Blog

Bernard Cohn TOC

Bernard Cohn was an important anthropologist and historian of India. His 1987 volume An Anthropologist Among the Historians and Other Essays can be hard to find in digital. Luckily, it anthologizes many papers which are now available on JSTOR in easier to find formats. Here is my reconstructing the table of contents with links to these articles.

I. History and anthropology

An anthropologist among the historians: a field study
History and anthropology: the state of play
Anthropology and history in the 1980s: towards a rapprochement

II. India as a field of study

Networks and centres in the integration of Indian civilization
The pasts of an Indian village
Regions subjective and objective: their relation to the study of modern Indian history and society
Notes on the history of the study of Indian society and culture
Is there a new Indian history? society and social change under the Raj
African models and Indian histories
The census, social structure and objectification in South Asia

III. Untouchables

The changing status of a depressed caste
The changing traditions of a low caste
Madhopur revisited
Chamar family in a North Indian village: a structural contingent

IV. The British in Benares

The initial British impact on India: a case study of the Benares region
Structural change in Indian rural society 1596-1885
The British in Benares: a nineteenth century colonial society
From Indian status to British contract
Political systems in eighteenth-century India: the Benares region
The recruitment and training of British civil servants in India
Some notes on law and change in North India
Anthropological notes on law and disputes in North India

V. Representations of empire

Representing authority in Victorian India.

Life Last Week

via Wikimedia Commons

Happy new year everyone! Here are Things That Happened in the last week or so:

  • Celia Tichi is writing the history of the US through cocktails.
  • I’ve been using the phrase “freedom of speech is not freedom of reach” for some time now, but just discovered the article which originated the phrase.
  • Enjoyed Prey on Hulu. If you are into Indigenous Women then it’s your jam. If you are just an average fan of the Predator franchise, I think (to steal a phrase from a friend) if you go into it with medium expectations, then you will find them fulfilled.
  • I have a new interview up at New Books Network with Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt on the first volume of her two volume biography of Franz Boas.
  • My copy of Chokepoint Capitalism arrived from Kickstarter. It’s been a while since I read anything from Cory Doctorow, so I’m hoping I enjoy it as much as have enjoyed his other works.
  • I love funny, smart jazz songs and Elise Roth’s “Massachusetts” has that in spades. Not sure there’s a link to it on the open web, however.

There’s more to say but I’ll keep this short so I can get back to work… take care all!

Life Last Fortnight

PNG Independence Day in 1975, via the National Archive of Australia.

Time got away from me last week… here’s what I’ve been up to.

  • It is necessary to understand tea and (most importantly) have a preference about it when asked by someone who is serving it to you. Very important for dealing with our Five Eyes colleagues (I’m looking at you, Oz). So I thought this tea infographic would help. In fact, I can’t decipher it at all. My struggle to understand tea continues.
  • Is it just me or is the accent on words like ‘affluent’ and ‘rhetoric’ moving to the middle syllable and not the initial one?
  • When I was doing my Ph.D. fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, I had a very small amount of music. One of the CDs I had was a collection of Cole Porter’s greatest hits. It included a very hot cover of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Dinah Washington. I finally realized that I could look up the album it was from. Dinah Jams (a live set in from LA in 1954) is now one of my favorite albums.
  • A good overview of the California Ranch, the style of house I grew up in.
  • I recently became intrigued by the work of phenomenologist Gabor Csepregi. When I tried googling him, unfortunately, I could only get results on the olympic swimmer of the same name. It took me a while to realize that they were the same person! Csepregi’s personal story is incredible, including using his swimming powers to flee the Societ Bloc by crossing the Adriatic, discovering his long lost love, unexpectedly encountering his old coach at a local pool, and transforming from athlete to coach/phenomenologist to academic administrator. Amazing.
  • Congratulations to my colleague Jerry Jacka on his new article about Porgera in Cultural Anthropology! That’s a must read for me.
  • Happy birthday to Papua New Guinea, which celebrated independence day!
  • I really enjoyed “Wait For Your Laugh”, the documentary about singer and comedian Rose Marie. Not only was she a great talent, she has an incredible life story. Highly recommended if you grew up watching the Dick Van Dyke Show, or are interested in mob history.

That’s all for now. Take care!

