: Anita Spring
: Meredith (Penny) Rucks
: Washoe Ethnographers
: Linda Sommer
: Penny Rucks
Meredith (Penny) Rucks: Thts why... to see when th
important. They don't determILine everything long oneof course, in.... But
I thAnita Springeed to give really proper guidance. And....
S: S .
S1-----Are "you on record?
5 S: OK. So... I mean, I think things like that are quite
important. They don't determine everything, of course, in.... But
I think that we need to give really proper guidance. And....
R: Well, you said you got a standard...
S: I mean, I have a whole field wardrobe. Now, obviously,
Anita Spring 4-2
since I work in many places, that wardrobe is for hot and cold
and dressy and undressy... [laughter]
S: ---2. and all those kinds of things. And so... E ,
for me, it goes something like this: I expect to meet people from
all categories and stations of life, not just go talk to a couple
of people in a village. S9E==aeto get...
*-7. you have to get --thvillage you toget th
__ .. et cetera, et cetera. So obviously... so it's going
to range from, you-know, having fancy things to go meet people in
S: .7. and that's usually business suit. It's a
>S: ... all over. And for women that's a jacket.
-- ... and, you kea w, a skirt and a nice blouse.
Anita Spring 4-3
S: e~grkneow. !t= 0 talk about John Malloy[p. and how
that's changed in the last twenty years from,..
S you eow, the matched suit to now a contrasting
S- : ... ... ..1 that's what he says in his new book. I
R: Oh. OK.
S: And his old book; I've read that, too.
But, yo~5u the standard business dress clothing for
both men and women. That means that all men need to take a sport
S: ... or a suit to the field.
S: [laughter] And a tie...
R: ... and some slacks that are not jeans.
S: OK. And that means that a woman needs to take...
R: And some shoes that aren't tennis shoes.
S: And... or desert boots.
S: 'r thongs or sandals. OK. So you need that business
_: NNow, every time you meet people from government and the
higher officials, they're going to do one other thing: they're
going to invite you to a social activity.
S: Now, for men, you wear the same outfit; maybe you
change your shirt. [laughter]
Re --- Yas- i 7 7.
But for women, .
S. ... you need a pretty, yowFnpow, dress.
-7. .. or two or three,...
>... because you cannot wear the same thing to every
Anita Spring 4-5
S: ? Men ca
Because they're all going to invite you.).
... to some kind of social event, and every agency's
going to have something.
S: So you need that whole conglomeration.
S: In fact, a friend that's just going off to do a
Fulbright, he and his wife, in south Africa,...I saw them, and I
told... I said to her, "Did you pack your evening purse?"
And she said, "By god, you're right."
S: And she'd been to south Africa before. I said, "You're
going to be at the university."
S: "There-r-you're going to be invited to people's
S: "You know, you're not going to take the purse that
Anita Spring 4-6
you qW,,t the central market...
... buying fish with to the---y -e- tow, someone's
house or to the chancellor's reception for the Fulbrighters."
R: Yes. And your success in entrance and all of that and
your introductions to people, key people that you need to talk
R: ... really matter. And it's beyond, I think
particularly in the kind of work that you've been doing, it's
S: Particularly important. And on the other hand,...
R: ... important, because you're trying to change... or
influence policies in some cases.
S: Well, that's true. And you're trying to... and
anthropologists are always trying to get entree ...
... whether it's their visa renewed,..
R^ ---LJ s P- ^ ____ ""
__- ... wI-g.-gte r or if they're trying to get an
introduction or if they're trying to get a~.-into the place that
... for sale... I mean, the most mundane things,..
-?... as well as.... And... but they're all really
important things. Or they're trying to negotiate a permission..
< '5 ... or they have a problem cashing a check.... I mean,
all of these things.
S: They will look at you, and if, ye'&kirew... no offense
against the Peace Corps,.
_-~.: .. but unfortunately, people had very limited
S: ... and were in often very rural areas and were at one
point very young, student types..
: .... and were allowed, so to speak..
... to run around in jeans and T-shir
S--^sj ... to run around in jeans and T-shirt-s
R: Well, and that... what... but that was part of the
eccentric... I mean, they were...
S: That was part of the experience.
R: ... that's was the Peace Corps tribe. [laughter]
S- That was th Peacc Corps trib
S: And, see, the Peace Corps tribe and the anthropology
.. especially the archaeologists ...
~: ... were very similar.
?S: And in graduate school, and at least what I see on this
campus, people... that they're in that tribe, definitely.
S: But you have... well, yjtr~ cow, they have got to
understand that when they go to these other countries and work
with other people, most people are not in that tribe.
7S7: They... and they are not impressed..
S: ... when they see people looking like that.
R: But... and also it helps to... not only is it courteous
and a matter of diplomacy, but it's also a matter of expressing
and establishing your credibility, isn't it, as a professional
S: Well, I think so, too. And then the other thing that ..
S: C--. tin I havelspent a lot of time with -r -yu
get-to--- t--'s the officials and the government in the city...
S: otrt .. it-may-also be
S: or... b yt ik ew, it may also be at the regional
and local level.
: But when you get down to talking... being in the
communities and the villages and local people, then the notion of
decorum and modesty for women is very important. So, a aew,
having skirts that when you sit down and interview people,
[laughter] don't reveal very much of your legs, for example, or,
god forbid, your thighs.
S: Having blouses that, you know, are not revealing. l4-
very important. And if you're in certain places, of course,
covering your shoulders and arms and other places--that's not
important, but the legs are very important. And so, I mean, I do
things like travel with scarves.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: Or, you know, in Africa I had a lot of these Ci Ci7
chjtanl [tp?] cloths--wrappers-...
S: .--..a Rhich I might not be personally wearing that
day but I always had with me as part of my field gear. And the
first thing I do is to walk into that... put it on.
S: And then when you sit down, you are completely swathed
in cloth from waist to ankles.
There's not a question.
R: Ye s-1
~ 3;cu oTknow. And then if you carry a matching one, you can
put it over your shoulders both for cold, but any kind of modesty
?S: -Angnu... and it's fine,...
Rj-- ffn. /
Anita Spring 4-11
S: ..-.e- ne. And it really make... people... it's
important. People understand that. They know that you know.
