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Coyote Anthropology

Roy Wagner

Publication Year: 2010

Coyote Anthropology shatters anthropology’s vaunted theories of practice and offers a radical and comprehensive alternative for the new century. Building on his seminal contributions to symbolic analysis, Roy Wagner repositions anthropology at the heart of the creation of meaning—in terms of what anthropology perceives, how it goes about representing its subjects, and how it understands and legitimizes itself. Of particular concern is that meaning is comprehended and created through a complex and continually unfolding process predicated on what is not there—the unspoken, the unheard, the unknown—as much as on what is there. Such powerful absences, described by Wagner as “anti-twins,” are crucial for the invention of cultures and any discipline that proposes to study them. As revealed through conversations between Wagner and Coyote, Wagner's anti-twin, a coyote anthropology should be as much concerned with absence as with presence if it is to depict accurately the dynamic and creative worlds of others. Furthermore, Wagner suggests that anthropologists not only be aware of what informs and conditions their discipline but also understand the range of necessary exclusions that permit anthropology to do what it does. Sly and enticing, probing and startling, Coyote Anthropology beckons anthropologists to draw closer to the center of all things, known and unknown.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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p. iv

Table of Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book and its purpose or effect are based in large part upon an observation I made while teaching a course on the writings of Carlos Castaneda at the University of Virginia. The whole success of Castaneda’s work, either in the books or in teaching, depends exclusively on one thing, however else it may be illuminated or obscured by ...

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p. xiii

Most of us are products of social interactions and meaningful exchanges that have become so much parts of our reality that we could not isolate them even if we tried. The original Coyote anthropologist in Theodore Morrison’s composition class at Harvard. Erika, Jonathan, Wendi, and Graham (a native born Texan) help to round out ...

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1. Tricking Magic: The Anthropology of Coyote

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pp. 1-46

There once was a trader, a white man at the store back on the Rez, who was so good at tricking Indians they were a little bit proud of him. One day an Indian came up to the counter and said to the trader, “Now you are the cheatin’ wonder of the whole civilized world, but that one over there, he’s even better than you are...

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2. Expersonation: The Coyote of Anthropology

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pp. 47-102

Two ravens were racing their eyes. They were sitting on a bluff, detaching their eyes from their sockets (craack — POP) and sending them flying around the landscape. FOR FUN. Feeling the distances and perimeters of things. Then they would fly them back and secure them (POP — craack) back into their sockets...

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3. Obviation

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pp. 103-155

Three coyotes decided to take a train ride; they wanted to check out, well, maybe some sheep down the line. As they were buying their tickets they ran into three live wires, a.k.a. RAVENS, who were interested in currency and perhaps finding a nonconductor. The RAVENS bought only one ticket between them. “Why did you guys buy only one ticket?” asked the coyotes...

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4. The Book of Symmetries

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pp. 157-199

Who would believe there’s a pot of gold at the end of a RAINBOW? Which end? Is it like a mirror, that uses the possibility of an inside to distract that of an outside, and vice-versa? Surely there must be something there, but where, exactly, is ‘there?’ It was with thoughts like these that Coyote pursued his course, or maybe it was the other way around. “Not a RAINBOW in sight. Gotta keep lookin’”; and he went on and on...

E-ISBN-13: 9780803230071
E-ISBN-10: 0803230079
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803210820
Print-ISBN-10: 0803210825

Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 9 photos
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 703156115
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Coyote Anthropology

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Coyote (Legendary character) -- Legends.
  • Anthropology -- Philosophy.
  • Culture -- Philosophy.
  • Culture -- Semiotic models.
  • Castaneda, Carlos, -- 1931-1998 -- Criticism and interpretation.
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