Shakespeare in the Bush Introduces Anthropology

Originally published in 1966, Shakespeare in the Bush introduces anthropology to broader audiences. The article has appeared in many anthropology readers, such as the Reader for a Global Age. For additional analysis, see Shakespeare in the Bush & Laura Bohannan.

My most recent lecture on Shakespeare in the Bush was in my Intro-to-Anthropology 2021 course with Anthropology: What does it mean to be human? as a textbook:

This page on how Shakespeare in the Bush introduces Anthropology began my Introduction to Anthropology 2016 course. What was relatively unique about the 2016 version of Introduction to Anthropology was that I tried to introduce multispecies ethnography and the Anthropocene.

Specifically, I showed a slide of Eduardo Kohn’s book, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human. I even tried to describe the Ontological Turn! (I did teach Kohn in Cultural Ecology 2017.)

I also included an excerpt from Bruno Latour’s (2014) lecture “Anthropology at the Time of the Anthropocene

Can the conversation really change? Imagine the cocktail conversation:

What is your field?
I am an anthropologist.
Meaning?
Meaning I am studying people who live in the Anthropocene.
Do you mean me?
Yes, you, in addition to many others…

See? This is a very different definition from the idea that anthropologists study specific people or specific aspects of being human.

This was at about the same time as my first co-edited volume of Open Anthropology: Hello Anthropocene: Climate Change and Anthropology.

For my most recent attempt to explain ontology and epistemology–in an introductory course–see Taking Others Seriously which uses Tim Ingold’s Anthropology: Why It Matters:


Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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