the Obama years. In the wake of the Great Recession and amid growing discontent with government responsiveness to ordinary citizens, I began conducting ethnographic fieldwork with a progressive faith-based community organizing coalition and a local Tea Party group.

While attending their rallies, protests, public actions, meetings with legislators, town halls, hearings, and internal meetings, I documented the ways in which members of the two groups told very different stories about America’s past, present and future. The Tea Partiers were nostalgic about the past and worried that the country’s turn away from its Judeo-Christian heritage and Constitutional principles foretold apocalyptic decline. Meanwhile, the progressive community organizers were critical of the country’s past (and ongoing) failings, but cautiously optimistic about its capacity to become a “more perfect union” that lived up to its founding ideals. The stark differences between the two groups’ visions of America mirrored differences found among the broader public, as described in an American Values Survey in 2015, when asked when America was greatest, and during discussions about American identity).

These were not merely stories that members of the two groups told; they were scaffolding for the interpretive worlds in which they embedded themselves, and from within which they evaluated the credibility of authorities and information, the appropriateness of different styles of action, and the democratic legitimacy of other grassroots groups.

As we reflect on the current crisis in which Trump’s supporters and resistors cannot agree even on a set of shared facts, view one another as stupid and un-American, and appear to live within entirely different realities, these two groups’ experiences offer insight into how we reached this moment.

Complicating matters, however, I found that members of these groups did not tell entirely different stories of America; they told different versions of the same story.

Members of both groups embedded themselves in a historical narrative in which active citizens have repeatedly played a pivotal role in saving the American democratic project from ruin. Whether they framed the protagonists in this narrative as prophets or patriots (and yes, these differences were significant), they agreed it was ordinary citizens’ sacred duty to hold elites accountable and to project their voices, values, and knowledge into public debates about the issues that impacted their lives.

In this way, members of both groups embedded their action within a populist story: in which ordinary citizens are heroes and out-of-touch elites are villains; in which grassroots power is virtuous and elite control (of any kind) is suspect. The grassroots populism I found among these progressive community organizers and conservative Tea Partiers was a far cry from the authoritarian populism that is currently on display among Trump’s “forgotten men and women,” who turn out for worshipful rallies while doing nothing to hold the president accountable for his promises to represent their interests.

By keeping these Obama-era movements in view, it becomes clear that the political divide we are witnessing today is not new, nor is Americans’ turn toward populist politics. Yet the divide appears to have deepened, while the populism has become shallower.

The questions we might now ask are how a commitment to grassroots populism that transcended deep political divides gave way to the authoritarian populism we see today (particularly on the political right), and whether there is a path forward to a shared vision of America that calls upon ordinary citizens across the political divide to play an active role in building a common life.


Ruth Braunstein is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut.


A Yosemite National Park Reading List

On this day in 1864 President Lincoln signed a law leading to the protection of what we know today as Yosemite National Park. Dive deeper into the history of this iconic landscape with these books.

Yosemite: Art of an American Icon edited by Amy Scott

This lavishly illustrated volume offers a stunning new view of Yosemite’s visual history by presenting two hundred works of art together with provocative essays that explore the rich intersections between art and nature in this incomparable Sierra Nevada wilderness. Integrating the work of Native peoples, it provides the first inclusive view of the artists who helped create an icon of the American wilderness by featuring painting, photography, basketry, and other artworks from both well-known and little-studied artists from the nineteenth century to the present.

 

Glaciers of California: Modern Glaciers, Ice Age Glaciers, the Origen of Yosemite Valley, and a Glacier Tour in the Sierra Nevada by Bill Guyton

Bill Guyton summarizes the history of the discovery of Ice Age glaciation and modern-day glaciers in California, as well as the development of modern ideas about the state’s glacial history. He describes the controversy about the origin of Yosemite Valley and quotes from the colorful accounts of early mountain explorers such as John Muir, Josiah Whitney, and François Matthes.

 

Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Hidden Wars of the American West by Rebecca Solnit

In this foundational book of landscape theory and environmental thinking, Rebecca Solnit explores our national Eden and Armageddon and offers a pathbreaking history of the west, focusing on the relationship between culture and its implementation as politics. In a new preface, she considers the continuities and changes of these invisible wars in the context of our current climate change crisis, and reveals how the long arm of these histories continue to inspire her writing and hope.

The Mountains That Remade America: How Sierra Nevada Geology Impacts Modern Life by Craig H. Jones

This book combines geology with history to show how the particular forces and conditions that created the Sierra Nevada have effected broad outcomes and influenced daily life in the United States in the past and how they continue to do so today. Drawing connections between events in historical geology and contemporary society, Craig H. Jones makes geological science accessible and shows the vast impact this mountain range has had on the American West.

 

Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks by William C. Tweed

Tweed, who worked among the Sierra Nevada’s big peaks and big trees for more than thirty years, has now hiked more than 200 miles along California’s John Muir Trail in a personal search for answers: How do we address the climate change we are seeing even now—in melting glaciers in Glacier National Park, changing rainy seasons on Mt Rainer, and more fire in the West’s iconic parks. Should we intervene where we can to preserve biodiversity? Should the parks merely become ecosystem museums that exhibit famous landscapes and species? Asking how we can make these magnificent parks relevant for the next generation, Tweed, through his journey, ultimately shows why we must do just that.


Tools of the Trade: Anthropologists

As part of our “Tools of the Trade” blog series, we’re highlighting resources for social science scholars and educators to aid in your research, writing, and prep work this summer. Look no further for a refresher of methods that you can use in your own work or share with your students.

Enrich Your Ethnographic Research

Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition by Paul Rabinow

In this landmark study, Paul Rabinow takes as his focus the fieldwork that anthropologists do. How valid is the process? To what extent do the cultural data become artifacts of the interaction between anthropologist and informants? Having first published a more standard ethnographic study about Morocco, Rabinow here describes a series of encounters with his informants in that study, from a French innkeeper clinging to the vestiges of a colonial past, to the rural descendants of a seventeenth-century saint.

 

How Forests Think: Toward and Anthropology of Being Human by Eduardo Kohn

Can forests think? Do dogs dream? In this astonishing book, Eduardo Kohn challenges the very foundations of anthropology, calling into question our central assumptions about what it means to be human—and thus distinct from all other life forms. Avoiding reductionistic solutions, and without losing sight of how our lives and those of others are caught up in the moral webs we humans spin, this book skillfully fashions new kinds of conceptual tools from the strange and unexpected properties of the living world itself.

 

The Extended Case Method: Four Countries, Four Centuries, Four Great Transformations, and One Theoretical Tradition by Michael Burawoy

In this remarkable collection of essays, Michael Burawoy develops the extended case method by connecting his own experiences among workers of the world to the great transformations of the twentieth century—the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and its satellites, the reconstruction of U.S. capitalism, and the African transition to post-colonialism in Zambia. These essays, presented with a perspective that has benefited from time and rich experience, offer ethnographers a theory and a method for developing novel understandings of epochal change.

 

Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and the Making of the Truth edited by John Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi

Challenges to ethnographic authority and to the ethics of representation have led many contemporary anthropologists to abandon fieldwork in favor of strategies of theoretical puppeteering, textual analysis, and surrogate ethnography. In Being ThereJohn Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi argue that ethnographies based on these strategies elide important insights.