Anthropology and the Misery of Writing

Friday, February 7, 2020
9:00-11:00AM
Orin Starn

Join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present on their current research to interlocutors in their fields. Breakfast is served at 9am.

About the presentation: We have much excited talk about experimental ethnography and new genres of writing. Much of what one reads and hears acknowledges the difficulties of putting words to page. But none of the many reflections and meditations about ethnography really delves into the self-destroying anxiety and misery that can accompany writing in anthropology and across the humanities. That many of us - from grad students to tenured professors - have suffered bad, sometimes career-ending trouble with writing is a public secret. I'll draw on my own struggle with writing and depression to try to make some of sense of why desperation and worse related to writing are so relatively commonplace in anthropology today -- and whether there's anything we can do about it.

About the presenter: Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology and History.

This presentation is cosponsored by the Department of Cultural Anthropology and the Department of History.