Title: Washoe ethnographer Anita Spring transcription of taped interview
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086724/00004
 Material Information
Title: Washoe ethnographer Anita Spring transcription of taped interview
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Spring, Anita
Publisher: Spring, Anita
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086724
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Full Text

Anita Spring









: Anita Spring

: Meredith (Penny) Rucks

: 1/15/99

: 4

: 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....
/ R'---

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

official capacities,...

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.

R: Yes.

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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

skirt, .

S- : ... ... ..1 that's what he says in his new book. I

read it.

R: Oh. OK.

S: And his old book; I've read that, too.

I '-Y-es.

But, yo~5u the standard business dress clothing for

both men and women. That means that all men need to take a sport


e .

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...

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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

attire thing.

_: 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.

R: Yes.

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.

Ri---~--Y- .

-7. .. or two or three,...

>... because you cannot wear the same thing to every



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S: ? Men ca

R-:--- Yes.

Because they're all going to invite you.).

... to some kind of social event, and every agency's

going to have something.

R: Yes.

S: So you need that whole conglomeration.

R: Yes.

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."

R: Yes.

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

homes. "\

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,__Ye Yes.
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

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... 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.

R: Yes.

S: They will look at you, and if, ye'&kirew... no offense

against the Peace Corps,.

R: es.

_-~.: .. but unfortunately, people had very limited

R ht.

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


Anita Spring

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---Riyht. Right.

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.

R: Yes.

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..

es .


Anita Spring

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

worthy of...

S: Well, I think so, too. And then the other thing that ..

S: C--. tin I havelspent a lot of time with -r -yu
f A-
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.

R: Yes.

S: Having blouses that, you know, are not revealing. l4-

very important. And if you're in certain places, of course,


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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.

R: Yes.

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. /


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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

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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,...

S: Ys.

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.

R: Yes.

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


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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,

you know.

R: /Yes.

S: But I'm thinking of the issue of women students at the

present time.

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?"

M boy.

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.

EYes. Yes.

A it+- C! i

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SR: ButYies:

S: So these students are affronte ..

S: < when they're told that they should, yea1-jw, get

dressed up..

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


Anita Spring

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,


Anita Spring

-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. -"


Anita Spring

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

R---Yes. -

S: You know, silk, polyester--bad.

R^_--^g__ ---------

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!. ^ __ - ---- ~~~~
P s.

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 zY~-I


Anita Spring

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,..

R .----ZS

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 --

R: Yes.

S: So, you know, I think you really have to strategize for

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Anita Spring

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.

R: Yes.

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.

R: Right.

S: So they expect you to know that distinction, ...



Anita Spring

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.


Anita Spring

R: Right.

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

king's reception...


Anita Spring

R---l:t Yes.

S: ../ and to go collecting specimens in the bush.

R: Yes.

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

realize ..


S ... that particular.).

--Yes .

S:7 part is connected. On the other hand, I get to a

place; I have all these different things;...


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R: Yes.

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

from Ethiopia,.

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..


Anita Spring

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,

that's it."

R: Right. "This is my wardrobe for life."


C-:R: "Particularly if I'm an anthropologist."

S: Yes. "Particularly if I'm an anthropologist."

R: Yes.

S: So anyway, that's an interesting one.

R: That's very good.

S: Yes. I did another mistake, too. I had some dresses


Anita Spring

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.

R: Wow.

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.

R4-:-=JU3.-- -


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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

nicknames ..

S. Oh yes.

-/ ... for many of the ethnographers and that they... yes.


Anita Spring

S: Yes. The Washoe should be writing the story of the


R: Yes.

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- .

R .

S: ... .7had a list of the anthropologists who had worked

amongst the Washoe.

;--And next to each one there was... there were comments.

R: [laughter]

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]

R: Yes.


Anita Spring 4-31

S: They .had--somerm. -- 'a.n---a~ really didn't let

me see the list.

R: Yes.

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

worked out.

R: Yes.

S: OK. And then I heard subsequently--I think I mentioned

this earlier--that I was called the "White Streak,"...

R: [laughter]

S: [laughter] ... because I drove that white car, and you

know, clouds of dust,..

R:-=Y9e-- y

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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

dresses, so...


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.



Anita Spring

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,)..

R-:--es. _

S: .. and that this one was this and that one, no, I

realized that it wasn't bad.

R: Right.

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

R: Yes.

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....


S: No.

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

for me,..

s-- es.

