My Letters, My Mother, My Anthropology
Keywords:correspondence, emotion, ethnography, longitudinal, Rajasthan, relationships
During doctoral research in India, between June 1979 and March 1981, I wrote, often twice a week, to my mother, Ruth M. Grodzins, in Chicago. She saved these letters more or less in chronological order by attaching each one to a sheet of notebook paper in a bulging three-ring binder. Approximately forty years later I peruse them gingerly, with mixed feelings. Some of the letters’ content is nearly identical with the ethnographic writing that emerged from my first fieldwork and holds no surprises. Some of them recall fraught interpersonal hassles in all their immediate anguish. These later resolved themselves so thoroughly I totally forgot all about the incidents that, at the time, as evidenced in my letters and daily diary, had consumed me. However, to a retired anthropologist looking back on her first fieldwork, the best parts of these letters are their evocations of intensely experienced discoveries as well as of everyday pleasures, preoccupations and relationships.
Clark-Decès, Isabelle 2007 The Encounter Never Ends: A Return to the Field of Tamil Rituals. Albany: State University of New York Press. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1352.2010.01104.x
Dwyer, Kevin 1982 Moroccan Dialogues: Anthropology in Question. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Gold, Ann Grodzins 1988a Fruitful Journeys: The Ways of Rajasthani Pilgrims. Berkeley: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.1989.16.3.02a00190
b Spirit Possession Perceived and Performed in Rural Rajasthan. Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) 22(1): 35–63. https://doi.org/10.1177/006996688022001002
Waiting for Moonrise: Fasting, Storytelling and Marriage in Provincial Rajasthan. Oral Traditions 29(2): 203–224. https://doi.org/10.1353/ort.2015.0000
Portrait: Ann Grodzins Gold, At Home on the Margins. Religion and Society: Advances in Research 7: 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3167/arrs.2016.070102
Shiptown: Between Rural and Urban North India. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Gold, Ann Grodzins, and Bhoju Ram Gujar 2002 In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1177/000842980703600323
Singh, Bhrigupati 2015 Poverty and the Quest for Life: Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Tedlock, Dennis, and Bruce Mannheim (eds) 1995 The Dialogic Emergence of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.