In Ethnography in Today's World, Roger Sanjek examines the genre and practice of ethnography from a historical perspective, from its nineteenth-century beginnings and early twentieth-century consolidation, through political reorientations during the 1960s and the impact of feminism and postmodernism in later decades, to its current outlook in an increasingly urban world. Drawing on a career of ethnographic research across Brazil, Ghana, New York City, and with the Gray Panthers, Sanjek probes politics and rituals in multiethnic New York, the dynamics of activist meetings, human migration through the ages, and shifting conceptions of race in the United States. He interrogates well-known works from Boas, Whyte, Fabian, Geertz, Marcus, and Clifford, as well as less celebrated researchers, addressing methodological concerns from ethnographers' reliance on assistants in the formative days of the discipline to contemporary comparative issues and fieldwork and writing strategies.
Ethnography in Today's World contributes to our understanding of culture and society in an age of globalization. These provocative examinations of the value of ethnographic research challenge conventional views as to how ethnographic fieldwork is and can be conceived, conducted, contextualized, and communicated to academic audiences and the twenty-first-century public.
PART I. ENGAGING ETHNOGRAPHY
Chapter 1. Color Full Before Color Blind: The Emergence of Multiracial Neighborhood Politics in Queens, New York City
Chapter 2. The Organization of Festivals and Ceremonies Among Americans and Immigrants in Queens
Chapter 3. What Ethnographies Leave Out
PART II. ETHNOGRAPHY, PAST AND PRESENT
Chapter 4. Ethnography
Chapter 5. Anthropology's Hidden Colonialism: Assistants and Their Ethnographers
Chapter 6. The Ethnographic Present
PART III. COMPARISON AND CONTEXTUALIZATION
Chapter 7. Worth Holding Onto: The Participatory Discrepancies of Political Activism
Chapter 8. Intermarriage and the Future of Races in America
Chapter 9. Rethinking Migration, Ancient to Future
PART IV. ETHNOGRAPHY AND SOCIETY
Chapter 10. Politics, Theory, and the Nature of Cultural Things
Chapter 11. Keeping Ethnography Alive in an Urbanizing World
Chapter 12. Going Public: Responsibilities and Strategies in the Aftermath of Ethnography
"Roger Sanjek is a distinguished sociocultural anthropologist whose vision of anthropology has shaped the field in significant ways. Ethnography in Today's World is part history of ideas, part memoir, part cultural criticism, and all affirmation of ethnography's particular value for anyone trying to navigate the turbulent cross-currents of social knowledge-making in the United States today."—Carol Greenhouse, Princeton University
"Ethnography in Today's World shows its author's admirable combination of personal commitments, curiosity about real human lives, intellectual integrity, and long-term scholarly overview. For anyone interested in anthropology as a complicatedly evolving, living research tradition, with its own tendencies always in interaction with a changing world, this is an important book to read."—Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm University
This book’s publication is supported by the Haney Foundation, a fund established by a generous gift from Dr. John Louis Haney, one-time chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania.