Re: Distinguishing ethnographers from ethnographies

C. Taylor (cmtaylor@BLUE.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU)
Thu, 9 Mar 1995 18:00:36 -0600

Your reply to the query on whether it is important to have the
ethnographer's own "story" within the pages of the ethnography was
excellent. I am of the opinion that self reflexivity is vital to the life
of good ethnography. When we read older monographs (i.e. Malinowski or
Evans-Pritchard), we do not have the advantage of knowing how the
ethnographer's very presence and personal experience shaped the writing
of the works. I read Behar's book, Translated Woman, with relish. And I
believe that she did an excellent job, for the most part. However, I and
my classmates (Feminist Ethnographies Spring 94) were of the opinion that
Behar strayed a bit too far over the edge of reflexivity into the purely
autobiographical. This is a fine line at best and one nearly impossible
to define. We all must learn from groundbreakers like Behar and press on
with the work at hand.

Chris Taylor /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ Program of Feminist Anthropology
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ University of Iowa