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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Fieldwork, orality, text: ethnographic and historical fields of knowledge in colonial and postcolonial Gabon
Author:Cinnamon, John M.ISNI
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic term:Gabon
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/history_in_africa/v038/38.1.cinnamon.pdf
Abstract:This paper draws on David Henige's insights into the problem of 'feedback', in light of a key methodological preoccupation in anthropology - 'fieldwork'. In particular, it shows how ethnographic fields are formed over time through a layering process that involves ongoing cycles of intertwined oral and written traditions. The paper examines several examples of the ethnographic genealogy that have shaped both the present author's fieldwork and 'the field' as he encountered it. The first is the ethnography of the French missionary ethnographer, Henri Trilles. Trilles served in Gabon at the turn of the 20th century, wrote prolifically, and, in spite of his controversial views, continues to influence the Gabonese ethnographic field today. The second example turns to a number of ethnographic encounters with nonacademic Gabonese fieldworkers interested in the history, culture, and politics of northeastern Gabon. The paper also detects signs of Trilles's influence in their narratives about Fang culture and history. Together, these ethnographers significantly shaped the 'field' before the present author ever ventured into it. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]