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Anna Pertierra, an anthropologist that warms your heart

bibliography, By Paul Ryer, Consumption & material culture, daily life, new article No Comments »

Impressive as the varied, proliferating scholarship on contemporary Cuba is, it is rare that I’ve found a piece as much of a page-turner, as provocative, personally risky, and so true to the experience of doing ethnography as this article, “Anthropology that warms your heart: on being a bride in the field,” by Anna Cristina Pertierra.  (Anthropology Matters Journal 2007, vol. 9 (1)).  As well as getting us thinking and talking about local (Cuban) entanglements, it could make an interesting starting point for a class on methods and ethics.  Thanks to Anna Cristina for writing and sharing this piece, which I find hard to classify; in some ways, in the mode of Behar’s Vulnerable Observer, but in other ways, not at all… The article is to be reprinted in a forthcoming Caribbean Studies Press volume (with other Cuba-related pieces as well), Field Identities in the Caribbean, ed. by Erin Taylor.

Other writings by Anna Pertierra include: “Creating order through struggle  in revolutionary Cuba.”In Anthropology and the Individual: A Material Culture Perspective, (Daniel Miller, ed) Macmillan 2010. “Private pleasures: Watching videos in post-Soviet Cuba,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol 12, no. 2, pp. 113-130. This article traces circuits of distribution and consumption of videocassette recorders (VCRs) and videocassettes in Cuba, which until April 2008 were not available for retail sale, and were usually sourced through black market or informal means. Inventar: Recent Struggles and Inventions in Housing in Two Cuban Cities,” by Patricio del Real and Anna Cristina Pertierra, in Buildings & Landscapes, vol. 15 (Fall, 2008).  And “En Casa: Women and Households in Post-Soviet Cuba,” in the Journal of Latin American Studies (2008), 40:743-767. This paper argues that the household has become a renewed space of significance for Cuban women in the post-Soviet period. It draws from existing scholarship and ethnographic fieldwork conducted with women in the city of Santiago de Cuba to discuss the effect of post-Soviet crisis and reform upon women’s domestic practices, the management of domestic economies, and longstanding gender ideals that link women to the domestic sphere.

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