Anthropologists are writers. We research, we teach, we write. However, our training is as anthropologists, not as writers. How then does the anthropologist become a writer? How do we move from functional, mechanical prose that communicates ideas and findings to writing as a craft? How do we write anthropology in a way that does justice to the stories we tell?
Writing well matters. We now have multiple volumes addressing writing in anthropology, on histories of ethnographic writing, on anthropologists coming into their own writing voices, and “how-to” writing guides—see my earlier post Anthropologists: Ready, Set, Write! for a discussion of these. But, we still need more conversation about writing and more spaces for collectively thinking through how and what we write, and why.
Our Writers’ Workshop series is designed to be just such a space. Launched last January in conjunction with the Savage Minds Writing Group, our initial Writers’ Workshop showcased essays by ten anthropologists—Robin Bernstein, Sienna Craig, Zoë Crossland, Kristin Ghodsee, Kirin Narayan, Michael Ralph, Matt Sponheimer, Gina Athena Ulysse, Bianca Williams, and myself—on aspects of the writing process. I am delighted to announce that we have an excellent group of contributors for this fall’s Writers’ Workshop series. Each Monday, I will post an essay from one of our guest authors. While we will not have a separate writing group accompanying the workshop, I invite all anthropologists to read the series and to join in the conversation as it unfolds this fall. A thank you in advance to this fall’s guest authors:
Here’s to another inspiring series. Let’s get writing!