University of Nebraska Press | 2007 | ISBN: 0803259921 | 472 pages
What happens when anthropologists lose themselves during fieldwork while attempting to understand divergent cultures? When they stray from rigorous agendas and are forced to confront radically unexpected or unexplained experiences? In Extraordinary Anthropology leading ethnographers from across the globe discuss the importance of the deeply personal and emotionally volatile ecstatic side of fieldwork. Anthropologists who have worked in communities in Central America, North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia share their intimate experiences of tranformations in the field through details of significant dreams, haunting visions, and their own conflicting emotional tensions. Their experiences demonstrate the necessary fluidity of research agendas, the value of going beyond an accepted (and safe) cultural and academic vantage point, and the inevitability of wrestling with tension and unhappiness when faced with irreconcilable cultural and psychological dichotomies. The contributors explore ways in which conventional research methods can be adapted to creatively engage the intellectual, ethical, and practical dimensions of these dislocations and capitalize on them. Unsettling and revealing, Extraordinary Anthropology will spark debate and reflection among anthropologists for years to come.