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Annotated Bibliography

Below is an example of an annotated bibliographic citation based on the Jobson article that I discussed in class on Tuesday. Bibliographies are always listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. Note the citation formatting. Every punctuation mark is important as are the indentations, italics, and spacing.

As you can see, I do not include in the annotation all of the bullet points that I highlighted in class. For example, I included the author’s credentials and social location because it is significant that his radical position is coming from someone at one of the top anthropology departments at a very prestigious US university. As a black anthropologist (and I did not include this but I might have – also as a “junior faculty” – ie he does not have tenure) he is challenging an earlier generation of predominantly white, professionally powerful, male anthropologists. The scholarship that he is citing includes a new generation of anthropologists, including some BIPOC who are contesting the traditions of the discipline. Since this is an example and not for a research project, I did not include the relevance of the text for research.

You should include those aspects of the text that are significant to your interests. Your goal is to capture key themes as concisely as possible. Some guides suggest a 3 paragraph format: summary, evaluation, reflection. I wove these 3 aspects together throughout the annotation. Whatever makes sense to you is fine with me. Although I said 150-200 words, this is not written in stone. Some sources suggest lengthier annotations. I generally recommend that you be as succinct as possible – generally not longer than a page (My example is 215 words).

Jobson, Ryan Cecil. 2020. “The Case for Letting Anthropology Burn: Sociocultural Anthropology in 2019.” American Anthropologist 122 (2): 259-71.

This provocative review published in one of the major anthropology journals in the US by a Black anthropologist at the prestigious University of Chicago is sure to provoke, anger and inspire difficult but long overdue discussions in the discipline. Jobson’s call to reimagine traditional (and I would add predominantly white and male) anthropological questions, assumptions, theories, and methods is a welcome and necessary plea at a moment of cascading calamities for the planet but also for the discipline of anthropology itself. The author argues that in order to survive, anthropology must reject the tradition of liberal humanism and instead embrace a radically new, relevant, and engaged anthropology that is capable of confronting the present “ecological catastrophe and authoritarian retrenchment.” What would it mean, Jobson asks, for anthropologists to dialogue and work collaboratively across boundaries to produce different kinds of

knowledge that explore complex and contested spaces and places? He cites key ethnographic research published in 2019 that grappled imaginatively with the twin crises of climate change and authoritarian governance. Arguing against technological and state “fixes” and in favor of an anthropology that confronts its origins “in the wake of the plantation,” Jobson suggests that “letting anthropology burn” could lead us to a radical, necessary, abolitionist anthropology that embraces a “new humanism as its political horizon.”

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