He didn’t realize

After an isolated childhood,

When he started out

To see what might be going on

Elsewhere in the world,


That there would be

A final exam…


Clifford Geertz, 1999 Charles Haskins Lecture to the American Council of Learned Relations. 


Dreamtime II.


A moment of confusion

And uncertainty of direction,


And an unlooked-for opportunity


At my feet.


A quickening flurry:

A change of place,



And intellectual ambience.


A charmed life,

A charmed time.


An errant career,






And not all that badly paid.


Clifford Geertz , “Passage and Accident: A Life of Learning,” delivered to the American
Council of Learned Societies in 1999, Ohio; also Clifford Geertz (2000) Available Light. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, p.27.

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Comment by M Izabel on June 9, 2012 at 8:36pm

Thanks, Achirri.  You just gave me an idea.  Even before knowing that Rosaldo was a poet, I could sense snippets of poetry in his ethnography on Ilonggots.  What you have dug up in Geertz's lectures confirmed my observation that:

There are/were parts that are/were poetic in the ethnography and ethnographic in the poetry of anthropologists who are/were poets. 

Comment by Keith Hart on June 9, 2012 at 7:48pm

I'll drink to that! It would make a wonderful addition to OAC Press's new series "Art and anthropology".

Comment by Huon Wardle on June 9, 2012 at 7:15pm
Time to bring the wonderful poems about Levi Strauss , Bourdieu and others together in a single anthology.
Comment by John McCreery on June 9, 2012 at 8:16am

Bravo! Bravissimo! 


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