Slide show: Evans-Pritchard’s African transparencies.
from: Raritan: a quarterly review, vol. 2 no. 1 (1983), pp. 62-80


(Clifford Geertz)




In this translation from the English (original publication data not given), reflections are offered on the literary character of ethnographic & anthropological writings. It is suggested that such studies attempt to convince their readers through verisimilitude. The career & writings of Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard are analyzed; his major works were published between 1937 & 1956. As a typical example, one of his little known articles - an account of a British military campaign against the Italians in the Sudan/Ethiopia border region during WWII - is examined in detail ("Operations on the Akobo and Gila Rivers, 1940-1941," [The Army Quarterly, 1973]). Evans-Pritchard, an expert on this area, was able to make ethnographic observations of the Anuak people, while leading them in military attacks. The simplicity of his prose style, devoid of jargon or literary references, is essentially visual, presenting a series of snapshots. It reveals both the self-confidence & limits of the colonial mentality. C. Waters



source: Sociological Abstracts Inc. (paper version)


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