: ... they were next to the Ndembu, the group he had

worked with, first of all. Secondly, they had been researched by

Anita Spring

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...

Re----Riggf ..

S: ..n7in terms of researchers...

R-- Right.

S: on the Luvale. And I never really heard

comparisons. I mean, yujsaw, he was in some other place or


R: Yes.

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.

R: Yes.


Anita Spring

S: And that was triggered by my presence. And the reason

was, they thought... Zambia has eight language ...

S: ..*. one being English.

R-=-es .

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.

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R: Right.


R: ;:2ht.

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.

R. -Ye
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...


Anita Spring

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


S: Yes.

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...


Anita Spring

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

existed. .

R: ?... as a means of....


S: And we're... that... yes. And I think the reason to...

there was a purpose for telling me.

R: Yes.

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.


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S: Yes. "We like this one, but we didn't like this one. We

like this topic, but we didn't like that topic."

R: Right.

S: You know, "And we're going to keep a record of this."

R: Yes.

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


S: Yes.

R: Nobody could do that.

S: Nobody could do the peyote thing.

R: Yes.

S: And... yes. They had real strict rules for the field


R: Yes.

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


Anita Spring

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

have or,..

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-..



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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.

S: [laughter]

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



Anita Spring

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

considered or...

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: /Yes.



S: ... and did you meet your partner at the.... [laughter]

R: ----Y-e-5.

S. Yp because church socials and all those kinds of

things ...

: ... 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?

R: Yes.

S: And I'm wondering if we were supposed to respect their

Sunday or something and not go.

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R: Yes. Yes.

S: One of the rules.

R: Yes. Maybe I will look into....

S,--- idca-


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

master's degree,..

--' ... 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: possibility,..

S: ~)>. the study of the Zuni silversmiths.


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R: Yes.

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

key informants,.


S ... that it didn't lure me.

? ... back.

R: Right.

S: It's not that it wasn't a really wonderful and

remarkable experience.

: 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?

R: No.

S: No. That's interesting.


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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.

R: Right.

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



Anita Spring

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

objective was,...

S: Oh, it was wonderful. Yes.

R: ... in seven weeks.

S: Yes.

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,...

S: Yes.

R: ... create

S... your own. So do you want to expound on that now or

a more chronological time?

S: Yes, maybe more chronological.


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R: OK.

S: Let's finish some of the Washoe stuff..

R---OK .

.. because I'm thinking about it, yes.

R: Yes. Are there any of the other informants that you

recall that...?

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

data from.

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..


Anita Spring

S-i--.. tte nature of the relationship. So, I mean, this is

pretty sensitive..

R ---Fes-.

S: ... stuff. Well, just like....

R: And probably unfamiliar territory in terms of talking

about it,...

S: Yes.

... I think.

S: Yes. Oh, for her.

S: 2. probably so.

R: Yes.

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.



Anita Spring

S: OK?

R: Yes! [laughter]

R: >his is great.

S: Yes, yes. And I don't know what they had in mind


R: Yes.

S: You know, was he going to ask me for a date afterwards?

S: /It was unclear.

R: Yes.

S: But I remember being horrified...

S: and k4d rrf very chagrined and ve'ry concerned about

the quality and nature of the data...

R s

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.


Anita Spring

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

this?" or...?

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.

R: Yes.

S: You know, they... the houses had kind of mutliple.-~tC(4 C

some of them, they had, L/g back doors.


Anita Spring

R: Right.

S: They had funny, little entrances.

S: .? and exits,...


S: .. y~~jfA w, an outside exit to each room or something

like that.

R: Yes.

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...


Anita Spring

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.

R: Yes.

S-----N .

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?

R: Right.

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.


Anita Spring

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

informants' fees.

R: Ah. Yes, of course.

S: Yes. That's, I guess, when I was glad there were

informants' fees,... [laughter]


Anita Spring

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...?

S: Not....

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.

R: Yes.

S: A focus group.

R: Oh, I see. Yes.

S: I could have... it would have been really a good



Anita Spring

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..

R------Yes .

S: .. in anthropology..

R. -Im-not...

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

ethnic groups--...

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


Anita Spring

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?

R-.-= ht.

2: Does sh have cash.

R^--Ltght ____

S _And sort of what percentage of the population? These

are rough estimates.

R: Yes.

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


Anita Spring

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...

-1\----Ye es.

: .. the table, or you're sitting out on the --u

know, on some chairs. And, you know, you're directional.

R: Right.

S: OK. You're lead... you're asking questions.

