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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/d9vk-fj04


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Truth in Craft and Crafting Truths: Translating Sensory Qualities to Artisan Goods



economic anthropology


What do artisans have to say about the goods they produce? And what truths are they conveying, intentionally or otherwise? Considering the embodied experience as a source of a given individual’s truth, this panel explores how informants convey their lived realities through the artisanal goods they produce. In particular, we pay attention to how such goods are described and by extension conferred an identity that distinguishes them from any other. Of concurrent concern is how craft speaks to larger embodied truths regarding questions of place, identity, and changing environmental, political, and/or sociopolitical contexts. Contributing to ongoing sustainability discourse, this panel considers how the idea of truth weaves throughout our comparative, multi-sited research projects. How do narratives of global phenomena differ within and across different research sites? Around what features do certain words, phrases, or conceptualizations coalesce around shared perceptions of realities as people and products adapt to forms of change? We present case studies from all over the world, including Colombia, France, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest Coast, Romania, and the United States, as we consider these questions. Moreover, our individual papers speak to address additional concerns, including varying perspectives of climate change; similarities or differences in terms of crafting a given good; the availability (or lack thereof) of different materials, ingredients, etc.; and differences in sensory terminology, experience, and categories. As anthropologists, we must contend with parsing informants’ culturally relative and contextually specific experiences, while also negotiating them in search of generalizable truths. By turning to artisanal goods and the words used to describe them, we aim to make sense of the material and symbolic realities they inhabit.


Transcript English (automatic)

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