S Th1-tb--s a.-. then becomes a non-issue..
S ... in terms of your interaction with them. So I'm a
real big believer in that.
R: Well, certainly, if you were getting misdirection from
Fulbright in 1996, it's not surprising that somebody hadn't
really thought out what a woman was a going to wear in the field
in 1965, talking to the Washoe. [laughter]
S: Yes. Yes. So I mean, if you were to write that list
again, you would say, "Dainty shoes.
7--. and frilly, mid-calf-length,...
.": -..? pastelly color5...
R: Modest and feminine and....
S: ... modest, feminine dresses." This is not what a
budding anthropologist wants to hear.
R: No. And it's still, i1Bt~ s l .. it's preferable to
wear a dress to go.... Although many of the, though, younger
Washoe women, you know, in their thirties and whatever are also
wearing... beginning to wear pants...
R: .or, o2 w, dinners and things like that,
with a dress blouse. But it's still... the older people still
... with pleasure,eu-1w, "
: ... if you bother to wear a dress,...
R: ... but.... Yes, it's critical--the whole issue of
dress. [laughter] It's huge.
S: Well, you know, it's funny. I can just see a budding
anthropologist getting a list that suggests a frilly dress and
being completely horrified.
S: Whereas I wasn't horrified; I was just... oh, I just
couldn't wait to find the desert boots, because I thought it was
going to be the rugged... you know.
R: Oh, yes. The Gobi desert! [laughter]
S: Yes. Try to, you know, expedition... because that's the
expectation. Of course, it wasn't anything like that.
R: So to come with your desert boots and end up at the
Basque Hotel must have been a real....
S: And need the gingham dress. But that's another aside,
S: But I'm thinking of the issue of women students at the
I had a student come up to me just last term who was
being interviewed, and she said, "What do you think I should
wear?" And this is a student who came to class... well, here at
the University of Florida, where shorts is a norm.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: But she wabL be some kind of T-shirt and shorts and
tennis shoes. I said, "You need a business suit.'
7S: "If you don't have one, get a jacket and a skirt."
A 1 A
^iI. CL J?. L t J^ j -
And she looked at me. "Do I have to have a skirt?"
S: And, -fy c i w, she went on and on and on. And-+te
answer ia,- "DcL"yn--' I said, "Well, do you want the job?
S: 'r not? Do you want to bother going through the
R s Yes.
S--S: "The choice is yours. I'm not requiring you to do
R: Right. What did she end up doing; do you know?
S: I don't know the answer.
R: Yes. And what was -a i:ntor... -was she interviewing for
an academic job...?
S: No, no, no. This is an undergraduate..
R-:- -- e= -'- -
S: C who was getting her bachelor's degree and was going
through these interviews for 1 % probably some company.
R: Yes. Oh, oh, I see.
A it+- C! i
S: So these students are affronte ..
S: < when they're told that they should, yea1-jw, get
z: 4 for these things. So, L3m=p2 i, we have gyu-ow,
all these anthropology students.... And I tell all my female
students--I have a lot of them--...
... when I send them to the field, .
S... to take dressy clothes and to, r-au1ew, take nice
things--obviously, something they can then wash and iron
themselves, as opposed you know, dry-cleaned.
: But, P-T ow -and_ all the.- a I think they look at
me in disbelief.
I feel that I have to mention it, because I know
they're going to take jeans and shorts...
C p ... and T-shirts. And they're going to feel... you
know, they're going....
R: Well, literally not be able to go some places.
S: They're not going to be able to go some places.
7 And they're going to have some problems, because I know
they're going to be invited to all those things. So I think it's
really important to have that. e ,~gyFr izh et stuff that you
want to wear in the villagesA I ave my dressy stuff that I take.
What I call my... and-hg jstust part of my regular
wardrobe at any time.
S: I make mistakes,...
S: by the way.
.,7I had one dress or one suit that I took to Kenya, and
it's one of these, you know, avant-garde, Carole Little,
-r ... kinds of things things. [Begrin to cough.-n asksa]
Can yuspit for a minute?[tap recorder off; long pause;
ape rnorder k But it had different fabrics, and so it
kind of looked like a.... As I saw it in the Kenyan context, it
kind of looked...
R: Oh... patched[?]?
S: ... piecemeal, patched.... Whereas here, you know, it
was the height of fashion. I bought it at the nicest department
store in Gainesville and so forth.
: And it was a dark color and... but these different
fabrics. And so... and it was easy to maintain, so I took it with
me. And I wore it...
... once or twice, and then$ it just didn't work.
R: No, I can see, because a lot of the stuff that is
trendy... well, and some of the styles now that are basically
S: Yes. Well, that would not work
R: Y- y.'Yea. -"
S- ut it just did not work-
R: Ye-s. _
S: at was a bad choice
S: But the stuff for actual fieldwork, I mean...
depending on the climate, of course, but cotton is very goo
S: You know, silk, polyester--bad.
S: A long, full skirt--very good.
-a-_ s .
S: sPockets in the long full skirt--even bette
S: 5put your camera lens, put your p ...
Rj Y .C!. ^ __ - ---- ~~~~
S. Really an important thing to have a good... good field
skirts with pockets, mid-calf length,..
R -----e-e s ---
.. no matter how they look,...
R: Yes. Can you find these things?
S: ... and dark color. Very hard to find.
R: an idea for a spinoff business. [laughter]
S: Oh, yes. Field clothes for field expeditions.
Obviously, a shirt that had pockets would also be good for
females. They don't exist frequently. Certainly, jackets with
A: Really important.
R: And long sleeves you could roll up or...?
S: If the... depending .
8 the climate.
S: I went to Somalia and made the mistake of taking a few
polyester blouses, because they washed up easily.
C S And it was... let's see, that was 1987, -ac-- the
blouses in that era had these little shoulder pads in them. Well,
I never thought of a shoulder pad... even though I'm from
S: ... and the polyester as, x;Eanw, being
Anita Spring 4-20
extraordinarily hot. But when yy<2 in the ninetiesth~fhi...
... without air-conditioning,...
R:--------Y ,s .
I could' ... I almost asphyxiated one day, wearing
a short-sleeve, open-at-the-neck polyester with some little
shoulder pads in it, the shoulder pads probably adding five
: 2. .body temperatureki 9 ng So that was an
absolutely wrong garment.
