Society for Cultural Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Considerations of temporality, especially in relation to arguments about coevalness, proper historicity, and relativizing contextualization, have long been basic to anthropological theorizations of human community and belonging in democratic nation-states. This is especially salient in a modernist ethnography typically described by its practitioners as opposed to evolutionary explanations. In part as a result, time is also central to constructing or denoting political and ethical ties between anthropologists and their interlocutors, and thus to attempts to mitigate the violence of representation and define what is shared. But how exactly are claims to synchronization constituted as conditions of proper judgment, and thus ethnographic method, and how do these attunements support and stand in for a broader ethical or moral synchrony? What sorts of temporalizations are imagined as capable of moving interlocutors beyond the violence of difference and into the company of peers, and what sorts of interlocutors may engage in these processes? How do they do so? In this paper, I explore how state game officials and hunters of white tail deer in exurban New Jersey engage and interpret time and temporalization as part of a self-conscious carving out of ethical standpoints and community. Drawing on practices of waiting in hunting stands, the narrative arcs of hunting stories, and state attempts to redeem or re-educate hunters who violate community standards, I thus work to reconsider models of how and what it means to position oneself among peers—rather than definitive Others—in Anthropology, in U.S. politics, and in the face of potential violence.