Rachel Corr is professor of anthropology at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University.Jacqueline H. Fewkes is professor of anthropology at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University.
Through a series of intimate histories of people and things, this volume challenges both the reality and the conceptual utility of the public-private divide. The authors argue persuasively that intimate, interpersonal relationships are not only relevant to understanding broader cultural and historical patterns—in many ways, they shape those patterns. (This book) would makea valuable addition to anthropology and history classes.
This refreshing and very readable collection of essays adroitly edited by Rachel Corr and Jacqueline H. Fewkes is something of a magic carpet ride as seven anthropologists address our bittersweet longing to be transported to places where real people in past times cooked, crafted, labored, litigated, loved, and often suffered. The teasing out of emotional dimensions of sexist, racist, violent, and other intimate arrangements is accomplished through creative application of ethnography, discourse analysis, ethnohistory, and archaeology to case studies of “the particular” carried out in the Andes, Chicago, the Gambia, Ghana, Ireland, South Asia, and Taiwan. New questions are raised regarding women’s agency; global black consciousness; friendships and marriages that cut across ethnic, class, and religious lines; flawed assumptions about a presumed public/private divide; and the dialectical relationship between the personal and the political. The volume beautifully demonstrates that by concentrating on the realm of the intimate it is possible to achieve not only a better degree of empathy with people living in cultures and historical periods removed from the present in space and time, but also greater historical accuracy regarding the intersectional, transcultural and interdependent dimensions of colonialism, conviviality, cosmopolitanism, and capitalism.