: s A=is3p. -. I went through a point after that trip of
owning a couple of cotton slip ..
S: ../to wear under a skirt,...
S: because the standard slips that almost all American
women have are made out of nylon.
R: Very hot. --
^~"S: Very hot.
SNot to mention cotton underwear, cotton bras,.
S: <- any of those things for hot climates,..
S: because yo .. they're just unbelievably hot..
S: ..:--in hot climates.
R- t;====Ri.? t. + J1
S: OK. And contrary, iEthiopia, being at high
S: very cold, remembering to take gloves, mittens,...
S: ..2 long johns,...
S: anything... stockings to use a layer ...
S: ... et cetera, et cetera, that you could layer upon
layer upon layer.-- cL --
S: So, you know, I think you really have to strategize for
village community.... Oh, and then there's also, in the village
itself, when you're dealing with village people, there will be
days when they are going on expedition, so to speak.
S: So they're going to dress down.
1R .. ,_ Yez ,1-Ye
S _nnd that's when you can wear the jeans and the T-
S: They expect you, even if you look nice usually)...
j: -nd you have to know...
S: .. how to get to th .
S: .7 state, as well. So when you go... like, you're
going to collect something in the bush, ..
R--- Yes. -Y-s __-_-!s-s
S: .you can't wear the nice stuff that you do to visit
them in their homes.
S: So they expect you to know that distinction, ...
S: .,.because they're making that distinction.
R: Right. You have to have "field clothes," the bush.
S: Yes. And then they have clothes for their own
ceremonies and rituals, so it just may be a step up, or maybe
they save one blouse. It may not be a lot.
S: -f.,%o they expect that when you go, when you're
invited to that, you're not going to wear the same thing...
S: that you wore when you were interviewing them. So
ht~R/4 there's that range almost everywhere. I mean, we're not
really dealing with people who just have; or refugees who have
one shirt on their back...
: ... in most places.
S: They don't have a lot of clothing, but J-he_. ..
everybody makes that distinction..
R,_fi ys .
S: -- it seems to me.
R: Yes. Yes. Well, and it is... it's just so primarily
disrespectful to not..
R: > be observant of that.
S: ... a lot of it stems from this notion that we could...
we should just take a very small amount of luggage...
S: when we go someplace. And I know the men,
especially male anthropologists, are so proud of themselve...
S: .- that they have these tiny suitcases,...
S: .. hich, when they open up, contain two ties, two
shirts, some underwear, and a jacket, .
S: C--/which they then proceed to wear, yuItn w, to the
S: ../ and to go collecting specimens in the bush.
S: And they are so happy with themselves that they can get
away with this stuff, -yeot-kow. You cannot go, and you cannot
take these appropriate things and put them in, ot-k- a
: It's a ludicrous idea.
R: Right. So you do not travel light.
S: I don't travel light. And I am...
R: And you make no apologies for it.
S: I make no apol
R- -s--e-s. -
S: can't pick up my suitcase, so I have pay people. So I
S ... that particular.).
S:7 part is connected. On the other hand, I get to a
place; I have all these different things;...
S:-- I am so happy. I just operate
S I don't have to worry about them.
R? Rigt i RJiht .
The worst thing is to get misinformation like I got
S: .<- not have the things I needed...
S: .?. and then spend my time either trying to get them or
worrying about them.
S: And this is counterproductive, so.
S .. I think we should do a much better
briefing of our students...
S: 7 .. and colleagues who, y=a:olpw, go to these various
countries or parts of the U.S. or work with various, -y<- as
groups of people..
S: ... to understand that.
R: And I think it's interesting that you're reinforcing
what some other Africanists has said that... in particular...
and I know it's true in South America, as well, is that there's
an extremely stratified dress code and in....
S: It's true in the Caribbean.
R: Oh, yes. Yes.
S: Yes. In Asia. I mean, I can't think of any place were
it isn't true.Except at college campus, except it's true between
administrators, faculty, and students. It's just not true amongst
the student population. That's a real...
7- ... homogeneous group, and so then they think, "Well,
R: Right. "This is my wardrobe for life."
C-:R: "Particularly if I'm an anthropologist."
S: Yes. "Particularly if I'm an anthropologist."
S: So anyway, that's an interesting one.
R: That's very good.
S: Yes. I did another mistake, too. I had some dresses
made in C8te d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast, in 1980. They were absolutely
beautiful. I had been a guest of the president of the country and
had stayed in the palace. Nixon and the Pope had been the guests
prior to myself.
S: And they had taken me to the dressmaker, and I had
these gorgeous dresses that still fit me very well on some later
expeditions... [laughter] trips to Africa. So, therefore, I took
them. Guess what? They were out of style.
R: Oh, yes.
S: So this notion that, -v1-le w, you had something
from... everything... things change elsewhere, too.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: OK. I made the mistake that they were beautiful
dresses; they still fit;..
S: c I would take them to Africa and to o"t Africa the
next time I went. First of all, I didn't have any new dress...
African dresses to take.
1S Those are the only African dresses I ha.
S: They were still beautiful; they still fit. So I packed
rS: OK. The first time I wore one of them, [laughter] I
looked around--it was so out of style,...
R : 1- --- ia-- -t
... because fashion, of course, had changed there.
R: Yes. That's right. Because there was this tremendous
variety in sleeves, I remember and....
S: The sleeves had been long in those... yes, exactly.
R: Yes. I remember, because in the five years I was there,
there had been enough of a change to observe.
R: Yes. That's quite a subtle point. Thf- another thing,
i-~ ta ae^. unless there's more on the dress code there, was
that we were going to talk about the impression... and we'll go
back to the start... we'll start by going back to the Washoe, but
if your other experiences from your subsequent career, that'd
just be great. But the... you had stated that the Washoe had
S. Oh yes.
-/ ... for many of the ethnographers and that they... yes.
S: Yes. The Washoe should be writing the story of the
S: They really should. I don't know at the present time
who remembers what, but certainly in 1965 it's my impression, and
maybe this was George Snooks...
S: ... (I don't recall) or Freddy--it was a ma- .
S: ... .7had a list of the anthropologists who had worked
amongst the Washoe.
