My heart was broken not by leaving individual people, but by leaving something much bigger. It takes us too long in anthropology to learn that the communities we study keep on going without us. They don’t stop mid lifetime waiting for us to return and press play again. Things will be different if we return, so when we leave, a certain something is left behind forever.
In preparing for fieldwork, I took a class on language training with Piers Kelly. While Piers was talking more specifically about learning in a context where a language hadn’t been written down before or had very limited resources, I think there was a nice takeaway for any learner of a second (or third, or more…) … Continue reading Talking like a child: Language learning for anthropology fieldwork
Ana provided me with generous amounts of knowledge, time, and care. She knew I was doing a doctorate, and the understanding between us was clear: her knowledge, and her story, would be at its core. Now, that isn’t going to happen. I can use her information for articles, but it doesn’t feel the same.