Humanities Institute

The Long Hand: Anthropology, Writing, and Inscription

Mon, October 22, 2012 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM

Dr. Kirin Narayan
Dr. Kirin Narayan

UT Department of Anthropology Presents
2012-2013 Speaker Series:
“The Long Hand: Anthropology, Writing, and Inscription”
Kirin Narayan
Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Ethnography and Imagination: Learning from Anton Chekhov”
Kirin Narayan, anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be presenting a stimulating seminar on ethnography and literature and her latest book on the ethnographic sensibilities of Russian novelist and playwright Anton Chekhov.
When ethnography enters the hands of skilled writers without stakes in anthropology, might their loosening of disciplinary conventions remind us of new possibilities in form?  Dr. Narayan turns to Anton Pavlovitch Chekhov (1860-1904), whose nonfiction account of a Russian penal colony, Sakhalin Island, draws on ethnographic methodsthree months of intensive field research and a census of almost 10,000 inhabitants.  The lively imaginative force that Chekhov brings to his more widely known short stories and plays adds unexpected dimensions to this work, too.  She describes Chekhov’s activist vision for his book, and what we might learn from his talent for extending sober descriptions of what is perceived in the present through imaginative juxtaposition with other related times, places, possibilities, and haunting absences.
Kirin Narayan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She is the author of Storytellers, Saints and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching (Pennsylvania,1989), awarded the 1990 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing from the American Anthropological Association and co-winner of the 1990 Elsie Clews Parsons Prize for Folklore from the American Folklore Society.



Sponsored by: The Department of Anthropology and The Humanities Institute

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