R: Right.

S: OK. And you're getting them to.... And someone says,

"Well, I really think it's this." And then you'll have someone

who says,..

?S: ... "But I think it's that.

R-T-^^rtt ___-

: 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


Anita Spring

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

categories' ..


: ... 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..;..



Anita Spring

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,...

C!---- rs.

.. 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,

location of..


Anita Spring

R: Yes

S: ... sources within the community, and so forth. They

had no trouble.
n 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

category four."

R: Exactly.

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: Right.

6S---=_e s.


Anita Spring

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-

term, customary,...

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...

Rj es.


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...

Anita Spring

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.

R: Yes.

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

ethnographic twist.

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: Sometimes.

R: Yes.


Anita Spring

S: Yes, usually.

R: Yes.

S: Usual.... In the group thing it's better for the one or

two people to bring the rest of the group,...

R: Right.

S: ... because you wouldn't know to mix the people who

like each other...

R: Right. Right.

S: ... with the ones who are enemies.

R: Right.

S: You can mess that up badly.

R: Yes.

S: But you say, "Well, we want to... could you bring the

person who registers the people in the village and, you know,...

R: Yes.

S: ... the head of the village or the mayor, whatever


R: Yes.

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...

R: Yes.


Anita Spring

S: ... having a cup of tea,...

R: Yes.

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.

R: Right.

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

university degrees.

R: Yes.

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...

S: Well....

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...


Anita Spring



they read






... the eighteen Ethiopian scientists I had with me,



... and they had to agree or disagree! [laughter]

Yes. Yes.

I mean, if things were wrong, they would have picked it


R: Yes.

S: Things were way out of kilter.

R: Yes.

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


I t

Anita Spring

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.

R: And....

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


R: Yes.

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...

R: Yes.

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...

S: Yes.

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,

political hierarchy,...

S: Yes.

R: ... so to speak, that....

S: I think you're right.

R: Yes.

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.

R: Yes.

S: I was desperate to go to anything else in addition to

the key informants,...

R: Right.

S: ... because, you know, my limitation of nine to five!

Anita Spring


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.

R: 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


R: Right.

S: And that's how it started.

R: Right.

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...

R: Yes.

S: ... some of those things...

R: Right.

S: ... by actually looking at the arrest records.


Anita Spring

R: Right.

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.

S: Yes.

R: So I wondered if you'd had any trouble?

S: Well, obviously not, because it's their chapter and



Anita Spring

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...

R: Oh.

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,...

S: Yes.

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.


Anita Spring

R: Yes!

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.

R: Yes.

S: And so I had no trouble doing that.

R: Yes.

S: OK. I was not attempting to learn the language.

R: Right. Right.

S: But I was able to write down anything anybody said...

R: Yes.

S: ... with the... that one exception of my twangy

pronunciation. It got me off on one of the vowels.

R: Yes.

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


R: Yes.

S: ... I really can't say that there was any problem at

that point that I had with linguistics.

R: Yes.


Anita Spring

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,...

R: Yes.

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,...


Anita Spring

R: Yes.

S: ... could easily write them down, could disentangle,

thanks to Jacobsen,...

R: Yes.

S: ... being there and his methodology,...

R: Yes.

S: ... which parts of the words referred to what, what was

added on. I mean, he could break it down into...

R: Yes.

S: ... syllables and suffixes and...

R: Yes.

S: ... and so forth. So it fit quite nicely into that

theoretical framework--or that methodological framework--let's

put it that way.

R: Yes.

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

analysis since?

S: It's really funny; I haven't.


Anita Spring

R: Yes.

S: The meth... the... I'm still interested in the


R: Yes. Yes.

S: ... but I think I never had the language analysis

backup again.

R: Yes.

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.

R: Yes.

S: No training in African languages.

R: Yes.

S: And was there...? one other... and a very shallow


R: Yes.

S: ... that I, you know.., there was like... I still...

all I had was my recollection of how to write down... you know,


Anita Spring

[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.

R: Yes.

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


R: Yes.

S: ... not really linguistics in the service of fieldwork.

R: Right. Right.

S: And there was no one to ask.

R: Right.

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...

R: Yes.

S: ... for things...

R: Yes.


Anita Spring

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.

S: Yes.

R: Right. Well, it's kind of like deep analysis...

S: Yes.

R: ... to get....

S: I couldn't get same deep thing, because...

R: Yes.

S: ... there was no....

End of Tape 4

End of Tape 4



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