Anthropologists who have lost their senses write ethnographies
that are often disconnected from the worlds they seek to portray.
For most anthropologists, Stoller contends, tasteless theories are
more important than the savory sauces of ethnographic life. That
they have lost the smells, sounds, and tastes of the places they
study is unfortunate for them, for their subjects, and for the
The Taste of Ethnographic Things describes how, through
long-term participation in the lives of the Songhay of Niger,
Stoller eventually came to his senses. Taken together, the separate
chapters speak to two important and integrated issues. The first is
methodological-all the chapters demonstrate the rewards of
long-term study of a culture. The second issue is how he became
truer to the Songhay through increased sensual awareness.
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