;--And next to each one there was... there were comments.
S: You know, "Do they help the Washoe? Not help...? Good
for the Washoe? Bad.... u-er=h ....
: You know, "Were they good for the Washoe or bad for the
-S: There were a few they didn't like. [laughter]
Anita Spring 4-31
S: They .had--somerm. -- 'a.n---a~ really didn't let
me see the list.
S.----0-K- Th didn-'t...
S: ..s e==eknw. But they remarked upon this one or that
... and they had nicknames.)..
S .- t. some of them were derogatory.
S. ... for this anthropologist. And they liked this one,
but they didn't like that one. So they had that all kind of
S: OK. And then I heard subsequently--I think I mentioned
this earlier--that I was called the "White Streak,"...
S: [laughter] ... because I drove that white car, and you
know, clouds of dust,..
S: ... whatever, whatever. But that was positive.
R: Yes, I think so. I don't....
S: That was a positive evaluation. Tle7y- .
S- You-kI,4 I guess maybe I kept my car clean -'&E
dda .. you=js@ made a good impression and wore those frilly
S .... you know, ....
.S --- _.. mcaat....
R: So there wasn't a... yes,...
SA___aitha wasc r ..
R: ... focus on that.
S: I didn't think that way, but that .. you kn
S: ...presentation of self was probably good.
R: Do you remember when you found out what your nickM1/4 CwJ-s
S: No, I don't .... It-Agss-th ... I found it out
from several sources.
S: ,-nd then I got the impression that it was
complimentary, although I was shocked.
R: Yes. Oh, were you?
S: At, '-t w .
S: ... mw You k Because everybody... you don't see
yourself that wa ...
S: ... of course. So I was kind of horrified. But then I
realized it was... having heard the list,)..
S: .. and that this one was this and that one, no, I
realized that it wasn't bad.
S: Ycnurayw, t just was sort of horrifying, but it wasn't
R: Yes. So are you aware of the same phenomenon some of
the... with some of the other people that you've worked with as
an anthropologist--I mean, that... this... yQJdaa to call...?
S: nick names?
Anita Spring 4-34
S: Yes. Yes. I think... yes, I think people remember the
-g- and comment.
R: So actually, that i/.A leads up to the other question,
/f have you worked in an area similar to Washoe country where
you are literally coming on the heels of other anthropologists
who've been there right before you and have... so there is a
corporate memory, AWk40/, in the community of the phenomena of
anthropology and what these people....
R: No. So that was a pretty saturated community, wasn't
S: That was pretty saturated. In fact, just the opposite,
and I've had people
S. 7. follow after me. I have... am still receiving
Anita Spring 4-35
S: ... and I received a number of these over the years, of
people who worked in the areas that I worked in both Zambia and
Malawi, who would say things like, "I walked in your footsteps."
And I am going, "Oh my goodness...' n w.
S: 7-r they... people remembered, or, you-k-w, this notion
of "I walked in your footsteps" kind of thing..
S: C. was really it.
R: Well, do you think it might have been a goal, a
specific goal of yours to go to someplace where people had not
S: No. No. No. I don't think so.
R: You weren't conscious of....
S: I wasn't conscious of that)
S 'In the Zambian case, no... part of the reason for
selecting the Luvale, and it was Victor Turner who selected them
: ... they were next to the Ndembu, the group he had
worked with, first of all. Secondly, they had been researched by
a man named White, and I made a trip to England, to Brighton by
the sea, to interview him. And he had done the major research on
the Luvale, but he had been a British colonial office
S: *-nd so there really hadn't been... it...
S: ..n7in terms of researchers...
S: on the Luvale. And I never really heard
comparisons. I mean, yujsaw, he was in some other place or
S: People [the Luvale] were very suspicious of me, and I
was there with my husband and child. And in fact, after the first
month or so, there was a whole hoopla. Something like five
hundred letters had been sent from the local area to Zambia
Broadcasting in Lusaka, saying that they liste d toadio
all the time, and they wanted ake sure est heluvale[lp?],
the language broadcasts would continue.
S: And that was triggered by my presence. And the reason
was, they thought... Zambia has eight language ...
S: ..*. one being English.
And there're seventy-two languages in the country, but
eight national languages,..
S: .7. Cheiuvale being one and Ceke*da, the next group
S: .. being another. They thought perhaps because these
people had come,.
S: ... [laughter] and there'd been an anthropologist who'd
worked on the Ndembu and so forth before, that this was a way to
make their language broadcast go away...
S: .,or in some way threaten it..
4 S 7- ---
S: I mean, the reasoning behind it almost escapes me, but
that's really what people thought. I'm not sure, y aIw.. I
Anita Spring 4-38
can't interpret actually why they were so paranoid, except that
they.. .yggpw, this was so close to...
S: ... what they were valuing. So there was that notion
that maybe somebody coming from the outside, an anthropologist,
might be able to...
R: Influence something...
S: That something completely...different. And I'll get to
that point if I get a chance to talk more about the Luvale
S: ,In the Malawi situation...
7it w s so---------1
S: ... it was so completely different. Although there had
been a few researchers and a few women....
R: Now, when did you go to Malawi?
S: Nineteen eighty-one to 1983.
R: All right. OK.
S: OK. There had been a few researchers, a few women. I
worked on a national project, and maybe tgs_ I should put this
all together with that experience, but I got to be so well known
on a country-wide basis that people who came afterwards then were
always hearing about me.
S: Just as I had heard about, you~nEr er, Lowie and Stewart
S: a3fS so forth for the Washoe. So that, ygkie-aw, I
became a so-called anthropological ancestor..
S: in that case.
R: RI .----
S: nd that persists even today,...
S:e ... up until toyy.
S: And it was really amazing all through the... I'd go
places I'd never been, you know, conferences, outside Malawi,
anywhere on the planet,.
S: .. people would come up to me...
S: ... and talk about, yete:know, "We were here. We heard
about...," yjrknow. It just never stopped...
S: -for the last, FgU5bw, oh, well, t:-1 eighteen
R --- aitropol ....
R: I mean, you have a tremendously, potentially high
R: Everything you do is potentially recorded, remembered,
S: Yes. I think we don't teach our students that enough. I
don't think they realize that.
