Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment

Currently under contract with Duke University Press

Editor: Carole McGranahan


From the Introduction to this edited volume: "Many of the essays in this volume were part of a two-year long series on writing I edited on the group anthropology blog Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropology (now Anthrodendum) from 2014-2016. Although writing had become an open topic of concern in anthropology, I was hungry for more conversation about it. I wanted to think out loud about writing, but I mostly wanted to hear and learn from others. Knowing colleagues craved the same, I created a weekly space for anthropologists to write about writing. I invited scholars from across the subfields, the generations, and countries. Some are known for being leaders in, and even pioneers of, ethnographic writing. Others were scholars I knew who were good writers, or who I thought had something valuable to say. These were not necessarily the go-to” scholars for a conversation on writing. This volume puts together new essays with many of the original essays from the series. All are short, roughly 1,000-1,500 words, and are examples that showcase the possibilities of the new online essay genre. My instructions to the authors were simple: write something on writing. Each of the authors responded to that request in their own creative, inspired way.

The book you hold in your hands, or read on your screen, compiles these essays in one neat and untidy package. Fifty-two essays, spilling over into each other, some contained within their own narrative, others deep in conversation with what came before, and yet each offering us new thoughts, prompts, and agitations for writing. The essays are organized in ten sections: Ruminations; Writing Ideas; Telling Stories; On Responsibility; Crisis, Politics, and the Urgency of Now; Writing With, Writing Against; Academic Authors; Ethnographic Fiction and Poetry; Becoming and Belonging; and Writing and Knowing."

Contributors are: Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Jane Baxter, Ruth Behar, Adia Benton, Lauren Berlant, Robin Bernstein, Sarah Besky, Catherine Besteman, Yarimar Bonilla, Kevin Carrico, C. Anne Claus, Sienna Craig, Zoë Crossland, Lara Deeb, Kristen Drybread, Jessica Falcone, Kim Fortun, Kristen Ghodsee, Daniel Goldstein, Donna Goldstein, Sara Gonzalez, Ghassan Hage, Carla Jones, Ieva Jusionyte, Alan Kaiser, Barak Kalir, Michael Lambek, Stuart McLean, Mary Murrell, Kirin Narayan, Chelsi West Ohueri, Anand Pandian, Noel Salazar, Bhrigupati Singh, Matt Sponheimer, Kathleen Stewart, Ann Laura Stoler, Paul Stoller, Nomi Stone, Paul Tapsell, Katerina Teaiwa, Marnie Thomson, Gina Athena Ulysse, Roxanne Varzi, Uzma Rizvi, Sita Venkateswar, Maria Vesperi, Sasha Su-Ling Welland, Bianca Williams, and Jessica Winegar.