Class Notes (808,123)
Canada (493,018)
Anthropology (1,560)
ANTB19H3 (119)
Lecture 9

Lecture 9.docx

2 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Donna Young

Lecture 9: Evans-Pritchard‘s Legacy Fifty years after E-P completed his ethnographic study of the Nuer, the American anthropologist Sharon Hutchinson went to Nuerland, in the Southern Sudan, to conduct ethnographic research. In the opening passage of her ethnography, Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War, and the State (1996), she writes: It is good that you are leaving before the rains begin,‖ remarked Gatnyinijar, my long-standing host and ―head chief‖ of the western Leek Nuer, as we walked together with his policemen to auction of several head of cattle confiscated in lieu of uncollected taxes. What has changed? 1. The previously egalitarian society has a CHIEF. 2. Taxes are paid: A form of state is recognized. 3. Cattle are auctioned: Cattle viewed as a commodity, sold in trade. All of these things absolutely were inconceivable when E-P worked and walked among the Nuer in the early 1930s. The Sudan declared independence from Egypt and England in 1956, but civil war broke out and began a year earlier between North and South Sudan. During colonial rule, the north and south had been governed differently, and after Independence, racialized and religious categories were used to separate the two. The North was Arabic and Muslim; The South was Christian or Animist and Black. Civil War in one form or other would continue until the Southern Sudan was granted Independence just this past year. Sharon Hutchinson‘s work builds directly on the path–breaking work of Evans-Pritchard. But anthropological theories and styles of ethnographic writing changed over the 50 years between the two studies. The reasons for both changes are interconnected. Theory and styles of representation are connected. This lecture is going to explore that relationship. In the Nuer, E-P put forth a theory about political life among the Nuer that became known as Structural-Functionalism. In Structural Functionalism, the ethnographer illustrates the interconnectedness between various cultural and social institutions that work together like a finely oiled machine, holding the society together and allowing reproduction. The focus is on maintaining equilibrium, on shared cultural patterns. The problem with structural functionalism is that it is not very good at explaining social change. For all that E-P was influenced by the discipline of history, so that he understood historical understanding to be culturally relative (a very important observation), his structural-functionalist analyses tended to treat societies as static, self-enclosed, holistic, cultural units. The irony is that the very colonial regimes he served were instigating radical social change. But there were other historical forces as well, as social and cultural movements have swept across North Africa for millenniums. By the time the anti-colonial and independence movements surfaced in the late 1950s and the 1960s, structural-functionalism had lost most of its relevance for making sense of the world. This is the point of Talal Asad‘s Introduction to Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter (published in 1973). Asad notes that ―[when] E-P publish
More Less

Related notes for ANTB19H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.