R: No, I don't think so either, because it has huge not
only consequences... well, huge consequences in the people who
come after you.
S: Yes. Yes. Yes. It really does. So I felt that I was at
the end of a real long from the Washoes
: point of view...
S: ... point of view...
S: .. and that they were keeping tabs.
R: That's amazing to.... So... but it's kind of
interesting that they would just let you know that the list
R: ?... as a means of....
S: And we're... that... yes. And I think the reason to...
there was a purpose for telling me.
S: And the purpose was, well....
End of Side 1, Beginning of Side 2
R. Cannot the glare.... OK. Now, I c1 n sce. OK.
S: Yes. So that was the first thing. The second thing was,
I think, y kind of a social control item.
R:-- es e .
R: Oh, yes, very much.
S: Yes. "We like this one, but we didn't like this one. We
like this topic, but we didn't like that topic."
S: You know, "And we're going to keep a record of this."
S: So, you know....
R: Yes. There were... you-knw, in one of the memos that
you got for your work... for that field school, I mean, there was
an indication there that the whole peyotist subject would be off
R: Nobody could do that.
S: Nobody could do the peyote thing.
S: And... yes. They had real strict rules for the field
S: I'm not so sure that in today's world people are that
restrictive, but on the other hand I can see, running a field
school, that I'd want... as a professor, I would want to...
R: Limit the....
S: ... limit various things be_-e and make sure that
students were focused on particular, y ^S training
S: ... and tatf w anything that you could do to
minimize students going off in direction A when they shouldn't
S:C .. yhcorrsa getting in trouble or anything. I
mean, it makes perfect sense,...
.....: Z- Xr _. .
R: And on a subject like that, too, I think it makes...
not only because of the drug involvement, but also the... and I'd
thought maybe that was part of it, and I haven't asked, but also
I was thinking just due to the sensitivity of the... and having
somebody dabble in there for seven weeks, wouldn't be
-: ... for something like that.
S.-9 --- F orsometshiriht-..
R: Were you aware... was that a current activity in
Dresslerville that you were aware of?
S: I might have asked a question or two about it. I wasn't
much aware of.
S: &ou-ktntow-, I think they said, "Yes. Some people do it."
And that was as far as it got.
S-. -Of course, we were all interested in the subject.
R: Oh, yes.
R----till... eviydy's -still of very-liuLeresti ....
R: Did you get into any questions relating to religion
S: You know, it's interesting that you ask that, because I
think the answer is basically no. But I now think, what were
those people doing Sunday morning.
re they going to church? Why didn't I ever
f Y-k-ntw, wre they going to church? Why didn't I ever
S: ere we not allowed to go on Sunday?
S: -I don't know the answer to that.
S 7Were there that many...? I mean, I know we couldn't be
there after dark.
R: Right. Well, it was... so you don't remember that it
was an option that you didn't follow up on or just never
S: It strikes me. ..
-R "- interesting or-...
S: Righf Tr ike, as odd that... it strikes me as if
I could have gone, I probably would have.
R: Yes. Because it seems from your other... your
subsequent, the development and your interest in ritual later, it
seems like religion would have been sort of an obvious thing to
R: .. had you had the opportunity or....
S: Right. And if it wasn't so focused on key informants,
certainly church membership,.
Anita Spring 4-46
R YS Y
S: ... and did you meet your partner at the.... [laughter]
S. Yp because church socials and all those kinds of
: ... all have to do with...
R: And even the possibility...
S: ... relationships and marriage.
R: ... that churches... the church affiliation or not has
s and mar. .
) ... dynamic....
S: ... legal marriage and..
n-s-~ i a^ __-~~~iiii~~~iiii~~. --- --
.. divorce. And I can't under.. I was reading and
thinking the same thing, that why that not there?
S: And I'm wondering if we were supposed to respect their
Sunday or something and not go.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: One of the rules.
R: Yes. Maybe I will look into....
S:J Have no idea.
R: Do ycQss-~ w -k... .Lit's my understanding that you
became very attracted to going to Cornell and in Africa,
specifically, because of Victor Turner, but was there a point
where you had made a decision you would not continue with work
with Native Americans, or did it just... oh, I used that term
"Native American"--I mean Indians. Did you... I mean, when you
were done with the Washoe, so to speak, the Washoe work, your
--' ... had you had any plans of either coming back or to
do follow-up with the Washoe or with any other Indian...?
S: Right. Well, I think I mentioned the Zun ...
S: ~)>. the study of the Zuni silversmiths.
S: I think--and this may be in retrospect-...
S: .. that it was the fact that I couldn't live in the
S ... and that it was this big-time, you-know, focus on
S ... that it didn't lure me.
? ... back.
S: It's not that it wasn't a really wonderful and
: It just didn't have that drawing power.
R: No. That's very interesting. So when you went....
S: If... did any of the people who worked in the field
school go back and work on that?
S: No. That's interesting.
R: It is interesting in that....
S: So that hypothesis doesn't work because there were
people who lived in the community.
R: Yes. Oh. Now, I'm not positive that that's the case for
the people that worked among the Paiute and the Shoshone.
C:2R: I think that's true, but I'd have to check that.
S: Well, that would...
R: I'm only positive that the Washoe community....
S: ... that would be interesting to know.
R: Yes, it would.
S: And it's certainly a point about Dresslerville: the
fact that you could not be... you could not immerse yourself in
the culture, this key informant focus.
S: I mean, that's really not dissertation work. That's
such a limited segment...
C-S' 1. of anthropological methodologies.
R: Right. Well, do you want to go into some of the other
methodologies? I mean, you've certainly touched on them, but, I
S: For the Washoe?
Or do you mean subsequently?
R: Well, subsequently that..
R: .e. =- is... -ean, think you've said that it is
certainly appropriate, given that time and place and what the
S: Oh, it was wonderful. Yes.
R: ... in seven weeks.
R: But what... and you have talked about participant
observation and surveys and that kind of thing,...
R: but you have employed many and multiple
methodologies in your own work and generated your own,...
R: ... create
S... your own. So do you want to expound on that now or
a more chronological time?
S: Yes, maybe more chronological.
S: Let's finish some of the Washoe stuff..
.. because I'm thinking about it, yes.
R: Yes. Are there any of the other informants that you
S: Oh, that I wanted to say some things about?
