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Methodology & History in Anthropology
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Regimes of Ignorance
Anthropological Perspectives on the Production and Reproduction of Non-Knowledge
Edited by Roy Dilley and Thomas G. Kirsch
224 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78238-838-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2015)
ISBN 978-1-78533-746-8 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (October 2017)
eISBN 978-1-78238-839-5 eBook
“…the book offers an ethnographically-informed thought exercise that brings home the idea that ignorance and knowledge are interconnected….[It] succeeds in an effective portrayal of the subjects and regimes, which, far from being the eager epistemophilics that modern thought envisions, choose purposeful ignorance instead.” · Anthropological Notebooks
“What Kirsch and all the contributors to the volume illustrate is that, although anthropology is a latecomer to the topic of agnotology, the discipline has much to offer, especially in expanding the range of the study beyond Western science and corporations and in identifying the constructive processes and effective outcomes of ignorance-making.” · Anthropology Review Database
“...first-rate scholarship from beginning to end. [The book] reads very nicely and has been properly organized and edited. Another strong aspect of the volume is the diverse range of geographical locations, thereby making the anthropological — i.e. general and possibly universal — argument much more convincing. . . Overall, I think the volume makes a significant and original contribution to scholarship in anthropology.” · Mark Harris, University of St Andrews
Non-knowledge should not be simply regarded as the opposite of knowledge, but as complementary to it: each derives its character and meaning from the other and from their interaction. Knowledge does not colonize the space of ignorance in the progressive march of science; rather, knowledge and ignorance are mutually shaped in social and political domains of partial, shifting, and temporal relationships. This volume’s ethnographic analyses provide a theoretical frame through which to consider the production and reproduction of ignorance, non-knowledge, and secrecy, as well as the wider implications these ideas have for anthropology and related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.
Roy Dilley is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. His books include Islamic and Caste Knowledge Practices among Haalpulaaren (2004), Nearly Native, Barely Civilized: Henri Gaden's Journey Across Colonial French West Africa (2014) and Rencontres photographiques: Henri Gaden, photographe, en Afrique Occidentale, with the Archives nationales d'outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence.
Thomas G. Kirsch is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Konstanz. Recent publications include Spirits and Letters: Reading, Writing and Charisma in African Christianity (Berghahn Books, 2008), Domesticating Vigilantism in Africa (co-edited with Tilo Grätz; James Currey, 2010) and Ethical Fields in Africa (co-edited with Astrid Bochow and Rijk van Dijk, 2017).
Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Introduction: Regimes of Ignorance: An Introduction
Thomas G. Kirsch and Roy Dilley
Chapter 1. Mind the Gap: On the Other Side of Knowing
Chapter 2. Ignoring Native Ignorance: Epidemiological Enclosures of Not-Knowing Plague in Inner Asia
Chapter 3. Managing Pleasurable Pursuits: Utopic Horizons and the Arts of Ignoring and ‘Not Knowing’ among Fine Woodworkers
Trevor H. J. Marchand
Chapter 4. Ignorant Bodies and the Dangers of Knowledge in Amazonia
Chapter 5. What Do Child Sex Offenders Know?
Chapter 6. Problematic Reproductions: Children, Slavery and Not-Knowing in Colonial French West Africa
Chapter 7. Power and Ignorance in British India: The Native Fetish of the Crown
Chapter 8. Secrecy and the Epistemophilic Other
Thomas G. Kirsch
Notes on Contributors
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