Trickster: An Anthropological Memoir
A young trainee anthropologist leaves her violent Mafia-run hometown—Youngstown, Ohio—to study an "exotic" group, the Paiute Indians of Nevada. This is 1964; she'll be "the expert," and they'll be "the subjects." The Paiute elders have other ideas. They'll be "the parents." They set themselves two tasks: to help her get a good grade on her project and to send her home quickly to her new bridegroom. They dismiss her research topic and introduce her instead to their spirit creature, the outrageously mischievous rule-breaking trickster, Coyote.
Why do the Paiutes love Coyote? Why do Youngstown mill workers vote for Mafia candidates for municipal office? Tricksters become key to understanding how oppressed groups function in a hostile world. For more information visit www.trickster.ie.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 256 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
ReviewsKane's book combines the depth of anthropology with the accessibility of the novel. It is written in a captivating and yet rich style, hilarious and entertaining for almost all readers. But above all, the book shows real people and normal human beings. Unlike other anthropology books, often riddled with meaningless, esoteric, anthropological jargon, Kane speaks in plain words and refuses to stand between the reader and the studied. Perhaps we should all go back to our field notes and rewrite our long-forgotten Ph.D. theses in the way Kane does here. The future of anthropology as a discipline may demand just that.
Irish Journal of Anthropology
A real page turner. Kane has turned her first fieldwork experience into an engaging 'Margaret Mead meets Tony Hillerman' narrative, with vivid characters, many tricksters, and even a mysterious death.
Louise Lamphere, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of New Mexico and past president of the American Anthropological Association
Trickster... should become essential reading for young anthropologists, if only because of its ruminations about the discipline as theory and praxis.
Michael Hittman, Long Island University
Kane avoids stilted ethnographic prose and instead revels in a self-effacing, first-person narrative that is richly textured, beautifully written, moving, and hilarious—precisely the kind of yarn that grabs and holds the attention of students and seasoned anthropologists alike.
Liam D. Murphy, California State University, Sacramento
A must read for every scholar who aspires to bring intellectual work to bear on the problems of real people and their communities.
Louis S. Warren, University of California, Davis
Eileen Kane is a fantastic writer—in fact, one of the best I've ever seen in anthropology, past or present. She keeps the story moving briskly, she has a novelist's eye for detail, and she renders perfect dialogue, which as Anne Lamont says, is the way to convey character. She's one of those rare anthropologists who can tell a great story while imparting cultural understanding. I hope she continues to tell stories. Anthropology needs a voice like hers.
Peter Wogan, Willamette University
Author InformationEileen Kane is an applied anthropologist who chaired the first department of anthropology in Ireland and now works on participatory development and education programs in Africa. She is the author of Doing Your Own Research (Boyars, 2001) and numerous World Bank and aid agency studies.
Table of contents
Introduction, Alice Beck Kehoe
2. At Home on the Range
3. The Kah'nii
4. Missing Bomb City
5. Anthropology: A Mirror for Man
6. Two Italian Towns
7. Not Worrying
8. The Tribal Council
9. Why Anthropology?
10. Crossing Boundaries
11. The Murder
12. Drawing Lessons
13. Kinship Patterns
15. Two-Thirds of the Way
16. Who We Are
17. The Rabbit Net
20. ...and Reprieve
20. The Killer
21. The Mission
22. The Parting
Discussion Points and Exercises
References and Further Readings
Subjects and Courses