R: Yes. Yes.
S: Yes. Yes. 4 it was either Minnie or Frieda --I kind
of think it was Minnie--but I used to go and sit in her kitchen.
And, of course, we were having these.... It had to have been
Minnie, because she was the other person I collected the marriage
R: Ah. Yes.
S: Sit in her kitchen, and we'd talk for hours about these
marriage and divorce relationships. And as I said earlier, a lot
of it was asking her to comment on this person's relationship and
marriage and that one's, and what were the characteristics and
the criteria involved in legal marriage and customary marriage,
and whether they really liked each other or got along and..
S-i--.. tte nature of the relationship. So, I mean, this is
S: ... stuff. Well, just like....
R: And probably unfamiliar territory in terms of talking
... I think.
S: Yes. Oh, for her.
S: 2. probably so.
S: Well, thM ....i-. -- ... it's a similar story to
Gladys and the book, except it's really quite different. I can't
tell you how many sessions like that occurred, but certainly
three or four or five or six--something of that variety--before I
realized that her nephew was sitting in the other room sometimes
And he was a young, pretty good-looking guy.
R: Yes! [laughter]
R: >his is great.
S: Yes, yes. And I don't know what they had in mind
S: You know, was he going to ask me for a date afterwards?
S: /It was unclear.
S: But I remember being horrified...
S: and k4d rrf very chagrined and ve'ry concerned about
the quality and nature of the data...
S: ..~~once I found that out.
S: nd what was she doing anyway...
S: ..7.saying those kinds of things in front of him?
R: Yes. So she knew--it was a collaboration.
R: Did she know he was there?
S: .. 5 you know, I never knew the answer.
R: Yes, because he might have just been hearing stuff that
he was never supposed to hear; I don't know.
S: J1I'<. I could never figure out
That was a big mystery.
R: Did you ever... I mean, did you confront them with this
or not? I mean, confront... ye w, but just say, "Well, who's
S: Well, I knew who he was.
I'd met him.
Sf: -re's. /
S: An=rIZ=enk.. TI don't know whether she was a partner
to it or not.
S: You know, they... the houses had kind of mutliple.-~tC(4 C
some of them, they had, L/g back doors.
S: They had funny, little entrances.
S: .? and exits,...
S: .. y~~jfA w, an outside exit to each room or something
S: And I think he kind of would sneak in every once in
while in the middle of the ... e made a point to be there.
R: Yes. Yes. Well, it must have been rather interesting. I
mean, if you think about.. a. a had a similar opportunity, it
might have been... to eavesdrop on your mother being interviewed,
it might have been...
S: It was his aunt.
R: ...his aunt.
S: I don't remember the exact relationship. We'll have to
look at the genealogy...
S: .. gain. But anyway, he was one of the really very
attractive young men...
S: .2 of the area.
R: Yes. Did he ever talk to you or directly...?
S: Oh... not really.
G. Not elly
R: Oh, that's amazing. So that's the listener's story.
S: That's the listener's story, yes. And I was just
horrified, and I just sort of wondered, what had it done to the
data... quality of the data, had she really known about it?
S: Was she, you know... o ~-=had=ta --ist.. had he been
there, and he was kind of.... She was fully involved, and he was
kind of eavesdropping...on her. Was I involved? It was very.. \
the dynamics of it were very peculiar, and it was not the kind of
thing... I guess I just felt that I couldn't ask about it.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: But once I found I did say that we could not allow him
to ever do that again.
S: And it never happened after that.
S:c- was very firm in saying, "No, that's it,..
S: ... and checking...
R ^ ----- ^ '
S: ./the rooms, making sure the doors were locked. I
mean, Zt.-after that,...
S: ypu-ki ezL, I controlled that situation. And I....
R: And was she OK with you doing that, I mean, with...?
S: Yes. Especially since it involved, of course, these
R: Ah. Yes, of course.
S: Yes. That's, I guess, when I was glad there were
informants' fees,... [laughter]
S: 7-ecause I could say, you--k~wa. "This is. .-we have
this relat... this agreement.'
R: "This is business..."
S: "This is business." Right.
S: Y' "He doesn't fit in."
S: ?And that was very clear.
R: Did people... did... so you didn't... had you asked, or
did you ever have the opportunity to have a group of people...?
R: You didn't... and it wasn't set up for...?
S: Well, for one thing, it was not a technique that was
promulgated in the field school.
S: A focus group.
R: Oh, I see. Yes.
S: I could have... it would have been really a good
R: Was it even current in methodology at the time, do you
S: Mmm, I think it's always been a methodology.
S: Get a group of people to But I don't think it
was... it's really ever been a stated methodology..
S: .. in anthropology..
S: 2 until later.
R: I'm not familiar with it till you just started
talking about. L
R: ..-- what that is. I mean, it's just....
S: For example, in Ethiopia one of the things I did was to
get a group of community leaders together--I did this in three
S: C-2 and to get them to talk about the range of
households in their communities,
S: ..Rin terms of the resources available to different
S: .../in terms of the resources available to different
households, and to categorize households into resource and wealth
levels. So, for example, if they said the community consisted of
the rich, the middle group, the poor, ...
S: ... ?nd the very, very poor, what were the indicators
and criteria of being rich?
R: Right. A T
S: How many houses? What kind of livestock? How much land?
You know, did your kids go to school?
2: Does sh have cash.
S _And sort of what percentage of the population? These
are rough estimates.
S: But then you know when you're... when you go to
household X, and you look at the list of.... Ah, does it y~nE
S: Do they have this? -a---/then you know what kind of a
household it is. So I've allowed...
R: So this is a collaborative meeting... I mean, people
get to... you call a group of people and....
S: Well, no, no. This is like a small group of people\
S. Six to eight people.
R: OK. All right.
S: OK. So you're all sitting around...
: .. the table, or you're sitting out on the --u
know, on some chairs. And, you know, you're directional.
S: OK. You're lead... you're asking questions.
S: OK. And you're getting them to.... And someone says,
"Well, I really think it's this." And then you'll have someone
?S: ... "But I think it's that.
: And the third person will say, "Well, it's this and
that," or, y, how that..
-7 Y&g esw, something of that variety. So you can elicit
a lot of very interesting..
