April 5th, 2011
The spatial turn!
•Spatial theory has been used to understand and question some of the foundational
thinking of disciplines such as anthropology sociology and English
Anthropology and space
•Anthropology’s main focus
-- Fieldwork: they do field work to go to those remote locations and try and understand
culture. Try and understand how and what kind of culture this so called “remote” group
--Remote location (most “other of others”
•Assumptions about space:
--the groups that they study are radically different. So a white man goes to study the
desert, so the group that they study is radically different from the culture that the
anthropologists come from.
-- they occupy discontinuous spaces, meaning, there is no connection between the
anthropologists culture and that particular group’s culture
--anthropologists do field work to study a completely different culture, the group that is
being studied seem to be inhabiting a space that is discontinuous from the anthropologist
-- theorize contact, conflict and contradiction from this starting point of discontinuity
Problems with space as neutral grid
•Borderlands and border crossing: there are spaces in our world that seems like we don’t
have distinctive groups. There are some fuzzy boundaries that are in our worlds.
•Culture difference within locality: there are culture differences within culture. For
example in India. There is a large degree of differentiated culture IN INDIA. There are
different groups in India
•Postcoloniality: For example, Canada and England. There is a way in which places like
Los Angeles, and London, we see Indian and Pakistani population. We see a
discontinuous space so the English in England are no longer just filled with English
people, there are Indians and Pakistanis as well.
•Power of topography conceals topography of power: there is s hierarchy of power in
which the topography is represented. Gupta defines this. There is distinctive bounded
culture and how this idea influences this idea is what anthropologists’ studies.