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Barbara Myerhoff's groundbreaking work in reflexivity and narrative ethnography broke with tradition by focusing not on the raw ethnographic data, but on her interaction with those she studied. Myerhoff's unfinished projects, including her final talks on storytelling, ritual, and the "culture of aging and Yiddishkeit," offer a magisterial summary of her life's work.
Cover Image Credit: Photograph by Bill Aaron
"Stories as Equipment for Living achieves a nice balance between preserving Myerhoff's work in its original form and reconstructed contexts, but presenting it in a manner relevant to readers a generation after her death. The book documents Myerhoff's growing involvement with Jewish culture, the actual process of anthropological work through field notes, and the picture of how she always was bouncing the fine details of this combined professional and personal venture off the 'big questions' of anthropology in its broadest sense."
—Harvey E. Goldberg, Sarah Allen Shaine Chair in Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Israel
"Master of the third voice, the voice of collaboration, Myerhoff is at once a consummate listener and inspired storyteller. This book offers a rare and luminous opening into the working process and wisdom of one of the great anthropologists of the twentieth century."
—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Professor of Performance Studies at New York University and author of They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust
"Myerhoff and her collaborators have given her 'Hasidim', her disciples old and new, a final and precious gift."
—Jonathan Boyarin, The Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the University of Kansas and author of Thinking in Jewish
"These essays capture the rhythm of Barbara Myerhoff's words and her vivid and distinctive train of thought, bringing the reader into the classroom of one of anthropology's finest lecturers. As an anthropologist with a poet's gift for language, she utilizes the tools of ethnography and extraordinary powers of observation—a remarkable 'ethnographic eye'—to explore the outward expressions and inner lives of the Fairfax neighborhood of L.A.. These stories are not only glorious introductions to the study of culture, but provide in their revelations a reason for studying it. They are required reading for anyone passionate to know what an anthropologist can teach us about communities and ultimately about ourselves."
—Steve Zeitlin, Director, City Lore: the New York Center for Urban Folk Culture
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