•  17
    Antinomies of representation: Anthropology as an ekphrastic process
    HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4. 2014.
    This article addresses a profound anthropological issue: how do representation and the represented relate? What motivates or warrants the inevitable disconnection? It is a mistake to dismiss representation as misguided, oppressive, or misleading. Representation is part of cognition generally and natural language in particular. As such it is inescapable and part of how we think and talk about the world. Moving between visual and linguistic anthropology I suggest that photographs and portraits pro…Read more
  •  10
    Presenting sixty theoretical ideas, David Zeitlyn asks ‘How to write about anthropological theory without making a specific theoretical argument.’ To answer, he offers a series of mini essays about an eclectic collection of theoretical concepts that he has found helpful over the years. The book celebrates the muddled inconsistencies in the ways that humans live their messy lives. There are, however, still patterns discernible: the actors can understand what is going on, they see an event unfoldi…Read more
  •  8
    Lévy-Bruhl and ontological déjà vu: an appendix to Vigh and Sausdal
    Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford-Online 6 213-217. 2014.
    Vigh and Sausdal have recently (2014) raised some concerns about the ontological turn or what I call ‘de Castristism’. They have written cogently about the prospects and problems of anthropological ontologies. This piece is intended as a postscript or appendix to their article.
  •  8
    Excursions in Realist Anthropology: a merological approach
    with Roger Just
    Cambridge Scholars Press. 2014.
    Introduction available from Cambridge Scholars Press at link below
  •  7
    Cite, plagiarize, pass-off: Deixis, bibliographic imposture and photography
    Philosophy of Photography 11 (1-2): 121-132. 2020.
    In this essay I want to take some metaphors seriously. I want to push at their limits and ask whether this exercise can help us think differently about photographs and their relationship to what they depict. (Should it be ‘what they depict’ or ‘what they are seen as depicting’? The choice of phrasing depends on theoretical position: is depiction inherent in the image, or is it seen by the viewer?). The moel of citationality based on Cadava’s work is developed by exploring in more detail the var…Read more
  •  5
    Looking Forward, Looking Back
    History and Anthropology 26 381-407. 2015.
    This paper surveys the disparate literatures on time, and the relative paucity of metaphors available (based on spatial analogues or mirroring past and future onto one another). Parallels between approaches to the past and future are considered and different intellectual traditions surveyed in futurology, memory, history (chronotopes), archaeology and philosophy. Causation across time, how the past affects the present, how the future may affect present and the past are considered as ways of bett…Read more
  •  2
    Both Banen and Mambila in Cameroon use spiders in divination. The intellectual practice of the divinatory technique is related to the different sociological contexts of divination. Relative freedom of interpretation and the posing of questions overnight among the Banen correlates with its political unimportance. Conversely among the Mambila the interpretation of the diviner is rule bound, and many simple questions may be asked in quick succession. The results provide important evidence in th…Read more
  •  1
    This book offers a major contribution to the study and analysis of divination, based on continuing fieldwork with the Mambila in Cameroon. It seeks to return attention to the details of divinatory practice, using the questions asked and life histories to help understand the perspective of the clients rather than that of the diviners. Drawing on a corpus of more than 600 cases, David Zeitlyn reconsiders theories of divination and compares Mambila spider divination with similar systems in the are…Read more
  • Garfinkel’s techniques of ethnomethodological analysis permit a focus on ‘moments of crisis’ in dialogue. It is at such moments that the ‘negotiation of meaning’ is clearest. These ideas are applied to the analysis of Mambila ‘spider’ divination. Only binary questions may be posed. It is shown that in their interpretations to answers received, diviners redefine contradictions as calls to explore new possibilities. Contradictions in discourse serve to give us ‘pause for thought’ and constitu…Read more