Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology proposes an innovative approach to understanding culture as a constructed phenomenon open to investigation of its implicit premises and explicit forms. This exciting book offers a refreshing hands-on alternative to more traditional textbooks by challenging readers to think about culture in new ways and to apply these ideas to their own lives. Investigating Culture teaches students to think like anthropologists by encouraging them to compare their own cultural experiences with that of anthropologists who enter a culture specifically to study it. Approaching the study of culture or cultural anthropology in this way trains students to confront the reflexive nature of anthropology early on and to distance themselves from the inherent flaws of studying the "exotic Other." Investigating Culture is divided into nine chapters that focus on the variety of ways that humans orient themselves --- in space and time, by means of language, the body, the structures of everyday life, and the symbols of religion and public ritual.
Each chapter includes an introduction outlining the central issues, selected classic readings, examples from a variety of cultures, suggested additional readings, and a series of exercises designed to make the analysis of culture personally accessible.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments.1. Disorientation and Orientation.Exercises.Selected Reading: Shakespeare in the Bush: Laura Bohannan.Resources.2. Space.Exercises.Selected Reading: The American Front Porch: Women's Liminal Space: Sue Bridwell Beckham.Resources.3. Time.Exercises.Selected Reading: Time is for Savoring: Ellen Goodman.Selected Reading: The Original Affluent Society: Marshall Sahlins.Resources.4. Language: We Are What We Speak.Exercises.Selected Reading: She Unnames Them: Ursula LeGuin.Selected Reading: Seeing is Believing: Alan Dundes.Resources.5. Relatives and Relations.Exercises.Selected Reading: Symbols of Category Membership: Penelope Eckert.Selected Reading: Kinship Systems: A.M. Hocart.Resources.6. Our Bodies, Ourselves.Exercises.Selected Reading: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema: Horace Miner.Resources.7. Food for Thought.Exercises.Selected Reading: You Are What You Eat: Religious Aspects of the Health Food Movement: Jill Dubisch.Resources.8. Clothing Matters.Exercises.Selected Reading: Alienation: Julio Ramon Ribeyro.Resources.9. VIPs: Very Important People, Places and Performances.Exercises.Selected Reading: The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man: Clifford Geertz.Resources.Photo Credits.Index
Carol Delaney is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University. She is author of The Seed and The Soil: Gender and Cosmology in Turkish Village Society (1991) and Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth (1998), and is co-editor of Naturalizing Power: Essays in Feminist Cultural Analysis (1995, with Sylvia Yanagisako).