Life Last Week

Via Marvel Strike Force
  • The latest character to be introduced in Marvel Strike Force, the mobile game I play daily, is a Navajo weaver member of the Spiderverse. Gladys Reichard would be tickled, once someone explained to her what the Spiderverse was.
  • I wrote a short remembrance of Alan Howard for a celebration in his honor — I hope he likes it.
  • I was interviewed by Jonathan Ritchie for his class at Deakin on the history of Papua New Guinea. It was great fun dusting off the part of my brain that holds all the memories of my First Contact research from ages and ages ago, and of course it’s always a pleasure to talk to Jonathan. It was only when we were in the green room for this talk that we realized how much our careers had paralleled each other. Jonathan Ritchie, man of action: keep going!
  • I am slogging through The Man Who Fell To Earth on ShowTime. I am a huge Chewitel Ejiofor fan and am amazed at how little I like this show. I would literally watch Ejiofor read a telephone book, but the show is so heavily overproduced that it distracts from the acting — it feels like every streaming service is doing a color-by-numbers book about how to produce Epic TV and ShowTime got the wrong book. Also, there is a whole take in there about what jazz is that jumps the shark and says things that I think are not true about jazz. But I could be wrong about that.
  • Over at The Conversation Tom Boellstorff says what we’ve all been thinking: The Metaverse is one of the oldest things in InternetLand, not one of the newest.
  • The Queens CUNY has an excellent history of its anthro department, including an account of The Matriarchy that ran the department for so long. A great story that deserves a wider hearing.
  • Stanford Anthropology’s annual newsletter for 2021-2022 has a feature on The New Guinea Sculpture Garden. It’s a wonderful little bit of Melanesia in Palo Alto and I hope it gets more attention.
  • G.T. Harris’s 1972 article Labour Supply and Economic Development in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea has a good overview of how order-making projects in PNG (and elsewhere? Everywhere?) fall apart which will ring true to many of us
  • I finished Runaway: Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness by Anthony Chaney. The book is difficult to summarize, but it spends very little time on environmentalist. It starts as an intellectual history of Bateson’s later years, with a strong focus on the broader intellectual context in which he was writing. Bateson drifts from view towards the end of the book, which is an account of the broader intellectual context of the period with. a strong focus on Bateson. Chaney is very sympathetic, perhaps too sympathetic, to Bateson, and does a good job showing how his experiences in WWII and the early Cold War gave him a lot of elective affinities with countercultural baby boomers. The book is really a unique creation of the author’s personal vision and always well-written — even superbly written at moments. I am not a big Bateson fan but Chaney has helped me appreciate Bateson more. I’d love to talk with him more about the book.
  • Listening this week: Cannonball Adderly, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy live.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Life Last Week

Sarah Chinnery, via Trove
  • I spent this week fascinated by the photography of Sarah Chinnery. Her images of PNG, famous anthropologists, flower still lives, street scenes, and friends artists and family are all remarkable. I’ve posted many of them over at Highly Accurate Anthros.
  • This week saw me return to Gephi on a project related to the biography of Marshall Sahlins I’m working on. More soon on this front!
  • I am reading and enjoying Runaway: Gregory Bateson, the Double Bind, and the Rise of Ecological Consciousness, a sort of intellectual history of The Late Bateson with attention to the broader cultural context of that time, as well as the deeper intellectual genealogy of Bateson’s thought. It’s an interesting and slightly idiosyncratic angle on Bateson which I look forward to finishing soon.
  • It was the first week of classes here at Mānoa, where we are returning to Normal Life after two years of the pandemic. As a bald professor returning to a campus full of people after two years, I found the smell of shampoo overwhelming!

Life Last Week

When you’re too busy to blog… link!

  • This week I was consumed by a desire to filter and sort ebook offerings at University of Chicago Press’s 75% off ebook sale. I love this sale since Chicago has a lot of titles my library doesn’t hold.
  • History of Anthropology Review points out to a few pieces on the renaming of Kroeber Hall, which will be relevant for the history of anthropology just as soon as that renaming is old enough to become history.
  • Also at History of Anthropology Review I published a long review of Loyer’s biography of Claude Lévi-Strauss. I’m very happy with this piece because it actually evaluates the book rather than merely summarizing it or avoiding saying anything about it altogether, which is what most book reviews do. I’m also satisfied with the prose, which came out well methinks. It is interesting to compare Lévi-Strauss, Firth, and Boas as academic enterpreneurs. Firth and Lévi-Strauss are contemporaries and long-lived institution builders.
  • Listening around to Jazz and Swing classics had turned me on to Mildred Bailey, a great singer who was also Coeur d’Alene.
  • I read The Pearl and the Flame by Natan Margalit, the first Rabbi ever born and raised in Hawai‘i. I liked it — and not just because it mentioned by drashing Edward Sapir. Highly recommended if you are Jewish and really into composting.

That’s it for now — have a good week! It will be the first week of school at UH Mānoa!

Life Last Week

JFK’s coconut shell encased in plastic, via Wikimedia Commons

Friday links

That’s it for now — have a good weekend!

The earliest origins of that one Margaret Mead quote

via goalcast

Margaret Mead’s quote about how a small group of citizens can change the world can be found all over the Internet. But did she actually say it? And where? The quote is notoriously hard to track down. I’ve tried googling around through And Keep Your Powder Dry and other likely locations but haven’t had much luck locating the origin of this quote. Then something I read — alas, I forget what — pointed me to a book with the quote in it: Earth At Omega: Passage to Planetization by Donald Keys. The book appeared in 1982, but obviously with a title like the thought is pre-Reagan.

At any rate the quote appears on page 79, at the opening of chapter six. I wonder whether it was something she said at a conference, or often said in conversation? Here’s a screenshot of the quote. I wonder if we can push it back even later in time and find an earlier occurrence?

Saturday Links

Several things happened this week: