In this collection of new reflections on the sexual politics, racial history, and moral predicaments of anthropology, feminist scholars explore a wide range of visions of identity and difference. How are feminists redefining the poetics and politics of ethnography? What are the contradictions of women studying women? How have gender, race, class, and nationality been scripted into the canon?
Through autobiography, fiction, historical analysis, experimental essays, and criticism, the contributors offer exciting responses to these questions. Several pieces reinvestigate the work of key women anthropologists like Elsie Clews Parsons, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Benedict, while others reevaluate the writings of women of color like Zora Neale Hurston, Ella Deloria, and Alice Walker. Some selections explore how sexual politics help to determine what gets written and what is valued in the anthropological canon. Other pieces explore new forms of feminist ethnography that 'write culture' experimentally, thereby challenging prevailing, male-biased anthropological models.
Janet L. Finn
Deborah A. Gordon
Faye V. Harrison
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
Ruth Behar is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the author of Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story (1993). Deborah Gordon is Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Wichita State University.
"A rich collection that I will use in teaching graduates and undergraduates about the weave of ethnography, narrative, the women's movement, and feminism. Crafted by an impressive range of scholars, the essays are empirically rich and theoretically cogent. But most important, they engage the complexities of multicultural, feminist, and multinational ethnographies and the stories that matter to politics, scholarship, and lives. With an ear for the tones of race and gender, this book answers the political, generic, and theoretical challenge of Writing Culture with layered essays that rewrite an important range of cultural conversations."—Donna Haraway, author of Professor, History of Consciousness Board, UCSC
"Since the advent of the 'post-modern' in ethnography, we have been much in need of a marvelous volume such as this, placing 'woman' at the center of the debate. Women Writing Culture will prove as stimulating for our time as its great predecessor, Women, Culture and Society was for the 1970s."—Jose E. Limon, University of Texas
"A groundbreaking book—provocative, illuminating, imaginative—and it is a pleasure to read. A trenchant yet always generous feminist critique of the masculinist bias in the theoretical canon of anthropological texts, it expansively and imaginatively maps the future directions of a feminist anthropology. In moving and courageous acts of reconstruction, the writers in this volume boldly cross disciplinary and generic lines, reading fiction as anthropology, writing theater as ethnography, getting personal, radically reconceiving the relationship of self and other and, thereby, the field itself. Feminist scholars of all disciplines will find here enabling textual and conceptual strategies as well as memorable voices and powerful stories."—Marianne Hirsch, Dartmouth College, author of The Mother-Daughter Plot