Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 1949-2012

Michel-Rolph Trouillot passed away a few days ago on July 5, 2012.  Anthropology Report, edited by Jason Antrosio, has a page dedicated to tributes, memorials, and news about his passing.  Another page on the site has a nice bibliography of Trouillot’s work.  Antrosio has another must-read piece over at Living Anthropologically called The Headline We Should be Reading: Anthropology Changed Everything.  Some very strong points about the current state of affairs in anthropology today.  Antrosio wonders why, for starters, there has been relative silence among the anthropological community about the passing of Trouillot:

My sense is that it has a lot to do with timing–some of the leaders in the American Anthropological Association are attending international conferences but have promised a posting soon. Once the AAA gets the ball rolling, we should see more. So, although I am puzzled by a lack of postings on anthropology blogs–I’ve seen tributes mostly from archaeology, history, and Haitian sources–there will surely be due commemoration in its time. The larger issue is why we don’t read headlines about Trouillot and how anthropology changed everything.

That is the big question.  Why aren’t we reading about the impacts of Trouillot’s life and work in broader media outlets?  Definitely take the time to read that post.  I’m interested to hear what some of you think about this.

Also, if you have any comments, thoughts, or links about this news, please feel free to post them here.

Hat tip: thanks to SM reader CarlosFM for bringing this to my attention.  Much appreciated.


Ryan Anderson is a cultural and environmental anthropologist. His current research focuses on coastal conservation, sustainability, and development in the Californias. He also writes about politics, economics, and media. You can reach him at ryan AT savageminds dot org or @anthropologia on twitter.

2 thoughts on “Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 1949-2012

  1. Why the silence? I point you to something I just wrote in my response to Victor Grauer

    The fact of the matter is that anthropology has fractured into what is, in effect, a scattered clustering of esoteric hobbies.

    Anthropology is divided by topic (subfield) and geographical specialization. Lacking a coherent canon of recent work means that to every anthropologist, anthropology is whatever he or she happened to study while working with particular mentors at particular schools. Me, I’m an East Asianist, a Japan and China specialist, with topical interests in ritual, social networks, advertising and business anthropology. Trouillot sounds like an amazing anthropologist. Until CarlosFM brought his obituary to our attention, he was never on my radar.

  2. I faintly recall mentions of him during my undergrad (something about power and ethnography).

    Mentioned it because a) the post was interesting. Added one of his book to my wishlist; b) Ryan gave an opportunity to share it!

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