Sally Falk Moore and Gilles Deleuze: Parallel Lives

I had (am having?) a discussion on Facebook about whether or not Deleuze said anything new and interesting for anthropologists trying to write ethnographies. Isn’t it the case, someone (who hasn’t asked to be Named On The Internet) claimed, that Sally Falk Moore already said all this stuff about process, change, and transformation? I was fascinated so I got together entries for Moore and Deleuze on my history of anthropology timeline.Capto_Capture 2018-07-01_07-34-12_AM

It’s remarkable how similar their lives were. They were born within one year of each other, and both had their most productive periods (publication wise) from around 1960 to 1990. Différence et Répétition was 1968, while Moore’s collected essays Law and Social Change was 1973. Actually, Anti-Oedpius was just one year before Law and Social Change but I think D&R is more like L&SC in that they are both solo-authored statements of their author’s unique outlook. Moore outlived Deleuze — at the rate she is going, she will out-live me! — but I think 1994’s Anthropology and Africa marks the point at which she began turning to other things. Her articles of reminiscences and memoirs begin in the late 1990s (not on the timeline). All of the pieces in Comparing Impossibilities that are not autobiographical are from 1998 or earlier. I don’t mean to say she isn’t still an active researcher — apparently the Haskins Lectures are forthcoming — I just mean to point out that she and Deleuze worked at roughly the same time on topics that were similar: process, change, understanding the world as mutable and not fixed and static. It was (and is) in the air. I think this is a good example of how data visualization helps us see connections that might otherwise be obscured.