Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov
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In stock online. Not available in stores. Anton Chekhov is revered as a boldly innovative playwright and short story writer—but he wrote more than just plays and stories. By closely attending to the people who lived under the appalling conditions of the Russian penal colony on Sakhalin, Chekhov showed how empirical details combined with a literary flair can bring readers face to face with distant, different lives, enlarging a sense of human responsibility. Highlighting this balance of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to bring new energy to the writing of ethnography and creative nonfiction alike.
Weaving together selections from writing by and about him with examples from other talented ethnographers and memoirists, she offers practical exercises and advice on topics such as story, theory, place, person, voice, and self. The following ISBNs are associated with this title:. ISBN - Look for similar items by category:.
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Kristen Ghodsee. John Van Maanen. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Kirin Narayan.
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Review "Balm for the loneliness and torment of the ethnographic writer, this manual by one of the most distinguished offers the user a personal writer's workshop, at once charming, therapeutic, and practical. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. See all free Kindle reading apps. Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle Don't have a Kindle? No customer reviews. My anticipated readers are both people I can give a face to—like my mother or friends in various locations—and also an amorphously imagined interested, smart, friendly and hopefully somewhat forgiving person whom I might not yet have met but who I will become connected to through these written words.
Especially for books, I am writing for the widest circle of potentially interested readers, whether or not they are professional anthropologists. This means that I am constantly trying to figure out how to keep readers engaged, hoping that someone might read on not just because she or he feels obliged to for whatever professional reason, but also because this might potentially offer a space for the pleasures of succinct shared discovery.
I like to hope that Chekhov would be amused rather than appalled! And as someone with a strong sense of social justice he might have given his blessings to portions of Sakhalin Island being read afresh and perhaps seeding ideas for further ethnography. Writing is always hard for me, and yes, I try to follow my own cheery advice—with varying degrees of success.
Every part of the process can be painful and burdened by self-doubt. All of Alive in the Writing and especially the postscript was a way of conjuring up companionship with the hopes that this might help others as it has for me. CM: One of the things so unique about your writing are the many genres and forms you write across: academic prose, fiction, memoir, creative non-fiction, writing about writing, storytelling, editing, books, articles, and so on.
What has your writing path in anthropology been like? How much have you purposefully shaped what and how you wrote versus how much have embraced what invitations and opportunities have serendipitously come your way? What changes have you seen in anthropological writing over the last several decades? Your books are populated by characters the reader really gets to know, including yourself—from Swami-ji in Storytellers, Scoundrels, and Saints and Urmila-ji in Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon to your mother, father, and brother in My Family and Other Saints and then Anton Chekhov himself in Alive in the Writing.
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Why does a fully-fleshed out individual speak so strongly to ethnographic knowledge? Why do you think this has mattered so much in recent decades?
What are you working on now? Do you write in the field, or perhaps a better question: what do you write in the field?
Only fieldnotes or also drafts of things? Who do you write for? To what extent are anticipated readers individuals and community of readers a part of your writing? Why ethnography? The Postscript to Alive in the Writing is such a gift to writers. Do you follow your own advice?