review of Geertz

Joseph M. O'Neal (josephon@ADMIN.STEDWARDS.EDU)
Tue, 9 May 1995 15:01:42 CDT

The May 7 New York Times book review section contains a review of
Clifford Geertz'es _After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, and
One Anthropologist_, by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who wrote the wonderful
_Death Without Weeping_.

It is not good publicity. The headline and subheadline (which I asume
Scheper-Hughes did not write) are "The End of Anthropology", "Clifford
Geertz reflects on a much reduced science." The piece is less a review
of the book than a discourse on the state of cultural anthropology.
Sheper-Hughes recounts the crisis in ethnographic authority, noting that
"anthropology has ended up a bit of an oddball science operating in an
empty space after the facts . . ." She also writes, "What is an
anthropologist to do when . . . [he] finds that the ground has shifted
under his feet?"

I do not want to quote further because of copyright considerations.
Please read the review yourself rather than relying on my abstracts. But
after you have read it, I would like to hear what the anthro-listers
think of the review. Without reading the book by Geertz, which I plan to
do at my first opportunity, I don't think anyone can judge whether the
review of the book is fair and informative. I am more interested in
others' take on the fairness of Sheper-Hughes' characterization of the field.

Joseph M. O'Neal 512-448-8745
St. Edward's University FAX: 512-448-8767
Austin, TX 78704
"I felt that I was, in Dr. Johnson's words, assailing an unresisting
imbecility." Robertson Davies