Tag Archives | USA

Occasional Paper 5: Mr Coperthwaite – a life in the Maine Woods

Anna Grimshaw, Emory University

Bill with magnifying glass

In 1960, Bill Coperthwaite bought 300 acres of wilderness in Machiasport, Maine.

Influenced by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and by the back to the land movement of Scott and Helen Nearing, Bill Coperthwaite was committed to what he called“a handmade life.”   For over fifty years until his death in 2013, he lived and worked in the forest. He was a builder of yurts, and a maker of spoons, bowls and chairs.

I met Bill Coperthwaite not long after I bought a house in Machiasport.   He was, of course, well-known to local people, many of whom affectionately recalled childhood adventures of exploring and working in the woods with Bill.   But he was also something of an international figure, drawing visitors to Dickinson’s Reach from different parts of the world.…

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Occasional Paper No. 3: Space and Place in a Disaster Landscape – the phenomenology of Hurricane Katrina recovery in Waveland, Mississippi

Announcing the third of our Occasional Paper Series:

Space and Place in a Disaster Landscape: the phenomenology of Hurricane Katrina recovery in Waveland, Mississippi

By Sabrina Bradford and Abby Loebenberg

Sabrina Bradford is a senior Anthropology student enrolled in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi. She is a native of Waveland, Mississippi and has been present for every hurricane that has struck the town since 1991, including Hurricane Katrina. She and her family survived Katrina’s surge, remaining in their Waveland home, which received substantial structural damages as a result of the surge waters that inundated it.  This paper was drawn from the experiences and recovery process of that event.

Abby Loebenberg is a Barksdale Fellow at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi.

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Camp 2.0

Matt Voigts, Digital Anthropology, UCL

 The shores of Camp Grady Spruce

In 2012, an estimated 11 million American children attended summer camp for a day, week, month or more. Camp reads at times like a performance art parody of ethnography: a constructed community, in ‘nature’, often suffused with Native American-inspired tribal imagery. Indeed, both anthropology and camp began in the late 1800s, creations of a ‘civilized’ world exploring more ‘primitive’ lifestyles. In England, researchers like Frazer and Tylor synthesized cultural theory from the British Empire’s field reports. In New England, around the same time, outdoorsmen and churchmen began leading groups of children on camping trips, indulging an “Arcadian myth” (as described by Schmitt, 1969) of unspoiled wilderness as refuge from the unhealthy, congested modern city.…

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