Tristes Tropiques

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"A magical masterpiece."—Robert Ardrey. A chronicle of the author's search for a civilization "reduced to its most basic expression."
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More by Claude Lévi-Strauss

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 31, 2012
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9781101575604
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Indigenous Studies
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In 2000, the world of anthropology was rocked by a high-profile debate over the fieldwork performed by two prominent anthropologists, Napoleon Chagnon and James V. Neel, among the Yanamamo tribe of South America. The controversy was fueled by the publication of Patrick Tierney's incendiary Darkness in El Dorado which accused Chagnon of not only misinterpreting but actually inciting some of the violence he perceived among these "fierce people". Tierney also pointed the finger at Neel as the unwitting agent of a deadly measles outbreak. Attracting a firestorm of attention, Tierney's book went straight to the heart of anthropology's most pressing questions: What are the right ways to study a tribal people? How can scientists avoid unduly influencing those among whom they live? What guidelines should govern the interactions - economic, social, medical, and sexual - between a scientist in the field and the people being studied? This volume represents anthropology's thoughtful, measured reply to the issues raised by this heated controversy. Placing the dispute within the context of ongoing debates over the ethics of biomedical research among human populations, the contributors to this volume discuss how the interaction between investigators and their subjects can most sensibly be governed. They consider the responsibility of the media in disseminating anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific views, and how scientists might best educate journalists to enable them to effectively educate others. In the wake of what was widely construed as a major scientific scandal, this landmark volume lays out in detail the principles and ground rules of anthropological and scientific fieldwork.
Transcontinental Dialogues brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous anthropologists from Mexico, Canada, and Australia who work at the intersections of Indigenous rights, advocacy, and action research. These engaged anthropologists explore how obligations manifest in differently situated alliances, how they respond to such obligations, and the consequences for anthropological practice and action.

This volume presents a set of pieces that do not take the usual political or geographic paradigms as their starting point; instead, the particular dialogues from the margins presented in this book arise from a rejection of the geographic hierarchization of knowledge in which the Global South continues to be the space for fieldwork while the Global North is the place for its systematization and theorization. Instead, contributors in Transcontinental Dialogues delve into the interactions between anthropologists and the people they work with in Canada, Australia, and Mexico. This framework allows the contributors to explore the often unintended but sometimes devastating impacts of government policies (such as land rights legislation or justice initiatives for women) on Indigenous people’s lives.

Each chapter’s author reflects critically on their own work as activist-scholars. They offer examples of the efforts and challenges that anthropologists—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—confront when producing knowledge in alliances with Indigenous peoples. Mi’kmaq land rights, pan-Maya social movements, and Aboriginal title claims in rural and urban areas are just some of the cases that provide useful ground for reflection on and critique of challenges and opportunities for scholars, policy-makers, activists, allies, and community members.

This volume is timely and innovative for using the disparate anthropological traditions of three regions to explore how the interactions between anthropologists and Indigenous peoples in supporting Indigenous activism have the potential to transform the production of knowledge within the historical colonial traditions of anthropology.
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