Hilary's Reviews > White Man Will Eat You: An Anthropologist Among the Imbonggu of New Guinea

White Man Will Eat You by William Edward Wormsley
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's review
Jan 16, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: anthropology, non-fiction, 2010
Recommended to Hilary by: Mahiri
Read from January 16 to February 28, 2010 , read count: 1

This ethnography was both enjoyable and informative. In particular, I enjoyed the epilogue which provided insight into how the Imbonggu life had changed over an absence of a mere five years! While the pain of change is evident within his writing it in no way diminishes the lessons that were learned during his initial stay there.

I enjoyed the parallels that he drew, once back in America. In particular the parallel between the Imbonggu study of vomit to determine what caused illness and the autopsies put things into perspective of me. I had been disgusted at hte prospect of people studying vomit, however, for a time I wanted to be the person performing autopsies and in no way was disturbed by that. Cultural relativism, how I love you.

All in all, I found this a more entertaining ethnography than the others I had read. Although the others were more helpful in deciphering the complexities of fieldwork, this one seemed more intensely personal. Also, I simply think that the Imbonggu were a more amusing case study than, say, the !Kung - as he was trying to live like them and not simply infiltrate them and hear their stories.

As a side note, the Leaky Cat story was thoroughly hilarious.

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01/23/2010 page 12
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