Literary Anthropology: The Sub-disciplinary Context
Anthropological Journal on European Cultures
This special issue on anthropology and literature invited proposals for original contributions focusing on relationships between anthropology and literature. We were especially interested in the following questions: what role does literature play in anthropology? Can literature be considered as ethnography? What are the relationships between anthropology and literature, past and present? Are anthropology and anthropological motives used in literature? We also looked for critical readings of
... cal readings of writers as anthropologists and critical readings of anthropologists as writers. Moreover, we wanted to assess the influence of literature on the invention of traditions, rituals and cultural performances. All these different questions and topics are clearly connected with the study of literacy, illiteracy and popular culture. They also lead to questions regarding potential textual strategies for ethnography and the possibilities of bringing together the field of anthropology (more associated with the social sciences) and literary studies (traditionally part of the humanities). As a result of our call for articles we received more than twenty-five proposals, which shows the vitality of the field and its relevance for anthropologists today. Although it was difficult to select from these different proposals, we realised that some of them were more historical while others focused more on the contemporary. Some proposals were more preoccupied with the literary texts themselves while others emphasised the social and cultural contexts in which these texts were written. An important criterion in our selection is the geographic origin of the proposals, as the relationship between anthropology and literature varies according to the national and regional academic traditions. Throughout this volume, we have endeavoured to balance different perspectives and regions, offering a comparative insight on texts and contexts, past and present, in different countries.