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After the Fact Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist by Clifford Geertz

After the Fact Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist

Part of the The Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures Series


After the Fact Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist by Clifford Geertz

In looking back on four decades of anthropology in the field, Geertz creates a personal history that is also a retrospective reflection on developments in the human sciences amid political, social, and cultural changes in the world.


'It is difficult to know what to do with the past,'
Geertz writes, but of his own past he has made an elegant, almost meditative volume of reflections. In prose that is sometimes liquid, sometimes faux

-Jamesian, Geertz looks back over the sites of his anthropological labors: Sefrou, in Morocco; Pare, in Indonesia; the University of Chicago; the Institute for Advanced Study, at Princeton...The reader is allowed to witness how fruitfully accident and idea have mingled in the making of one anthropologist's career. New Yorker This long-awaited professional memoir of anthropology's most illustrious demigods plays on the ambiguity of method in a curious discipline that began in the early twentieth century as something of a treasure hunt after lives and cultures in exotic, faraway places...Worked in between Geertz's ethnographic tales, anecdotes, and reminiscences of fieldwork in Sefrou and Pare is the engrossing story of a few key moments in American social science during the second half of the twentieth century as he participated in them. -- Nancy Scheper-Hughes New York Times Book Review After the Fact is a retrospective on a remarkable career, and on the worlds that shaped its characteristic contours. -- Benedict Anderson London Review of Books This memoir by the eminent cultural anthropologist functions at several levels. It is worth reading just for the well-chosen and narrated anecdotes from Geertz's fieldwork in Indonesia and Morocco. This book is also an anthropological critique of the extensive political-economic changes in the Third World over the past 40 years. On a more philosophical level, Geertz has written a series of meditative reflections on the nature of anthropological knowledge...Geertz shows the value of building patterns and connections from multiple, nuanced, first-hand observations of an anthropologist. -- Adan Quan Antioch Review Geertz's disarmingly casual [book is]...a history of his relationships with the towns in Indonesia and Morocco where he's done his most sustained fieldwork, cast in terms of a history of the ideas that have shaped that work...Its deftly rendered anecdotes always serve as illustrations of concepts...Elegant. -- Michael Gorra Transition A new book by Clifford Geertz is an event...[The] chapters on Java and Morocco...are marked by the impressive learning, the illuminating insights, the marvelous description of scene and event, the masterful summary of complex social history, and the evocative characterization of cultural heritage, as well as the elegant style, the pithy phrase, and the illuminating trope, that we have come to expect from vintage Geertz...In sum, an intellectual feast. -- Melford E. Spiro Society After the Fact is Clifford Geertz's Jerusalem-Harvard lectures, jointly sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University. Appropriate to its venue, the books addresses major questions, making strong theoretical and empirical claims. For that reason, After the Fact is a rather touching confession, even a testament. -- Paul Rabinow American Anthropologist An unabashedly honest ethnography that faces head-on the challenge of representing the 'other
in the social sciences

' 'post-postmodernist'
climate of uncertainty. As a founder of


...Geertz has already made an impressive contribution to the field. This book--a series of reflections on his fieldwork over a period of some 40 years in two locations: Pare, Indonesia, and Sefrou, Morocco--vibrantly demonstrates that ethnography can still be a viable and worthwhile enterprise...Brilliant. Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Clifford Geertz is Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th September 1996


Clifford Geertz

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Harvard University Press


208 pages


Social research & statistics
Development studies
Asian history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
African history



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