From Fesiten to Fesibuku: The Changing Uses of Saamaka History
Richard Price is the Duane A. and Virginia S. Dittman Professor Emeritus of American Studies, Anthropology, and History at the College of William & Mary. The paper presented for discussion begins with the largely-unfulfilled longings of 1960s ethnographers to be able to “give something back” to the people they studied and learned from. It then traces my own unexpected and growing involvements in attempts by the Saamaka People to harness international human rights instruments in their favor. A discussion of the tensions between human rights discourse and anthropological theory comes next, illustrated by my own courtroom experiences. In the wake of their most recent court victory, the Saamaka People requested Sally Price and me to translate First-Time into their own language so it could be distributed in Saamaka schools. The paper ends with discussion of the challenges—linguistic (and orthographic) as well as substantive—involved in this project. What will Fesiten mean to a generation of Saamakas accustomed to communicating through Facebook?
Co-sponsored by the Program in Anthropology and History