Re: Mutilation as a legitimate object of inquiry

Adrienne Dearmas (DearmasA@AOL.COM)
Tue, 16 Jul 1996 12:04:48 -0400

In a message dated 96-07-15 16:20:29 EDT, swyersh@INTERPORT.NET (Holly
Swyers) writes:

> How instructional are the responses of our peers when we turn the
> ethnographic lens on our own culture?
> Can we turn the ethnographic lens on our own culture and present it in a
> meaningful way that will help us arrive at the components of "the human
> condition"?
> If we cannot, are we justified in saying we can do the same with the
One of the things I find interesting is the "Other"'s view of their own
practices and their view on ours. By other, we can mean Nedra's squatters in
New Orleans, or Maoris used in the film, The Piano. One example I've come
across: A graduate student from Northern Africa who herself was infibulated
was discussing with her grandmother (also infibulated) the practice of breast
augmentation. The grandmother refused to believe that Western women "stuff"
their breasts b/c breasts have a purpose (I suppose, unlike the labia majora
et al) in that they feed babies.

- Adrienne