REVIEWS of Feminist Fields - Ethnographic Insights
Habib, Jasmin. 2002. Book Review. Feminist Fields: Ethnographic Insights. Anthropologica XLIV: 309-311.
- The best essays offer exceptional insights and are accessible, reflexive, and most importantly for someone reading this text for its methodological contributions, ('ethnographic insights' being the title of the book), they challenge feminists to re-think the study of gender in anthropological terms. The book covers a range of topics in 17 essays, including the role of women and feminism in academia; the problematic representation of women's practices; the changing social and political economies and their effects on women; the frontiers of women's organizing and political practices; and reflexive feminism in the 'field.'
- The final chapter, Feminist Fields: Conversations To Be Continued" ... is not a typical conclusion for an edited collection. Rather, this chapter comprises an e-mail/fax 'multilogue' among the contributors, wherein they reflect upon the place of their work within anthropology and their thoughts as to the future directions of the relationship between feminism and anthropology. It is a conversation of hope, caution, and concern about the sometimes-problematic relationship of anthropology and feminism, now and in the future—a relationship continuously shaped by the tensions that often accompany feminist struggles with disciplinary boundaries....'Feminist Fields: Ethnographic Insights' attests to the dynamism of feminist anthropology in Canada today and its importance in the future.
- I enjoyed the way that generalized perspectives were contextualized. I also found the ethical and theoretical dilemmas, which the various authors encountered, to be of great interest. The book does fail to circle around a central, well-defined perspective. However, as the book does a good job of discussing and representing some of the difficulties involved in feminism in Anthropology at the moment, this would have been hard to avoid. As Sally Cole put it, 'A goal of the volume was to report on research by scholars who identify themselves as feminist ethnographers, who are engaged in the everyday lives of women, who write in ways that are accessible to a wide range of readers, and who are working to keep open the intellectual and social spaces within which women can continue to 'tell their stories' (p. 301, Feminist Fields: Ethnographic Insights).
- Young practitioners are to be found alongside more established scholars in sharing theoretical insights brought to life through first-person narratives and stories. Throughout 'Feminist Fields' there is a clear sense of the intellectual inspiration to be had from the practice of feminist anthropology and its emphasis on the power of thoughtful reflexivity in fieldwork and writing practices. 'Feminist Fields' provides an invaluable, highly recommended service to women's studies, anthropology, and the feminist movement through showcasing knowledge formerly forgotten, ignored, and actively silenced.