Field Notes and Reading Notes

Studying with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett in the 1990s

in Museum Worlds
View More View Less
  • 1 Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) nelia.dias@iscte-iul.pt
Restricted access

Abstract

In this article, I reflect on the experience of attending Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's class Performance Studies Issues and Methods at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the 1990s. Recalling the classes and field trips to events and sites in New York City, and the emphasis that she placed on reading texts and taking field notes, I consider the lessons I learned for performance studies, anthropology, and museums, and also for teaching, research, and scholarship in general. Why did this practice of taking notes from the field, from books in particular, and the note-taking practice in general, play such a central role in Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's teaching? The steady and consistent focus both on theory and on the observation of social practices was a means of opening up new spaces for theoretical analysis or for a “performed theory,” to use Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's term.

Contributor Notes

NÉLIA DIAS is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) and a researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA). Her research engages the history of anthropology, ethnographic and physical anthropology collections, and French colonialism. She is the author of Le Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro (1878–1908): Anthropologie et Muséologie en France (CNRS, 1991), La Mesure des Sens: Les Anthropologues et le Corps Humain au XIXe Siècle (Aubier, 2004), and she is the coeditor of the volume Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture (Routledge, 2015). Dias was one of the authors of Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology, Museums, and Liberal Government (Duke University Press, 2017). Email: nelia.dias@iscte-iul.pt

Museum Worlds

Advances in Research

  • American Folklife Center. 2019. “An Oral History with Folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.” Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 16 January. YouTube, 1:10:45. www.loc.gov/item/webcast-8688/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Daston, Lorraine. 2004. “Taking Note(s).” Isis 95 (3): 443448. doi:10.1086/428963.

  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1977. Fabric of Jewish Life: Textiles from the Jewish Museum Collection. New York: The Jewish Museum.

  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1983. “The Future of Folklore Studies in America: The Urban Frontier.” Folklore Forum 16 (2): 175234. http://hdl.handle.net/2022/1916.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1997. “Afterlives.” Performance Research 2 (2): 19. doi:10.1080/13528165.1997.10871545.

  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1999. “Playing to the Senses: Food as a Performance Medium.” Performance Research 4 (1): 130. doi:10.1080/13528165.1999.10871639.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara, and Fiona Buckland. 1997. “Performance Studies Issues and Methods Course Outline.” New York: Department of Performance Studies, New York University. https://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/issues97.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanjek, Roger. 1990. “A Vocabulary for Fieldnotes.” In Fieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology, ed. Roger Sanjek, 92121. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schechner, Richard. 1998. “What Is Performance Studies Anyway?” In The Ends of Performance, ed. Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane, 357362. New York: New York University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Diana. 2001. “Interview with Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimlett.” In What Is Performance Studies? ed. Diana Taylor and Marcos Steuernagel. Online. Scalar. http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/wips/barbara-kirshenblatt-gimblett-what-is-performance-studies-2001-.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 75 68 7
Full Text Views 36 26 0
PDF Downloads 66 51 0