This was a student comment page for Cultural Anthropology 2018-2019 when we read “Shakespeare in the Bush” by Laura Bohannan in the Reader for a Global Age. My most recent lecture on this article was in my Intro-to-Anthropology 2021 course accompanying the textbook Anthropology: What does it mean to be human?
I left student comments open, with one idea for a prompt:
By my estimation, “Shakespeare in the Bush” is second only to “The Nacirema” as the article by an anthropologist most likely to be assigned outside anthropology. It also gets used a lot within anthropology, as an introduction to anthropology in general or as a way of thinking about linguistic anthropology.
In recent years, like with the Nacirema, I’ve begun wondering if Bohannan’s article is still “working” well. Does it still serve to (in the terms of Guest’s textbook Essentials of Cultural Anthropology) “help people of different backgrounds better understand one another”?
What do you think?