November 03, 2017, 3:00 p.m.–November 06, 2017, 5:00 p.m.

Ruth Behar: Entrusting Myself to the Beauty & Danger of Life | Journeys of an Ethnographic Writer

GSIB Auditorium

Horizons of Knowledge Lecture

There is beauty and danger in any ethnographic journey. Ethnographers entrust themselves to the unpredictable. Our writing is in perpetual motion between the desire to depart somewhere and the desire to return from somewhere. In my lecture I will examine this continuum, discussing real and imaginative journeys and how they have come together in my exploration of vulnerability and the search for empathy.

“Regimes of Circulation” is a year-long lecture series bringing linguistic anthropologists, media scholars, and performance studies scholars to IUB campus through CaMP Anthropology, with support from the Institute for Advanced Study. The speakers in the series all address how people circulate knowledge, call forth publics, and use communication to craft forms of politics and control. The series is rooted in the foundational assumption that to communicate is also to coordinate with others, and with their specific contexts, roles, strategies, and beliefs. This type of coordination is at the heart of how people form identities that appear to be stable across multiple contexts. The series aims to create an intellectual community across the community and to further IUB’s international focus by bringing in esteemed speakers who conduct their research outside of the United States, to interact with our students, faculty, and wider community.

Anthropologist, writer, filmmaker and poet Ruth Behar is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Award, she is known for her interdisciplinary thinking about the search for home in our global era and her bold approach to writing in blurred genres that mix ethnography, memoir, fiction, and poetry.

Her books include Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart. She is co-editor, with Deborah Gordon, of Women Writing Culture, which has become a classic text on women’s literary contributions to anthropology. Ruth frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys. Her documentary film Adio Kerida has screened nationally and internationally. Her debut novel, Lucky Broken Girl, has just come out.

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