Within Cultural Anthropology such sensory experiences are part of ways ethnographers collect knowledge. Tim Ingold has written extensive work about how our human connection to the material world can be a vessel of knowledge. The perception we have about our surroundings informs the way we inhabit spaces and relate to all that is understood as nonhuman. Other notable ethnographers such as Annemarie Mol and Sarah Pink and have also contributed widely to the theoretical body of work on this topic. And ofcourse, the influential work of Donna Haraway on what is, and what does the Anthropocene cannot go unnoticed here. To a certain extent these works have been developed as way of an anthropology at home, moving away from the tendency to ‘go native’ elsewhere. In many ways, the discipline has largely moved on from seeking knowledge in the realm of Tristes Tropiques.
When particularly considering scholarship about the Caribbean, we may want to ask where do we stand with our collection of scholarship that seeks to understand the region in a variety of perceptions? If the quest is decolonizing of Caribbean theory, do we apply enough mindfullness in how to perceive the environment, the materialities and the ways they co-habit with human presence? In my attempt to see(k) new questions on roads that have been, I think there is urgency in practicing theory, mindfully.
__ Haraway, D. J. (2003). The companion species manifesto: Dogs, people, and significant otherness (Vol. 1). Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.
__ Ingold, T., & Vergunst, J. L. (Eds.). (2008). Ways of walking: Ethnography and practice on foot. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
__ Mol, A., Moser, I., & Pols, J. (Eds.). (2015). Care in practice: On tinkering in clinics, homes and farms (Vol. 8). transcript Verlag.
__ Pink, S. (2015). Doing sensory ethnography. Sage.
A version of this post was previously featured in the february 2019 issue of the Caribbean Studies Association Newsletter.