course materials


If, for ethnography even more than for other disciplines, it is already clear that pure science is a myth, we must in addition recognize that under such circumstances the desire to be pure scientists weighs nothing against this truth; working in colonized countries ethnographers, who not only come from the colonizing nation but are also representatives of that nation since it is the state which assigns our tasks, have less justification than anyone for washing our hands of the policies pursued by the state and its agents in respect of these societies which we choose as our field of study and for which, in our encounters with them, we have been careful if only out of professional astuteness to show the sympathy and open-mindedness which experience has shown to be indispensable to the smooth progress of research.

---Michel Leiris, «Lethnographe devant le colonialisme» Temps Modernes, August 1950: 359.

Science is a social field of forces, struggles, and relationships that is defined at every moment by the relations of power among the protagonists. Scientific choices are guided by taken-for-granted assumptions, interactive with practices, as to what constitutes real and important problems, valid methods, and authentic knowledge. Such choices also are shaped by the social capital controlled by various positions and stances within the field.

---Pierre Bourdieu, “The Peculiar History of Scientific Reason,” 1991.





ANTH 601, 2009
Dr. Maximilian C. Forte
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Concordia University, Montreal


course syllabus