After All: In Place of an Afterword

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    Owing to the ethnographic project that Kirin Narayan and I have been running in India, I had to miss the memorial gatherings held in honor of Mary Steedly in San Jose and at Harvard last year (2018). Mary has mattered so much to me. For over forty years, she was a friend to whom I could always turn; and for many of those years, she was a close colleague with whom I could always trade ideas and laughs, looks of puzzlement, or the sighs of exasperation that come with being in an academic department. You would understand, then, how touched I was when Patsy, Karen, and Smita asked me to write an "afterword" for this special issue of Indonesia dedicated to remembering Mary. I, of course, said yes. Yet I am finding it impossible to write one after all. When you get right down to it, do eulogies and tributes and tears really want an "afterword"? I don't think so. Eulogies and tears want to be mimicked. They want more. They yearn to hold and spread through an audience or a crowd, and reflect the "fierce wish" of the grieving (says Elias Canetti) to find oneness with each other in mourning, and to summon the deceased back into their lives.1
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-111
    Issue number109
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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