While I’m sure many readers of this blog have read their work before, it was not until this summer that I had a chance to meet Richard and Sally Price. Sally and Richard are anthropologists who work on historical anthropology, aesthetics, colonialism, and Afro-American culture with an emphasis on the Francophone variety. Although years ago I had read The Birth of African American Culture (which RP wrote with Sidney Mintz), it was really meeting them that led me to sit down and read Sally’s new book Paris Primitive and their short Prickly Paradigm pamphlet on Melville Herskovit’s fieldwork. Both are really wonderful: archly written, thoroughly researched case studies that keep their nose very close to the ground without being afraid to tell a good story. SP’s Paris Primitive in particular is a very close caste study of French academic/bureaucratic infighting lined with a certain Gallic inability to resist flamboyance that is delightful.
But beyond brazen endorsements of R&SP this blog entry does have a point: “The Price’s website”:http://www.richandsally.net/works.htm is among the best that I have yet seen for an anthropologist. It does a great job of explaining to you who they are personally without being gratuitously narcissistic, it provides lots and lots of ways to learn about their publications (including pictures of their covers), it has their CVs, and it is available in French and Portuguese, the languages of their research. Simple, honest, well-designed, and informative.
Compare “their publication page”:http://www.richandsally.net/works.htm to “”Arjun Appadurai’s”:http://www.appadurai.com/publications.htm. In one the design works to let you read about the books, in the other the content is squeezed into a narrow column in order to show off the design.
Perhaps the difference is that S&RP’s site is “built by people who specialize in supporting authors”:http://www.authorsguild.net/ while Appadurai’s is not. But in my opinion their website is a perfect example of the sort of ‘web presence’ an academic should maintain.