The world is either shrinking, flattening or expanding depending on which world view you subscribe to, but one thing we can all agree upon is that it is changing.
The ‘native’ is no longer an interesting specimen for ‘scholars’ to peer at through a magnifying glass, the magnifying glass could just as easily be turned back around. The observer is no better than the observed, there is no ‘epistemic superiority’ of the ‘urban intellectual’ over the ‘indigenous’. When these labels and hierarchies crumble under the pressure of a changing world where diverse groups now claim their role in the running of the world, there seems to very little distance between the Anthropologist and the Anthropologized.
This will be one of the topics of discussion for the first session (Monday, October 29, 2012, 8:30 AM), Objects of Inquiry and Curiosity led by Carolyn Rouse.
Carolun Rouse’s work is particularly interesting in this area because it focuses on closing this essential distance. One of her important works is on how the US healthcare system managed sickle cell anemia, which blacks seem to be more predisposed to than other races in the US. She also has a long-term engagement with issues in Ghana. As one of the first African nations to gain independence and also as the country to which the famous African American scholar W.E.B. DuBois immigrated to during the last part of his life, Ghana has a special connection to the African American community in the US.