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The Ground Between


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Table of Contents

Introduction. Experiments between Anthropology and Philosophy: Affinities and Antagonisms / Veena Das, Michael Jackson, Arthur Kleinman, and Bhrigupati Singh vii
1. Ajala's Head: Reflections on Anthropology and Philosophy in a West African Setting / Michael Jackson 27
2. The Parallel Lives of Philosophy and Anthropology / Didier Fassin 50
3. The Difficulty of Kindness: Boundaries, Time, and the Ordinary / Clara Han 71
4. Ethnography in the Way of Theory / Joao Biehl 94
5. The Search for Wisdom: Why William James Still Matters / Arthur Kleinman 119
6. Eavesdropping on Bourdieu's Philosophers / Ghassan Hage 138
7. How Concepts Make the World Look Different: Affirmative and Negative Genealogies of Thought / Bhrigupati Singh 159
8. Philosophia and Anthropologia: Reading alongside Benjamin in Yazd, Derrida in Qum, Arendt in Tehran / Michael M. J. Fischer 188
9. Ritual Disjunctions: Ghosts, Philosophy, and Anthropology / Michael Pruett 218
10. Henri Bergson in Highland Yemen / Steven C. Caton 234
11. Must We Be Bad Epistemologists? Illusions of Transparency, the Opaque Other, and Interpretive Foibles / Vincent Crapanzano 254
12. Action, Expression, and Everyday Life: Recounting Household Events / Veena Das 279
References 307
Contributors 329

About the Author

Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at The Johns Hopkins University and author of Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary.Michael D. Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.Arthur Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University.Bhrigupati Singh is Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brown University and the author of Gods and Grains: Lives of Desire in Rural India.


"The Ground Between is a distinctive collection of cases of philosophical influence in shaping some of the most important and prominent ethnographic research of recent times." - George E. Marcus, coauthor of Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary "Twelve distinguished anthropologists engage with the writings of particular philosophers to illuminate their own particular fieldwork (and in a couple of cases, their personal life experiences). What we get are insightful reflections on what philosophy and anthropology share-such as the problem of the Other, the viability of transcendental categories across variable life forms, and the limits of the human. This is a thought-provoking book that will greatly reward careful readers." - Talal Asad, author of Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity

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