What sources of creative insight and inspiration might scholars today find in the history of our field — in particular, in some of the paths not taken? What hidden treasures lie buried in overlooked and neglected works from the past?
With Lesley Sharp’s original essay, “The Ethnographic Vision of John L. Gwaltney: The Thrice Shy, A Forgotten Gem,” we initiate what we hope will become a series with a provocation and an invitation. Sharp’s reflections on Gwaltney provoke thought and curiosity, and may perhaps unsettle canons. You are invited as well to propose your own neglected favorites, for our collective reconsideration.
“Forgotten Gems” are scholarly works published at least forty years ago (1975 or earlier) that have been largely forgotten or overlooked, but which deserve to be read by medical anthropologists and scholars in neighboring fields today. Each “Forgotten Gems” essay is envisioned as a loving, but not necessarily uncritical, profile of a specific article or book that fits this general description.
Entries can vary in structure and style, but should be brief (about 1500 words), written in a conversational style (no jargon, please), and ideally will include full bibliographic details of the work in question. We are curious to read a discussion of what you see as interesting, provocative, admirable, or memorable about the work; why you think it has been forgotten; a discussion of your personal history with the work, such as when you came across it and how it impressed or influenced you; any thoughts you would like to share about other directions (not) taken in the recent history of the field; and your hopes for its future.
If you are interested in contributing to this series, please write to series curator Janelle S. Taylor, at email@example.com.