Engagement and Collaboration – John Borneman

I want to focus on the intellectual justification for collaboration. There is a a force, a need that institutions have to draw us to collaborations. But the needs to sustain the collaboration are different. Are American intellectual needs and Indian intellectual needs categories that are too vast in just defining what an intellectual need would be?

Anthropology itself encourages what is idiosyncratic, and not what is repetitive. It encourages you to go beyond the things standardised research programmes would foster. Anthropology deals with things that are out of the norm, in a way. And how do I think of collaboration on an intellectual level, in terms of quality on such a project? 1) the quality of writing and 2) the quality of research. But how do we reconcile quality and sustaining individual voices? I find that I have to either incorporate other people’s voices into my own, where my voice becomes ‘poor’ and I feel like my ideas and sentences become truncated, the edges not rounded off. Or I feel like I am doing an injustice to someone else’s voice.

John Borneman


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