Ian (1:25) starts us off, by asking, how well-written does a thesis need to be? "As anthropologists, basically what we do is write... whether it's writing your field notes, or whether it's writing up your articles or your dissertation... and most of us have never actually been trained in how to write." As Julia says, "there are so many ways of articulating the human condition and our field experiences, that what we do will be good enough as long as it's true to us, and with any luck, it might resonate with someone else one day."
Stevenson, Lisa (2014) Life Beside itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Julia (6:12), reflecting on a recent viewing of Wild Wild Country and some news items about an Australian group called Universal Medicine, asks: what makes a cult? "Does this popular discourse of 'cult' have anything to do with what scholars might otherwise explore in those communities?" As Simon argues, the new religious movements imagined as "cults" are often indistinguishable from other religions in their early days. Said reminds us, "it is in the popular discourse that there is this identifications of these groups as cults, but they do not themselves identify as cults."
Special guest Saidalavi P.C. (10:00) pays tribute to Justice Rajinder Sachar, and tells us about caste among India’s Muslims, some of whom find a political advantage to inclusion in the Hindu caste structure. "The majority of Muslims claim that their religion is egalitarian. So any claim of having hierarchy or socio-economic disadvantages based on hereditary relationships actually contests their idea of egalitarian religion." Simon reflects on questions of “pure” vs. localized Islam in Iran: "It's a very unpalatable discourse, because they feel themselves to, in some ways, to have helped Islam reach its full potential, its full capacity, through Persian culture. But that doesn't seem to be what's happened in India. People seem to be uncomfortable with the notion of Islam having mixed with Hinduism."
Ahmad, Imtiaz. (1973) Caste and Social Stratification among the Muslims. Manolar Book Service (distributed in U.A.A.: South Asia Books, Columbia, Mo.), Delhi.
Dumont, Louis. (1970) Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and its Implications. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.. Vikas Pub. House, New Delhi.
Fuller, C. J. (1996) Caste Today. Oxford University Press, New York.
Hutton, J. H. (1946) Caste in India: Its Nature, Function and Origins. The University Press, Cambridge [Eng.].
Lindholm, Charles. "Paradigms of Society: A Critique of Theories of Caste among Indian Muslims." European Journal of Sociology, vol. 26, no. 1, 1985, pp. 131-141.
Madan, T. N. (1976) Muslim Communities of South Asia: Culture and Society
Vatuk, Sylvia J.(1990) "Hindu Women and the Power of Ideology . Vanaja Dhruvarajan." American Anthropologist, vol. 92, no. 3, pp. 789-790.
Said is a PhD student in anthropology in ANU's School of Culture, History, and Language. You can find more of his work on his blog, Naked Eye (saidalavipc.wordpress.com).
Last, Simon (15:32) follows on from a recent blog post of his, on boredom during fieldwork, that stirred a big response. "Boredom in the field can actually be informative," he argues. "It is potentially in and of itself a moment to further understand the culture. But that doesn't mean that people--" ethnographers, that is--"don't get bored."
Narayan, K. (1993). How Native Is a "Native" Anthropologist? American Anthropologist, 95(3), new series, 671-686.
This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the schools of Culture, History, and Language and Archaeology and Anthropology at Australian National University, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.
Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Show notes by Ian Pollock