restricted access 17. Triste Romantik: Ruminations on an Ethnographic Encounter with Philosophy

This chapter explores certain anthropological encounters with philosophy. It reflects on the author's early training as an anthropologist, as a learning how to return to philosophical informants, and thereby also tracks some of the shifts in the author's approach to ethnography and in philosophical sympathies. It is concerned with formulations of anthropological knowledge and scepticism, particularly those of Veena Das. The essay begins by staging a conversation between Martin Heidegger and Stanley Cavell and mediated by Das' notion of the 'descent into the ordinary.' It then turns to Franz Boas' notion of cosmographic science as a bridge between these thinkers and the author's own 'romantic' inclinations.