Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Sur: Drawing on History of Ethnography, Multisited Fieldsites, Harbin is International

Harbin ethnography:

I draw richly from the history of ethnography, and the questions it has asked, for this book because it's this century-old body of questions, research and writing, which allows me to understand what is so fascinating about Harbin, as well as plan for and build a virtual Harbin for actual/virtual anthropological comparison. I also draw on long critiques of ethnographic method to highlight alternative possibilities. [Quote from my online paper. The changing 'nature' of the "anthropological field" has been examined by the writers Marcus and Fischer (1986) and Gupta and Ferguson (1997)]. They suggest that anthropologists have historically looked at and gone to "the field," a specific, physical site that has traditionally been geographically bounded. The actual Harbin Hot Springs is unusual as an anthropological field site in modernity in its remarkable boundedness in a valley at the end of a road in northern California, and the actual, virtual construction of a virtual Harbin will further stretch the anthropological analysis of multi-sitedness of the anthropological field sites in a globalized world, especially in relation to Harbin on-the-ground. Virtual Harbin, open to people from around the world, will internationalize actual Harbin, which already draws people from all over the world, in novel and fascinating ways. Virtual Harbin will extend actual Harbin's emergent cultural formation in unanticipated ways.

( - February 24, 2010)

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