Inappropriate Anthropologist Love Story...DVD or Book?
April 23, 2011 12:34 PM   Subscribe

An anthropologist studying some primitive society fell in love with one of the women he was studying, and, against all professional decorum, married her and brought her home. The ensuing events were apparently pretty interesting. The person who told me about it can't remember if it was a book, a film, or what. Or which country...or which anthropologist. Can anyone help?
posted by Quisp Lover to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I googled inappropriate anthropologist and the second link included: Kenneth Good (1991) has written about his relationship with his exwife, Yarima, to whom he was betrothed within the Yanomami system when she was about fourteen years old (although the marriage was not consumated until a much later time), and whom he eventually married under U.S. law in his home state of Pennsylvania.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:37 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Here's the article.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:38 PM on April 23, 2011

Hey, that might be it! Thanks! I was just aiming for a snarky title...didn't imagine the phrase would be google-able!

OTOH, I'm sure this has happened more than once, so maybe we can hear about some other examples....
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:42 PM on April 23, 2011

I'm sure there's more! Here's a book by Good.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:43 PM on April 23, 2011

For anyone following along, this article on Good was written by someone who's read everything, and tried to sum it all up.
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:51 PM on April 23, 2011 [12 favorites]

Whoa. What happened to their 3 children?
posted by zia at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2011

in the article linked above,

asked about her three children in New Jersey: “Here good. Jersey bad.”
posted by Quisp Lover at 1:03 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just saw an HBO documentary called Secrets of the Tribe. It tells a lot of the story of Kenneth Good and his wife, even though the doc is mostly about Napoleon Chagnon. From what I saw in the doc, Good and Chagnon hate each other.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 2:34 PM on April 23, 2011

I know one personally who did this. I don't think she likes to be the focus of attention, though, so I probably can't put you in touch with her if it's just curiosity. She brought her husband back to Australia - he had never seen houses with electricity or running water, never been in a car... That was about a year ago. I don't know if it's working out for them.
posted by lollusc at 4:39 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know a university instructor of anthropology who married a local during or after her research in her country. So, yeah, this guy was not an isolated case.
posted by bilabial at 4:50 PM on April 23, 2011

Also of note, Verrier Elwin, who was in his day termed a "philan(der)thropologist" for his engagement in India. The biography "Savaging the Civilized" is a fascinating look at India during and following the English occupation, and of all sorts of questions about bringing civilization to unindustrialized societies.
posted by straw at 5:13 PM on April 23, 2011

You might also be interested in Colin Turnbull.
posted by pullayup at 9:24 PM on April 23, 2011

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