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The Vulnerable Observer

Eloquently interweaving ethnography and memoir, award-winning anthropologist Ruth Behar offers a new theory and practice for humanistic anthropology. She proposes an anthropology that is lived and written in a personal voice. She does so in the hope that it will lead us toward greater depth of understanding and feeling, not only in contemporary anthropology, but in all acts of witnessing.
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About the Author

Ruth Behar-ethnographer, essayist, editor, and poet-is professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She gained national prominence with her book Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story. Her honors include a MacArthur Fellows Award and a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship.


-Behar has convinced me that ethnographic empathy will produce an anthropology that has greater meaning than the distanced and detached academic anthropology of the past.- --Barbara Fisher, The Boston Globe -Her luminous essays build cultural bridges and challenge conventional ways of doing anthropology.---Publishers Weekly -As 'a woman of the border' . . . [Behar] infuses her vision with insight, candor and compassion.- --Diane Cole, The New York Times Book Review -A story that engages the emotions. Making the past visible, she preserves it against oblivion.- --Stanley Trachtenberg, The Washington Post Book World -Behar's collection of essays assesses the impact of emotion and experience on the process of research and writing, and on the relationship between the observer and the observed. . . . Intensely moving.- --L. Beck, Choice -In six strongly emotional essays, Behar makes a compelling case for the importance of revealing 'the self who observes.'- --Anne Valentine Martino, The Ann Arbor News -[Her] insistent looking back is what makes Ruth Behar's vision of anthropology so compelling. Memories do not vanish; they recede and leave traces. The anthropologist who makes herself vulnerable to these indications makes the world a more intelligible and hopeful place.- --Judith Bolton-Fasman, The Jerusalem Report -Twenty years since its publication, I'm still recommending The Vulnerable Observer to writers, colleagues, and friends. Just as brave and profound as it was then, it is now, continuing to offer insights into our shared humanity that are meaningful to scholar, scientist, and poet alike.---Richard Blanco, inaugural poet and author of For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey

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