Practical judgment can be developed from a wide variety of life experiences upon one condition: the experiences in question are made meaningful through stories. By placing lived experience in narrative form one gains a flexible guide for action. Calculative analysis may usefully supplement, but cannot supplant, narrative knowledge for the decision-maker grappling with the ‘wicked problems’ of social and political life. There is no obvious, or perhaps even feasible, way to determine what constitutes the kind of story that will improve practical judgment and allow for better decisions. It is less the content of stories that requires attention than the process of narrative inquiry, interaction and understanding.
Leslie Paul Thiele and Marshall Young
The Discourse of “Discovery” in Early English Writings on India
Pramod K. Nayar
This article unravels a discourse of discovery in early English writings on India, suggesting that this discourse works through three stages. The first stage constructs a fantasy of discovery about India even before the Englishman's arrival in the country. This demanded a representation of Indian wonders and the wondrous geographical-physical expansion of England into the distant reaches of the known world. In the second stage a narrative organization of the "discoveries" of Indian wealth and variety was achieved through the deployment of three dominant rhetorical modes—visuality, wonder, and danger. In the final stage the Englishman meticulously documented but also sought to explain the discoveries in the narrative form of the "inquiry." The "inquiry" shifted the discourse from that of India as a wondrous space to India as knowable and therefore manageable one. The sense of wonder modulates into a more organized negotiation, as a quest for specific information and as means of providing this information.
Civil War Executions and the Harvard Irish Study
This article traces ideological constructions of communication that enable powerful actors to determine what counts as silences, lies and surpluses in efficacious narratives about violence (Briggs 2007) in order to elucidate occlusions regarding legacies of the Civil War in the Irish Free State. It does so through a precise triangulation of multiple competing and overlapping narratives from unpublished fieldnotes, interviews, published ethnographies and other first-person accounts. The inquiry highlights social memories of the Irish Civil War that have been 'assumed, distorted, misunderstood, manipulated, underestimated, but most of all, ignored' (Dolan 2003: 2). The article argues that the excesses of the anthropological archive make the recuperation of a multiplicity of collective memories possible through a linguistic anthropological perspective that enumerates the kind of erasures at play in contentious memory-making moments, highlights polyvocality in metapragmatic discourse and tracks the gaps in entextualisation processes of historical narratives about political turmoil.
Amid the current crisis in the humanities and the human sciences, researchers should take up the challenge of writing more effectively. Rather than clinging to forms inherited from the nineteenth century, they should invent new ways to captivate readers, while also providing better demonstrations of their research. Defining problems, drawing on a multitude of sources, carrying out investigations, taking journeys in time and space: these methods of inquiry are as much literary opportunities as cognitive tools. They invite experimentation in writing across disciplines, trying out different lines of reasoning, shuttling back and forth between past and present, describing the process of discovery, and using the narrative “I.” We can address the public creatively, decompartmentalize disciplines, and encourage encounters between history and literature, sociology and cinema, anthropology and graphic novels—all without compromising intellectual rigor. Now more than ever, the human sciences need to assert their place in the polis.
Horror, Vampires, and the Maternal in Late Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fiction
The most intricate element shared by both psychoanalysis and gothic narratives is their preoccupation with the past and its complex impact on the genesis and state of the present. This is the case from a historical and cultural perspective as well as from the point of view of subjectivity and identity. Who are we, how do we relate to the world around us, and what threatens our sense of ‘being present/in the present’ – these questions are at the centre of any psychoanalytic inquiry and simultaneously seem to inform what could be referred to as a gothic narrative structure. The concept of haunting, the hidden spectre in the past/of the past ready to strike when we least expect it are intrinsic to both the psychoanalytic discourse per se and any tale of horror and terror where an unsuspecting hero (or more often a heroine) has to develop strategies to fight off the unspeakable monstrosities attacking him or her. Thus, what Victor Sage and Allan Lloyd Smith regard as particular to the Gothic: ‘it is a language, often an anti-historicising language, which provides writers with the critical means of transferring an idea of the otherness of the past into the present’ could also be defined as a specific element of any psychoanalytic discourse.
Girls, Dolls and DIY
April Renée Mandrona
This article examines the connection between two discrete areas of inquiry—the study of dolls as it relates to the identity of young girls, and the contemporary DIY (do-it-yourself) craft movement. I identify how the activity of DIY doll-making might be useful for thinking about what it means to be a girl in relation to its offering a departure from the hyper-commercialized, ready-made dolls of the twenty-first century. The commercial doll has existed alongside its counterpart, the homemade doll, since the beginning of industrialization. In different ways both forms of the doll have played a significant role in the lives of young girls and they continue to shape both collective and individual identities associated with what we think of as being a girl. Tracing the act of doll-making and the residual influence of craft movements in my own childhood, I explore this notion of dynamic identity formation: I examine doll-making as a medium for artistic creation and narrative development with the potential to transform girlhood identities.
The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) joins a long history of critique, challenge and transformation of higher education. EUI courses are an important site for the creation of non-traditional narratives in which students challenge 'business-as-usual' in higher education. For under-represented students, this includes inquiry and analysis of the racial status quo at the University. In this article, I provide a student's perspective on EUI through my own experiences with EUI research as both an undergraduate and later graduate student investigating race and racism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). Using ethnographic methods and drawing on critical race theory, I provide two examples of EUI research that critiqued the University's management of race. The first example is a collaborative ethnography of the Brown versus Board of Education Commemoration at U of I – a project that I joined as an undergraduate (Abelmann et al. 2007); and the second is my own dissertation on 'racial risk management', a project that emerged from my encounter with EUI. I discuss both projects as examples of Critical Race Ethnography, namely works based on empirical research that challenge institutions' racial composition, structure and climate.
A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers
Travis Warren Cooper
narratives, anthropologists depend upon missionaries not only for their livelihood, sustenance, and perhaps even basic survival in the field, but also as sources of crucial information and insight into indigenous cultures and languages. One example of such a
Linda Woodhead, James T. Richardson, Martyn Percy, Catherine Wessinger and Eileen Barker
not only invaluable new data and lines of inquiry but also inspiring ideas and interpretations—for there are many good social scientists besides those who wear that nomenclature as a professional badge and are paid to do the work. 3 In this situation
The Practice of’sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda
is intended to be, it is hardly a private matter. It is worth noting that, by the same token, participants may comment upon any other ritual they take part in during their attendance at the Temple. If in the latter cases narratives on ritual