Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object

Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object

Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object

Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object

Synopsis

Fabian's study is a classic in the field that changed the way anthropologists relate to their subjects and is of immense value not only to anthropologists but to all those concerned with the study of man. A new foreward by Matti Bunzl brings the influence of Fabian's study up to the present.

Time and the Other is a critique of the notions that anthropologists are "here and now," their objects of study are "there and then," and that the "other" exists in a time not contemporary with our own.

Excerpt

First published in 1983, Johannes Fabian's Time and the Otherranks among the most widely cited books of a critical anthropology that has, in the course of the past two decades, gradually moved into the center of the discipline. But like other canonical texts written in this tradition (cf. Clifford and Marcus 1986; Marcus and Fischer 1986; Clifford 1988; Rosaldo 1989), Time and the Othercontinues to hold theoretical relevance, retaining the radical flavor of an urgent polemic. Praised by many as a path-breaking critique of the anthropological project, while met with apprehension by others in light of its uncompromising epistemological stance, it has become a fixture in the theoretical landscape of contemporary anthropology. The following introduction leads from an exposition of the book's argument and an analysis of its relation to Fabian's earlier writings to its contextualization in the critical anthropology of the 1970s and early 1980s. The piece concludes with a brief overview of anthropological developments in the wake of the initial publication of Time and the Other.

The Argument

Time and the Otheris a historical account of the constitutive function of time in Anglo-American and French anthropology. In contrast to prominent ethnographic accounts of culturally determined temporal systems (cf. Evans-

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