Of Mr. Steven Feld

and Others

Trash-Talk, Dialogue, & Papual Infallibility



Henry Kingsbury


One hesitates… to criticize a life which...  has done so much.  And yet the time is come when one may speak in all sincerity and utter courtesy of the mistakes and shortcomings of Mr. Washington's career… without being thought captious or envious. 

W.  E.  B.  Du Bois, 1903

Because the stance taken in this paper is sharply critical of several individuals, I feel compelled to explicitly note that I have no interest in the petty business of personal attack.   Rather, my concern has simply been to raise certain empirical and substantive issues that must be dealt with in the development of ethnomusicological theory.   In doing so, I have played the Devil's advocate and voiced things in such a way that hopefully will produce heated response.  

Steven Feld, 1974

Table of Contents

I. Trash - Talk

II. Dialogical Anthropology

III. Anthropological Dialogue

IV. Papual Infallibility
V. The Musicological

Construction of Ignorance

VI. Billie Holiday Defended
against her Devotees