S: -. information. Or, for example, if you're trying to
map out a community in terms of the resources available, you
know: How many churches are there? How many...
S: .-. schools. Is there a clinic? You can get six or
eight people or three or four people together and work out all
the resources that are available in the community, because
somebody's bound to forget...any one individual. That's why
anthropologists work with more informants than one.
R: Well, it must be very effective to get the in-country
people to actually help you define the terms and the
: ... of information that you're going f
S..---e- Yes. I mia.y..
R: ... in the first place.
S: Yes. I mean, you could do that individually.
S: ft's just that it was~t==it seemed parsimonious and
compact to kf s get..;..
R: Or sort of an extension. Iti -a fa.--e t's a
fascinating extension of sort of the kinship terminology, because
you're asking for definitions that are... well, actually require
some... perhaps some discussion, because they're not maybe
categories that people have thought of, necessarily, when you're
asking for criteria of, well, things....
S: Yes.N '- I don't think they really think in those
S: ... but they had no trouble answering the questions.
R: No. Because everybody understandS.
R: .. stratifica... I mean, they do,...
.. whether or not it's a....
S: Yes. I was asking them... you=]iAw, spending an
afternoon with six to eight people or four to six people,
something like that, who were articulate community people,
S -?. and pulling from them, along with some Ethiopian
colleagues, criteria of wealth ranking, resource allocations,
S: ... sources within the community, and so forth. They
had no trouble.
<_ : This is not private stuff.
R e----e- s-
-: And it's also generalized enough.... They're not
saying, yoTr-kow, "Joe and Mary are in category one, and Sally's
S: I wasn't asking for anything personal.
R: Right. No, that's quite interesting...
S: But you could in one afternoon, get that amount of
information. And, oh, the other thing is, it's confirmed and
validated, at least what people want you to know and hear.
R ^ ____ S .
S. p.. by the others being present.
R: Yes. That's right.
S: Now, you still may want to do some checking afterwards
to see if it's really so.
R: No, that is parsimonius...and elegant.
S: Yes. Yes. I like it.
: yAnd you could... that's one way of using.... Another
way was in Malawi....
R: And I can see where in your topic, if I can just
interject here on marriage and relationships, it would have been
very useful to get a group together....
S: That would have been great, talking about, "What do you
think the differences are between, yogttS w, long-term, short-
S: C legal marriages, good marriages, bad marriage...?"
S: Can you imagine...
S: ... the Washoe women...
R: what makes a good husband....
S: ... sitting around shelling...
S: .. shelling pine nuts...
Anita Spring 4-66
S: ...and chitchatting on what's a good husban...
S: ... or what's a good wife,...
S: .. and can you give me some examples of a bad one?
R: Rit c.t -Rigfht.
S: -You know- .
R- ^_Rght .
S: ... it would be fun.
R: Yes. No, that'd be quite... that would be quite
intriguing. Anyway, you said in Malawi you did...
S: Oh, it....
R: did you have another example?
S: Yes. Of getting groups of women together to talk about
their problems and needs.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: Whereas, individual women were very reticent....
R: Oh, yes, because a sort of.... Yes. There's a
S: Number one.-NU a~eN, only a few women had the skills
or the... how can I put it?... the experience, the personalities,
the social position to be able to speak out...
S: .. in any kind of way. And the leaders, the so-
called... you know--they would be women leaders...
S: ... but at a very local level.
S: And other women would be so shy and reticent,...
S: ...but in the community of or the company of these
other people, w, they might interject a comment or two..
S: ... here and there. They would certainly agree or
disagree with particular things.
R: It almost sounds like a public meeting with an
S: Yes, except it's not a huge number of people.
R: Right. No, it's a small.... And you're identifying....
Do... how does that work? I mean, do you find a few, quote, "key
people," and then they identify the other people that should be a
part of that group? Or do you...?
S: Yes, usually.
S: Usual.... In the group thing it's better for the one or
two people to bring the rest of the group,...
S: ... because you wouldn't know to mix the people who
like each other...
R: Right. Right.
S: ... with the ones who are enemies.
S: You can mess that up badly.
S: But you say, "Well, we want to... could you bring the
person who registers the people in the village and, you know,...
S: ... the head of the village or the mayor, whatever
S: So you get three or four or five people. "And what
about the woman who runs the general store?" You know, and that's
it. So you're all sitting there...
S: ... having a cup of tea,...
S: ... and you say, "Well, what... well, do you think
there're some real rich people or the really poor people? What's
the difference?" I mean, these are real generalized things.
S: And then that's very nice. Or in Jamaica, use the
methodology with environmentalists.
R: Yes. Yes.
S: These are sophisticated people. Many of them have
S: I can interview them individually and separately; but I
can get them sitting around a table. "What do you think the major
environmental problems are?"
R: Yes. And do you get consensus before...? I mean, do you
write this down...
R: ... and let them all see what the results are, or...?
S: You can. I didn't do that.
R: Right. Right.
S: But we wrote it down, and all the rest of the other...
... the eighteen Ethiopian scientists I had with me,
... and they had to agree or disagree! [laughter]
I mean, if things were wrong, they would have picked it
S: Things were way out of kilter.
S: So, you know, they are still members of that culture,
even though they're well educated and on research stations or
R: Yes. No, that's really...
S: But there was just none of that.
R: No. There... I think....
S: And the focus on key informants... I mean, you could
even have two women together, mother and daughter, or... you
It was just so individualistic. And I think that that
is a method that is very, very peculiar to the study of American
Indians. I don't know why.
R: I don't either, and I never quite thought of....
S: I just think it's part of the history of anthropology,
because that was one of our key methods.
S: You'd find.... And the other thing was the reason for
doing it. You were going to write down about the Indian history
and culture and how the societies function before the white man
S: ... and so you wanted someone who remembered the most,
who was the most senior, the eldest, the most knowledgeable, you
know, the smartest. And you would sit and work hours and hours
with that person to reconstruct...
S: ... how it was. And then if you were the least bit
interested in change, you could compare that with now.
R: Yes. Which you were really expected to just... almost
just observe, rather than interview people...
R: ... about the....
Anita Spring 4-72
S: Or you could say, "Well, what do you do now?"
