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April 14 , 2009

Writing in the San/d

Autoethnography among Indigenous Southern Africans


The San/Bushmen are one of the most studied people in anthropology, subjects of research going back one hundred years, of documentaries, and even of popular movies (The Gods Must Be Crazy). This intriguing new work on the San is a team-based ethnography, collaborative (one of the writers is married to a member of the community), reflexive (the authors become characters in the book themselves), and literary (with poetry, dialogue, interviews, photography, and first person accounts, as well as traditional ethnographic description). In this book, South Africans are studying other South Africans, in a new environment in which many San are no longer hunter gatherers, but are activist and engaged in cultural tourism. It will be an exciting counterpoint to traditional ethnographies and stories about the San people, for anthropologists and Africanists.

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