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A Kindly Scrutiny of Human Nature

Essays in Honour of Richard Slobodin

Richard J. Preston, editor

Hardcover 145 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-040-8

Release Date: September 2009

Online discount: 25%

$85.00  $63.75


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A Kindly Scrutiny of Human Nature is a collection of essays honouring Richard (Dick) Slobodin, one of the great anthropologists of the Canadian North. A short biography is followed by essays describing his formative thinking about human nature and human identities, his humanizing force in his example of living a moral, intellectual life, his discernment of people’s ability to make informed choices and actions, his freedom from ideological fashions, his writings about the Mackenzie District Métis, his determination to take peoples experience seriously, not metaphorically, and his thinking about social organization and kinship. An unpublished paper about a 1930s caribou hunt in which he participated finishes the collection, giving Dick the last word.

Richard J. Preston is nominally retired (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, McMaster University) and hopes to continue his forty-plus-year span of sojourning and work with the people of the James Bay region, focusing on the cultural dimensions of globalization and tracing the emergence of the Cree concept of community. His publications include Cree Narrative: Expressing the Personal Meanings of Events, second edition (2002), and a great many papers.


“These essays are loving, thoughtful and well-crafted. The book is a little gem, in fitting tribute to the thoughtful and well-crafted work of Richard Slobodin, one of the founders of the McMaster University Department of Anthropology.... Harvey Feit’s contribution, in addition to being a tribute to his friend and colleague, offers a substantial review of the literature and attendant controversies about band organization and land tenure amoung eastern Algonquians in relation to Slobodin’s Gwich’in ethnography.... It is a must read for students wanting a succinct and even-handed review of this controversy anthropology.”

— Robin Ridington, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Anthropologica