New Publication: Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov by Kirin Narayan

"By closely attending to the people who lived under the appalling conditions of the Russian penal colony on Sakhalin, Chekhov showed how empirical details combined with a literary flair can bring readers face to face with distant, different lives, enlarging a sense of human responsibility.

Highlighting this balance of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to bring new energy to the writing of ethnography and creative nonfiction alike. Weaving together selections from writing by and about him with examples from other talented ethnographers and memoirists, she offers practical exercises and advice on topics such as story, theory, place, person, voice, and self.

A new and lively exploration of ethnography, Alive in the Writing shows how the genre’s attentive, sustained connection with the lives of others can become a powerful tool for any writer."

Kirin Narayan: Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. University Of Chicago Press, March 1, 2012.

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for drawing our attention to this, Achirri. I am reminded of my friend, the Korean anthropologist, Heonik Kwon, whose PhD was on hunter-gatherers of Sakhalin. He studied how victims of the Stalin purges recreated a viable social and cultural life by incorporating the experiecne into their rituals. He has made the horrors inflicted on indigenous peoples in the twentieth century and especially their resilience is overcoming these his special topic in anthropology. This led to his trilogy on Vietnam, After the Massacre, Ghosts of War in Vietnam and The Other Cold War, where he combines ethnography and a fresh theoretical perspective on history in ways that I am sure you would find refreshing.

Let me add my thanks, Achirri. Just downloaded the book. Read the first couple of pages. Looks lovely.



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