R: Speaking of that, you had... I notice that you did go
to a tribal council meeting or two when you were in the
Washoe.... Yes, you took some notes. But I recall that actually
the tribal council had... was a fairly new body.
S: Oh, yes. Yes.
R: I mean, there really was not politi... well-entrenched,
R: ... so to speak, that....
S: I think you're right.
S: Yes. I think these were pretty pro forma-type
R: Yes. Yes.
S: ... as I recall. They didn't make a big impression. I'm
hard-pressed now to remember the content of them.
S: I was desperate to go to anything else in addition to
the key informants,...
S: ... because, you know, my limitation of nine to five!
R: Did you have any trouble gaining access to the... I
know you went... you actually... you did some archival work on
the arrest records...
S: Oh, yes.
R: ... and document...? Yes.
S: Yes. The reason I needed the arrest records, I guess I
wanted to look at the effects of getting in trouble with the law
in terms of what happened to their relationships with their
S: And that's how it started.
S: I think people mention, as they were talking about this
union and that relationship, that so-and-so was arrested, and
then it terminated, or.... So it seemed important to verify...
S: ... some of those things...
S: ... by actually looking at the arrest records.
S: And I guess I had no trouble getting them.
R: Right. And where did you go to get them? I mean, do you
S: It must be in the field... I think it's just in the
list of where I went... in the field...
R: Yes, OK.
S: ... on a trip report. I don't remember it. The
county... wherever it was.
R: Because someone else I was talking to about your topic
just said, well... and the fact that that's in Special
Collections, that the list of the cases are in Special
Collections, they said, "Well, that's privileged information. You
need to... you know, that might be sensitive information. That's
not supposed to be a matter of public record."
S: Oh, indeed, it might be, but, yes, I got it all...and
copied it down, didn't I? [laughter]
R: Yes! So I... oh, OK.
R: So I wondered if you'd had any trouble?
S: Well, obviously not, because it's their chapter and
R: Yes. And if you had had trouble, you would have
remembered all the things you would have hade go through.
S: Yes. No, it was... I went to place A, where it was
located; I sat there...
S: ... and looked through the books and wrote it down.
R: Right. Right. No, I thought that was very interesting.
You were also.., you had... you made a statement that of the four
fields, linguistics was the one that had... causes... is the most
challenging to personally,...
R: ... but in some ways is the most key, and I just
wondered if you wanted to expand....
S: Well, I'm not sure I'd say it was the most key, but
certainly is the most challenging to me personally. [laughter]
R: Yes. Yes.
S: And I've had the least of it. I think I've only had one
course in linguistics, and it was at...
R: But you did do that semantic...
S: ... it was at Cornell afterwards. But I had....
R: Did you do that semantic analysis?
S: Yes, I did.
S: I was... ethnosemantics was just... you know,
ethnolinguistics was just fascinating to me, and as I said, Bill
Jacobsen's instruction in how to write down Washoe and Washoe
words was crystal clear.
S: And so I had no trouble doing that.
S: OK. I was not attempting to learn the language.
R: Right. Right.
S: But I was able to write down anything anybody said...
S: ... with the... that one exception of my twangy
pronunciation. It got me off on one of the vowels.
S: But other than that, I could write it quite it easily.
And since I could write it quite easily and attach it to its
S: ... I really can't say that there was any problem at
that point that I had with linguistics.
S: But the reason I got interested in taking it one step
further was all this reading I was doing, which was very popular
in the 1960s--Charles Frake and Ward Goodenough--looking at all
kinds of domains,...
R: Yes. Cognitive....
S: ... cognitive domains and knowledge domain, and kind of
mapping those things out, using the linguistic conventions and
language categories of the people they were studying and coming
out with results that were quite different from, you know, the
outside observer looking in and categorizing things. So it was
sort of the emic approach,...
S: ... but this really very etic methodology that then
could be applied to all kinds of domains, you know. And so it
occurred to me, most of them were things like color domains or
category.... There was ethnobotanical ones...
R: Yes. Yes.
S: ... and those kinds of things. In a way, they're really
rather different than relationships. So I had this idea to then
take that methodology and study relationships. And that's how the
business with the marriage categories.., because I could get
those linguistic distinctions,...
S: ... could easily write them down, could disentangle,
thanks to Jacobsen,...
S: ... being there and his methodology,...
S: ... which parts of the words referred to what, what was
added on. I mean, he could break it down into...
S: ... syllables and suffixes and...
S: ... and so forth. So it fit quite nicely into that
theoretical framework--or that methodological framework--let's
put it that way.
S: Excuse me. But the theoretical stance of being able to
look at a domain and look at the... and look people's linguistic
conventions and distinctions and have the sociological data that
then went with the linguistic data.
R: Yes. Have you used similar... have you done similar
S: It's really funny; I haven't.
S: The meth... the... I'm still interested in the
R: Yes. Yes.
S: ... but I think I never had the language analysis
S: I think it was really the presence of Jacobsen and his
system and kind of having someone to ask...
R: Yes, because you could check....
S: ... whether it was right or wrong... to check the...
all of that. For example, the next major thing that I did was in
Africa amongst the Luvale. Now, I went to the Luvale armed with a
very bad grammar that a missionary had written.
S: No training in African languages.
S: And was there...? one other... and a very shallow
S: ... that I, you know.., there was like... I still...
all I had was my recollection of how to write down... you know,
[laughter] of this phonetic system.
R: Phonetic, yes.
S: Yes. Hear what... the different vowels and the system,
the terminol... the notation system. That's all I had.
S: I hadn't really increased my repertoire or my knowledge
of anything to do with linguistics in the intervening years,
although I took one course at Cornell in lingu... it was straight
S: ... not really linguistics in the service of fieldwork.
R: Right. Right.
S: And there was no one to ask.
S: You know, I didn't even... I had no training on Bantu
R: Right. So... and....
S: So I never got a chance to do it again. On the other
hand, I always collected terminologies...
S: ... for things...
S: ... and used those terminologies to categorize things.
I just could not do ethnosemantics in the same, I think I would
say, sophisticated degree of differentiation.
R: Right. Well, it's kind of like deep analysis...
R: ... to get....
S: I couldn't get same deep thing, because...
S: ... there was no....
End of Tape 4
End of Tape 4