The history of anthropology remembers James Teit as a field assistant and man-on-the spot for Franz Boas. But in At The Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging
(University of British Columbia Press, 2019).
Wendy Wickwire turns this picture upside down, revealing Teit to be a superb ethnographer in his own right and a tireless political activist who advocated for the rights of Indigenous people. Drawing on thirty years of exhaustive research, she shows us that Teit exemplified an 'anthropology of belonging': an anthropology deeply rooted in a place and community, even if it is carried out by a settler. But more than this, At The Bridge
uses the thread of Teit's life to weave a truly synthetic story of the history of colonialism and dispossession in British Columbia as a whole.
In this podcast host Alex Golub talks with Wendy Wickwire about Teit, his his life, and the example he offers to anthropologists interested in an anthropology of belonging. They contrast Teit and Boas, and examine how Wickwire's book performs an anthropology of belonging itself, and discuss the how anthropologists can write for communities outside the academy.
is professor emeritus of history and environmental studies at the University of Victoria. She is the author of Stein: The Way of the River (with Michael M’Gonigle),
which won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award at the 1989 BC Book Awards Ceremony, and Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller (with Harry Robinson),
which won the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize for best regional book at the 1993 BC Book Awards Ceremony
Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is the author of the article "Welcoming the New Amateurs: A future (and past) for non-academic anthropologists" as well as other books and articles.