What does a move from a village in the West African rain forest to a West African community in a European city entail? What about a shift from a Greek sheep-herding community to working with evictees and housing activists in Rome and Bangkok? In The Restless Anthropologist, Alma Gottlieb brings together eight eminent scholars to recount the riveting personal and intellectual dynamics of uprooting one’s life—and decades of work—to embrace a new fieldsite.
Addressing questions of life-course, research methods, institutional support, professional networks, ethnographic models, and disciplinary paradigm shifts, the contributing writers of The Restless Anthropologist discuss the ways their earlier and later projects compare on both scholarly and personal levels, describing the circumstances of their choices and the motivations that have emboldened them to proceed, to become novices all over again. In doing so, they question some of the central expectations of their discipline, reimagining the space of the anthropological fieldsite at the heart of their scholarly lives.
Prof. Dominguez’s contribution to this volume is entitled “Unexpected Ties: Love, Insight, and Exhaustion.”
Essays in this volume focus on Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and the People’s Republic of China as sites rife with discursive complexity. From small to large, young to old, former colony to former colonial power, these six examples do well to represent situated voices and cultural values meted out in a larger “global” space.
“This book is fascinating, enlightening, maddening, and disturbing [but] by the end one feels that Domínguez has, in fact, gotten to the bottom of what she convincingly argues is a condition for the very possibility of Israeli society—namely, the definition of peoplehood. . . . The two key concepts with which she deals throughout are ‘culture’ and ‘ethnicity.’ She analyzes newspaper accounts for both content and rhetoric or discourse on these subjects, and in addition, examines ‘story-telling events’ dealing with the lifestyles and situations of various Jewish minority groups—especially the Orientals or Sephardim—who have been only uneasily accommodated in Israeli society in recent years. ‘Nationality’ is distinguished both from ‘religion’ and from ‘citizenship’ in official Israeli usage, and Domínguez tries to analyze what this means for Israel as a polity, and as a community of persons who, in a cultural sense, have very little in common.”—Nancie L. Gonzalez, American Anthropologist
“Domínguez conveys much insight into the perception, attitudes, and contradictions of Israeli society. She effectively explains the internal and external boundaries of Israeli peoplehood and does surprisingly well with enormously confusing issues, such as ‘who is a Jew?’ The discussion of Israeli Independence Day, Sephardic/Ashkenazic ethnicity, and vignettes of theater and storytelling are especially worthy of mention. Her evaluation of the ongoing process of creating an Israeli national identity is outstanding.”—Choice
“The best ethnography of Israeli Jews, collapsing the boundaries between tradition, culture, and nation. . . . Domínguez ambitiously focuses her fieldwork on processes that form the public discourses of national culture and that objectify and police individual and ethnic experiences through the national collectivity.”—Smadar Lavie, Middle East Journal
“An unusual and powerful study.” –Eric. R. Wolf, Herbert H. Lehman College, CUNY
“A profound study of the nebulous Creoles … Dominguez’s use of original sources … is scholarship at its best … Her study is fascinating, thought-provoking, controversial, and without a doubt, one of the most objective analyses of Creole Louisiana. Her emphasis on social stratification and her excellent integration of ethnic and racial classification of Creoles with legal and social dynamics and individual choice of ethnic identity elucidates strikingly the continuing controversy of who and what is a Louisiana Creole.” –Journal of American Ethnic History
“Dominguez’s most important contribution lies in her conceptualization of the problem of identity. She treats ethnic identity as something that can change over time, warning us against imposing current meanings on the past and requiring us to consider evidence of how terms were actually used in the past … It is hard to imagine a frame of reference more ideally suited to historical analysis.” –Louisiana History
“A valuable interdisciplinary examination of the processes of racial definition in Louisiana’s history. Her study combines the anthropologist’s sensitivity to language and self definition within a community with a skillful exploitation of historical resources.” –Law and Society
“I highly recommend this book to all persons interested in social stratification.” –Alvin L. Bertrand, Contemporary Sociology
“A provocative, often brilliant book. It offers fresh perspectives on fundamental questions and deserves a wide readership among American social historians.” –Journal of American History